1 John 3:19-22
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
After many years in ‘ministry’, when I look back, the one thing I have seen God’s people suffer from, more than anything else, is a sense of unworthiness. What is so terrible about this, and yes, it has been a constant battle for me too, is that this feeling that ‘I’m not good enough’ eats into a sense of who you are, and your own intrinsic value as a person. More than that, it can leave you feeling isolated, fearful, ‘different’ and unlovable.... you find it hard to connect with others, you find it hard to connect with God and you wonder why God would hear your prayers anyway...
What I would say to those who suffer like this (and I am talking to myself), is that you are living with half of a revelation, you just need to get to grips with the other half. The first half of the revelation is this - in and of yourself, you are not worthy, none of us are... some of us perhaps, maybe because of our life experiences, feel it more keenly, whilst others can push away that nagging sense of inadequacy. The truth is though, the answer to this feeling that I’m a failure, that I’m not good or acceptable enough, cannot be solved by pushing it away or trying harder. It is solved by understanding the gift of God and receiving it.
With that in mind we must grasp the other half of the revelation, namely, that the conditions of worthiness are not met in how we feel, or how well we are ‘performing’ in life, but are found in faith. This IS the gospel, the good news, and as challenging as it is to embrace, I must come to understand that I have been made worthy and acceptable to God JUST because I believed in his Son. Do I feel like I’m ‘good enough’? no, but is it true that I am good enough, in Christ? yes! John tells us, ‘God is greater than our hearts’ and then continues to explain that ‘this is how we set our hearts at rest in His presence, by believing in his Son.’ John encourages us, then, to put faith before feelings, and furthermore, promises us that as we dare to believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection made us acceptable, despite the knowledge of our condition, the ‘feeling’ of worthiness will displace the destructive power of knowing half the truth.
Artwork : Hazel Brown