“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
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The meaning of “prosper” is: succeed in material terms, be financially successful or flourish physically, grow strong and healthy. The meaning of “just” is: according to, only, as much as. Our focus Scripture (3 John 1:2) has a deeper and liberating meaning. Let’s pull the verse apart.
It is said that if our souls are experiencing a good journey, everything else will fall in place. Our souls have to be on a good journey before our pocketbooks, businesses and our health. Financial blessing and divine health are in direct proportion – to the same degree – as our soul is prospering. The majority of our chronic (persisting for a long time or constantly recurring) problems are not keeping our souls well. Many peoples' souls are so cluttered and blocked with unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, greed, pride, lust, idolatry, fear, cares and worries that it blocks JESUS and HIS life, healing, provision and glory.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
JESUS is knocking on the door of our hearts. Our souls need to be prospering to experience HIS full glory.
The question that arises is, “How can I keep my soul well so that when I sing the song It Is Well with My Soul, I am not lying?”
Here are a few steps that one can take:
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
This verse implies that the primary cause of souls failing to find rest is due to people taking yokes and burdens upon them that are not from JESUS. We make commitments and accept responsibilities that are not meant for us. We end up worn out and frustrated. We allow our souls to get so weighed down with pressures, stress, anxiety, troubles, and cares that it cannot rest. An unrestful soul is an unprosperous soul. The soul needs rest if it is to prosper (be kept well), just like the body needs rest for health. We can only receive ease, refreshing, intermission for our souls by coming to JESUS and leaving the stress, worries, pressure and even the dishes behind. Taking time to come aside from troubles and struggles, to rest by the still waters by coming to HIM, our faithful Good Shepherd, is the process HE uses to restore our souls.
The soul is a magnifier. Whatever you set your soul on will eventually and totally consume and envelope your entire being. A prosperous soul’s primary focus is on the LORD and HIS Word, not the present condition or state of things. We cannot afford to let the barometer of our souls rise and fall based on the condition of the world around us (e.g., balance of your bank account, rebellion in children, carnality in mate, frustration on the job). However, if we spend our spiritual energy seeing to it that our soul prospers, GOD will see to it that our way prospers.
“Praise the Lord, my soul! Praise his holy name, all that is within me. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and never forget all the good he has done: 3 He is the one who forgives all your sins,
the one who heals all your diseases, 4 the one who rescues your life from the pit,
the one who crowns you with mercy and compassion, 5 the one who fills your life with blessings
so that you become young again like an eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5 (GW)
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1
All existing authorities have been established by GOD. Whoever resists (opposes or rebels against) the authority, resists the divine order and appointment of GOD and brings judgement on themselves (Romans 13:2). Authority was given by GOD for our protection and our good.
Various authorities have been established by GOD:
· Absolute authority: GOD and HIS Word (James 4:7)
· Authority in the home (1 Peter 3:7-9)
· Spiritual authority in the church (Hebrews 13:17)
· Civil authority (Romans 13:1-4)
· Authority in the government, workplace, school (Ephesians 6:8)
In every situation or every room you walk into, determine who is in authority and submit yourself, and your soul will prosper. If the authority does not abide with the Word of the LORD, you must submit. ONLY SUBMIT TO THE WORD. There are specific blessings associated with submission to authority. One example is that of the centurion and his servant – he understood and operated under authority and his faith functioned at a greater level; as a result, his servant was healed (see Matthew 8:5-13).
“For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:3-4
The doer of the Word, the one walking in the truth, is the one who is blessed – not the one who hears it only but fails to apply it to his/her life. An individual who hears the Word but does not apply it to his life is self-deceived and does not have a prosperous soul.
Take Mark 4:23-24 as an example. It is a parable about the Word being sown into various types of ground (or hearts) and the corresponding fruitfulness of the Word in each type of ground (or heart). If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear; this is spiritual hearing and not physical hearing. Our hearing affects our fruitfulness in the Kingdom. Our spiritual hearing affects the type of ground that our heart becomes in terms of its receptivity to the Word. We also must take heed of what we hear. The value one places on the Word they are hearing determines what one gets out of it and what kind of ground one’s heart becomes.
They are four types of grounds that I would like us to have a quick look into.
· Wayward ground is a hard, trampled down, and worn-out path that has no capacity to receive seed. This is mainly caused by valuing another belief system or traditions of men above the Word.
· Stoney ground represents hearts that place a greater value on feelings, circumstances, and people than the Word of GOD. When adversity comes, they take the path of least resistance and easiest on their personal comfort zone.
· Thorny ground represents hearts that place a greater value on riches, possessions, and worldly status than on the truth. In this instant, a commitment to serve the LORD is made. Unfortunately, the commitment lasts only if they are benefiting from it, and it flows into their success plan. Bible verses can be quoted, but the life in the Word sown in their hearts is choked off because they are not interested in seeking the Kingdom of GOD first and letting all other things be added to them (Matthew 6:33).
· Good ground represents the heart that values the truth above every other belief system, his own feelings of what people think, whatever happens in life or how it affects them financially. This person is fruitful; the Word is producing in his life and he is prospering and in health. This person’s soul is prospering because he is walking in the truth; he has not only heard the Word but has put it into practice.
Value the truth and the truth will exalt and promote you.
*All Scriptures are in the New King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise noted.
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