I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. . – Philemon 1.4-7
I like to study the life of Philemon. We know that there is a book with his name on it and we might know what the book is about, but I like to read what Paul says about the character of his friend.
We know that Philemon is the kind of friend who made Paul thankful to know him and here we see why. Philemon was known and appreciated for his love and his faith. That is quite a combination for a believer. Philemon demonstated his faith and his love toward both Gof and others. His faith in God allowed him to trust God enough to love others and that love refreshed the hearts and lives of other believers.
Paul mentions to Philemon the importance of the 'sharing of his faith' and he ties that sharing into Philemon's testimony. The sharing of his faith was only made effective by his own faith and love for others.
It is easy to talk about sharing our faith to mean only telling others about Christ. But sharing our faith is so much more than that. We can share all we want but unless people see our love and our faith our sharing is going to be ineffective. The sharing of our faith requires that we have the faith to trust God to do His work and it requires that we love other people and that we show them our love.
Of course sharing our faith requires our words. Faith only comes by hearing the word of God. But our words must be backed up by our own faith and our own love.
Is our sharing made effective by love and faith? If not, can we really call it sharing?