3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”
What is the common response to someone sneezing in our culture? Saying, “God bless you!” Have you ever thought about why we give “blessings” to strangers when they have a physical response to pollen, germs or the like? One of the best answers I have found originated during the bubonic plague of the sixth century. People, hoping to ward off the spread of the disease, would offer this blessing to anyone who sneezed.
In other times, people superstitiously believed that someone might “sneeze” out his soul and therefore need God’s blessing to “keep it in.” As strange as these two explanations may be, the simple fact is, today, Christian and non-Christian people alike, offer God’s blessing to anyone who sneezes.
The word “blessing” in the context of Deuteronomy 28:1-14 means, “To be empowered to prosper and succeed.” Likewise, in the above passage, John is offering a huge “God bless you,” to the people, without them needing to sneeze first. He is simply saying, “I pray you prosper in everything you do, and are in good health, just as your soul prospers.” In other words, “I pray that God blesses you!”
Do you know God wants to bless you? He strongly desires to give you success in “every way” and in everything you do. God wants you to be in good health, be successful in your family and prosperous in your work.
He also desires for your soul to prosper in so many wonderful ways with all the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”)
How do we give and receive these blessings? We are to pray with faith and be obedient to God’s Word (Hebrews 11:6). John Wesley wrote, “When a man becomes a Christian, he becomes industrious, trustworthy and prosperous.”
John prayed for his friends to prosper. As a result, we can pray for each other, too. Make some time, today, to pray for God’s blessings in your life and in the lives of those around you. Maybe even do it after someone sneezes!
- Pray for God to prosper three people in your life (be specific).
- Ask God to prosper you in three specific ways today.
- Bless people according to God’s Word when you are in public (i.e., preach the gospel, offer to pray for and with them, etc.).