3 John 11—Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
The preceding passage is one of identity. John makes a simple distinction to his reader Gaius. Choose what is good and by doing so define yourself as a follower of God. John illustrates this in the next verse when he applauds Demetrius as being a man with a good testimony. I suspect Gaius knew Demetrius.
One of Satan’s great strategies is to confuse us regarding our identity. In the garden, he tempted Adam and Eve with the notion that they could be like God—a less than subtle suggestion that because they were forbidden to eat a certain fruit they were somehow less complete, less understanding. When they succumbed to his temptation they imitated evil and every human since has inherited an identity crisis.
What defines you? If you believe the job you hold is foundational to doing good you are apt to be disappointed. What if you are unemployed? God is not focused on you having the perfect job or on how much you have in your wallet or purse. He is concerned with you doing what is right. Can you whistle while you change diapers? Can you accept a lesser position or less pay knowing that God placed you there to glorify Him by your conduct and attitude? Don’t be like those whose base ambition is to be in charge. “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
If you seek value in possessions Jesus warns, “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven. . .” (Matthew 6:19,20). Do what is good and be generous, not craving after material things, not identifying with those who covet.
Fame and titles are seductive and can corrupt motives. Glory is fleeting and if based on self-love, sure to create corrosive pride. External beauty fades with age. Is obsessing over appearance virtuous? Do what is good. It seems so simple and yet for us humans it can be so hard.
Too often our problem is that we pursue good in our own strength and with an agenda of gaining favor. Do what is moral and noble because it glorifies God. Resolve now to let Jesus define you. He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me” (John 15:5,7). In and by and through and with Him all is good!
Get into the habit of having such a relationship to God that you do good without knowing you do it, then you will no longer trust your own impulse, or your own judgment, you will trust only the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The mainspring of your motives will be the Father’s heart, not your own; the Father’s understanding, not your own. When once you are rightly related to God, He will use you as a channel through which His disposition will flow.—Oswald Chambers inStudies in the Sermon on the Mount
©2017 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)