“And by this we know that we are of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him,”
It is a common thought process to blame ourselves for things and lose our assurance of the grace of God. We all fail at Christian living and we all need forgiveness every day. We can get our minds on a spiral of blame that drags us down and the enemy comes in with his accusations and we can become lacking in our personal assurance of salvation. We think we are too sinful and we think we have overstepped a mark that has been set for us, and failed the Lord or, in fact, we were never really sorry at all for our sin. We can bring doubts on ourself by falsely rehearsing our past and imagining all sorts of things that drag us down into depressions and guilt complexes. The Apostle is not wishing this at all, but encouraging us to follow the path of Christ which will bless us, help us to grow as Christian people and build or faith.
It is easy to guilt trip ourselves and the enemy loves it, for he can fuel that fire and hurt us badly and take away our joy. We encourage ourselves in knowing the good things we have done for the Lord, especially if they are done in secret at the impetus of the Holy Spirit in our minds and ideas. It is good to listen to Him because He never makes us feel guilt and blame but encourages us in holy living and sacrificial giving.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.”
The Holy Spirit is our great confidant and comrade in the fight with self and sin. He will always lead us in the right way for our good and the good of the sisters and brothers in Christ. It’s easy to say we should have done this or that, but the closer we walk with God, the promptings of the Spirit will be heard and followed by us and the more joyful we will be. Do not allow the enemy to spoil our happiness in the Lord by entertaining sin, unbelief, doubt and lack of assurance.
Our good works can be an encouragement to us too and remind us of the work of God in our own heart and mind. Our good deeds follow us to remind us of the grace of God working in our hearts – the grace that has saved us in the first place.
“I heard the voice from heaven saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them.”
We can take our encouragement from our works in this life and be thankful for the work of God in our life. We can use the presence of the acts of kindness and love we have shown to others to witness to us that we belong to God. Our good deeds do not save us but are an evidence of our faith and the work of the Spirit in our life. They are a marker that we have a good conscience towards God, especially done in secret and leading to the glory of God and not ourselves.