The Bible challenges to love each other. However, God doesn’t just tell us to go and love each other. He certainly could, but He doesn’t. He also tells us specific blessings that come with living by that love by which He has directed us to live. I want to focus on one of those blessings today. He says,
19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.1 John 3:19-20
Are you plagued by regrets? Do those regrets make you wonder about God’s opinion of you? Do they make you speculate that God might be against you rather than for you? John speaks of these thoughts in verse 20. He says that our hearts may condemn us. Why do they condemn us? Our hearts condemn us when we regret something we have done. Our hearts remind us of the people we have hurt.
When we consistently live by love, John tells us, this changes. When we consistently live by love we begin to evaluate our life not by our mistakes, but by this love. You see, we know that this love is what motivated and led our Savior. Because of the love of God, Jesus came to save us. Because of this love, Jesus washed His disciples feet and asked them to love in the same way. This love is how Jesus lived. It is how disciples live.
So, when we live by the love of God, we are living how Jesus lived. We are following in His steps. That is what it means to be a disciple. This is what assures our hearts. Living in love shows us that what we say we believe is what we truly believe. Yes, living in love will show others that we follow Jesus. John’s point in these verses is that it also tells us! Whenever we have doubts or whenever our own imperfections get to us all we have to do is look at how we love and our hearts will be assured.
When we are reminded of our regrets there are two ways we respond. The first response is that we are thrown into despair because we cannot undo our mistakes. The second response is to seek to be the difference that Jesus has called us to be. This second response is the response of those who seek to live in the love of God. No, it doesn’t take away regrets; but those regrets become memories that we do not want to duplicate rather than recriminations that make us feel even more unworthy.
This is what we see in the lives of the apostles. They were not frozen by their past. The apostle Paul saw himself as the “chief of all sinners.” Was he frozen by his regrets? How did Paul live in such freedom? He tells us,
13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;2 Corinthians 5:13-14
The love of Christ led Paul. He was committed to living in love for Christ by loving people. At the end of his life this love of Jesus that Paul lived in made him able to say,
8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.2 Timothy 4:8
Paul knew the power of living in this love of Jesus. He was honest about his past. He called himself a persecutor and a blasphemer. Yet, he was also certain that he was forgiven. Oh, how I want that certainty! Don’t you? We find it by living in love. This is the promise to which John points us. By living in love, our hearts can be at rest. Let’s live in love together.
Something to think about,