Who You Gonna Serve? [Devotional]

Who you gonna serve philemon devotional


Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother (Philemon 1:1 NKJV).

It’s easy to read over and not think much about the words at the beginning of Paul’s letters, but it's worth paying attention to them.

The book of Philemon starts by stating that Paul was a prisoner not of Rome, but of Jesus Christ, even though he was, in fact, in a Roman prison. This is significant because it reveals his attitude regarding his circumstances.

He didn’t play the victim card or complain about his imprisonment. Instead, he saw what most of us would see as a predicament as something that was God’s doing. He realized that he wasn’t serving a sentence to the Roman government, but instead acknowledged that his time in prison was service to Christ.

This perspective no doubt made a big difference in his overall attitude regarding his situation. Instead of seeing his incarceration as a bad thing, he saw it as a good thing. There appears to be no whining or complaining on his part, as he saw his situation as an opportunity to bless others.

Consider the alternative. Had he had a “woe is me” response to being in prison, and spent time in his jail cell pouting and sulking, not only would he have been miserable, he likely would have missed out on an opportunity to minister to people such as Onesimus. Not only would Onesimus not have come to know Christ, but we also wouldn’t have the letter to Philemon.

I don’t want to minimize times when people truly are victims. But it is important to see God’s hand in even the bad situations. He can use every situation to bring about his purposes in our lives, and in the lives of those around us. He can coordinate and orchestrate everything to have us at the right place, at the right time.
There is freedom in recognizing and submitting to God’s rule in your life, even – or perhaps especially – when your circumstances are less than ideal.


Praying the Word

Lord, help me to see your hand in every situation that I’m in, even if the situation is, from a human perspective, horrible. Give me the grace to serve you in the hard places of life. Help me not to wallow in self-pity, but to instead, look for ways to serve others and you in every situation.


Applying the Word

If you’re in a hard place right now, consider how God may use it for his glory and your benefit and the benefit of others. Do your best to shift your focus from one of misery and complaining, to praise.


Faith that Forgives


This post is an excerpt from my book, “Faith that Forgives: Christian Devotional Readings from Philemon.”

Learn more about this book here.

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