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3 John 3-4 • Christian Units of Measure

"For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."
    —3 John 3-4 (NASB)

After being away from home for a few years I returned from the Army to discover that everyone has a "measuring stick". When you haven't seen someone for a very long time, and you're catching up on what's happened in the intervening years, you will notice that they start nearly each and every individual report the same way which also betrays how they judge the qualities of another's life. For instance, one person began each status report with the person's occupation. (Bob's a carpenter, Larry's a doctor (gush-gush), Sheila's still pumping gas (too bad).) Other such examples were how much money a person makes, what kind of house they have, how many kids—one guy qualified each person by how beautiful a wife they married. Even amongst my many Christian friends, there never seemed to be anyone whose "measuring stick" was the quality of one's walk in Christ.

Now if we WERE to provide a list of the best Christian traits possessed by fellow Believers, would "truth" even make our list? This is something that has changed for me personally over the past few years; I've come to place extremely high value in other Christians who themselves earnestly cling to truth—but it wasn't always this way. The tendency is to place love at the top of the list, probably followed closely by faith and service. If you think about the qualities of the individual Christians around you, how often does "walking in truth" even make the list, much less the top of it?

I believe in John's statement "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth" that he is teaching us that without truth, these other qualities don't exist. One cannot love as Jesus loved without the truth. A clinging knowledge of the truth is essential for biblical faith. And you certainly can't do the deeds of God—serve Him completely—without the truth. The quality of one's walk in the truth directly impacts the quality of their love, faith, and service.

Perhaps we need to look at our Christian brothers and sisters a bit differently, cherish some of them more than we have. How often are we greatful for them because of how well they're "walking in truth"?