Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. – 3Jn. 1:2 KJV
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The scripture for today’s devotion is the second verse of the third book of the disciple John to Gaius, someone he considers as a dear friend (3Jn. 1, 2, 11) and a child in the lord – 3Jn. 4. The verse reveals the thinking of John in relation to this friend of his who is equally a leader in the church and this is summarised as follows:
1. He considers him as a friend especially since he is reputed to be walking in the truth – vs. 4. This would be the attitude that all Christians will be expected to have, which is to love and consider as friends and brothers, all those who are friends of the truth. This should remain the standard for determining who we are to associate with as Christians.
2. He believes that the soul of Gaius is already prospering. This is probably because of the report of the good works that is being attributed to him which can only be the product of one with a good and prospering soul – vs. 3. According to the disciple John, one who does good is from God just as anyone who does evil is yet to know God – vs. 11.
3. He desires that such a person should also similarly prosper so that the prosperity will not only be spiritual but also physical. This must be because John appreciates the importance of such prosperity to the existence of all people in general, and the Christian in particular, in this realm.
4. He also desires that such a person should also be in good health. Of what benefit will prosperity be to a soul in this realm that lacks good health. We need good health to enjoy the new life we have in Christ Jesus.
Whereas, the first two points are indicative of the state of mind of John towards this fellow Christian brother and friend called Gaius and the personality he considers him to be, the last two focus on what should be his next level of desire and achievement. He wishes him to have material prosperity and be in good health.
That also is the stage where most Christians have found themselves today. Yes! They have decided to worship the only true God and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior but there is the need to live a particular lifestyle in this realm that will make their stay in this realm reasonably comfortable. Whereas, material prosperity is not a measure of the level of an individual’s spiritual development in Christianity, it is equally important to stress the fact that Christianity is not measured in poverty, neither is it by going around with all kinds of illnesses resulting from unhealthy living. The wealth of the rich man was not the reason for missing heaven just as the poverty of Lazarus was not the reason why he found his way to the bosom of Abraham. It was about works for the rich man and ignorance for Lazarus – Lk. 16:19-31. John the disciple made this clear to Gaius because his lifestyle was reported and confirmed to be very godly but evidently, he lacked some kind of prosperity and good health, else John would not be desiring both for him.
The lives of Christians today seems to reflect this, rather than the people whom the Bible says will reap the reward of the wealth of the ungodly – Is. 61:7; Job. 27:16-17. The average Christian today is a victim of the same leaders who are supposed to, not only wish them prosperity and good health, but teach them practical steps to take in order to achieve these goals. With the over demanding acts of such leaders and without a corresponding effort to ensure such Christians are aware of these secrets of divine prosperity and good health, the congregation of God is manifesting unprecedented levels of poverty. There is also however, the negative smartness of the Christian today who for obvious reasons have become cynical of every move of the Christian leader. Both ways, it is the prosperity and the health of the church and its members that suffers. There is no gain-saying in the fact that these rules are divine secrets of prosperity and until both sides learn to trust one another, these two rewards will continue to elude the congregation of God.
There will be no crime if demands are being made from where investments were made just as the Apostle Paul says there is no crime in demanding for physical food only after they have delivered on the spiritual food – 1Cor. 9:11. Likewise, there will also be no crime if those supplying physical food expect constant supply of very healthy spiritual food. Both sides need each other but the devil keeps widening the gap between them with the obvious consequence on the body of Christ. May God help to restore mutual trust on both sides so that prosperity and good health will return to his fold in Jesus name. Amen.