If someone was referring to you in a conversation, a Facebook post, an email, a text message or phone call, how would they describe you? Are you a professing Christ-follower? If yes, are you walking in the truth?
The elder John had encountered in some way those who were part of the fellowship of believers and he writes the church family a short letter (2 John) to describe what he had observed.
“It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” (2 John v.4)
Spiritual parenting is not for the faint-of-heart. Discipling others requires first of all a total devotion to Jesus Christ. You cannot lead others where you have not gone yourself. Dr. Rick Reed, our beloved Heritage College & Seminary President, reminded all of the staff and faculty recently of the importance of a godly example. Quoting Luke 6:40, Dr. Reed reminded us of the clear statement of Jesus – “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” We’ll never take others farther than we have gone ourselves.
The theme of exemplary godly living is one that permeates the pages of Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul exhorts the entire church family, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ,” and to the church of Philippi he writes, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.”
John, the elder was filled with joy. He was seeing the fruit of spiritual labour, the result of many hours of prayer, teaching and personal engagement. This joy was ‘great’ because like Paul (Galatians 4:19-20), John had struggled in the ‘pains’ of spiritual ‘childbirth’ until Christ was formed in these younger Christians. Moms of newborns find great joy the end of a long and difficult pregnancy as they hold in their arms their son or daughter.
Truth is not only to be believed, but also to be lived out in daily practice. Truth shows up not only in orthodoxy (right doctrine) but orthopraxy (right practice).
God the Father had set the parameters for conduct. He had sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, so that those who believed in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. Those who had believed were exhorted to hold to the teaching of Christ and in the process of doing this, they would “know the truth and the truth would set them free.”
Bondage brings no joy, none whatsoever. Some of the most sinfully ‘bound’ individuals boast of their freedom, but as they speak you can hear their chains rattle. They are not free at all. They are walking in a lie, living in disobedience and thus they forfeit joy. Some of them resort to pretense, lest any see the true anguish of their souls as they live in the shadows of sinful behaviour.
May others see us “walking in the truth” today, living as the Father has commanded, and bringing great joy to those who have expended spiritual energy in our development. After all, growth isn’t optional. We are COMMANDED to “grow in grace in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”