Journal 3 John (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: (speaking to Gaius) “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you many be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 2-4
Observation: What makes an apostle happy? When there is a secret, objective report about your charges’ evidences of Grace…
Analysis: There have been a few times in my life where other adults/parents came to me about my boys. Their testimony? “Your son is a joy to have visit. He is so kind and polite…”, etc. etc. Their mom or stepmom would say, “Thank you for saying so” amidst a blush, but me? I would immediately snap my head around and say, “Who are you talking to? You can’t be talking about ____” (even though I was so proud of them).
I would, later that day, pull that son privately off to the side and tell him about the comment and add my own comments of appreciation and observations.
What do pastors do? In reality, pastors and church leaders should get these kinds of observations and compliments every so often, but there is something more important, more key: who are watching for Evidences of Grace?
Some brothers came to John; they told John about what they saw in Gaius; and John rejoiced greatly/his heart burst in Joy, great Joy. Why?
- Gaius is walking in the truth.
- It is publicly evident (cp 1 Tim 3:15)
- The brothers thought so much of Gaius, they told John.
- John was rejoicing that the Brothers were walking in the Commandments as well.
Walking in the truth has a circling effect: I serve, and by serving, I am served: I confirm the Living Word.
Heb 3:13, “But exhort (or encourage) one another every day (as long as it is called today) that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin…”
This is where that phrase “looking for evidences of Grace” is derived from.
As far as I have been able to discover, this is the only place where I am instructed to take participation in another believer’s sin life. Do I want to curtail the deceit of sin in so and so’s life? Look for evidences of Grace and tell him what you see. Wives, look for evidences in your Husband’s life. Husband’s: look for evidences in your Wives’ life. Of course, do that for your Children, but I will step out on a limb and say this practice is more helpful in a marriage relationship. I am firm about this.
Outside the family, practice this as well. Most believers in the local Church don’t think they are cared for. Sometimes this leads to hardening of the heart, if not hardening and squandering their faith.
Here is something frequent: “I don’t notice someone’s evidence of Grace and tell them BECAUSE I want that done to me!! See my evidence of Grace!! All I do is notice someone else…”
Yep, that is a problem. Happens more often than is realized. Gotta get over that, vocally lay it at the Cross and trust that God sees AND collects your tears. Serve Him by serving another.
Prayer: Father, there is Heb 3:13 and a few others that are truly transformative as a Disciple—I am convinced of that. Kind of like core books every person (and particularly Men) should have in their personal library, these directive, emphatic Scripture references should be tattooed on the tablet of my heart.
Revive me, O God.