“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” ~ 3 John 4
Explanation of the Text: A reading of John’s writings and a testimony of His life leaves us with the certainty that he was fixated on the Lord Jesus Chris. His greatest concern for people was their relationship with Christ. In both 2 and 3 John, he writes of they joy he has when others are walking in the truth of Christ (2 John 4, 3 John 3).
This expression of joy is not merely a passing moment of reflection and happiness. Instead John uses rich language that conveys an earnest excitement and energy to know that there are others committed to the cause of Christ. It is an outward demonstration of his claim here in verse 4, that for him there is no greater joy than to know that others are walking in the truth.
If this were not the case, John could not write with conviction verses two and three. John’s priority of love, again as evidenced in the preceding verses, is the spiritual health of people. In fact, concern for spiritual well-being is the greatest demonstration of love that one can have for others. Unlike the physical concerns that are rooted in the here and now which eventually pass away, a concern for the spiritual health of others not only impacts eternity, but is an eternal expression of love.
Examination & Application of the Text: If God is love (1 John 4:8) then the greatest expression of that love comes when God is at the center of our attitudes and actions towards others. John demonstrates this immensely for us. Through his words, John demonstrates the intention and meaning of love that is found in God and rooted in Christ.
When conveying love to others, what is the priority we are established upon? For some it is a love defined by what is received in return. For others, the love is a mere expression of something physical (and I mean this two ways. First, some define love as a physical relationship between two people. However, the other expression is a mere concern for only the physical needs of a person. Both are not true expressions of love if they are not defined within Scriptural terms). John shows us that true love is demonstrated by our spiritual care of another.
Let me ask you this. When do you feel most loved? When someone takes care of your physical needs and/or wants, or when someone takes care of the spiritual needs? I would suggest that it is when someone focuses on your spiritual health, it is at then that you feel most loved. It is those moments that often have a longer lasting impact on a person’s life. It is those moments that a person will come back to when they define the moments that shaped them the most.
A recognition of this love, a concern for spiritual health, transforms our relationship with others because our focus is often changed from the temporal to the eternal.