I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ. For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. Philemon 1:6-7
I recently sat down with a new friend for lunch. She is a successful business woman. In the midst of our conversation, she expressed how nice it was to sit and talk with another Christian woman. We shared stories of how God has worked in our lives and how He is continuing to guide and direct our paths, not only professionally, but personally. It was nourishment for my soul. As a Christian, it can be lonely out there. So often, in the office, neighborhood or school, it can feel as if we are the only Christian around. Sometimes it can feel like our faith, love and joy are being questioned and scrutinized from every angle. Have you ever felt like your prayers for others are seen as condescending, your joy as suspicious, your peace as naive and your generosity as frivolous?
Paul didn’t have the luxury of sitting down with Philemon to have lunch, so he sent a letter. The book of Philemon is the personal letter that Paul sent to Philemon expressing his love, faith experiences, and appreciation. Verses 6 and 7 from Philemon show how grateful Paul was for the great love and faithfulness Philemon and other believers shared with him in Christ Jesus. It brought him comfort and joy to consider all of the good things they were doing through their faith and love of Jesus.
Read the verses again in The Message translation.
Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers. Philemon 1:6-7 (MSG)
As believers, we need to lift each other up, share our stories, pray for one another and continue to encourage one another in the faith. If we can’t sit down over lunch and share with one another, sit down and go old school with pen and paper. Write a letter to someone you know and tell them how much their prayers mean to you, how thinking of them encourages you and pray for them.
Your love, actions, faith, prayers and life can be a great encouragement to other believers. When we join together and share how Christ is working in our lives, it makes our faith, joy, and love shine so brightly it can lift the hearts of other believers. Believers who feel as if they are all alone in a world that conspires to hinder the light of God in every way. In fact, it reminds me of another wonderful verse from Matthew that describes the light within us as Christ followers.
“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
Don’t hide your light. Share it, but share it with as many believers as you do non-believers.