WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 30, 2022
TOPIC: FOLLOW WHAT IS GOOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“My dear friend, do not follow what is bad; follow what is good. The one who does good belongs to God. But the one who does evil has never known God” (3 John 11 New Century Version).
In 3 John 9-12, the Apostle John talks about two people, Diotrephes and Demetrius, whose characters were opposed to each other. Diotrephes loved to have preeminence, be first, be in charge, or be the leader in the church. He refused to acknowledge John’s authority over him and listen to him. Moreover, he lied and said evil things about John. He refused to welcome and help the believers who travelled there or John’s messengers and threw out of the church those who wanted to do so.
However, Demetrius, apparently in the same church, had a good reputation. Everyone spoke well of him. He had a good testimony from the truth itself!
This is exactly how the Bible presents these two characters: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church…Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone — and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true” (3 John 9-10, 12 New International Version).
Every church, organization, society, or country has people that fit into these two characters – the bad and the good. Are you a Diotrephes or a Demetrius? Are you self-conceited, domineering, or unaccountable to leadership? Do you lie against and defame the character of your leaders? On the other hand, do you, like Demetrius, have a good reputation? Anywhere you are, ensure you’re not a Diotrephes, but a Demetrius. Furthermore, ensure that you don’t imitate those who are like Diotrephes.
After talking about Diotrephes, John counselled in verse 11, “My dear friend, do not follow what is bad; follow what is good. The one who does good belongs to God. But the one who does evil has never known God” (New Century Version). Exodus 23:2a says not to follow the crowd or multitude to do evil or in doing wrong.
Whom are you emulating? 2 Chronicles 34:1-2 says, “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn aside from doing what was right” (New Living Translation).
Josiah became king when he was eight years old and reigned for 31 years. His grandfather was Manasseh, the son of a good king, Hezekiah. But Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings in Judah before God sent the Assyrians to capture him and took him to exile where he humbled him and God restored him to his throne (2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33).
Josiah’s father, Amon, followed the evil footstep of Manasseh. “Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. He walked in all the ways of his father; he worshiped the idols his father had worshiped, and bowed down to them. He forsook the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord. Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace” (2 Kings 21:19-23 New International Version).
The people killed all the conspirators and made Amon’s son, Josiah, king. However, Josiah didn’t follow the bad examples of his father and grandfather. The Bible also records about him in 2 Kings 22:2 thus: “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right” (New International Version).
Josiah carried out religious reforms, returned the people to God, and rid the nation of idols. 2 Kings 23:25 says, “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him” (New King James Version).
Are you following what is good or what is bad? Don’t follow a bad example. In John 8:39, Jesus told the Jews who said that Abraham was their father that if they were Abraham’s children, they would do the things Abraham did. In other words, they would follow his good example. Jesus further told them, “As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does” (verses 40-41 New International Version).
Follow what is good. Paul said to the Corinthian Christians, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 New Century Version). Earlier in 1 Corinthians 4:15-16, he said to them, “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me” (New King James Version).
In Philippians 3:17, he told the Philippians to join with others in following his example and take note of those who lived according to the pattern given to them. He went further in Philippians 4:9, to say that they should practise what they had learnt, received, or heard from him or seen in him, and the God of peace would be with them.
Also, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat’” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 New International Version).
By the way that he conducted himself, Paul showed the people a good example to follow. Earlier in 1 Thessalonians 1:6, he said the Thessalonians became imitators of the apostles and the Lord; despite severe suffering, they welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. Consequently, they became an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia (verse 7).
Follow what is good. Hebrews 13:7 says you should follow the example of good leaders. As the Bible says, follow those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).
Follow what is good.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: In the name of Jesus, I shall follow what is good, not what is evil. I shall not imitate bad examples but good ones. Holy Spirit, help me to follow those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Help me be a Christian whose life others can emulate. Let me be an example of a good Christian.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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