Monday, January 2, 2023

            3 John is a small letter.  This letter is tucked away almost at the back of the Bible.  It can be easy to miss or overlook.  It is rarely read or studied by individuals or classes.  It could be that Christians look at the maps in their Bibles more often than they read or study 3 John.  This letter can be read in less than five minutes.  In verse 11, John gave us a word to consider as we start another new year in 2023.  He wrote, “Dear friend, don’t be like those who do evil. Be like those who do good. Anyone who does what is good belongs to God. Anyone who does what is evil hasn’t really seen or known God.”  His message is simply “do good.”  That is a wonderful resolution for the year that lies ahead.  Maybe that is a resolution you would make here and now...I will do what is good. 
            Make “doing good” a priority for your life.  You can do what is good in relationships, the workplace, your family and in practically any other place where the Lord may have you serving and working.  To do what is good, John wrote, means that we resist what may be evil or sinful.  The enemy often gets us to rationalize or justify the evil that we might do.  We can convince ourselves that evil is the payback someone else deserves or the only possible response we could muster.  But doing what is evil is not something that we can quickly justify.  Evil is, well, evil.  And doing what is evil originates with the enemy and not with the Lord.  Evil is wrong; no matter how hard we might try to argue otherwise. 
            If we are quick to do what is evil or we react in an evil way, John said we do not know God.  We cannot entertain desires to do both evil and good.  As Jesus noted, we cannot serve two masters, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).  As followers of Christ, we want to make doing what is good and the pursuit of what is good our passion in life. 
            We can practice good in anonymous ways without really calling attention to ourselves.  We can pay it forward when someone does something good for us or blesses us in some way.  We can practice random acts of kindness without informing the recipient of what we did for them.  Some counselors and therapists suggest that practicing goodness, generosity and kindness are ways we can shake free from despair or depression.  Indeed, turning your attention toward something that blesses us others is certainly a way that allows you to focus less on what may be happening in your life or circumstances.  Doing good can help us to shake loose any struggles or personal slumps we may be going through. 
            Doing what is good does not have to cost a lot of money.  A brief note, email or text might do wonders to lift someone else’s day.  A small and costless or inexpensive gift might be a way to start a habit of goodness and kindness each day.  Think of those simple ways that others have blessed you and begin with them.  You could easily share those same blessings with others.  If you read Paul’s letters, you can see that he often singled out men and women who had blessed him in some way or enriched his faith.  You could set aside time to pray for someone and then follow up letting them know that you carried them to the Lord’s presence and prayed over their lives and their needs.  Goodness never goes out of style or fashion.  And goodness is often in short supply.  Perhaps as you step into 2023, you will be inspired by the words of this small third letter from John and incorporate goodness into your life.  Maybe your resolution would be an easy one to state—do good.  Happy New Year and have a wonderful Monday!

1 Comment

Camden - January 2nd, 2023 at 9:32am

Simple, yet powerful.





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