No Greater Joy Than To Hear That...
"The best evidence of our having the truth is our walking in the truth."
"Then is our walk true, our converse right, when it is managed by the word of God."
- both quotes are from Matthew Henry
"The truth is not something to be believed with the mind, but something to be lived out in everyday behavior. Just as the Lord Jesus was the living embodiment of truth, so He expects our lives to be testimonies to the truth."
"It is good to have the truth in us but it is better to manifest the truth in our lives. We should not only hold the truth, but allow the truth to hold us. Men would rather see a sermon than hear one. Nothing counts more for God in an age of fact than a holy life."
- both quotes are from the Believer's Bible Commentary
"...and what is the joy and crown of rejoicing of ministers but their converts and to see them walking in the truth."
- John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
"The wisdom of children will be the joy of their parents and teachers, who have no greater joy than to see them walk in the truth."
- Matthew Henry
We all know that parents receive great joy in seeing their children do well. King Solomon alluded to this in the book of Proverbs when he said -
"The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have great joy of him" (Proverbs 23:24).
"My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things" (Proverbs 23:15-16).
Notice that the Scripture says that "the father of the righteous" "rejoices" not that his children are rich, but that they are truly righteous - that is, living for God. He "rejoices" that they are wise in the best things - especially in spiritual things. It brings him great joy when his children "speak right things" - when their daily conversation is in line with the Word of Truth.
Although these Scriptures can apply to parents or even to ministers who nurture people in the faith, it can also apply to our Heavenly Father as being indeed "the Father of the righteous." Hence, He loves to see His children living holy...walking in wisdom...and speaking according to His Word.
However, to be wise or to "speak right things" is not all that makes Him rejoice. For in the New Testament, the Apostle John also alludes to another thing that causes much joy to Him - and that is, to see His children - "walking in truth" -
"I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father" (2 John 4).
"For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth...I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 3 & 4).
The Apostle John was rejoicing over those who were "walking in truth" in the church. As their "spiritual father" who begat them in the faith, he "rejoiced" to see some living in accordance with the truth of the Gospel...adhering steadfastly to the true doctrines of Christianity...while avoiding the errors of Gnosticism. It was a "commandment" given by the Father to do so. And we all know that nothing pleases the Father more than to have His children obey His commands.
Just in one church, John saw some "walking in truth" as the Father commanded, while others chose to follow their own way.
In 3 John, he mentions the names of three individuals. Two of these men "walked in the truth." One did not.
The first to be mentioned was Gaius. John referred to him as "the well-beloved Gaius whom I love in the truth." He had a special affection toward this brother because of his strong attachment to the truth. Gaius adhered and clung to it...seemingly wore it as a garment by living it out before all...and demonstrated it though his acts of "charity" - kindness and liberality.
Another man to "walk in the truth" in the church was Demetrius. John wrote of him that he had a "good report of all men, and of the truth itself" (3 John 12). This brother was an excellent person. All testified of his righteousness. He was a living testimony of the truth.
The third and last person that John mentioned in the church was Diotrophes. This man did not "walk in the truth." 3 John 9 says of him - "who loveth to have the preeminence..." Unlike Gaius and Demetrius, he was not unselfish, generous, hospitable, or full of good deeds. On the contrary, he was full of himself. He loved the presidency or chief place...was fond of being first...and desired to rule the entire church. He loved to lord it over others. He coveted more than his due. He was an ambitious and unscrupulous person who rebelled against John's apostolic authority.
Notice how John implies through his examples that those who "walk in truth" are generous, unselfish, and humble while those who do not "walk in truth" are full of pride and ambition.
Let's not overlook one thing here in our study. To "walk in truth" was a commandment that came from the Father. It wasn't something that man conjured up. It wasn't an option that the Christian could take or leave. It was a duty or obligation. To do otherwise was to walk in disobedience and sin.
So many nowadays in the present-day church claim to have the truth or to be in the truth. They have a so-called hold on the truth, but the only problem is that the truth does not have a hold on them. It is not manifested in their lives. They are not walking in it.
As we had seen in 3 John, there are some in the same church who are "walking in truth" and then there are others who are not. Some are walking in a way that pleases God, while others are full of their own ways.
"The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have great joy of him."
"My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things."
"The father of the righteous" rejoices when he finds "righteousness," "wisdom" and "right words" coming from his children. This, in a sense, is what "walking in truth" entails.
What brings you "greater joy" in your family - to see your children prospering or "walking in truth"?
What brings you "greater joy" in your church or ministry - to see that you are making a name for yourself or to know that your people are "walking in truth"?
What brings God "greater joy" than to see His children claiming the wealth of the sinner or to see them "walking in truth"?
One of the most quoted Scriptures in the Bible is 3 John 2 which says - "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." What most fail to see is that this same Scripture is found in the context with 3 John 3-4 which says - "For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
We have yet to hear people quote these Scriptures together. What most do is emphasize the fact that God wants them to "prosper" - even leaving out the clause - "even as thy soul prospereth."
But, please do not fail to see that the Bible does not say that God has "no greater joy" than to hear that His children are rich and well-to-do in this life. It does say, however, that He has "no greater joy than to hear that His children are walking in truth."
Perhaps there is a lack of "walking in truth" in the church today because it is not a top priority. Getting rich is!
It sounds like God's people need to read the entire Bible for what it says and not pick and choose a few Scriptures out of context that appeal to their flesh.
The Word of God is settled! It will not change for anyone! God - as "the Father of the righteous" has no "greater joy than to hear that His children are walking in truth."
The question is - when He looks upon your life, is He rejoicing or weeping?
May God bless His Word.