““Even As Thy Soul Prospers."”

Categories: Bible, Compromise, Daily Living, Expository Study, God, Jesus Christ, John, New Testament, Obedience, Religion, Spiritual Growth

            When John wrote his third epistle, he addressed it to “the well-beloved Gaius” (v. 1). This man stood out for reasons that become apparent in the first eight verses of the book. Evidently, he also served as a contact for John to write to the brethren since a direct approach had not worked (v. 9)! Can you imagine what happened when Gaius presented John’s letter, and the brethren were made aware that John knew what Diotrephes had been doing (v. 9-10)?

            In this study, let’s focus on the blessing John states in verse 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” What is John saying? He is saying I pray that your physical health and prosperity might match your spiritual health and well-being. Evidently, from observing his health and physical surroundings, one might not think Gaius was blessed, but on the spiritual side, he was blessed more than most (see: I Sam. 16:7).

            This statement hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it. John wished that Gaius could have a healthy body as he has a healthy soul (III Jn. 2). On how many people today could we wish what John did? Is not the opposite true in our country? We have healthy bodies, and we financially prosper while we have emaciated souls! As I thought specifically about the Lord’s church in this nation, it is evident that some focus on physical health and prosperity to their spiritual detriment. Some have become like Laodicea, thinking that physical health means spiritual health. They have become like the friends of Job who equated physical health with God’s blessing. “If you are suffering, you have done something bad, but if you are not, then you are OK” is too many people’s mantra. We have forgotten II Timothy 3:12. We have forgotten I Peter 4:16. We have forgotten John 15:18-20.

Too many equate bodies in the seats of the church house with spiritual strength. Please don’t misunderstand. While it is true that a body in the pew equals a soul hearing the truth, we also must understand that many of the things men do to get bodies in the seats (including compromising the truth) are not conducive to spiritual health!

            It is time for some vigorous examination (II Cor. 13:5)!

  • How strong is your soul?
  • How often does it get fed (I Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:12-14)?
  • How often does your soul get exercise (Heb. 5:14; Phil. 1:9-10; I Thess. 5:21)?
  • How often has your faith been tried (Jas. 1:3, 12)?

Here is a question we do not hear mentioned often: How many enemies do you have and why? “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you” is Jesus’ warning (Lk. 6:26)! Through the years, several have noted that we can often tell as much about a man by the enemies he has as by his friends! I think that is true. A man needs some enemies, but he needs the right kind of enemies (I Pet. 5:8). He doesn’t want God for an enemy (Jas. 4:4)!

            Friend, reread III John 2 and consider your spiritual health. It is time to look into God’s mirror (Jas. 1:25) and make the necessary changes. Take the time to read III John 3-8 and be another Gaius! Get your soul right, and the material things will fall into place (Matt. 6:25-33). If John wrote his letter to you, would he say, “I pray your soul would prosper and be in health even as your body”?

- Jarrod M. Jacobs