Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual health and growth. Well– that’s the word we are probing in good depth from a passage of scripture, where a Christian leader is expressing his fondest wishes for his spiritual son. He starts off with saying, I love you in truth.
Love and truth are the spiritual core of human well-being. You will notice that, if you’re both loving and truthful, you’ll not have to worry about much at all, regardless of what happens. Someone said, good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die. That has a negative connotation, but perhaps it also has a positive note. Until the point of your death, you better have good health. I remember our son mentioning that we take good health for granted. The fundamental of all life and being is good health. Good health is something for which we are grateful.
And we must trust the Lord, and keep well as best as we can– in the physical disciplines that are necessary in order to maintain good health in our diet, in our exercise. But as I said last time, the definition of health, which only has physical and mental and social well-being in its meaning, leaves out its core– the spiritual core. And just like you strengthen your physical core for your daily tasks and responsibilities, you need to strengthen your spiritual core.
Hovering around those two words, but beyond words, in living them– love and truth. If you have love without truth, you can get all mushy, and if you have truth without love, you will be crusty, every time I get up to speak and anybody gets up to speak, especially in a Christian context. We’ve got to balance out both love and truth– not because they’re in tension, but because they’re both needed.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the great Swiss medical missionary pioneer in Africa, said happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. Good health and a bad memory. Love and truth provide for good health. It’ll also help you overcome bad memory.
In the Old Testament, there are many words for the word well, or healing or health. All of us have likely heard the word Rapha– Yahweh Rapha, Jehovah Rapha– where God is the one, the healer. He brings back something that is in cacophony into symphony– something that is in conflict into harmony. By the way, all the words for healing and health in the Bible can be used in a literal, physical sense, but also in a spiritual, metaphorical sense. Both are needed, they are not separated.
Even as our core verse says in Third John, I pray that in all respects you will have prosperity– you will do well and be in good health, even as your soul prospers. Inside and outside, that they’ll be matching and in proportion to one another.
In the New Testament, much of healing has to do with the miracles of the Lord Jesus, where, from the edge of limit and deficit, even death, the Lord Jesus brings back healing. In a sense, making a claim– in the direct heritage of the Old Testament miracle workers of Moses and Elijah, to himself– that he was in line. But beyond that, he was the Messiah for whom they were waiting, and yet they were blinded to it.
The same words for healing are used for the apostles in their miraculous doings. And also for the spiritual healings. They had the capacity to command healing, but they also had the communication to give healing that is found in the Gospels.
God was at work, whether in physical healing, or in spiritual healing. It takes God to do the marvelous, the miraculous. He has the capacity to bring healing.
Now in our primary chapter in Third John, the first few verses, the word for being in good health is the word euodoó. Euodoó in Greek, stands for a state of good health, well being, a condition that is a normal existence for Gaius. That’s what John wishes for his disciple. He says, I wish you the best, and there’s nothing greater in joy for him than to see his children walk in the truth, whom he loves in the truth.
That phrase– in every respect, in every possible way– shows that there’s a connection between the inside and the outside, between the spiritual and the physical. They need to be in proportionate match. And the best sense of well is when these go together.
That’s what the elder prays, in order for the supreme best– the well being, the primary prayer– is the well-being of a spiritual friend, his son. During this time of the world being unwell, and levels of unwellness in our souls, I wish you well. I pray that in every respect, you will prosper and be in good health– even as your soul prospers. That’s the condition which needs to be matched by the outside. That inner condition is not affected by the loss of the outer condition and can actually control how you handle the outer condition.
Over the last couple of years, I have been in friendship with a dear brother of 40 years, who lost his wife two years ago. We’ve talked every week, almost– over an hour a week. And we have accompanied each other in this journey of life, and the pandemic, and the challenges of relationships and responsibilities. I see him getting stronger every week, in two ways. Not only do I hear him and his voice stronger, but he’s speaking strength into my soul.
I wish you well.