A comedian once recalled that his overprotective mother, when she took him to his first day of elementary school, insisted on talking to the teacher before leaving him. His mother told the teacher that if her son misbehaved she should punish the boy next to him. “Why?” asked the teacher. “Well,” the mother said, “my little boy learns from example.” We naturally follow the example of others, whether it’s a good one or a poor one. Today’s passage reinforces the principle that example is more powerful than precept.
- Who in your life provides the most powerful example of doing what is good?
READ THE WORD: 3 JOHN 1:11-15 (ESV)
11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.
13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. 15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What is the strong instruction in verse 11 and how does this strengthen healthy relationships with others?
- For what was Demetrius commended in verse 12? Why is a good testimony important?
- What area of your life needs to be yielded to God to ensure that you reflect a loyalty to God’s truth?
RESPOND TO GOD
The letter of 3 John contrasted truth and servanthood with error and selfishness. The instruction in this final section was clear: “imitate good.” Truth may guide a person, instruct a person, and command a person. But a living example of what is good has far-reaching influence when it is in sync with what God says is true. The example of your life matters!
- Spend a few moments in uninterrupted silence, and ask God to reveal how you can,through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, be a more powerful example of what is good and a reflection of what is true.