I have no greater joy: what made John happy 


How is your joy related to the spiritual health of others?  Let’s consider John’s example.  After he addressed his letter to the beloved Gaius, whom he loved in truth, he gave a pretty common greeting:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 1:2

This kind of thing was typical in a letter, even as it is today.  We might say, “Hey, Steve.  I hope you’re well” before we continue our letter.  Notice, though, that John makes a comparison between the physical health of Gaius and his spiritual health.  He wants him to be in good health, as it goes well with [his] soul.  That is, he had reason to believe that Gaius was spiritually healthy, and his desire was that Gaius would be physically healthy, as well.

Now, on what basis could John make a conclusion that it was going well with Gaius’s soul?  Notice the next verse:

For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:3

People were telling him.  This phrase “came and testified” is in a Greek tense which implies that it was ongoing.  People kept reporting to John that Gaius was walking in the truth.  In other words, he not only believed the truth, but he also lived accordingly.  If someone has truly been saved, they will not only believe the truth, but they will walk in it, as well.  (It’s not a requirement for salvation, but an evidence of it.)
But notice John’s joy.  He says he rejoiced greatly.  When others came and testified to Gaius’s truth and that he was walking in the truth, it filled John’s heart with joy.  Great joy.

And to add emphasis on how joyful indeed he was, he continues,

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:4

This is no mere Facebook Like.  The report of Gaius wasn’t something that made John smirk.  He was overjoyed.  He had no greater joy.

His child, that is a spiritual child, someone he had discipled and maybe had even led to Christ, was walking in the truth, and to John, that was an incomparable joy.

Oh, to consider that someone dear to you was holding fast to the Lord!  Oh, to see the God-given fruits of your God-given labor!  What a joyous occasion that is!  John loved Gaius (and the others) so much that his joy was directly related to their spiritual health.  We could rightly assume that if Gaius had not been walking in the truth, John would’ve been crestfallen.  This letter would be very different.

Sheep, do you have such a love for the brothers and sisters that your joy is related to them walking in the truth?  If it doesn’t make your heart glad to see someone living for the Lord, you might consider whether you really love them, and you might bring that to the Lord.  This Christian life is not lived alone.  It’s lived side by side by the rest of Christ’s redeemed.

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2 thoughts on “I have no greater joy: what made John happy 

  1. This is such an amazing truth – that God works through the very lowest of His servants to guide others in love. I wonder how much greater His joy must be when He sees us walking in truth!!

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