1 John 3:19-22 – And by this, we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
This passage of scripture is a very powerful gauge to measure our conscience before the Lord. When we break this passage down we begin to see something revealed. The word “assure” here is a word meaning to have confidence and completely yielded to. In other words, John tells us that there is a gauge to measure if we are walking in the truth and have confidence towards the Lord in our relationship with him. The answer is “If our heart condemns us”. So what does this mean? The word “heart” here does not mean the muscle beating in your chest but denotes our soul, the mind, will, and emotions. Next is the word “condemn”. This word in greek here means to find fault, blame or to accuse. When we put this together it reveals to us that If our conscience is reminding us of unrepented sin, strongholds, or a lifestyle of sin it will be the first thing that will alert us when we stand in the presence of God, Whether in a Church during worship service, or whether at home and enter a time of private praying. This is why many times when someone is called on to pray that they won’t pray. Not just because they are timid or don’t know how to pray but they have a guilty conscience before the presence of men and God. When reading this passage of scripture, I was also reminded of the Apostle Paul who stated that:
Acts 24:15-17– I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. Did you catch that? Paul emphasized his desire to walk blamelessly before God and men, having his conscience assured before the Lord without having offense towards either. It’s one thing to have our hearts right before the Lord but it’s another to have offense towards another individual. Check out what Jesus said regarding this:
Matthew 5:22-24 – But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
The Lord is reminding us here that we can be faithful in our tithes and offerings but because we have unforgiveness, bitterness or some type of resentment against someone, it will hinder the Lord from blessing us. Why? Because our heart is condemning us in this area of our walk with him. We can’t expect God to bless us when we can’t even forgive people as he forgave us! The key is walking in a lifestyle of repentance before the Lord. In the Old Testament, they would offer a lamb on the altar morning and evening as to seek atonement before God. We don’t do that today but we can come in his presence morning and evening asking the Lord to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness before him. Have we wronged anyone? Have we sinned against God? Are there sins of omission or remission in my life?
The flip side of this is that John revealed to us that “if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.”, Meaning that we can be able to come boldly before the throne room of God and asked for those petitions in which we are seeking and have the highest confidence, knowing that we are in right standing with him. As a result of this “whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” Having these unrepented sins and habits in our lives produces what I call “Hooks” for the enemy to hang condemnation and guilt on and can actually hinder our walk with God and absolutely render our prayer life powerless. Notice what Jesus told his disciples in the book of John: John 14:30 – I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. Did you see that? Satan was coming to bring an accusation against Christ but Jesus had such confidence in his relationship with the Father and his standing with men that he dared to say that “He has NOTHING in me”! He had no hook to rest his condemnation on!
So you may ask, How do I walk in right standing with God? I mean don’t we all fall short and no one is perfect right? Again, the answer is living a lifestyle of repentance before the Lord. Now the “Hyper-Grace” camp will convince you that we don’t need to do this and that Grace covers us all, However, the Word emphasizes the necessity of this many times, such as 1 John 3:3 – And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. And The Apostle Paul tells us that when we make a lifestyle of walking in the Spirit. “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish.” – Galatians 5:16-17
I believe the Lord is desiring us all to have our hearts pure, having assurance before him that when we ask anything according to his will, He hears us and that we can have whatsoever we ask! Let us pray! “Father, I pray that you would search my heart and reveal to me by the Holy Spirit if I have unrepented sin in my heart. Show me if I have unforgiveness or bitterness towards someone. I want my conscience to be pure in the sight of you and men. If I have wronged anyone, show me so that I may make it right quickly. teach me to walk in the Spirit by your grace and power that I can overcome the flesh and live victoriously! I desire not to have any hooks in me that the enemy can hang condemnation on! I pray this in the name of Jesus! AMEN