Philemon Day 10 Purposed Pain
He was a prisoner,
writing to a free man,
about a slave
who had escaped and cheated his way into freedom.
He was the free man’s runaway slave.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Oh, did I mention the prisoner’s only “crime” was speaking of Jesus?
The one bound by unfair shackles was advocating
to the free man
on behalf of the runaway.
Does a sense of justice rub your soul the wrong way about now?
We read the words again, imagining the scene in our minds. It doesn’t take long before we begin putting ourselves in the place of the unjustly punished prisoner. Faces and circumstance sneak in as we recall being the receiver of un ”justice”.
My child was supposed to live.
My loved one wasn’t supposed to suffer.
My spouse wasn’t supposed to cheat on me.
What was mine was stolen away.
I deserved better.
All the while, the stifling bond of Self Love constricts our heart ever-tighter.
Through the course of life events that surely felt random at the time, but were actually God-ordained, the runaway slave, Onesimus, crossed paths with prisoner Pastor Paul, who shared the good news of freedom in Jesus with Onesimus.
The man whose feet were shackled spoke of a freedom the runaway had no concept.
Paul’s physical freedom had been restricted, but his soul had long been released to roam the heart of God; it was this freedom he shared with Onesimus.
The runaway had his own view on freedom, or lack thereof.
Slaves held no rights, were viewed as property, and made no income. Onesimus longed for escape from injustice. Lusting for a freedom he could not buy, he ran from his chains, never realizing the heaviest bonds he bore were wrapped around his soul.
Until Paul, that is.
Paul, having experienced the internal wrestling and external rebellion of kicking against the God of Righteousness and Perfect Justice, shared of true freedom with Onesimus. (Acts 26:14)
All of your striving will not win your freedom, for you are enslaved not to a human taskmaster, but to the rule of Sin and Death. Your work makes no difference in tipping the scales. Whether you ran from your master or remained a dedicated slave until the day of your death, unless you turn from the sin of Self Love that strangulates your soul,
you will continue to feel its death grip for all eternity.
Paul had found another way, the only way, to slash the shackles of Sin and Self.
The doorway was direct access to God Himself, the God of Justice.
The access point?
A human body, holding perfect divinity within its skin,
unjustly slaughtered for the sins of the world,
and risen again to conquer Sin and Death.
The open door to intimacy with God was grace, grace, and grace. (Romans 5:1-2)
Jesus embodied injustice utterly undone as He took all punishment upon His innocent soul.
Herein, Paul found his delight, whether slave or free, living in plenty or in want, He discovered the purpose in his pain existed not in the circumstance,
but in the Christ who paid the debt to Justice.
A debt Paul owed.
Though he’d broken no law to gain his physical chains, he had broken the law of God countless times with his sin, incurring the rightly deserved wrath of God. (Romans 3:5-6)
The Self Love Life.
These sins bring God’s righteous wrath upon us.
“For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18)
Do you see those chains, Sister? Do you feel them slice into your skin as you work to free yourself from their hold?
Our only freedom is found through the same doorway Paul walked and then proclaimed with urging passion. Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ. (John 10:9)
As it was true for Paul, Philemon, and Onesimus, forgiveness and true freedom are available to us. If we will come to Jesus, dropping our attempts at “good enough” and reviling the sins of Self Love, He will shatter our chains, removing our sin as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12-13)
“Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in the household forever,
but a son does remain forever.
So if the Son sets you free,
you really will be free.”
The chains on Paul’s body couldn’t touch his soul.
The freedom Onesimus thought he had without his chains was meaningless.
The freedom of Philemon’s heart allowed him to see his slave as now his brother
because Christ had truly set him free.
Philemon Day 10
By holding steadfast in your personal walk with Jesus and how you carry yourself, yes even on bad days, are noticed by your neighbors, co-workers, family, and your fellow church goers. Your ripple effect really does have an impact. Even when the struggles of life weigh on you, be assured that your connections, conversations, and convictions plant seeds, just as Paul’s did for one runaway slave turned brother in Christ!
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Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
This Week's Lock Screen
Authentically living out a life of worship to the God who rescued us from darkness requires accountability and intentionality. Join a GT POD and take the next step in your faith journey!