For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:3-4 (KJV)
In these two verses, the apostle John is praising a beloved friend of his named Gaius for walking in the truth.
John also mentions that he has “no greater joy” than hearing that believers under his pastoral care walk in truth.
John isn’t the only one in scripture who felt encouraged at seeing other believers progress and continue in their Christian life and walk.
Jesus feels the same way about His children. In fact, God is pleased when we walk worthy and appropriately of Him (Col. 1:10).
What does it mean though to walk in truth? This lesson will answer that very question.
We’ll also consider how to cultivate a lifestyle that walks in truth, and we’ll learn how walking in truth provides evidence of our allegiance to God.
Let’s jump in!
Living in (God’s) Reality
People follow and walk after many different things. Some walk according to their own desires. They allow success, greed, lust, ambition, goals, money and all manner of things to direct their paths (1 Jn. 2:16, Jas. 1:14, Rom. 1:25).“Christians follow the truth of God’s revelation, and they walk in God’s reality.”
Others follow other men and women such as influencers, leaders, and celebrities. Others still seek after religion and follow man-made systems to find meaning in life while others escape into media and entertainment (Acts 17:23).
However, Christians follow the truth of God’s revelation, and they walk in God’s reality – after the Holy Spirit and by faith (Rom. 8:1, 2 Cor. 5:7).
For the Christian, to walk in truth means to behave and conduct your life in ways that exhibit your allegiance to God and to what He desires for your life.
It means liking what He likes, and disliking what He dislikes (Rom. 12:9). It means you are willing to be conformed to Him more and more each day (Rom. 8:29, 2 Cor. 3:18).“For the Christian, to walk in truth means to behave and conduct your life in ways that exhibit your allegiance to God and to what He desires for your life.”
Walking in truth means living in accordance with God’s desires, commands and the program found in His revelation, the Bible.
It’s living and walking in God’s reality, which is living in real life, not in the life you or someone else thinks is right or real, but living in the life that God defines as real.
And this is the beauty of walking in truth…the more we live after God and in His reality, the more we realize what life is really about – Him, and that’s good news!
Walking in truth then is living after God, but how do we cultivate a lifestyle that lives after God and that walks in truth?
For starters, it takes some effort.
A Daily Habit
Cultivating a lifestyle that walks in truth doesn’t happen overnight. It takes some practice.
Even after we are made new in Christ the moment we accept Him as our Savior, it’s only the beginning of our new life in Him (Jn. 3:3, Rom. 10:9-10, 2 Cor. 5:17).
Circling back to our verses for this lesson, Gaius had been walking in the truth long before John’s message to him in his third letter.
John had heard from other believers before that Gaius walked in truth (3 Jn. 3). Point being, Gaius had stayed the course and John was commending him for that.
Again, walking in truth is a continual action, it is a process that is cultivated over a lifetime. It’s a daily habit.
God designed the Christian life to be a relationship with Him. As such, walking in truth is part of the continual process whereby we become more like Jesus (Eph. 2:10, Phil. 2:13).“Walking in truth is a continual action, it is a process that is cultivated over a lifetime. It’s a daily habit.”
This is why Christians are to continue in God’s word, seek after Him first and live their entire lives set apart and dedicated to Jesus (Matt. 6:33, Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 6:17).
While it’s difficult to admit, walking in truth can be hard. All Christians are prone to (and do) wander off the path at times. We all face besetting sins, and every believer feels the pressure that this world inflicts on those who are God’s.
All of us yearn for heaven but we’re not there yet. We have a mission to accomplish and God will only bring us home when he believes it is best.
Sometimes we doubt, sometimes we hide, other times suffering and struggle paralyze us and cause us to walk away from God or to walk in lies, instead of truth – lies we tell ourselves about ourselves and God, or lies Satan tells us about ourselves and God (Jn. 8:44).“Cultivating a daily habit of walking in the truth starts with storing up God’s Word in our hearts through daily Bible reading and meditating on His Word.”
However, God never walks away from His children, He knows it’s difficult for us and He guards us from evil (Jn. 17:14-15, 2 Thess. 3:3).
Moreover, while Jesus was perfect and never sinned, He still as a man felt the hardships of this world. He sympathizes with you and understands you (Heb. 4:15).
This then is the beauty of the Christian life: God works in us to make us more like Him. He is the author and finisher of our faith, He will bring us home and will accomplish what He has set out for us to do (Heb. 12:2).
The key is that we don’t stop walking in truth. We must keep looking at God, not at the world or ourselves, and press on. To follow are some ways we can do that.
Cultivating a daily habit of walking in truth starts with storing up and hiding God’s Word in our hearts through daily Bible reading and meditating on His Word (Ps. 119:11, Josh. 1:8, Col. 3:16).“Prayer takes our attention off of ourselves and sets our focus squarely on the needs of others and on God’s power and majesty.”
It is further enforced by loving God and loving others (Mk. 12:30-31), and by regular worship and participation in a local Church body (Heb. 10:25).
And continual praying and communication with God keeps us focused on His voice and presence in our lives. This keeps us from wandering.
Prayer is also often the means of escape from temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). It prevents us from forgetting what God has done in our lives, strengthening our confidence in God for greater things to come (2 Tim. 3:14).
Likewise, prayer takes our attention off of ourselves and sets our focus squarely on the needs of others and on God’s power and majesty. Prayer is a lifeline for walking in truth, be sure not to neglect it.“We walk in truth best when we do so knowing about God, His attributes and theology. Studying your Bible is critical to avoid following false ideas about God.”
Lastly, we walk in truth best when we do so knowing about God, His attributes and theology. Studying your Bible is critical to avoid following false ideas about God.
It’s all too easy for Christians to burn out fast (Matt. 13:5-6) but it’s another thing entirely to stay the course (Matt. 25:21, 1 Pet. 1:4, Jn. 14:3).
It’s important to remember that God doesn’t call us to be Him, He calls us to walk after Him. He makes us more like Him, but we’re not God nor are we meant to be Him (Is. 55:8, Ps. 8:4-9).
That’s why God gives us His grace! (2 Cor. 12:9-10, Heb. 4:16, Jn. 1:16-17, Jas. 4:6). Just be faithful and obey, that’s all He asks of you.
So far we’ve learned that walking in truth is living after God, and that a lifestyle that walks in truth is cultivated through daily spiritual habits and letting God work in our lives.
The last thing we’re going to look at today about walking in truth, is how it demonstrates evidence of our allegiance to God.
Evidence of Regeneration
While certainly not a means to salvation (salvation is by grace and faith in Jesus alone, Eph. 2:8-9), walking in truth is evidence of our salvation (Jas. 2:17-18).
In fact, back in our verses for this lesson John declares that Gaius has the truth because he walks in it (“even as thou walkest in the truth”).“We walk in the truth because we know the truth.”
Therefore, our faith is manifested by our works which flow from a lifestyle that accepts and walks according to God’s reality – by walking in truth. Put another way, we walk in the truth because we know the truth.
Again, works are not a qualification for being saved, however walking in truth demonstrates one’s loyalty to one’s profession of faith. Those who are loyal follow their master, and are examples to others of their allegiance.
Walking in truth shows the sincerity of our religion, and results in us bearing spiritual fruit, making us more effective witnesses.
Again, our allegiance to God and acceptance of His truth are manifested by believers living like Christians.“The evidence others see in us as we walk in truth is that we trust God and hope in Him. That’s powerful, and it ought to compel us to keep on walking.”
Christianity is no mere mental assent, it takes physical action, we have to walk in truth, and be witnesses of the truth.
Church attendance, Christian service, hospitality (which is what Gaius was particularly gifted at), bearing fruit, being selfless, loving God and others, and so many more things are outpourings of blessings upon the life of the believer who walks in truth, and all are seen by the the world.
Remember, the evidence others see in us as we walk in truth is that we trust God and hope in Him (Jer. 17:7-8). That’s powerful, and it ought to compel us to keep on walking.
In this lesson we learned what it means to walk in truth.
Walking in truth means living after God. Christians follow the truth of God’s revelation, and they walk in God’s reality – after the Holy Spirit and by faith (Rom. 8:1, 2 Cor. 5:7).
We also learned how to cultivate a lifestyle that walks in truth by developing daily spiritual habits and letting God work in our lives.“Are you walking in truth?”
Lastly, we examined the important role that walking in truth plays in our lives as evidence of our allegiance to God.
Walking in truth provides us and the world with evidence of our salvation. It also defines the sincerity of our religion and demonstrates our loyalty to our profession of faith.
As you think about the teachings in this lesson, I want to encourage you to consider one final question…are you walking in truth?
To read more articles like this one about walking in truth, subscribe to our email list.
Are you a Christian writer looking to publish? Learn more.
Asher B. Durand, Dover Plains, Dutchess County, New York, 1848, oil on canvas, 42 1⁄2 x 60 1⁄2 in. (107.9 x 153.7 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Thomas M. Evans and museum purchase through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program, 1978.126