Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God. – 3 John 1:11
In this concise letter, John writes to a friend praising him for the love and support he show to those travel around teaching the word of God to others. He also notes that Diotrephes, a local church leader, demonstrates his hatred for the evangelists by putting people out of his congregation who support these ministers. Thus, John tells Gaius to follow only that which is good and to not let the bad influence of Diotrephes to take a hold on him. Doing good, John states, proves that one is a child of God while doing evil shows that one doesn’t know God.
What example influences your life? My life? Who are we allowing to mentor us and/or shape our lives? It is paramount that we not allow people of questionable character influence our lives in such a way that we fall into their bad habits and dislike for the things of God. The words of Paul note that bad company corrupts good character. The words of Solomon note that we are to choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold. Why? Riches can cause a person to become vain, greedy, proud, and the like, which will separate a person from God. Riches are but one example. There are any number of things or attitudes that will influence a person to betray the good things of God and deceive a person to lust after the things of this world or to become contrary to the ways of the LORD. Therefore, it is imperative that we guard ourselves at all times and at all cost to prevent the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life from gaining a foothold in our lives and lead us down the path to destruction. For the way to destruction is broad with many entering therein, but few are they who find the path to the way of life and even fewer enter it. Again, I ask, “Who are you allowing to have say and sway over you?” Caveat lector.
Father, there is so much that I can thank you for this day: my life, your love, your mercy, your majesty, and so on. My words fail me because you are so much more than words. My life has not been rosy lately but actually, as you know, filled with wonder and question as to why I feel and experience the John Dunne line of “[one] man [as] an island.” Even though I am among those of the faith that surround me and have people on the job during the day and throngs of drivers whirring past me on the highway, I still have a sense of isolation and being alone. This condition easily allows the influence of what is not good, evil, to try to mess with me and deceive me into following the wrong path and giving into evil. I need reinforcements of good character and godly counsel in my life. As much as I have expanded my knowledge of your written word and with the gift of understanding and wisdom that you’ve given me to reveal the mysteries of your kingdom, there is still this nagging and tugging at my spirit to abandon all that I know and to walk away from your goodness, provision, and holiness. Please come to my rescue and let me just sit at your feet and bask in your love! I am unworthy of anything you provide, but I don’t want to be dismissive of your care for me. I don’t want to reach that point where bitterness and resentment take hold and dig deep to root themselves in the soil of my heart. I confess before you and mankind that I have had doubt at times. Help me with my doubts and turn them into faith, a great faith that will move mountains, see dead raised, sick healed, and demons exorcised. I want to walk with you and know you above all else. Allow your Holy Spirit to set the example before me and teach me what is good and noble and honorable and trustworthy. I need your divine intervention in my life, so that I may spread the good news of your Son to this world. May your will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.