Monday, December 16, 2013

Titus and Philemon

Today we read two books in the Bible, Titus and Philemon.  Both of these are letters from Paul.  Titus is the third of the "pastoral epistles" as Paul gives instructions for appointing elders in Crete.  It's a place known by it's trouble, and apparently the people need strong leadership and guidance in their faith.  Imagine that.  Philemon is Paul's shortest book, only one chapter.  It's to the point as he writes specifically to ask Philemon to forgive a slave (turned Christian) whose name is Onesimus.  Paul makes it clear that he loves Onesimus as a "brother in the Lord."  

Onesimus brings up, at least for me, the power of our relationship with Jesus to transform our relationships with others.

Paul reminds us how and why we are saved.

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

We who believe are renewed by the Holy Spirit.  A relationship with Jesus changes who we are, both in ways we can see and in ways we can't.  He works in our hearts.  He fills us with joy.  He heals us (even if our bodies aren't perfect).  He uses us for His purposes.  And if Jesus does that for me, well, I have to know that Jesus is doing it for all who come to believe in him.  

Onesimus, like Paul, is another example of God's grace at work.

16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

Onesimus is set free in Christ.  He finds new life that is so much better than his old one.  As a brother in Christ, God is able to bring just the right people into Onesimus' life.  People that nurture and support him, his faith, and his God-given purposes.  And at the same time, others are called to see Onesimus differently, separate from his past, in light of God's grace.

Can you think of a time when Christ set you free?

We all have things we need to talk to Jesus about so we can be set free.  Is there anything 
that holds you back or drags you down right now?  Start the conversation.  It's never too 
late.  Watch God work for you and through you.

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank you for your mercy and renewal I have in Jesus Christ, my Savior.  Thank you for filling me with hope by the Holy Spirit.  I pray that my everyday relationship with You will transform my relationships with others.  Like me, as a believer, my relationships are also a constant work in progress.  Fill my relationships with Your love and grace, and help me to nurture them for You.  I pray for my relationship(s) with ___________.

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Grace and peace,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

No comments:

Post a Comment