1 John 5:21 (NLT)
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.

As John closes his writing he uses the words “dear children” or in the Greek, “little children” as a kindly address by teachers to his disciples. But it’s even more fitting in the context of the verse as most little children talk about having God in their heart. They know it is a special place where God resides within them and nothing else should take His place.

I remember as a child sitting in church and saying to my mother, “Jesus wants me to tell the preacher I want Him in my heart”. Jesus was calling me to salvation. Unlike someone who waits until near death to accept Christ, a child has a long future with Christ. And because there is a long journey ahead many people struggle at times along the way wondering if they were saved when they placed Jesus in their heart. Remember what John says, “keep away from those things that might take God’s place in you heart”, that is one reason doubt creeps in about salvation; we allow other things to creep in besides God. And when doubt shows up remember Jesus calling to you, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Was there a time you heard Jesus and you were following Him? Don’t surrender to doubt if you have heard Him, return back to His voice. Keep in mind it is the work Christ does in you and not the work you do. We are not saved by works or deeds so we may boast of our accomplishments, but by grace are we saved so we might praise our Lord and Savior. It’s all God’s work, it’s because of Christ’s sacrifice that grace and mercies have been given to us. Has anything been trying to take God’s place in your heart? Maybe doubt has entered in before and you need to hear Jesus speaking to you again. Pray that God would pull you close and remove doubts and fears. Let the voice of Jesus speak clearly through God’s word that He might comfort you as the shepherd watching over his flock. Pray your heart will be filled with God’s love and joy so you can extend it to others.