The letter to Philemon is much more than a personal letter from Paul to his friend about the runaway named Onesimus. It is a message from God to each one of us. It is a message about what God expects to see in the lives of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.
The Lord expects to see His children:
Refreshing Others (v.7, 20). We can be a refreshing joy or an exhausting drain on others. Being helpful and considerate of the needs and feelings of others will go a long way.
Embracing Divine Commands in the Spirit of Love (v.8-9, 14). Paul did not want Philemon to engage in the right action with the wrong heart.
Remaining Open to the Providence of God (v.15). Perhaps this was God’s plan all along!
Treating Others with Respect as Equals (v.12, 17). The disciple of Jesus will see all people as precious souls created in the image of God.
Willing to Forgive When They Have Been Wronged (v.18). To be willing to pay the debt that someone else owes requires a great deal of love and compassion.
Finding Joy in Reconciliation (v.20). Paul would find blessed peace upon hearing that Philemon and Onesimus had reconciled.
Going Above and Beyond What is Required or Expected (v.21). A disciple of Jesus does not ask about the minimum requirements.
Praying (v.22). Pray for a visit and keep the guest room prepared!
Paul expected to find these qualities in Philemon because he was a follower of Christ. God expects to find these characteristics in us. Will He find such faith in us?
– Bart Warren S. Green St. church of Christ Glasgow, KY