PHILEMON 4–7 – I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”
THEME OF THE DAY: A LIFE OF INFLUENCE. Imagine having a testimony like the one we read of in the life of Philemon. Actually, I hope we don’t have to imagine it. My prayer is such a glowing life of influence for Christ is reality in our lives, not an imagination. And it can be. It was in a missionary to India.
The story is told of Gordon Maxwell, missionary to India, that when he asked a Hindu scholar to teach him the language, the Hindu replied: “No Sahib, I will not teach you my language. You would make me a Christian.” Gordon Maxwell replied, “You misunderstand me. I am simply asking you to teach me your language.” Again the Hindu responded, “No, Sahib, I will not teach you. No man can live with you and not become a Christian.”
Our testimonies for the Lord Jesus consist of two elements. First, there is our verbal profession of faith – But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Romans 10:8-10). Jesus told us this is an important aspect of our Christian profession – “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). But there is another element. It is our observed life. Like Philemon, though he had both.
The Apostle Paul would affirm the lifestyle of the Gospel as an integral part of one’s witness for Christ – Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, (Philippians 1:27). We send a message of confusion if our conduct doesn’t match our verbal profession. Not only confusion, but no influence.
However, when our verbal profession is affirmed by our actual conduct, we have a greater opportunity for influence. And it all begins with understanding our mission in the world – put forth the genuineness of Jesus Christ by living and proclaiming His Gospel.
PRAYER: “Father, may my life be one of Christ-like influence.”
QUOTE: “Our testimonies are not only in what we say but how we live.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,