You Must Prosper 2
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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Today’s devotion is a continuation from yesterday on the need for the Christian to prosper and have good health just as his/her soul is prospering. It must be re-emphasized that living the Christian lifestyle can never be the reason for poverty or ill-health as it seems to be the case amongst brethren today. All over the world, a quick survey of the prosperous individuals will indicate a very low percentage being Christians, a fact which negates the words of the Bible.
Beyond the fact that Christian leaders must always make their followers aware of all these rewards inherent in the Christian life, they must always present to them teachings that will help them access these blessings, as it is not all about prayers alone, but most times about Christian works. The approach of John the disciple, in achieving this objective in the life of a co-worker whom he described as a friend and a child in the lord as stated in the scripture today remains the guide.
The disciple John wished all those good things for Gaius, his child in the lord but like the popular statement goes, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It will not be about wishes alone but more about working towards it and in this his letter, he delivers on the spiritual food that he believes will provide those material desires from which they can all benefit from which are as follows:
1. He encourages him to continue to be faithful in what he is doing to Christian brothers, some of whom the only thing he knows about them is their belonging to the Christian faith – vs. 5-7. To be faithful, which implies loyalty and steadfastness remains a major source of prosperity and divine health especially when done for the advancement of divine cause like this case of Gaius – vs.6-8. It is not enough for the Christian today to desire prosperity and sound health and pointing to all known agents of darkness as the reason for the failure to achieve those noble desires. The Christian needs to assess how much contribution he/she has made towards the advancement of the work of God on earth. It remains a fundamental truth and secret of material prosperity which will remain eternally. It is not solely about financial contribution, but also faithful intention and several other ways of contributing to the manifestation of the Will of God on earth. Even Jesus Christ stressed on this when he said that receiving remains a function of giving. Give whatever you can with a faithful mind and you can be sure that, that your situation will change for the better. Your material and health situation will change and you will begin to bask in new glory.
2. He lets Gaius realise that ambitions may never be fulfilled by those who engage in malicious gossip, especially about the people of God – vs.10. Using Diotrephes, a man he says, does not want to have anything to do with those working on advancing God’s plans for this realm, as an example, he identifies that he will only intensely desires to be the first but may never be, because of this attitude of malicious gossiping. In order to achieve this malicious intention;
a. He does not welcome brothers.
b. He stops those who want to do so.
c. He alienates such people from the church system.
John says he can only dream of being first but cannot be first by that act. Several Christians also desire to be first in their vocation, amongst peers, in organisation where they belong and in their life aspirations generally but may never be able to achieve this because of this act of malicious gossiping and its fallout actions. It is bad enough to be involved with gossiping but to have a malicious intention for such acts can only be evil – vs. 11. John says such a person may be identified as a Christian, but really does not know God, despite what he/she may be claiming or what picture of him/her self is being presented.
3. John advises that he that desires prosperity and good health, the type that is associated with those who are classed as first in life must aspire to be well spoken of. Using Demetrius who is also in that congregation as an example, he confirmed everyone’s positive views of him as truth, adding that even truth testifies to it. Jesus Christ himself advised that as Christians, we should let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our father in heaven. It is in receiving that glory, through our acts, that it can please him to prosper us and bless us with good health.
Christians need to understand that some basic requirements of life will not be achieved by physically abusing oneself, which is what the fasting and night vigils will become, or all those long and meaningless pronouncements, which is what those prayers will become. They will be better achieved by our acts of faithfulness to divine causes some of which have been outlined by John in this his letter and we will fair better if we follow them.
May God grant us the ability to do so in Jesus name. Amen.