3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Every time I read 3 John this verse jumps out at me because it is so true in my own life, as I am sure it is for every servant of God. We all speak God’s truth as faithfully as we know how (or should), but how that truth is received is up to each individual hearer. God made it clear to Ezekiel that responsibility for reception of the truth lies with the hearer, (Ezekiel 3:16-19 and 33:7-9) but there can be a massive sense of futility if no one ever seems to listen. Even the Apostle John rejoiced to hear that his words had taken root and were bearing fruit in people’s lives. Just yesterday I was watching a video in which a Bible teacher heard someone say, “What you said really changed my life for the better,” and he rejoiced. If you want to make your pastor happy, then live out what they have taught you! Actually, that is true for God Himself. We may think we want to please God, but if we aren’t living in obedience we won’t be able to do it. God’s rules, His truth, are only for our benefit. It follows that when we follow His rules and walk in His truth, that is not only the best possible course for us, it delights Him!
After 45 years of intentional ministry, I am sharply aware of this reality. I am delighted that some whom I have raised are in active ministry, but they certainly aren’t the only ones who please me. Any time I hear that someone whom I have influenced is consistent in loving God and taking in His Word to do it, I rejoice. There are times when I feel like beating my head against a wall, and times when I feel like I’m having just about that much positive effect, but hearing about those who genuinely hear from God through me makes it all worth it. I’m especially pleased when I learn they’ve grown to hear Him consistently without my having to be in the loop! This time of social distancing because of the virus is a good check on our priorities. After all, God never distances Himself from us! I need to guide those who will hear me to draw near to God, to listen to Him and rejoice to be wrapped in His arms, not rebelling but allowing Him to heal and cleanse us, so that the schemes of the enemy may be defeated and God’s name alone be acknowledged as holy.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You indeed for those who seek You and delight to obey You. May their number increase! I pray for all my children, spiritual and physical, to recognize and walk in Your priorities, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!