"Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say." (Philemon 21)
What a high compliment Paul gave this man. The individual who enjoys a reputation for fulfilling honorable commitments will be rewarded with the confidence of others as well as high recommendation for any kind of service. Paul was asking Philemon to overlook a legitimate grievance, as a favor to him, knowing that the man would do whatever God told him to do, no matter how foolish it might look to others, even to the extent of going beyond what Paul asked of him.
Obedience is played out in more than one way. There are those all-embracing commands in the Word of God that are easily discerned by any honest Believer. These are straight-forward, calling for little, if any, judgment to carry them out. But, on the other hand, we are also confronted in the Christian life with personal precepts that God lays before us as individuals concerning questionable things. Those areas that require intimate dealings with God and that call for obedience not always understood by others. Our own path of obedience may seem austere to some… and too loose to others. The question is whether or not our Heavenly Father’s refusal (or permission) will be enough for us, whether those around us do the same. This kind of obedience—the lonely kind—is the kind that can be trusted by both God and man.
"Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different, not from evil,
but from other good."
— C.S. Lewis