Soul Conditions

Vol. 8-42 – 10-15-2023 – Soul Conditions


The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. –3 John 1-4

Did you notice the repeat (four times) of a word that appeared in 2 John—truth? The word appears again in verse 8.

Why was John writing these letters (two of which were very short)? And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. –1 John 5:11-13

In the Gospel of John, he wrote: These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name. –John 20:31

Did you notice the distinction? The Gospel of John intends to draw people to the truth of Jesus, the Christ. To offer salvation to all who would believe. The letters of John intend to encourage those who believe to continue in their faith. To thrive in the days in a malevolent world.

Do we need that encouragement? Yes.

So, what must be done to have our souls thrive? If you do not know the path you need to tread, try His Word—it is quite reliable. You can depend upon it. But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. –Isaiah 40:31.

To thrive, we must trust God in all His promises. Reap the thriving of your soul! Notice the tenor of John’s letter: that it would go well with your soul. Too many try paths that do not benefit their soul.

Note what the “wisest” man wrote: So, I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also, my wisdom remained with me. and whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. All is vanity and striving after wind. –Ecclesiastes 1:14b; 2:9-11.

What did he miss? The walk of life that brought his soul to thrive. He was smart. Brilliant. Wise. Successful in the world. But he did not contemplate the value of his soul. God did. It did not prevent the questions. Solomon is the writer. God is the author. It is God who brings hope to the soul. Joy. Love. Peace. And hope still. We will be looking at that soon.

The OT is not alone in calling us to have our souls thrive. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things, there is no law. –Galatians 5:22-23


If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture (You shall love your neighbor as yourself), you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. –James 2:8-10

The most difficult class, for me, in seminary was Hebrew. First, to read the beginnings you have to turn to the back of the Tanakh and go left! Then you have to learn the little marks, every jot and tittle. There are all kinds of rules, and you have to pronounce the words in almost a growl.

It was the first class in college/university/seminary that I could not earn an “A.” However, my professor was gracious to me. I received a “B.” I have always wanted to excel. Earning top grades was one of those things I really worked at. I think the reason I received the “B” was that I could memorize definitions and figure out what many of the unfamiliar sentences were stating. If you read it often enough it sort of imprints on your brain. I am still surprised that I did not run out of space up there in my brain.

I could not get an “A” in Hebrew because I stumbled on one point; well maybe 10 points. When I read James, I fully understood. I was not happy with myself. I did have one other class where I received a “B,” in Introductory Greek. I did earn “A’s,” in the second, third, and fourth terms. So, there is that.

The point of the passage is that if we fail at just one point in God’s expectation, we fail in total. It only takes one sin to put our souls in eternal punishment. We accomplish that very early in life. Thus, God knowing our difficulty, fulfilled His promise to send a redeemer, His Son. To be redeemed is to be purchased out of the slave market of sin. How much did that cost? The life of Jesus the Christ, God’s Son.

In believing in Christ, His finished work on the cross, on our behalf, confessing we are sinners and deserving of eternal hell, Christ, through His love, grace, and mercy grants us salvation.

However, it is not the end of things. Christ desires our souls to thrive. When that occurs we can take our “new creature” life and impact our world (however wide that is) for the sake of the gospel. We become ambassadors, saying what Christ says to those who need salvation. Souls that thrive desire others to be saved—drawn by the Holy Spirit, sins paid for by Christ, and satisfied in the Father.

We do not, then, get what we deserve.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart (soul), one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” –Romans 10:9-11

Life Application

What mars your relationships or significance? So that your soul does not thrive? What would bring you to passionately pursue Christ so that you would passionately pursue people? A thriving soul.

How is your soul doing? Thriving? If not, what should you do? How much time did you spend this week in prayer and Scripture reading? Is that a habit? Not spending enough time. If it is, your soul needs a change to thrive. It is a starving. Hungry? Christ can correct that. He is willing to help you move forward in the life of your soul.

If we would live in times of famine, inflation, unemployment, and other maladies would we strive to change things?

If this paints a picture of your soul, there is help.

Come to His table. Come to pray and feast on His love, grace, and mercy. Feast at the table of Zion. He does not withhold to those who seek after Him. His hand reaches out; will you grasp it?

The truth: Only Christ can fix the eyes of our souls in our desire to thrive.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

October 15, 2023

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