August was a hard month spiritually-speaking. I’d planned to write about one of the many joy verses I didn’t get to include in the 7 day devotional and whilst the key text is a joy verse, the content isn’t what I was expecting (I’m writing the intro after the blog which is rare). However, whilst it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was exactly what I needed. In hindsight, I can see that last month I abandoned nearly every point that’s in the Applied section. So today, as with so many of the blogs, this one is for me. I hope that you’re as inspired by Gaius as I was, and that you keep, or start, walking in truth.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)
What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? In his absence, some church members testified of Gaius’ faithfulness (v3). Their testimony seems unsolicited and it’s this that makes it all the sweeter; John wasn’t asking for a report on Gaius, yet these church members felt compelled to share that he walks in truth. As Gaius’ spiritual father, their revelation is music to John’s ears; he’s brimming with pride as he commends Gaius for his faithfulness (v4).
Knowing the truth and walking in truth are not the same.
It isn’t Gaius’ knowledge that John celebrates, but rather his application. Unfortunately, spiritual obesity is a disease that plagues many of us: we know a lot, but we don’t apply what we know. In v3, the church members’ testimony refers to Gaius’ a) knowledge – “the truth that is in you”, and b) application – “just as you walk in the truth.” In other words, he made use of the truth. Neither you or those around you can be blessed if you know the truth, but don’t walk in the truth.
Walking In Truth
In a society where truth is seen as relative, it’s helpful to remember that truth is a person – Jesus (John 14:6). To know the truth, is to know Jesus; to walk in truth, is to live in a way that signifies that you know Jesus. Truth is relevant to every area of your life. It can’t be compartmentalised. It can’t be diluted. Too often you are the judge of which areas of your life you choose to walk in truth and to what extent you’ll walk in truth. In so doing, you straddle a middle ground that is nonexistent; in reality, you’re either walking in truth or living a lie.
Walking in truth isn’t easy.
Gaius didn’t wake up one morning and he’d mastered walking in truth. It took time. It took effort. Ultimately, he wasn’t content with knowing about Jesus, he wanted to be like Jesus. There’s a difference between those who are living a lie in ignorance/frustration vs those who have moulded the truth to be what they want it to be. If you find yourself frustrated because you’re not walking in truth the way you think Jesus expects you to, be grateful. Grateful that you’re aware of gap that exists between where you are and where you need to be. Grateful that Jesus is able to close the gap.
- Reflect – it’s important to ask yourself questions to assess where you are in your journey. What does Jesus mean to you? Do you want to walk in truth? Does walking in truth bring you joy? What do you struggle with? Which aspects of the truth have you diluted or compartmentalised?
- Prioritise – the only way to walk in truth is to spend time with the Truth. Check out the Resources page for things that will help you grow, and this video on 5 tips for having devotion.
- Pray – once you get comfortable with your version of the truth (aka a lie), it can be difficult to discern what’s wrong with how you see things*. Ask Jesus to show you where you need to improve and to help you be more like Him.
- Connect – you may not be walking in truth because of the company you keep. It’s important to connect with likeminded people that will encourage you on your journey and help you to grow by holding you accountable. If you have those people, great! If you don’t, feel free to schedule a call and we can talk – I’m sure I’ll be able to connect you with some people.
- Appreciate – the closer you get to Jesus the more you’ll notice your sinfulness. In fact, that might be the very thing that discourages you from persevering as you ask yourself “how can I be walking in truth and still be struggling with xyz after x months?” In those moments, you need to appreciate how far you’ve come and extend the same patience to yourself that God gives you. He isn’t expecting you to change overnight, but He is expecting you to keep moving forward when you mess up.
- Focus – the only person’s walk you should be focused on is your own. Don’t compare yourself to someone else who you think is walking in truth ‘better’ than you or ‘faster’ than you.
- Trust – you may not be able to see yourself walking in truth in every area of your life, but with Jesus you can. Lots of people spend time with Him, but don’t actually trust Him (speaking from experience!) You need to trust Him in order to experience meaningful and sustained growth.
*This can be justifying ‘small’ sins, or even something like being so used to being self-deprecating that you forget you’re supposed to love yourself. With the latter, walking in truth would be choosing to see yourself how God sees you rather than speaking negativity over your life.
There’s only one version of the Truth and walking in Him requires that you surrender the ‘alternative versions of the truth’ that are dear to you.