Philemon Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Becky Fong, Gracepoint Berkeley

v.6: Apostle Paul’s exhortation to be active in sharing the faith so that Philemon will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ makes so much sense.  Especially during this unique season where our whole church is mobilizing to maximize the amazing opportunity we have to reach out to thousands of students flooding our campuses this fall, as we have been preparing our hearts through prayer walks, praying through names of incoming students, recalling our own pasts and how God has saved us, it has deepened my understanding and reminded me of how much I have been given in Christ.  These acts of imagining and praying against the distractions, traps, and lies of this world that the students face, recalling my own journey and the journeys of my brothers and sisters as college students, has forced me to be in awe again that I have been called out of darkness into God’s light, where there is forgiveness, knowledge, truth, love, hope, and freedom.  The blessings of what Christ has saved me from and what He has blessed me with are untapped, if I just sit on my faith and do not make any effort to share it with others.  As I try to share my faith and pray and imagine what people are going through, where they are spiritually, what lies they have bought into, and the truth that will save them, what they really need—Christ, I see more clearly what I myself have gained in Christ.  No wonder it is part of God’s plan to not only save us, but to call us to partner with Him in bringing the gospel to others.  

What does Apostle Paul’s offer reveal about the effect of outstanding wrongs or issues to burden and strain relationships?
Apostle Paul’s offer to pay back what Onesimus owes Philemon reflects how outstanding wrongs or issues can really strain all relationships, even those in Christ.  Just because Onesimus was now a brother in Christ with Philemon, and because it was right for Philemon to forgive him any wrongs, does not mean that Onesimus’ acts against Philemon would be automatically, easily erased and forgotten.  A. Paul knows human nature so well, and realistically anticipates further cause for hesitation or strain in the relationship between Philemon and Onesimus by addressing Onesimus’ wrongs and offering to pay for them. I see this in myself as well, that although often I want to be bigger than the issue and just swallow it, there are times when unspoken issues linger and strain my relationships with others, resulting in awkwardness, insecurity of where we stand or how someone will react to me or how I should react to them, etc.  Further, it is normal in any relationship for there to be a strain or tension when one has wronged another, and there is no address of the wrong.

What outstanding wrongs and issues do I have that burden or strain my relationships?  What can I do about this today?
I think rather than outright specific acts, my relationships are more strained by histories, patterns of neglect and self-absorption, and lack of self-control with my feelings of irritation, stress, or just not feeling well.  When I commit these kinds of acts (shortness, harshness of tone, impatience) against my brothers and sisters, I need to be quick to recognize, repent, and apologize.  Today though, I can take to heart that my behavior and omissions, self-absorption, burden and strain my relationships, and make more effort to be thinking of others instead of myself, to notice and ask and try to meet others’ needs instead of being absorbed in my own little world.  I should not take for granted the precious relationships I have been granted in Christ and the forgiveness and mercy and grace I have been given by my brothers and sisters.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Response