Day 11

Philemon’s Love and Faith

from the Colossians and Philemon reading plan

Philemon 1:1-7, Psalm 23:1-6, Philippians 1:3-11

BY Tameshia Williams

Reading Paul’s epistles can make me nostalgic for the days of hand-written letters. A child of the nineties, I’m old enough to remember the time before email and other electronic communications, when snail mail was just mail. The memory doesn’t fade: the sound of my pen scratching against my notepad as an adolescent me inked a letter to a friend or a relative. There was something personal about licking the envelope (even though Mom said to use a sponge) and the gross (but secretly liked) aftertaste, then dropping it off in the mailbox. 

In addition to writing to the church at Colossae, Paul also sent a letter to his friend, Philemon, who lived in Colossae, on behalf of another friend, Onesimus. Paul penned both letters during his house arrest in Rome. In the opening verses from Philemon, we’re given a picture of who we are to be to one another, and what active involvement in the Church really looks like. We also discover that Philemon was actively involved in the Christian community in Colossae, hosting church gatherings at his house (Philemon 1:2). 

Paul tells us Philemon was a source of “great joy and encouragement” because of his service among the Colossian believers, causing “the hearts of the saints [to be] refreshed through [him]” (v.7). It seems Philemon was more than a friend to Paul—he was a brother in the faith (v.7). 

Because of the gospel, we, too, are deeply connected to each other; we are a faith family, yet ours is more dynamic than distant relatives who only see each occasionally or even a close-knit family. God intends for us to be fully present in our relationships with the believers in our lives. As our Good Shepherd, He has made provisions for all of our needs, spiritual and natural (Psalm 23:1), and He often uses the members of our Church family to meet our needs, and vice versa. 

Daily, we move toward relationships in love, refreshing hearts when we show up for one another. That can look like contributing our financial resources or sharing a meal. That can look like walking with those experiencing hard seasons of loss and offering comfort. And showing up especially includes forgiveness. As sources of joy and comfort, we support each other in every situation, good or bad, committed to one another’s spiritual growth.

Philemon’s love and faith were a testament to the love and sacrifice that Jesus demonstrated through His life and death. The gospel is the foundation and continuing motivation for all our acts of love. God calls every one of us to live out our salvation among His family of believers. Let’s continue to seek the Lord for specific ways in which we can refresh the hearts of the people God has placed in our lives.

Post Comments (48)

48 thoughts on "Philemon’s Love and Faith"

  1. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that the Lord would bring me closer to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Covid was such a time of isolation and being a mom to a small child can be isolating as well. I miss previous seasons where I really did life with people. I want to do that again. Although, I know it will look different during this life stage.

  2. Mercy says:

    Praying for little Liam for a good update and safe treatment for his eye. Maureen CK, please keep us posted.
    Alexis – praying for your bones to be strengthened, your body to be quickened by the power of God (Romans 8:11).
    ERB- lifting your family, brother and his wife, may God come in mightily with healing, financial provision, help, support to settle the chaos that this accident has caused, for fears or anxieties to be calmed/removed. May God turn around what the devil meant for evil for His good.
    Sarah- I shared the same feeling with you at times. Praying for you and your husband for God’s clear directing on returning to church.
    Erica- wow, may I say you are so strong, may I say that you are a hero mom. I always have deep admiration for military moms/wives and their silent yet tremendous sacrifices. Praying for you and your children, safe surgery + recovery, good rest and many helps to be sent to you.
    Jerri- praying for your son and the neurologist appointment. May complete healing come for your son. Healing is the bread for God’s children (1 Peter 2:24)

  3. Mercy says:

    Praising God for all of you, I am thankful that Paul gave thanks always for His fellow believers/ fellow soldiers, for they refreshed him, fought with him. I am thankful for our wonderful fellowship on SRT that God has blessed me with, you too have all refreshed me with your faith, your prayers, your comments day in and day out.
    I came across this a while back and it always stuck with me regarding the insights of the ever so famous and assuring Psalm 23:

    The Lord is my Shepherd (that’s relationship)
    I shall not want (that’s Supply)
    He makes me to lie down in green pastures (that’s Rest)
    He leads me beside the still waters (that’s Refreshment)
    He restores my soul (that’s Healing)
    He leads me in the paths of righteousness (that’s Guidance)
    For His name’s sake (that’s Purpose)
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (that’s testing)
    I will fear no evil (that’s protection)
    For you are with me (that’s faithfulness)
    Your rod and your staff the comfort me (that’s discipline and comfort)
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies (that’s Hope)
    You anoint my head with oil (that’s Consecration)
    My cup runs over (that’s Abundance)
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (that’s Blessing!)
    And will dwell in the house of the Lord (that’s security)
    Forever (that’s eternity)

    Glory to Him and His promises.

    1. Julie Murray says:


  4. Victoria E says:

    Good morning sisters ! Thankful for you all and how refreshed I feel connecting with you and praying for you and being lifted up in prayer by you. Have a blessed day !

  5. Jerri says:

    My 23 yr old son is about to have his 1st appointment with a new neurologist. It is a teleheahealth appointment. Please pray all goes well. He has done well since the 3 seizures last week. Thank you for all your prayers!

  6. Mari V says:

    I loved this devotional this morning! So much! I wish I had more time to comment but I’m off to work. I am so thankful for the friendships God has placed in my life. They are my family.

  7. Cristina Higgins says:

    ERB, praying for you all! Thanking God that his injury did not get any worse during those 6 days without treatment. God was surely holding him up during that time. I pray that he can relax and heal in God’s care!

  8. Cindy Hanna says:

    @SarahJoy. Amen! That last comment in today’s devotional struck me as well. I extended the thought to my church family (especially those who tirelessly serve). I join you in prayer to be a “refresher of hearts”.

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