There is nothing more assuring to our hearts than hearing of God at work in us. The evidences of grace remind us that we are favored of the Lord and please Him in our lives. It strengthens our hearts and motivates us to do more of the same.
When faced with the need to forgive, Philemon is assured of God’s grace by hearing of his own reputation. It is not that of human accomplishment, but that of divine accomplishment in the human life. He was used by God. And now, he is prepared to do more.
Should Paul’s way of assuring Philemon be the standard for us today? I think so. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul gave a bold command, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
Assuring our brothers and sisters in the Lord, by pointing out to them God’s work in their lives, is to be imitated. The purpose should be clear. It has lasting benefits. It strengthens their faith and helps them to be humble, while giving God the glory. It reminds us of our purpose and God’s power. It sets our minds on things above. The list goes on. Here, it serves as a tool to re-energize Philemon’s faith so that he will share his faith all the more.
Is this how you encourage others? Do you give them lasting evidences of God’s grace? If not, you should start. The benefits are reciprocal. It will be a blessing to your faith just as it is to theirs.