Philemon 1:6

That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

I usually play golf with our humble pastor once a week. It isn’t to take his money or many times even for the desire of a good score. I find myself greatly benefiting spiritually by connecting with him and picking his brain. Our spiritual connection is a blessing to me and makes me stronger in faith. We are similar in age and backgrounds. The “humble” part comes in because he claims every good shot came by luck and every bad shot was to be expected by his own talent.

We like to attribute everything large or small that happens in our life to either our efforts or dumb luck. We take the credit when something works out well and shake off a setback to bad fortune. Sports or games of chance have many of these attributes. A few inches one way or another can result in made or missed putts, home runs or foul balls, and first downs or turnovers.

Admittedly, one of the hardest yet simplistic truths for me to accept is the fact that nothing good can come from our own doing without the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. Obeying the Holy Spirit is a rather easy task most of the time and something positive is always the result. His directions and desires are rather clear. However, I catch myself putting “me” and “I” into the equation without any conscious effort to do so. When we preach a well-received sermon or teach a compelling Sunday School lesson, it is easy to attribute these successes to our own self preparation. What is hard to accept is that none of the “self” part was good – none.

Paul was thankful for Philemon. He loved both Jesus and his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul prayed that many would be touched or effected by Philemon’s sharing of his testimony. Philemon needed to acknowledge that everything good in his life was given by God.

The only good that we have in our life is what our Savior has given us. This fact is our testimony. Before we can share it, we must realize the key spiritual truth that everything good in our life comes from Christ. In order for salvation to be effectual, the Holy Spirit must convict the heart. When salvation is accepted, the crevices of our heart are searched out and cleaned. He rids the heart of our old nature and we become a new creature. The cleansed soul is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. He gives us a desire to share the real root of what is now “good” in our life. It isn’t from luck or work by the sweat of our brow. Our only “good” comes from Christ and it is only this “good” which can be “effectual” toward the saving of a lost soul. As I am often reminded, God is in the “saving business”, not the “golf business.”

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