This devotional first appeared in https://www.islandsadventist.org
Scripture: I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth. 3 John 1:4
Observation: No greater joy. The greatest possible joy fills a Christian worker when he sees the members of his flock taking a strong and resolute stand for right and truth. He is far happier than if he heard only of their success in acquiring wealth or position (cf. 2 Cor. 7:7; 1 Thess. 3:6).
My children. Rather, “my own children.” This may indicate that Gaius was one of John’s own converts (cf. on 1 John 2:1; 2 John 4; cf. 1 Thess. 2:7–12; 1 Tim. 1:2).
Walk in truth. Or, “walking in the truth,” that is, continuing to order the life in harmony with the revelation of God’s character as given by Jesus Chris. [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (695–696). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]
Application: Those that have gone through the experiencing of losing a child tells me there is no greater pain than that. The normal, natural way of life dictates that, as painful as it may be, we will probably outlive our parents. None of us expect to have to bury our children!
But probably the second most painful experience for a parent is when a child leaves the faith they were brought up in. Those of us Christian parents bring our children up with the expectation that they will grow up believing in, loving, and serving God, and when they seem to turn their backs on Him, or at least stop practicing what we taught them to practice, it breaks our hearts, if scares us for their eternal destiny.
On the other hand, the apostle Paul reflects the feeling that we have when our children continue to walk in the path we laid out for them, the path that leads them to know God, to love Him supremely, to serve Him continually, and to share Him with others. It fills our hearts with joy when they take a stand for what is right, when they make life commitments such as baptism, when they choose godly people with whom to associate, and maybe even whom to marry.
Unless we set a godly example from the time our children are small, the chances of them making these types of commitments diminish greatly. Even when we do set the example, they have the freedom as they wish. . . and at times they do against our wish. We cannot give up on them even then, and our love for them can never change, and most likely never will.
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, may our children live according to the truth You have laid our for all of us. When they do, it brings us great joy, but we also know it brings You great joy. May You and us then have this great joy in our lives forever.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.