Phm 1:21-22 “Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.”
When we are relying on the direction of the Holy Spirit, we find assurance that goes beyond head knowledge. Being led by the Spirit, Paul wrote to Philemon on Onesimus’ behalf. Paul was so confident in the leadership of the Spirit that he sent the letter by the hand of Onesimus. Onesimus willingly walked back into the house of a man who had every legal right to enslave him again. Both Paul and Onesimus were relying on God to be at work with Philemon as He had been with them.
According to Strong’s, one of the definitions of the word interpreted as “confidence” meant “to rely (by inward certainty).” Paul was not just counting on Philemon making the right decision just because Philemon was a good man. He had in inward certainty that he was relying on. It is the same certainty that causes us to step into situations where by men’s reckoning the outcome is anything but certain. Yet, because the Spirit of God compels us, we act without fear. It was this inward certainty that cause Paul to expect Philemon to comply with his desire that Onesimus be received as a beloved brother instead of a run-away servant.
This inward confidence sometimes causes us to know that outcomes are going to exceed our expectations (Eph 3:20). God proves to us time and again that He is able to do above all that we think or ask. This was the attitude of Paul as he begins to bring his letter to a close. Paul assures Philemon that he believes Philemon will do even more than is required or expected because the same love of God that worked in Paul and changed Onesimus also was at work in Philemon. How many times does God given us confidence in an outcome that we do not yet see?
Now Paul moves the focus away from Onesimus and makes a request for himself. By faith, Paul asked Philemon to prepare him a place (guest chamber) to lodge in. Paul was still literally in prison, but he knew that God was able. He also had confidence that the church in Philemon’s house was praying for him. He had seen the evidence before in his life of the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man. Paul had an expectation that he was going to be favored with the liberty to come to Philemon.
May we be blessed with to rely on the inward certainty of the Holy Spirit in our lives and live in the expectation of being favored with the liberty of Christ toward each other!