Most of my friends know that I am somewhat of a health nut. I have been running all of my life, I am conscious of the things I eat, etc. But there are many things, such as genetics, for which we have no control. However, I have always believed in controlling the things you can. So I drink green tea, eat almonds and walnuts, use olive oil, etc. and try to take care of my health.
Not many people know that I have a degree in health, physical education and recreation. So my interest in health issues began a long time ago. Paul even told Timothy that bodily exercise profits a little (1 Tim 4:8). There you go, it is scriptural! But to continue that verse makes clear Paul was putting exercise in perspective…but godliness is profitable for all things. Health of the body is important but there are more important things.
There is a verse in 3rd John I would like to consider. In verse 2 John states, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and in health, just as your soul prospers.” John’s prayer for Gaius is significant.
The words “just as” come from the Greek word kathos which means to draw a comparison. Gaius’ spiritual health was so good that John prayed that his well-being and physical health would match his spiritual vigor. John doesn’t say I want your spiritual life to be as healthy as your physical health. No, just the opposite in fact. John says I want your physical health to be as good as your spiritual health. What a compliment to Gaius! Would we want the same to be said of us?
John knew of Gaius’ spiritual health. How did he know that? Was it revealed to him miraculously? I don’t think so based on verse 3. Here it is said the brethren brought that testimony about Gaius to John. The brethren knew of Gaius’ strong spiritual health. Can our friends and associates so testify about our spiritual health? Can our friends say that we “walk in the truth” as was said of Gaius? Do we live our lives so that our friends know that about us?
Do we dare pray that our physical health and financial prosperity be proportionate to our spiritual health? What would happen to our bank accounts and our health if they were measured proportionately to our soul’s prosperity?
An additional observation: There is an obvious distinction between soul and body. The comparison is being made about 2 separate things. Health refers to the physical body while the soul refers to our spiritual body. We are more than the physical body. This physical body is just temporary. Our soul is eternal.
GOD is interested in our whole being. Did He not say that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with GOD and man (Luke 2:52)? Those 4 areas comprise the total man. And Paul in the closing remarks to the Thessalonians wished blessings on their whole spirit, soul and body (1 Thes 5:23).
I am interested in my physical health. I want to take care of my physical body so that I may be of service during my time on earth. BUT that is not what is most important to me. Because no matter how much I try, my body will wear out. My time here on earth will conclude. The most important thing for me is what happens after that. Have I nurtured my spiritual state so that my eternity will be spent with the redeemed?
I really hope others can say of me, “I pray that you may be in health just as your soul prospers.”