There are a lot of things that can bring joy. A lot of things that can cause gladness . . . a lot of things that will lead to rejoicing . . . a lot of things to be thankful for. But in his third epistle, John refers to something that brought him maximum joy.
When John tallied up all the reasons for joy he could think of, when he ranked them according to that which provided him the greatest gladness, there was a joy that ranked at the top. While others, like remembering his risen Savior, might be equal to such joy, there was no greater joy.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3John 4 ESV)
No greater joy. I pause. Really? No greater joy? While other things might evoke a similar joy, nothing else ranks above it? Again, really? It’s kind of an “over the top” statement if you think about it.
Of all the joys that John had known — think the Mount of Transfiguration . . . think communing in the bosom of Jesus . . . think of the empty tomb . . . think of eating with the risen Christ — of them all, none was greater to John than hearing that those he had birthed into the kingdom were living their lives according to the truth. Sure, there had been rejoicing, even in heaven, as God used John to lead darkness-dwellers into the Light through the power of the gospel. But there was no greater joy than to see those who had been brought into the Light, walking in the Light.
In the economy of heaven, how important is a walk that matches the talk? Pretty!
What a disservice is done when I think that how I live my Christian life is less important than the fact that I’ve become a Christian. When I think that as long as I’ve sealed the deal on eternal security, I can kind of “wing it” according to what I think works best for now.
But if John reflects the heart of God . . . if John personifies the mind of Christ . . . and I think he does, then the Father has no greater joy than to hear, and in His case, see, that His children are seeking to walk in truth. That they order their ways as people not of this world but as those seeking a city to come. That they set their way in accordance with the Word. That they take their cues not from what’s the popular thinking of the day, but from what is permanent truth for eternity. That their conduct reflects not the world of darkness from which they were delivered, but the realm of Light to which they have been called.
How we walk the Christian walk is important. How we regulate our lives is very much on heaven’s radar. And it is a joy invoker.
Saved by grace, we follow by grace. Sealed with the Spirit, we learn to walk in the Spirit. Called to be holy, we seek to be holy. For His joy.
No greater joy. Really! No greater joy then that His children are walking in the truth.
Might I bring Him such joy. By His grace . . . for His glory.