The past weeks, I’ve talked about living big. Philemon is the text – a great story. It’s his opportunity to really live big. See, his servant abandoned him personally costing him emotionally and physically. There was financial loss too – both direct and indirect. God had plans for this servant named Onesimus. He was introduced to the gospel and discipled by Paul. He (Onesimus) would return to Philemon. How would you respond to someone who abandoned you, caused you loss, and broke your trust? I guess I made my point. Without the challenge to live big, I think I’d live awfully small given similar circumstances. But, something was different this time around. Onesimus would return different from when he left – now a believer and brother in the faith. Philemon (a Christ follower) had a choice. He could welcome (embrace) or reject this man. People were observing – his wife, son, and all the other believers that met in his home. How would he respond to Onesimus? This was Philemon’s defining moment. Paul challenged him to live big – to live above the circumstance.
Not only did Paul want Philemon to rise above the circumstance, he challenges us to live big. Did you know God wants you to live big? He wants for you to live well – to live beyond your circumstance. Don’t get caught up in the junk, but gain a bigger perspective and live large. Here are a couple of lessons I’ve learned from Paul about living big through the circumstance. These are large practices and behaviors. It’s all about living big. So how can you live big through your situation?
- Live from conviction, values, and passion. Operate from conviction, your core values, and your passions. Make value based decisions – not on how you feel or rationalize, but based upon conviction. Live (fellowship) faith well.
- Live beyond the orientation of personal rights. Sometimes you need to let go of your “rights” in order to experience the bigger gain. My rights can win a battle, but closely held personal rights lose the war. Learn this lesson early – it’s not about you and your rights. The sooner you let go, the sooner you’ll realize God’s gain.
- Live for the good of another. You’ll never go wrong considering and living for the well being of another person. Promoting and pursuing the welfare of another is large living.
- Live above expectation. When the bar has been set, choose to live above the bar. Living above expectation is large living.
- Live in community and the team. Life is to be lived in relationship. Choose to tap into the power of community and teamwork. We accomplish so much more working together.
- Live out of your God given identity. Remember your identity and live out of your identity in Christ. Your real identity isn’t found in work, people, church, stuff, or achievement. One’s true identity is in Christ – live well this identity.
- Live with consistency and constancy.
- Live prepared. Live intentionally prepared. Faithfulness isn’t haphazard. If you’re going to live big, you must prepare big.