Walking in the truth is a consistent theme of the Bible. It involves not only believing in the truth but also living according to it.
John’s message in his third letter encourages fellow believers to continue walking in the truth and to commend those who have remained faithful to it.
Faith, love, and good works are essential qualities, and putting ourselves first is thoroughly discouraged.
Walking in the Truth
Can you imagine living in a world without truth? How would you make decisions if you couldn’t rely on what people were telling you?
The lack of truth would lead to a breakdown of trust in society. Without trust, people would be unable to form meaningful relationships or work together towards common goals.
Above all, followers of Jesus should be exemplars of truthful living. John rejoiced that his audience was living true to Jesus and his principles.
For I was overjoyed when some brothers and sisters arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, how you walk in the truth.
I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 3-4).
“Don’t talk about it, be about it” is a saying at Maywood Baptist that is very appropriate in a discussion of the truth.
In a world where dishonesty masquerades as truth, it is important that our behavior demonstrates the truth of our words.
Faithful Service and the Truth
The following list should be assumed for all people who claim to adhere to the truth. It should especially be true of Jesus’ followers.
— Be Honest. Speak the truth in love, and avoid exaggerating or twisting facts.
— Keep Your Promises. When you make a promise, keep it.
— Act with Integrity. Do what you say you will do, and be accountable for your actions.
— Respect Others. Show empathy, kindness, and compassion towards others, and avoid criticizing or judging them.
— Practice Forgiveness. Forgive others when they hurt you, and seek forgiveness when you have wronged others.
— Live a Life of Service. Give generously of your time, resources, and talents, and seek to make a difference in the lives of those around you.
This last trait of truthful people is the one that John wrote about to the church.
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you;
They have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God (3 John 5-6).
An Example of Dishonesty
John named Diotrephes as a troublemaker. This is rare because New Testament writers usually keep the name of a problem person anonymous.
John identified one of the root causes of dishonesty when he wrote, “Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first” (3 John 9).
It comes as no surprise that when a person is primarily focused on themselves, their desires, and their own interests, they may prioritize those things over honesty and truthfulness.
Jesus set the standard for his followers when he said, “If any wish to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8.34).
As we deny ourselves, we fulfill John’s admonition, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but imitate what is good” (3 John 11).
The best way to imitate the good is to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.