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 us1 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.