3John 2: Dear friend, I pray you may prosper concerning everything and be healthy, just as your soul prospers.
God wants us to prosper in at least three areas as he reveals through John in the verse above, as it is not possible for John to have more care for us than God. So we would examine these areas of care that John outlines in the above verse that he expresses in prayer to happen in the life that Gaius.
He prays only for two things which are linked to the prosperity of the soul: material prosperity things and the prosperity of the body i.e. being in health.
The basic assumption of that prayer was that Gaius the recipient of prospering in his soul.
Prosperity of the Soul
Jesus asked, “What shall profit a man to gain the whole world but loses (due to spiritual poverty) his soul ()?” He meant that the prosperity of the soul is more important and where the main focus of our life should be, what should define our priority. Paul wrote to the Colossians that they should set their minds (a component of the soul) on things on heaven not on things on earth (Colossians 3:1-2).
Jesus condemned in a story, a man, who was rich in materials things, for not being rich towards God. He invested in growing his money tree, but his relationship-with-God tree suffered neglect, producing no fruit. Of course he would have excuses why it this so, it’s just that they are not tenable before God. Jesus was letting us know through that story that it is better to be rich towards God than to be rich in any other context; the prosperity of the soul involves relationship with God.
The man who has not given his life to Christ needed to do so because it is only the righteous (2Corinthians 5:21) that the bible says it shall ultimately be well with (Isaiah 3:10), with John directly linking material and physical prosperity to spiritual (soul) health in the focus.
We cannot lay claim to the Abrahamic blessings except you are joined to the covenant of Abraham and its blessings (Galatians 3:6-14); and those of us who are beloved in Jesus are candidates for the covenant blessings.
The prosperity of the soul has to do with how rich our experience of God is.
In the book of Revelation in the letter that God sent to the church of Laodicea, the allegation that God had against them was (Revelation 3:14-22): because they have worldly goods, then they thought they were right with God.
But God’s damning spiritual diagnosis of them is that they were blind, poor and naked. That was their spiritual state, they were not prospering in the soul at all, and in the unseen values of relationship with God, with God eventually called them back to relationship with himself.
Part of the prosperity of the soul is when we increase in the knowledge of God just as Peter advised (2Peter 3:18) (knowledge is a soul component). The prosperity of the soul is in pursuing the lifestyle of righteousness.
And the bible says that those who know their God would be strong and do exploits which are the riches () that those are the ways the richness of the soul is expressed (Daniel11: 32b).
If you are not prospering in your soul, spiritually, all other kinds of prosperity do not count for much. If we are not becoming more like Christ, we are not becoming much, since you would not be pleasing God. God is the one who said he is well pleased with Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:17, 17:5), therefore to become like Christ is the ultimate goal of our soul. He serves as example for us so that we would follow in his steps (1Peter 2:21).
Being prosperous in your body is another dimension of it. It seems that we are willing to pursue soul prosperity, while for the health department, we leave things to chance. Christians may not commonly leave their spiritual life to chance, but pursue it with the vigour that they have. But they leave the prosperity of the body, its health, to chance, not thinking that there is something they should do about it.
There is a commonality of faith for both soul and body prosperity. For the prosperity of the soul which involves seeking God and the one who comes to God must do so by faith, knowing that God is the “rewarder” of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
Also with the body we must approach it from the angle of faith; that dogged faith that decides to lay hold of the possibility that is in Christ for health; and for soul prosperity, you lay hold of the possibility that is in Christ for close relationship with God.
The possibility that lies in Christ for the prosperity of the body is from his grace that we have access to because of his sacrifice, as he took the bodily harm to himself on the journey to the cross and on the cross itself. He was bruised for that we have God’s health insurance (1Peter 2:24). And we set our eyes on him to deliver good health to us, as is grace flows nothing less.
There is the prosperity of having your needs provided for. It is the scriptural injunction that each one should strive to live a quite life and be self sufficient, so that we don’t allow Christianity to be an eye sore to unbelievers (1Thessalonians 4:11-12), making it, at the economic level, unappealing to them, because our poverty-laden lives are bad advertisements for people to come to Christ.
It is true that Jesus Christ became poor so that we might become rich (2Corinthians 8:6-9). The poverty that Jesus experienced was the most drastic change from living in heaven with gold built terraces, a place where he needed nothing, coming to live in a place where he lived in need. He became poor so that we might become rich. He was rich in eternal life; he became poor in dying on the cross.
We need to realise that prosperity in things also involves the grace of God.
However, there is nothing that God wants to give us that do not come through Jesus. It was not for fun that Jesus said that he is the way. He is our link to the heavenly realities of prosperity of the soul, body and material/financial prosperity.
That “many steps to success instruction” is good, but we should never lose sight that our faith should rest on the work of Christ. Paul writing to the Galatians said that he doesn’t want to know anything among them except Christ (1Corinthians 2:2), and Him crucified.
That is the gate of heaven to us. This world involves various uncertainties when it comes to wealth and health, but in Christ we can be certain. That is why John in the focus verse was going to pursue prosperity of the material things and health for Gaius in the place of prayer in the name of Jesus.
As the grace of God flows to us as we stand in faith, we would experience health and wealth, the peace and prosperity of God that passes all understanding (John 14:7).
- The Biblical Prosperity debate (christianpf.com)
- Prospering by Renewing Your Mind (3j2pyc.wordpress.com)
- You Need Jesus (ireport.cnn.com)
- For God’s Sake, & Your Own Health, Stop Sleeping With Her! (a 2013 New Year Resolution) (jamaljivanjee.com)
- “I am God’s dwelling place” (dailymedit.wordpress.com)
- 3 John (cutpaste.typepad.com)
- The Christian and her/his confessions (dailymedit.wordpress.com)
- The work of restoration (dailymedit.wordpress.com)
- Behold, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2) (bummyla.wordpress.com)
- How Bad Do You Want Christ ? (regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com)