Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Condemnation, Confidence, Encouragement, Following, Mentoring, Parenting, Repentance, Scripture, Surrender

CONFIDENCE

1 JOHN 3:21

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;”

Have you ever been confident of something? You knew you had whatever it was figured out and could handle it. How do you gain that confidence? Does it just come naturally? Most of the time it doesn’t. It comes from practice. It comes from repeated actions until you don’t even have to think about it. When I haven’t done something in a while, I usually have to go back and study up to feel confident. Not so with our hearts, though.

John is reminding us that if our hearts are “confessed up” there is no condemnation there. We can stand before the Lord with confidence, knowing that we have brought all our sins and failures to Him. There is no better feeling than to know we can stand free and clear before Him. The fresh feeling of forgiveness washes over us and allows us to stand boldly before a holy God.

APPLICATION

Have your children ever tried to hide something they have done wrong? Maybe they broke something and didn’t want you to find out. You knew something was going on but hadn’t figured it out yet. When you did find out, how did they respond? Some kids will just break down and confess. Others will maintain their innocence. Confession has to come in order for forgiveness to be given and received.

These little lessons go a long way toward our children understanding the forgiveness of the Lord. There are often consequences for actions, but most of the time those consequences are not that bad. But our children fear the consequences. We need to teach them to seek out the restoration. That covers the consequences and, like John says, removes the condemnation.

Are you free from condemnation today? I hope so. I pray you have come before the Father with a clean slate. There is no need to put off confession. He knows our hearts anyway. And when we come to Him in full surrender, bearing our guilt and sin, He looks on us lovingly and extends His grace. What more could you ask for?

Thank You, Lord, for the forgiveness You give each and every time I come to You. I want to walk boldly before You knowing You have washed me clean.

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Accountability, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Condemnation, Confession, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God's Will, Mentoring, Parenting, Repentance, Salvation, Scripture

GOD IS GREATER

1 JOHN 3:20

“in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”

We can rationalize our sins, can’t we? We can excuse our “little” inconsistencies and insist they are not so bad. We can always point at someone else and their sins. They are so much worse, right? Guess what? Sin is sin! Period. We can’t rely on what our heart condemns. We have to rely on the One who judges all things.

John tells us God is greater than our hearts. He knows our every little thought. He knows our motives. He knows our hearts much better than we do. We cannot hide our secret sins. We have one choice – to come to Him in full confession. He does know all things, including every thought of our heart.

APPLICATION

Have you convinced your children you have eyes in the back of your head? Lol. A lot of children would swear that their parents do. They can’t seem to get away with anything. That’s a good thing, huh? Of course, we know we don’t. We just have a little more experience and can spot a lie or deceitful heart.

Our children need to learn that there is no reason to try to hide their hearts. God loves them and wants them to walk with Him in Spirit and truth. Keeping your heart confessed before Him allows you to not be condemned. If you have asked Christ to be your Lord and Savior, there is no reason to walk in condemnation. That’s the tactic of the devil. He wants to accuse us. God doesn’t. He forgives us.

So, are you feeling condemned? Get rid of that right now. God is great, not because He wants to zap you. God is great because He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you. God has no desire to condemn you. Nor does He want you to allow your heart to condemn you. He longs for you to come to Him. Won’t you do that today?

Father, I confess I am not worthy to even be called Your child, but You call me that. I bring all those sins before You now for cleansing.

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SINLESS?

1 JOHN 3:6

“No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”

Have you ever known anyone who didn’t make a mistake? You’ve never heard them say, I’m sorry. You’ve never seen them ask anyone for forgiveness. In fact, if you ask them, they would tell you that they are always right. Now, we know that’s not possible. We all make mistakes, sooner or later. No one is perfect.

If you read this verse without digging deeper, you might think John is saying you can’t ever sin again. If you do, it means you’re not a believer. No! That is not what John is saying. The word “sins” is in the Present tense. That means it’s an ongoing lifestyle. You make a habit of sinning. And the words “seen” and “knows” are in the Perfect tense which means it happened in the past with lasting results. Seeing Him and knowing Him changes you forever. You no longer desire those sinful behaviors.

APPLICATION

How do you teach this concept to children? Well, just ask your kids if they have ever messed up. Ask them if they have ever been disobedient to you. Explain to them that just because they disobey you, they doesn’t mean they are not your child. Nothing can change that. Their birth into your family (Perfect tense) has lasting results – they are forever in your family.

But how about that “sin” thing? Well, John said in the verse that if you “abide” in Jesus you would not sin, you would not practice sin, you would not make sin your lifestyle. I tell the kids I teach that before we are saved, we chase sin. After we are saved, sin chases us.

What are you practicing – sinful living or godly living? That will pretty much determine whose family you are in. Satan loves to keep us in his family. He will even let us think we are in God’s family. He doesn’t care if we claim to be a believer as long as we don’t live like it. Ask yourself who you are bringing glory to – Jesus or the devil.

I want to walk in holiness with You, Jesus. Order my steps so that I always bring You glory.

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THE ERASER

1 JOHN 3:5

“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.”

There was nothing better than a good eraser when I was in grade school. In fact, my mom used to buy us extra erasers. We loved the kind that went on the end of your pencil. You were really cool if you had some kind of cartoon figure eraser. But we also had those big, pink rectangle-shaped erasers. Those could last a long time. Erasers were essential when I was in school.

Jesus is our sin eraser. Because He knew no sin, only He was qualified to be that sin eraser. One definition of the Greek word for “take away” is to sail away. I like that. Our sins simply sail away. They have weighed anchor. They are no longer here. Jesus makes them vanish. How great is that?

APPLICATION

Get your kids to try out some different erasers with different writing instruments. Start out with a sharpie. Have them try to erase it. Then try an ink pen. Finally, give them a pencil. Some marks we make cannot be erased with a plain eraser. They are pretty much permanent.

Ask your children how they erase their own mistakes, their own sins. They may say they ask someone to forgive them. They may say they promise to never do that again. Those are like the sharpie and pen marks. Our efforts to erase our sins just don’t work. Only through Jesus can we get the forgiveness we need. Teach your kids to confess their sins daily. A clean slate is always good.

Does your slate need cleaning? Go the One who can erase all your mistakes. He can forgive you and give you the cleansing you need. All you have to do is confess. That may be a little painful, but it is the only way. Make it right with Him and experience the joy of walking in forgiveness.

Lord, I need Your eraser in my life. I confess to You today the ways I have fallen short. Cleanse me now.

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WHAT HOPE?

1 JOHN 3:3

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Well, last night I went to bed with my team, the Atlanta Braves, leading in the fifth inning in game seven of the National League Championship. I tried to stay up but was just too tired. I went to bed with a hope they would hold on to win and go to the World Series. Guess what? That didn’t happen. The Dodgers came back to win, sending Atlanta home.

If you read this verse by itself, you have to ask yourself, “What hope?” That hope is not my hope in the Braves (thank goodness). You need to go back and read verses 1 and 2 of chapter 3. That hope is solely in Christ. John tells us if our hope is in Him then we should live in such a way to honor Him. We should purify ourselves by putting anything out of lives that dishonors Him.

APPLICATION

Don’t you just love bath time with the kids? Really? You don’t? It can be a challenge, especially when they get a little older. Little boys love to play outside and do not necessarily like to wash that outside off once they come in. The smells of where they have been and what they have been doing are all over them.

The next time you are discussing bath time with the kiddos, read them this verse. I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. Explain to them that just as the physical world can affect how we smell, the spiritual world can affect how we live. We have to keep ourselves cleaned up spiritually through confession and righteous living to remove the stench of sin. You may not can smell that sin, but you can sure see the results of it in your life.

How pure are you today? Jesus wants you to walk before Him purified and reflecting Him. He is not honored by our wallowing in sin and professing to be a believer. He, in fact, demands pure living. Will you confess whatever it is you need to confess today? Let Him cleanse you and help you walk in purity.

Thank You for Your cleansing power in my life. Thank You for convicting me of the impurities I carry along with me. I want to walk representing You.

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FOOLISH THINKING

1 JOHN 1:10

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”

Have you every denied something, but you knew there might be a possibility that you could have done it? I have. I could have forgotten about it. That happens. But there are some denials that are just absolute. I can honestly say I have never given birth to a baby. There is just no way that is possible.

There’s something you can’t see in the English translation of this verse. It’s in the little word “not.” You see, there are two Greek words for “no” or “not.” There’s the one here, ou, and there’s the other one, me. Here’s the difference. Me is a qualified negative, whereas ou is the absolute negative. John is saying if you absolutely deny you have sinned, you are calling God a liar who has said that all men sin.

APPLICATION

Unless your children are floating along on clouds with little harps like cherubs, they have probably lied about something. They have probably denied their involvement in a fight with their sibling. They may deny eating those cookies you were saving for later. Children don’t want to get caught. So, they will lie or deny to get out of it.

The next time they do, read this verse. Their actions are no different than anyone else’s who try to portray themselves as above error. Honesty is always the best policy. Admission of guilt and confession of sin leads to forgiveness. That always feels good. That always restores fellowship.

Are you guilty of denying your sins? We tend to want to blame others for our failures. It is never our fault. Just confess them to your Father. He stands ready to forgive. Remember – denying your sin makes God a liar, which you and I both know is just not true.

Forgive me, Lord, for denying my sins. Cleanse me and set me straight. I want to honor You.

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SPARKLY

1 JOHN 1:9

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Man, I loved my first car so much. I guess all guys do. Mine was a 1971 Buick Skylark. It was royal blue with a white vinyl top. It had key-colored mag wheels AND a Craig AM/FM eight-track Powerplay stereo. I kept that car pretty much spotless. I was relentless to remove the dirt and grime. I wanted to present a clean car to everyone.

All we have to do to present ourselves as “sparkly” is to confess our sins to the Father. When we do, He is faithful and righteous (or just) to forgive them and to clean us up. I love that the word “forgive” in the Greek means to send away. He sends our sins away. Why? Because they are cleansed by the blood. He wants us to be presentable to the lost to draw them also to Him.

APPLICATION

Bath time for kids can be a challenge. Most kids go through a time when they just really fight against it. They don’t want their hair washed or they don’t want to have their backs scrubbed. Of course, we bathe them anyway because we know we can’t leave them that way.

The next time you are bathing your child or have to remind them to get a bath, share this verse with them. They will probably think you are crazy, lol. Explain to them the importance of not only keeping their body clean, but they also need to keep their heart clean by confessing their sins to God. Unconfessed sin makes us comfortable with the grime of sin. After a while we stop smelling ourselves.

Are you all scrubbed? I mean are you confessed up? What are you waiting for? Don’t you want to feel refreshed spiritually? Of course, you. Turn to Him right now. Just say, “Father, forgive me for my sins. I confess to You my wrongdoings and failures. I want to walk in Your light. Thank You for forgiving me and cleansing me.” That’s it. You’re sparkly!

Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son Jesus to die for me so I can come to You for forgiveness. I know His blood has covered my sins. Help me walk in righteousness.

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SINLESS

1 JOHN 1:8

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Have you ever met a perfect person? No, I don’t mean Jesus. I mean a regular human being. Neither have I. But I have met some people who thought they were perfect. They could never admit an error. They thought they could never do anything wrong. If something wrong happened, it was always someone else’s fault.

John has a way of hitting you right between the eyes, doesn’t he? He points out those kind of people in today’s verse. If someone has that attitude (no sin), he says they are deceiving themselves. We get our word “planet” from the Greek word for “deceiving.” It means we are off course, we are wandering. We are literally walking around as if blind, ignoring the true path.

APPLICATION

I bet more than once when your child has done something wrong or broken something they claimed they didn’t do it. Am I right? While that may appear cute when they are toddlers, it isn’t something to laugh at and excuse. Children need to be held accountable for their behavior, according to their age level. Sin is sin and left unchecked will lead to a lifestyle of denial.

I am not saying we should be the gestapo and try to catch them in every act. We do, however, need to point them to the truth each and every time they fall short (and they will). We need to, as appropriate, share with them our own struggles and failures. They need to know that mom and dad aren’t perfect. I know that’s hard to admit, lol.

When is the last time you went to the Lord confessing your sinful behavior? Are you letting them build up until you have a closet full? That’s silly. Go to Him right now. Unburden yourself. Allow His cleansing power to reveal all the sin in your life. Then you can walk in truth again. Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Cleanse me now, O Lord. I confess all my sins to You. I desire to walk in truth.

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IF-THEN

1 JOHN 1:7

“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

Using the “If-Then” method of child-rearing is a good way of teaching them. If your child does his chores, then he can receive his allowance. If she cleans her room as promised, then you will take her to get ice cream. Now, you may not agree with rewarding children for doing their chores, but it is one method.

John is telling us here in today’s verse that we will receive a reward if we do a certain thing (If-Then). If we walk in the light, then we will have fellowship and Jesus’ blood cleanses us. We can’t expect to have either of those if we walk in darkness. Only by walking in the light are they possible.

APPLICATION

I’ve kind of already hinted at the application for your kids. Try one of those “If-Then” situations with your child. Then take them to this verse. You see, your own “If-Then” training is preparing them for their own “If-Then” decisions with the Lord. They are going to face a lot of those moments in life.

They will face crucial decisions with peers. If I do this, then this could happen. If I do this, how will it glorify God? If-then, if-then, if-then. All through life they will have to make those decisions. They need to understand your training of them now is preparing them for later.

How about you? Do you desire fellowship and forgiveness? Then it’s simple – walk in the light. That means to come to Christ and accept Him as your Savior. You can’t walk in light if you’re lost. You may think you’re in the light, but you aren’t. You are in the darkness. Come to the light.

I desire to stay in the light, Father. I desire fellowship with You and others. I know I am forgiven through the blood of Your Son.

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GROW IN GRACE

2 PETER 3:18

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Don’t you just love that phrase – “grow in the grace”? In the Greek text, the definite article isn’t there. Therefore, it could read “grow in grace.” But what does that really mean? I thought only God extended grace. How can we GROW in it?

The Helps Ministries definition of this word is “(“to grow”) is key to authentic discipleship. Indeed, the Lord requires non-stopprogress (development) in the life of faith.” That’s pretty good. As we experience God’s grace over and over, we grow in it. We recognize it. We seek it. We do not sin to get it, but we get it when we sin.

APPLICATION

How can we teach this principle to our kids? By extending them grace. I don’t mean to be easy on them. I mean when you can do it, show them grace. Maybe your child has unintentionally done something that is wrong. It was not their motive to disobey. Those are the times it is easy to extend grace.

But what do you do when they have knowingly sinned against God? Well, what does God do once they have repented? He extends grace. We should do the same. That may be hard sometimes. We want to remember those events and remind them of their failure over and over again. We justify that by saying we want to keep them from doing it again. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t do that?

The next time you bow your head and ask for forgiveness for something, remember the grace that is being extended to you. It’s not because of anything you deserve. Jesus died for you to have that grace. It is because of His shed blood that you can even go to the Father with the boldness to ask for forgiveness. Praise God.

I am thankful, Father, for grace. Help me grow in grace so I can show it to others.

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