When the apostle John was old, he wrote two lovely, short letters to churches and friends. And in them, we learn something about what makes an old apostle happy. While that might not strike you as the most important thing to think about in 2018, stop and really give it a second. If the apostles are the men chosen by God and sent out by Christ to communicate the word of God and lay the foundation of the church, what makes such men smile matters. And John, the last remaining apostle, has told us what makes him smile.
3 John 4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
There it is. What makes an old apostle happy? It makes him happy when he hears that his children, those who have been taught by him and shepherded by him, are walking in the truth.
I would suggest, dear Christians, that this is what the Lord wants of us too. He wants us to walk in the truth. These are easy words, but they require us to take them seriously.
Truth is an easy word. But to accept it here is to accept the fact that there is such a thing as truth. Truth is true, for real, no violations or gradations. There is such a thing as truth in which we are to walk.
Christian, this is the word of God. You and I are to believe that truth begins with Jesus, the Son of God, the word of God. We must believe that God’s truth is revealed as holy Scripture. And we must believe the claims and teachings of Scripture.
But we are not only to believe the truth—that is actually the easy part. We are to walk in the truth. That means that we, as followers of God, not only believe the word of God, but we do what it says. When the word says not to commit sexual immorality, we are to obey. When it says husbands love your wives in such a way that you would lay your life down for her just as Christ did the church, you obey. When the word tells us to worship the Lord together and not to give up that practice, we obey. When the word tells us that the God who made us is to be our number one priority, that we are to have no other gods before him, that we are not to make up things to worship in his stead, we must obey this. When the word says not to kill the innocent, we obey. When the word says to care for the needy, we obey. When the word says to pray for our political leaders, we obey. When the word tells us to avoid gossip, slander, greed, drunkenness, sexual deviancy, violence, abusive speech, and so much more, we obey.
And to walk in the truth is to obey the command to make the Lord our God our first love. We are to believe in the holiness of God and let that overflow in worship. WE are to find delight in the character of God and his mind-blowing mercies on us. We are to find our joy in the glory of the Lord and let that thrill our souls for eternity. We are to live in a loving relationship with the Lord now, with his Spirit living within us, even as we long for an even better day when we live in the eternally sinless state to come. We walk with our eyes fixed on heaven and our hearts set on the Lord. And we strive with every step to reflect the glory of our God in the here and now.
You see, walking in the truth is beautiful. It is to believe the word so as to have it shape your life in every step. Such faithful living makes an old apostle happy. And I think we can see that, since the Lord inspired John to tell us this, it pleases the Lord too.