Fulfilled Christian Life
There are three main sources of fulfilment for those who believe in Jesus. These have nothing to do with money, possessions, power, prestige or any achievement! In these verses, Paul spells out what matters most: sharing about Jesus with those who do not know Him, understanding all the good things which are ours in Christ, and refreshing other believers through loving service.
Philemon was still a learner, so Paul prays for his progress. The Colossian church leader had already proved his ability to strengthen the other believers. Now, he needed to look outside of those who met for worship and teaching in his house. His next step in discipleship was to tell the gospel to others, explaining why he loved Jesus and how they could come to know Him too. That would not only benefit those who came to faith and join the church, but would also be a real blessing to Philemon: because there is a direct link between active evangelism and understanding the benefits of Christ's passion: those who care enough to share them, are those who appreciate their awesome value.
No believer in Jesus has ever 'arrived' until they see Him face to face. Until then, they are disciples (the word means 'pupil' or 'learner'), and therefore they have more to learn. Wherever we have got to in our Christian walk, there is further to go. If you are already devoted to your fellow believers, how experienced are you in evangelism? If you are regularly bringing people to Christ, how good are you in encouraging other believers? True believers do both! But if your faith is so private that nobody notices, that shows you have more growing to do and might be seeking fulfilment without godliness. So use these verses as a spiritual health check.
© Dr Paul Adams