"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
- 3 John 1:4 -
- 3 John 1:4 -
In 3 John, the apostle John was writing to a man named Gaius. He was writing to him because Gaius was having trouble with some other men in his congregation and he needed encouragement and instruction on what to do. What was John's encouragement? He was rejoicing over Gaius, rejoicing because Gaius knew the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he was living it out, holding fast to what he knew was the truth.
John's greatest joy was to hear from other Christians that Gaius was living out his faith, diligently continuing in what John had taught him.
One of the greatest joys you can ever have as a teacher is to hear that your students are doing well, pursuing what they love with a passion, and continuing in what you taught them. At Emmaus we feel this all the time. We get phone calls from students who are leading Bible studies in their churches, going to the mission field, and reaching out to at-risk-youth. We see facebook posts and twitter feeds that tell us our students are passing on what they've learned here at Emmaus, and they're living lives that glorify God in all that they do.
Just recently one of our students from last year, Eric Frid, decided to memorize the book of Galatians. There are no words to describe how excited this makes us as a staff! Not because memorizing Galatians makes him any more spiritual than the next person (after all, isn't that the entire message of Galatians? Salvation and acceptance through Jesus, not works?!), but because it's an intentional attempt of Eric's to stay rooted in God's Word and to allow it to sink deep into his heart and mind. And when the Word sinks deep, it transforms us.
A year at Emmaus can change your life. You get into a habit of studying and wrestling with God's Word. You grow in your relationship with Christ because the Bible starts to point out which mindsets and habits are good and godly and which ones need work. It's hard to get away with not doing your work and not spending personal time with the Lord outside of your study time. You are dropped fully and completely into the vat of the Bible. You learn a little bit more of what it means to depend on the Holy Spirit for wisdom, guidance, and perseverance.
But leaving can be extremely hard. You don't have the same accountability you once had. You don't have to get up and study God's Word. It gradually becomes easy to forget all that you've learned, to fall back into old habits, and to let Netflix do it's thing.
Eric used to be an atheist, lost in drugs and sin. But God is a good God. He is a God who chooses to save us because He loves us, not because we're worthy. And He chose to save Eric and his wife, Amber.
In coming to Emmaus, Eric (and the other students as well) chose to fight a battle. It's the battle of getting to know God's Word. It's the battle of early mornings and late nights and more information than you feel you can handle. It's the battle of taking baby steps towards living the way God calls us to live. It's a battle of discipline.
In leaving Emmaus, Eric has faced the war of continuing to learn his Bible and live it out in a world that daily rejects the God who created it. Eric desires to love God, to love his wife and children, and become, daily, more of the man he knows God created him to be. And memorizing the book of Galatians is playing a part in all of that.
And it gives us all no greater joy than to hear that our students, like Eric, are walking in the truth. We are so extremely proud of all of them. We're thankful and we rejoice every time we hear or see them making the intentional choice to be transformed by God's Word. It reminds us of how powerful God's Word is, how it can take who we once were and make us into someone entirely different, and how important it is for us to keep reaching out and showing others His Word as well.
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