Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 2, KJV)
The words above reveal God’s heart for you. Know it and believe it! John, speaking to Gauis, said: “ I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prosperity”. Let me break this verse down briefly to unveil some hidden treasures in it.
It begins with “I wish above all things”. The KJV does not clearly bring out the sense in the verse. If you read other versions such as the ESV or Amplified, you will get the meaning more easily. This verse was not just a wish. John did not merely wish prosperity for Gaius. It was a desire in his heart expressed as a prayer. Paul, for example, prayed in Eph. 1:15-18 that God would give the Ephesians a spirit of wisdom. We know without doubt, this was not just Paul’s wish or prayer. It was the Spirit’s desire. In the same way, John’s prayer request and desire above was not merely some wish or his human desire. It was the Spirit’s desire. This is what God wants for you.
The KJV uses “above all things”. Again, other versions give a better rendering of this verse. It is not “above all things” but “in all things”. It is prosperity in every single thing that concerns you. This immediately puts the word “prosperity” as God uses it in the right perspective. As the ESV translates it, the word “prosper” here really means “that it may go well with you”. Prosperity is not just financial. It means it is well with whatever you are doing.
He explains to us the spheres of prosperity in three ways. First, he gives us the general. He says that you may prosper in everything or all things. Remember, this is what the Father wants for you. He wants that it should be well with everything about you. Everything means everything. He goes further and gets more specific by giving us two specific areas of prosperity. The first one he mentions is physical health. Yes, health is prosperity! God wants that you should prosper in your health. He correlates it with the Gauis’ spiritual life with the words “even as your soul prospers”. This is prosperity in your spiritual life. How is your walk with God? It is well with it? When you are doing well spiritually, it is prosperity!
There are many more areas of prosperity besides health and spiritual life. You can also prosper in your finances, relationships, ministry, marriage, etc. This is God’s heart. He wants you prosper in all things, even as your soul prospers. “Even as” suggests that the other areas of prosperity are secondary to the prosperity of your soul. God did not call you primarily to have a good marriage, increase financially or solve your emotional problems. He called you above all else to be in a relationship with Him. When this relationship with Him is healthy and prosperous, then every other areas of your life will brighten with prosperity!
Some Christians have struggled with this passage. They find it almost offensive to say God wants that everything should be well about you. For them, something must be broken in your life to cause you pain and suffering which is what Christianity should be for them. It is interesting how our idea of God has been so distorted that we can easily believe He takes delight in punishing us for our sins rather than wanting us to be well. Part of the reason is that we have carried the burry picture of God revealed in the Old Testament into the New Testament. If you ever doubt who God is and how He thinks, look at Jesus reveled in the Gospels. His earthly life is the most graphic and visible display of who God is and what He wants for us. Does the verse above sound like what Jesus wanted for the people?
This verse does not teach that we will never face challenges in life as Christians. These are two distinct truths that must not be confused with each other. The fact that God wants us to prosper in all things does not mean we will not go through hard times. Even in these difficult moments, God’s will for us is like the lighthouse we are looking at to get us through.
I have struggled to compress many things in this devotional to address many issues that might be confusing to us. Please take a moment to read and read again until the words jump at you!
What is God’s heart for you revealed in 3 John 2 above? How would you define prosperity from the devotional above?
APPLY THE WORD
Know and believe God’s heart. Do not allow religion to harden your heart or make you have a distorted picture of God. It is God’s will, so prosper in every way and be in health even as your soul prospers!
Thank the Lord for His abundant goodness of prosperity showered on us in Christ.