God’s blessings are like hidden treasures planted all around us. We only need to develop the spiritual vision it requires to see them. One way is to read through a book of the Bible listing all the reasons to be thankful that come to mind. The result, when thoughtfully completed, will revolutionize your perspective as well as deepen your understanding of God.
John’s second epistle, for instance, was written to a Christian woman who inadvertently showed hospitality to some false teachers. Desiring to advance their own cause, they took advantage of her love for God’s truth. John discourages her from showing Christian hospitality to them because she is unintentionally participating in propagating deception. Hospitality must be rooted in a common love for God’s truth.
The epistle is only 13 verses long, containing less than 300 words in the original language. However, it prompted nearly 30 reasons to give God thanks during my initial reading. Read along with me and see what more reasons come to your mind. Then, try it on your own using only your Bible and a journal. And, see how the Lord draws out your gratitude.
“The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever.” (2 John 1–2)
Lord, thank you for my elders (pastors) who love me; for my leaders who tell me the truth; for teaching me the truth; for lay people who love the truth and love me in the truth; for your truth abiding in me; for you enabling me to abide in truth; for my friends and family who abide in truth; and for your truth characteristically abiding forever.
“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” (2 John 3)
Lord, thank you for your grace which is underserved; for your mercy which is your compassion on me; for you peace which was won by your death on the cross; for the unity we have in Christ; for being my God; for being my perfect Father; for being my Christ; for blessing me through your Son; for the benefits that come in truth and love.
“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.” (2 John 4)
Lord, thank for bringing joy to my life and the lives of many others when we see loved ones walking in Your truth; for enabling us to obey your command to walk in truth; for revealing to us your truth in order that we may walk in it; and for allowing us to see some of our children walk in it as well.
“And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.” (2 John 5)
Lord, thank you for friends who exhort me to obey you; for the privilege to have friends to call “dear” and to be called “dear” in various ways; for the peace we experience when we obey Your command to love others; for teaching me this command diligently since the beginning; and for using others to stir up love within me each day.
“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” (2 John 6)
Lord, thank you for clarifying what love is; for modeling and teaching me how to walk in love and to love others; for being patient with me as develop in my walk of love; and for enabling me to walk in love by obeying your commandments which overflow with love.
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (2 John 7)
Lord, thank you for warning me of dangerous people who deceive other away from abiding in love; for protecting me from deception and false teachers; for helping me spot false teachers and false teaching before I am deceived; and for teaching me truth in order to discern right from wrong.
“Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.” (2 John 8)
Lord, thank you for exhorting and reminding me to be alert to deception which so easily creeps into my life; for equipping me to watch myself honestly and truthfully; for preserving me in the truth and not allowing me to drift too far when I do; for using others in my life to build me up in the truth; for the reward that awaits and motivates me to continue to walk in love; and for graciously rewarding me with a reward that rightfully belongs to You.
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9)
Lord, thank you for teaching and empowering me to abide in you; for holding and protecting me when I start to drift away from your truth; for keeping me in step with You and Your instructions; and for giving me God because there is nothing and no one greater.
“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” (2 John 10-11)
Lord, thank you for preparing me for false teachers; for helping me identify falsehood by training me to cherish sound teaching; for having me refuse hospitality to false teachers who bring reproach to your Kingdom; for making my house a place of truth; for helping me not encourage the Kingdom of Satan; and for protecting me from participating in wicked works.
“Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. The children of your elect sister greet you.” (2 John 12-13)
Lord, thank you for godly teachers who desire to teach and love us; for providing us the means to communicate love; for making our joy complete through others; and for loved ones who prayerfully think about us.