Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2 NKJV). John wanted his friend Gaius to enjoy good physical health as a result of good spiritual health. He was saying, as the NLT records, dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.
How valuable to realize that the condition of our souls profoundly affects the condition of our bodies. There are far too many Eeyores in the world who only ever see the glass as half empty. When the winds of ill health and disease blow across them, they quickly set up camp at death’s door and surrender their sour soul in defeat. A hopeless soul is lean and lifeless; it cannot attain the hefty fatness of a prospering soul, nor can it nourish the body with faith and life.
God recognized unhealthy souls in the Israelites as He listened to them grumble and complain about life. Even when He blessed them, they grumbled, and as Psalm 106:15 says, He gave them their request but sent leanness into their soul. The Lord is always interested in the condition of our souls, for He knows that when the light and life of Jesus Christ fill our souls, there is an explosive resurrection power that percolates from the soul to the body, energizing and healing it supernaturally.
A fat soul prospers because it is connected to and charged by the Spirit of God. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11 NKJV). A fat soul is one in right relationship with Christ, one that regularly walks and talks with the Savior—during good times and bad times. A lean soul gives in to doubt, despair, and defeat, dwelling on the negatives. Christ becomes more of a distant acquaintance rather than a close friend.
Even in the most discouraging times, a fat soul looks for the Lord’s surprise blessings and rests in the hope that all things are possible with God. Fat souls pay attention to what they think about, knowing that our greatest battlefield is the mind. If the enemy of our souls can pull us into an eddy of destructive thinking, our souls soon begin to wither, and faith dwindles. Paul gives us excellent soul-fattening advice in Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV). Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
As I write this One-a-Day, I am experiencing a season of ill health. I’ve sensed days of great discouragement and fear when my soul was woefully shriveled and lean. I spoke to my skinny soul, using David’s words from Psalm 42:5 (NIV), Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Just that simple pep talk perked things up, and hope began to percolate.
From there, I paid closer attention to my thoughts and what I was allowing into my mind. Whatsoever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely…think on these things. Cards, texts, and messages of faith, hope, and love began rolling in. Prayer chains were activated on my behalf. Very rapidly, my soul was transformed from flat to fat! Surprise blessings like the beautiful floral arrangement pictured above arrived from dear friends. Remarkably, as my soul got fatter, my body began mending—less pain, better medical reports, and more strength.
I could hear John’s words as though he were saying them to me: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
Dear Lord, give us fat, prospering souls! Give us a hunger for the things that make us strong in spirit, and bless us with health and strength to accomplish Your will in our lives! Amen.
© 2022, Chris Werre