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“This is how we know that we belong to the truth
and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:”
Oh, those words. That verse. How enticing it is to our souls. To mine, at least. A person naturally quite keenly aware of her sin, it’s never been as natural to me to find myself at rest or at peace with anything.
But rest, peace, and a sense of belonging are what I long for. They led me, years ago, to take up an independent study in college. The individual class was designed to answer this question:
“how, in a broken, sinful world, are humans able to find solutions to problems besides simply Christ?”
Although an academic study on non-profits in practice, in truth the matter was personal. I’m a fixer. I’m a problem-solver. And I’m a sinner. These conditions are contradictory.
I’ve been executor and witness of the problems I have “solved” falling apart over and over again. My response, rooted in fear, used to allow my awareness of my own sin to hold me back from trying to fix anything for fear I’d make it worse.
Inaction marked all that mattered to me. If “it,” whatever “it” was, might be Spiritual or impactful, I’d gladly leave “it” up to another sinner. I didn’t want the mess of trying to do good without having any goodness in me.
“You are letting your fear of sin overrule your fear of Christ.” That’s what my professor said when it became apparent in conversation that the study was hitting me personally. He said it more kindly, and in more words. But the sentiment has long remained.
The truth of what He said was undeniable. Choosing inaction, choosing fear, was just as much a sin I wanted to avoid as the sin of not offering adequate solutions.
My lack of a sense of belonging to God changed. My restlessness with what to “do” in life turned to resting in His presence. My heart found the peace I was rejecting before my Savior, because I understood the rest of the verse:
“If our hearts condemn us,
we know that God is greater than our hearts,
and he knows everything.”
We can’t solve anything without Jesus. Not really. None of us can adequately offer hope or joy or righteous change in this world apart from Christ. We don’t have it in us, we are sinful. But He, within us, can.
Our hearts condemn us because we know the sin in them. What we forget is that the God who is greater than our hearts works in us and through us. He works through the sin and the muck to solve and fix and heal.
He knows how to save and redeem every bit of this world according to His will. That’s why we can belong to Him. That’s how we can put our hearts at rest in Him. There is no need to act in fear, even when the fear is rooted in our knowledge of self.
The Lord knows, and He wins even the battles in our hearts.
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