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Great Joy Like a Proud Parent

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 1:4

When my oldest son, Sean, was four, he appeared in his first school play. Seeing him on that stage while singing with all his classmates gave me an adrenaline shot of pride unlike anything I had ever experienced. I felt like a fool as tears welled in my eyes. It wasn’t a manly reaction to something so simple as cute little kids singing.

As a parent or grandparent, you can relate to those special occasions, events, and accomplishments in which our children fill our hearts with great joy.

In our focus text, the writer is expressing great joy regarding his children in the faith, assumedly those who had come to the Lord through his ministry. He is joyful because his children are walking in the truth.

Once we grasp the magnificence of salvation in Christ, and what it means to be a believer, we have cause for celebration whenever we hear of our friends and loved ones who are serving Him. Even if we had nothing to do with the ministry that brought them to Christ, just the mere knowledge of their service for the Lord is cause for celebration.

But just as we experience feelings of joy for those in Christ, we should be motivated to pray for the lost. If we love everyone as we have been taught by God, then we should want the best for them. And there is nothing more important or more valuable than a right relationship with Jesus Christ.

Most of my professional career was as a radio DJ. As you can imagine, I crossed paths with many who had little interest in God. But one of the very pleasant surprises here late in life is to know that many of my old co-workers have given their lives to Christ and are serving him.

A young man contacted me yesterday to share his story of how he came to Christ and his desire to serve the Lord. He was a stranger, but his testimony of God’s grace lifted my spirits and produced joy in my heart.

How would you react if a stranger called to tell you he had just won a TV set or bought a new car? Well, you would have thought he was two fries short of a Happy Meal. But what if he said, “I just needed to tell someone that I have given my life to Christ.” You would listen, right? And even share in his joy. But why?

In John 17, Jesus prayed for his disciples. In verse 13, He said this. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.”

The full measure of Christ’s joy resides within every Christian. The whole package that is eternal life, including the abiding presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, everything we need for this life and the next. Eternal joy has been planted in the heart of every believer. We have it in common with all believers to be shared and enjoyed.

Who do you know that needs this joy? A child, a co-worker, an old friend, a brother or sister, or a parent or grandparent?

The hardest people to talk to about Jesus are those closest to us. But God doesn’t tune you out. He listens and answers our prayers. Don’t give up. God can do what we can’t.

I told you about the young man who contacted me to share the good news of his salvation. He said he had always believed in God, but it took the sudden death of his mother to get his attention. Even after that shocking event, it took several years for him to recognize his need to surrender to Christ.

It may take years for your prayers for others to be answered. And it may not happen in your lifetime. Don’t let that stop you.

Who do you need to pray for today? Pray for them now?

For more on this topic, check out this article: The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Children

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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