Day 12

Imitating What Is Good

from the 1, 2 & 3 John reading plan

3 John 1:1-15, Matthew 20:25-28, Hebrews 13:1-6

BY Amanda Bible Williams

“I’m being bullied.”

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t believe her at first. I know a good mother ought to give her daughter the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her word against the world’s, but my instinct was to push back anyway.

“Are you sure? What did he say exactly? What did he do exactly?

I peppered her with questions as we drove down our favorite winding road, our minivan pointed toward home. She held her ground, insisting a kid in her grade was mistreating her, via verbal insults and the occasional kick or shove when walking past. A few days and a few more reports later, my posture toward the tale quickly changed. I went from skeptical (“Oh, I’m sure he didn’t mean it”) to certain (“Tell me his name again, Imma call his mama”) REAL FAST. Someone was pushing my dear child around, and that was not okay.

Fortunately, my daughter, though thirty years my junior, handled the situation with more grace than I would have. She even informed me today that she and her nemesis are now becoming friends. Kids are awesome that way.

In his last letter to the church, this one addressed specifically to his friend Gaius, John gives one final contrast to highlight the truth of the gospel. He juxtaposes Gaius’s faithfulness to the gospel to a man named Diotrephes’s rejection of it.

Oh, Diotrephes was “in” the church. In fact, he fancied himself to be quite a powerful figure in the church—so powerful, he took it upon himself to decide who was in and who was out. Forget that whole “for God so loved the world” thing—Diotrephes had a better idea. He would welcome who he wanted to welcome, and he would push out who he wanted to push out (3John 10).

Bullies like Diotrephes often seem to get their way. They kick and shove and call names until their victims slink away, feeling defeated. Unfortunately for them, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a power play. The biggest and baddest have no advantage here. The gospel calls us to surrender, to decrease so that Christ might increase (John 3:30).

The message of Christ does not need us to lord our power or position over others to intimidate them into belief. No, the gospel calls us to love and to service (Matthew 20:26). It invites us to stay the course, to walk in the light, one foot in front of the other (3John 4). Jesus is not a taskmaster who demands a ransom in exchange for our freedom. He Himself became our ransom; He is our freedom (Matthew 20:28).

I haven’t kicked anyone out of church lately (or ever), but I’ve played the part of Diotrephes in my own life. I’ve tried to twist the gospel into something that works for me, replacing biblical teachings that don’t fit my preferences with ones that do. But the gospel will not be rewritten. It is Truth, with a capital-T, immutable in its truthfulness and irreversible in its effect on those who believe it.

As we come to the end of John’s letters today, take to heart his encouragement and his earnest plea: “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good” (3John 11). Walk in Truth. Walk in light, imitating what is good as displayed by our Savior, Jesus Christ. Don’t mind the bullies. Whether they come dressed as self-appointed gatekeepers or as lies from inside your own head, they do not speak for God.

Keep going. Keep close to Jesus.

Post Comments (45)

45 thoughts on "Imitating What Is Good"

  1. Lizzie says:

    This was just what I needed to hear, imitate what is good, walk in the truth, in the light, draw near to God and He will draw near to you, know that He welcomes you as a Father and paid your ransom. He will never leave you or forsake you, boldly proclaim the Lord is my helper! I am not afraid! Praise the Lord! Hebrews 13, Matthew 20, 3 John 1.

  2. Kelsi Boone says:

    Lord, thank you for your gospel. Thank you for your truth that sets a so free. God I wrestle with thought in my head. Sometimes I can be my own bully. Sometimes I let satan and his lies ring truer than your word. Remind me that you are all I need. That your love is an unstoppable force driving out the demons. Remind me that I’m never alone in the battle. That you are ever so present in the midst of the war. Thank you for being a humble servant. Help me to imitate you ferocious love that casts out all fear and yet serves the blind so that they might see your lovely truth. I love you. Amen.

  3. Churchmouse says:

    3 John 4 brings me to my knees this morning. “I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth.” Yes, to my knees in gratitude for our daughters and sons in law who are strong believers. Yes, to my knees for those moms and dads who do not yet see the reality of that verse. We parents are called to be faithful and to endure and to be brave and to speak the truth in love. Even when, and especially when, all our efforts seem for naught. We are not in this alone. God Himself is pursuing our children. There is an army of prayer warriors – those who have been there and those who are still in the battle-who stay the course and who refuse to yield any ground to the enemy. This army does not back down because the Commander in Chief never has and never will. He goes after the one. The order is always to press on.

    Dear friends, today let us pray for our sons and daughters,our grandchildren, and all the others, who do not yet know Jesus. Yes, the battle is wearying, disheartening and discouraging at times but it is never hopeless. Let us pray without ceasing.

    1. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Yes, thank you Churchmouse. I continually pray for the salvation of my children. All three of them. I am trusting that I will see te reality of them coming to know our Savior as Lord. ❤️

    2. Dana Clements says:

      Amen!! ❤️

  4. Laura Gelinas says:

    Love this verse today. ❤️

  5. Tina says:

    I meant to put, Amanda Bible, Reachel, Kaitlin, Sharon, Rebecca.. et all, in my first paragraph..
    Oops, I love you guys..❤

  6. Tina says:

    I would like to echo Paul’s words in 3 John 1,5

    My dear dear friends, whom I truly love, (no matter the miles or distance between us), you are so faithful in the work you do for your fellow-Christians..
    Thank you, thank you wrapped in love, hugs and prayers that all is well with you and yours and that you are in good health..❤

    Receiving these words today, with my heart open and my mind set on Jesus..

    “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good” (3John 11). WALK IN TRUTH. WALK IN LIGHT, IMITATING what is good as displayed by our Savior, JESUS CHRIST. Don’t mind the bullies. Whether they come dressed as self-appointed gatekeepers or as lies from inside your own head, they do not speak for God.

    Keep going. Keep close to Jesus.


    Sending BIG love, hugs and prayers across the pond, for a God blessed weekend..❤

  7. Angie says:

    Thank you for the prayers for teachers, students, and families ladies.

    These lines spoke to me from He Reads Truth today. Andrew Stoddard wrote:
    The grace and love of God are abundant, lavish, and overflowing, but sometimes we need a little nudge to remember that the rubber’s gotta meet the road at some point. Our lives need to align with what our mouths profess. We’ve all heard the challenge, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Well, this is John’s imperative: “Put your life where your mouth is.”

    It’s fitting that one of our other readings today comes from the book of Hebrews, whose author warns his readers more than a few times to be vigilant that they not fall away from their faith. You see, the writers of Hebrews and John both knew something that we need to remember: There is no “neutral” in the life of faith. You are either moving closer to the center of God’s design for your life, or you are drifting aimlessly toward the powers and ways of this world.

    Powerful words. We serve in Love, the Love that is God, and in so doing, draw closer to Him.

  8. Blessed Beth says:

    Good morning Ladies, I love the words of Hebrews 13:6 I am going to put them on my board as a reminder that the LORD IS MY HELPER and I need His help 24/7 and that I need not be afraid, words that bring such comfort especially right now. And I love the comfort of knowing that with His help man can do nothing to me I am His and love being the person I am in Him. As a child I was so shy I was afraid of the telephone, I don’t know what I thought it would do to me. I wished I was just like all the other popular children. I felt this way for many years later I realized I am His child and loved by Him just the way He made me. Hallelujah

    1. Kelsi Boone says:

      Good idea Beth! I’m going to do that too! Maybe make a prayer board or something like that. Love it!! Love you sister. Keep finding hope in his redeeming words.

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