And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment (1 John 3:23).
Back in Nebraska I attended a Screen Writing Colony, which meant for two weeks I was sequestered with a bunch of other writers to practice and learn screen writing skills. I was the only Christian in the lot. We would write all night and the next day we’d read what we’d written to the others and they would critique it.
Of course I wanted to write a Christian screenplay and in my writing I must have used the name of Jesus in every sentence. The very first day they stopped me halfway through my reading. One of them said, “Marty, it makes me very uncomfortable to hear that name over and over. I don’t want you to continue.”
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight (1 John 3:22).
Oh, the list I have! It’s long! Everything on there is something I have asked of Him, all the way from having curlier hair to being a multi-millionaire. The Bible already told me in John 14:14 that I can have whatever I want.
“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14).
I believe that Scripture, but let’s be honest, if I just stop right there, I will never have what I want. Why? Because there are conditions. We receive from Him because we keep His commandments. That’s one condition, and the second is doing those things that are pleasing in His sight. So how do we know what those two things are? Let’s continue with what follows John 14:14.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God (1 John 3:21).
A clean heart creates a condition of confidence, and with this clean heart we can freely trust God. He greatly wants us to trust Him. In fact, if we don’t have confidence in God, He is not pleased with us.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him . . . (Hebrews 11:6).
How do we clean out our hearts? I ask the Holy Spirit for help, since He knows me better than I know myself. I ask Him to show me the issues that keep me from having a clean heart. He will then remind me of something I said or did, or an attitude that I held that was not godly, and I put myself to the task of seeking freedom and/or forgiveness for this error of my ways. The word sin simply means “missing the mark,” and we can easily miss the mark of obedience or love. It usually takes a slight adjustment, and I’m back to a position of having a heart that does not condemn me. Then I can approach God with full confidence.
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things (1 John 3:20).
Oh, how great and gracious are the ways of God! I like the fail-safe measure He puts in His Word. For instance, the Word says we will have what we say. Fortunately, it adds the safeguard that we must also believe what we say with our hearts, not our minds, but our spirits. If we believe and we speak what we believe, then the issue becomes a regulation in our lives. But if we believe and don’t speak it, or if we speak and don’t believe, then nothing happens. We don’t have to live with bad regulations.
In this verse it says that in the depths of us, we may condemn ourselves, but God doesn’t necessarily condemn us because He is greater than our hearts. He knows the root cause of that condemnation, which may have no reality in our lives at all. He knows everything, and He is the judge, not our hearts. However, it is always a good idea to clean out our hearts, to love, to give, to forgive, to share, to do something good for somebody else. It takes a clean heart to act in love.