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BEHAVING IN A THOUGHTFUL MANNER

FRIDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2022


John the Evangelist wrote this epistle to motivate and invigorate Gaius, a faithful Christian who had been supporting the brothers and sisters in church and to warn him against Diotrephes, who was spreading malicious nonsense about the church and had refused to collaborate with the leaders on building those group of Christians.

Reference: 3 John 11 New King James Version (NKJV) "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God."


This humble request was to encourage Gauis to copy what is good and refrain from evil works. It also suggests having a positive character and view toward life. This is because the Christian success depends on our good spiritual grounding, the richness of our attitude and the positive influence of our disposition, both in church and out of church.


Diotrephes' attitude was problematic for the church leadership. In fact, the dispute between Diotrephes and the church authority developed into a string of conspicuous conflict to the point that it had to be addressed. So John wrote using Demetrius as an ideal that Gauis could emulate to build good ethical behaviour. Unlike Diotrephes, Demetrius demonstrated the quality of being suited to serve the church purpose well in practicality. Indeed his moral orientation was well spoken of by everyone because he had and maintained a good testimony.


Beloved, in your world and sphere of activity, as a Christian, do not imitate what is evil, but that which is good. This is because He who does good expresses God's attributes, but he who does evil has not experienced God. This is exactly what the purpose of our Christian faith is designed or expected to fulfil. To copy what is good must be intentional among Christians. Don't ever let bad examples influence you. Christians who copy and do what is good prove that they are God's own people and as they demonstrate good ethical behaviour, they are more likely to instil this behaviour in others around them. This in turn promotes more ethical behaviours among the sanctified or the people of God.


What makes up the value or worth of a Christian character is godly practices. When the wrong attitude is in display among Christians, it needs to be addressed, just like John the Evangelist did. This implies that change will need to occur. However how to initiate this change sometimes poses as a significant challenge. This is because a "change of attitude" speaks of inner need and sober reflection, rather than just "dos and don'ts" or obeying specified rules. So the right question is this: What steps must I take to respond to those inner needs? Sometimes we have to contend in prayer to inspire such Christians to experience those changes in their inward being first, before they can respond to it outwardly, otherwise those who require such changes would have no deep reasons to care about copying what is good and preserving the right attitude.


As Christians, two examples of those we can imitate are as follows: 1. People who teach the undiluted Word of God and also display the fruit of the Spirit. In 2 Timothy 3:10 (NLT), apostle Paul encouraged Timothy saying, "But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance." Timothy followed Pauline teachings because Paul served as a desirable model to his own teaching and lived the exemplary behaviour.


2. Imitate people who fear God and serve Him wholeheartedly. When Jesus had a dispute with the Jews, they answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did" (John 8:39 ESV).


Beloved, let us imitate whatever is good and behave in an ethical manner. Following the conducts of a godly practice and decency is the right principle of the Kingdom. For instance, we can practise being patient when necessary - with the right attitude. Good success will always be sustained long term as we copy what is right and build the right character over time. Shalom!


Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 4:8-9; Hebrews 6:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:6.

Guided Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you because you are good and you strategically positioned me in Christ Jesus to imitate His life and to reproduce the Word in my life. By being well-mannered, behaving decently and thinking excellent thoughts, I display godly attitude which is the expression of your will and I influence others around me positively to the praise of your glory, in Jesus' Name, Amen!


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