Reading Gaius’s Mail: Don’t Hate the Cheerleaders

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4)

How you hear these words from the apostle John to Gaius probably depends on how you view your spiritual leaders. On the one hand, this could come across like emotional manipulation, couldn’t it? “Your good choices make me happy – so don’t screw up and steal my joy!”

reading_350But, no, that’s not what John is saying. We all need spiritual moms and dads – even if they’re not our actual moms and dads – to cheer when we walk in the truth and cry when we don’t. It helps to know somebody will care if we keep following Jesus or take off down our own paths.

At any given moment, it might be easy to feel a little smothered by moms or dads or other leaders and their expectations for your spiritual life. Resist that urge. Enjoy bringing joy to the people with big love for you, especially when you can do it by walking in the truth.

Think: Do you tend to appreciate or resent – or both, sometimes – the people rooting for you to keep following Jesus? How do you feel about the idea that you can please God himself by simply trusting him and taking the next step in his direction?

Pray: Thank God for any spiritual leaders in your life who feel joyful when they hear that you are walking in the truth. Ask God to help you to continue to feel thankful for them.

Do: Make a quick list of the people in your life who really, emotionally care about your spiritual choices. If you get to 10, stop and thank God for them again.