I’ve been noticing how my walk with Christ ebbs and flows. And sometimes, there’s a lot more ebbing than flowing. I can feel stagnant and murky, stuck and lukewarm. I remember the quick-sprout days when I was a growing new believer . . . like a tween who’s growing so fast her clothes don’t fit every few months. I’ve thought about the zealous days of being in college, meeting with other believers daily while reaching out to lost souls all around me. I’ve thought about the throwing-off-everything days when I was living out the verse, “Here am I, send me.”
But that was yesterday. And today is today. Walking with Christ isn’t meant to be stagnant and lukewarm.
There’s a go-to principle for how to get “unstuck” found in Philemon verse 6. “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (NIV1984) When I’ve forgotten how good God has been to me, this verse gives me that needed kick in the pants.
So there’s this guy, named Philemon, who put his faith in Jesus because of Paul’s ministry. And since then, he’s become a man whose faith in Jesus and love for God’s people is well-known. Sometime later, Paul runs into Philemon’s runaway servant and then writes to Philemon asking him to receive the servant back with full forgiveness.
Paul tells Philemon how he knows he is a man of love and faith, and asks him to share that faith and love with others (specifically to this servant who has wronged him). The New Living Translation says, “And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith.” And when you do this, you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
Do you want to know the goodness of Christ to you and in you, Philemon (and dear sister)? Be ACTIVE in sharing your faith. Let God’s generosity shown TO you be given to those AROUND you. And when you do, you’ll UNDERSTAND all the more how good He has been to you.
On the flip side, if you don’t live out your love and faith, you won’t understand this Christ that is in you. You won’t be able to grasp all that He’s done for you and the ways that He’s changing you. You’ll diminish His goodness to you. You’ll forget to thank him for every good thing in your life. You’ll think that somehow, you got to where you are on your own.
So what is my way out of stagnant times? Be ACTIVE in sharing my faith. Pray with and for my kids. Point them to the gospel of Christ in their successes and failures. Tell someone I’ve wronged that I’m sorry. Forgive someone. Reach out in kindness to a friend and a stranger. Share about Jesus with someone who’s lost and hopeless in life.
I have found that every time I am active in sharing my faith with someone else, I find that I am actually preaching the gospel to myself. And I am given a fuller understanding of every good thing that I have in Christ.
Elissa Hyatt is a child of God who is blessed to be wife to Steve for 17 years, and mom to Jack, Addy, Hannah, and Will (ages 14, 12, 10, and 7). She enjoys running, hiking, and is training for a century bike ride (100 miles) this summer with her dad. She's thankful for the hope and purpose she has in Jesus that gets her out of bed in the morning.
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