The word ‘joy’ is in popular use at this time of year, but from a spiritual perspective, what is ‘joy’? It is vastly different from how it is used today! The final and short third letter of the aging disciple John is addressed to “the beloved Gaius” who, says John, “I love in truth”, adding, “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth” (verse 3).

So truth is something you walk in; that is, a pathway you choose, a way of living. Total sincerity in thinking and doing. Then in the next verse, John adds, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”.

In John’s second letter, one to a “lady and her children” he had made a similar comment, “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father” adding “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments …” (verses 4,6).

When you walk you usually have some destination in view, you are not wandering aimlessly. The beloved disciple, now calling himself “the elder”, has a major concern to see others have a godly purpose in their lives. What a contrast this is to the meaningless frivolity that so many count as ‘joy’ today. May we each have genuine joys in our lives; feeding our minds on God’s word is an investment that leads to genuine joy.