“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers,” 3 John 1:2 (NKJV).
Many people jump to the quick conclusion that when the word prosperity is mentioned, the subject is about money.
I suppose the association is that we tend to think of people who are prosperous as having a measure of wealth. I certainly agree that money can be a part of what prosperity is all about, but more like a modest slice of the pie. True prosperity is a balanced and full life.
I am not afraid to talk about the importance of money, in fact Jesus has a lot to say on the subject, but setting the subject of money aside for a moment might allow us to pursue a deeper understanding about true prosperity.
The Bible teaches that man is made up of three components, body, soul and spirit.
The body is the most easily understood part of our make up; it’s the part we all can see and feel. Our body certainly has a lot to do with our level of prosperity.
When we are well and when we are functioning to the best of our physical capabilities there is a certain amount of joy and happiness we experience. It is a large slice of what prosperity is about.
Living in health and enjoying life with all five senses is a happy thing. That is the way God created us to live. He designed our bodies to function well.
Prospering in our bodies requires some work on our part. Proper nutrition, exercise and rest contribute to a body that helps us to prosper. Moderation in all things is a biblical principle that leads to prosperity. Treating our bodies well helps keep them well.
Our soul is the place where our mind and emotions reside.
When our soul is prospering, we have mental health, our relationships are healthy, our emotions are healthy and we enjoy being alive.
When we have a healthy soul there is an optimism about life and the future, we truly flourish and grow like a plant with water and sun in good soil.
Like our bodies, the prosperity of our soul requires certain disciplines. What we feed our minds affects our emotions and mental health.
Just like the kinds of food we feed our bodies, the things we put into our minds affect our soul.
Worry, anxiety, anger, violence and other negative issues affect our soul. Conversely, when we think on good things, things that are pure, virtuous, pleasant and truthful our soul prospers.
It is a choice on our part what our minds will feed upon, but the result of our choice will determine the level of prosperity we enjoy.
Finally, we are spirit.
There is an eternal part of every one of us. That eternal component is what God created in us to relate to him.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all spiritual beings; it is part of the package of what it means to be human.
The way our spirit prospers is to have a vital relationship with Jesus. Jesus offers us forgiveness and wholeness that no one else can offer.
Having a relationship with Jesus is the largest part of what it means to truly prosper. He is the one who can help us with the eternal part of who we are, give peace to calm a troubled soul and heal us when our bodies are not well.
Now, getting back to the subject of money: let’s put the role of money in proper perspective when it comes to prosperity.
Do you know people who have a great deal of money but are unhappy, angry, stingy or unkind? Can we call that a picture of prosperity?
Could someone who has a large amount of wealth but is depressed, or who has unhealthy relationships or is in ill health
much of the time be considered truly prosperous?
Well, neither example is my idea of prosperity. Money, although important and necessary to our prosperity, takes a back seat to these more important issues.
When we have a healthy spirit through a relationship with Jesus, when our soul is full of good things and our bodies are well and strong, it doesn’t take a lot of money to truly prosper.
The apostle Paul exemplifies true prosperity:
“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:12-13 (NKJV).
That’s the picture of true prosperity: having a strong enough spirit to encounter all that life throws at us and master it.
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
Jesus will help you as you begin a relationship with him.
Stephen Brown is pastor of Kenai New Life Assembly of God
209 Princess Street, Kenai. He can be reached at 283-7752 or by e-mail at www.kenainewlife.org.
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