1 John, Devotional, New Testament

Practice Makes Perfect (1 John 3:19-24 Devotional)

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 JOHN 3:19-24 ESV

Righteousness and love are the grace we receive from the salvation of Jesus, and they are also spiritual fruits we bear.  John teaches us to look for evidence of righteousness and love in our lives.  But what happens when we fail?  The enemy magnifies our guilt, and our hearts may condemn us.  John’s comfort to us is this –

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

1 John 3:20

God made us righteous, and He taught us how to love.  We even inherited His beautiful traits to love and do good deeds as His seed is living in us.  It is like when a pianist has the best piano with the best teacher in the world, and every piece of equipment she needs to play the instrument is in her possession.  But she can’t play perfect music yet, just like we are not perfect yet. So we may still fail and fall short of God’s glory, even when we are in Christ.  But God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything about us.  He knows where we began and where we are in our progress. Yes, God is not looking for instant changes but allows progressive growth in our lives. Because He also knows where he is taking us for eternity. 

Just because I fail to love, it does not mean I should stop loving and trying. The pianist cannot play perfect music if she stops practicing after failing.  There is a process to producing great music.  The tools were essential, but her practices made her piece perfect. The same goes for our spiritual life.  The way to get better at living out a holy and victorious life is to keep practicing what God has commanded us to do – 

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us

1 John 3:23

Yes, that is to love God and love people.  That is ONE commandment and the biggest one. 

We are God’s beloved children, and we are also His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). So I take heart in having a Father who knows me and accepts my imperfectness and continues to teach me and help me grow. 

No matter how we are, Jesus’ blood is shed, and salvation is done.  Nothing can change this solid truth and His love for us. So we may accept our imperfectness, approach God in confidence through Jesus, and rely upon His grace and the Holy Spirit who lives in us to make good progress every day and bring glory to God.  

Grace
by Laura Story

My heart is so proud
My mind is so unfocused
I see the things You do through me
As great things I have done
And now You gently break me
Then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father
And mold me as my maker

I ask you, “How many times will you pick me up
When I keep on letting you down?”
And each time I will fall short of Your glory
How far will forgiveness abound?
And You answer, “My child, I love you
And as long as you’re seeking My face
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace”

At times, I may grow weak
And feel a bit discouraged
Knowing that someone
Somewhere could do a better job
For who am I to serve You?
I know I don’t deserve You
And that’s the part that burns in my heart
And keeps me hanging on

I ask you, “How many times will you pick me up
When I keep on letting you down?”
And each time I will fall short of Your glory
How far will forgiveness abound?
And You answer, “My child, I love you
And as long as you’re seeking My face
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace”

You are so patient with me, Lord
As I walk with You, I’m learning
What Your grace really means
The price that I could never pay
Was paid at Calvary
So, instead of trying to repay You
I’m learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to You
For all that You’ve given to me

I ask you, “How many times will you pick me up
When I keep on letting you down?”
And each time I will fall short of Your glory
How far will forgiveness abound?
And You answer, “My child, I love you
And as long as you’re seeking My face
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace”

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