I find it extremely difficult to read at times. That doesn’t sound good for an aspiring author. But there’s a good reason for it, and it’s why my Christmas gift from wifey this year was brilliant.
I’ve been diagnosed with ADD (who hasn’t?). If there is any sound while I’m trying to read – music, TV, or a loud conversation – my attention is drawn away from my reading and towards the sound. I am powerless against it. So my favorite Christmas gift in a long time was . . . headphones.
It’s not your run-of-the-mill device. These are noise reduction headphones. On top of that, Vanda had researched an app for my Razr that has a variety of white noise. I prefer the sound of a fan. If I want to read when there are other people around I simply put on my headphones and call up the app to experience the freedom of undiverted attention to my book or magazine.
Paul ends his letter to Philemon in a great way. I encourage you to read verses 17-19 understanding Paul’s tone as gently teasing his good friend (Philemon 17-25). He’s teasing because he knows Philemon’s character. He’s certain that Phil will do the right thing. But, check out verse 25, the last line of the letter: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” I’ll end my short series on Philemon emphasizing this verse.
Paul is asking Philemon to do an extremely difficult thing. The only way such an incredible act of forgiveness, not to mention a Boaz-esque act of redemption (see the book of Ruth), can happen is through a magnificent outpouring of God’s grace. N. T. Wright put it well:
It is a hard thing Paul has asked of [Philemon]; a superhuman task of heartfelt reconciliation and forgiveness. If he is to do it without pride or anger, he cannot do it without grace.
Grace has many facets. Here it is the heavenly white noise that blocks out all distractions so we can focus on doing what pleases God. Try to be godly without it and you’ll fail miserably. It’s an awesome gift, indeed.
Are you trying to do something godly without God’s help? Only the Holy Spirit can give you the ability to do such an amazing thing. Why not invite him to come along on this part of your journey right now?