Every Good Thing

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” Philemon 3-7

Paul has a way of embracing- with grace and encouragement- those to whom he writes. In penning this greeting to Philemon and the church at his home, Paul affirms, with gratitude, their love and faith. Then he directs them to the purpose of sharing that faith: that it would be effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. What does that mean?

All points to Christ, who saved us to be freed from self and sin and live for Him. By grace He saves us through faith, that we would do the good works He’s planned for us to do. In saving us He deposits His powerful Spirit in us, who inspires us to will and work for His pleasure. He grants every spiritual blessing in Christ, and supplies all we need according to His riches in Christ. These are indeed good things! Ours for the believing, ours for the implementing and sharing, ours for His sake. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:3; 2:8-10; Philippians 2:13; 4:19)

When we’re depleted, or wrestling with identity or direction, would we take stock of every good thing we have in Christ, for His sake? Would we check whether we appropriately value the limitless treasure of Christ, proven by our worship, and gratitude, and loving fear of Him? Are we putting His generous gifts into practice, using them to triumph over temptation, to proclaim His name, and to stoke faith?

How do Paul’s personal words encourage me in understanding and putting to use my spiritual blessings? And how will I similarly build up others to know Christ and to live and speak for His sake? In what ways am I refreshing the saints by gracing them with joy and comfort?

“God rest you merry, gentlemen,
let nothing you dismay;
remember Christ, our Savior
was born on Christmas Day
to save us all from Satan’s pow’r
when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy.
..

‘Fear not,’ then said the angel,
‘let nothing you affright;
this day is born a Savior,
the true and radiant light,
to free all those who trust in him
from Satan’s pow’r and might.’
O tidings of comfort and joy.
..

Now to the Lord sing praises,
all you within this place,
and in true love and fellowship
each other now embrace;
this holy tide of Christmas
is filled with heav’nly grace.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.” ~ English Carol (1850)

Lord, because of every good thing You give, may I spread glad tidings of comfort and joy everywhere, for Your holy sake.

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