11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; 14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. 15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.
18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; 23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they were glorifying God because of me.
Examine / Explain
I see Paul explaining his apostleship to the church at Galatia. He was a Hebrew among Hebrews, yet the personal revelation through Jesus converted him from destroying Christians to creating them. In God’s infinite wisdom and being outside of time, he knew that Saul would be so zealous for his people, and it would take an extraordinary circumstance for him to believe in Jesus. This message went out to the Gentiles. A jew who was bent on destroying people because of his religious beliefs now went to the Gentiles so that they may also believe in God.
How do I apply this in my life?
What is my story? What was I doing against God? Now, what am I doing for God? How has my past turned into the ministry that I serve under? I didn’t get a divine revelation on a trip to persecute people, but I did receive the miracle of salvation. And through that miracle, I receive the Holy Spirit, who can use me to help others who struggle with a similar past to mine. Know your target audience. I’m just a guy from nowhere who used my addiction to deal with my pain and need to feel in control of something. I’m curious if this small-town guy is being used on the grand scale of advancing the kingdom. I know I do things that everyone can see. But who cares? I know God cares. I know my heavenly Father cares, who I believe has given me direction. It’s about more than how many likes I get or how many people watch the videos. Am I following my calling? To the point of death? According to this passage, Paul knew his calling, and it was set before he was born. My calling was set before I was born. And here it is, a shy guy putting things out on the internet for all to see. I feel like not caring about the numbers is considered a loser way of justifying how bad my content is. Lies! I must remember who I am doing all of this for. The only numbers I care about are: first, the One who sent me on my assignment, and second, the ones who are stirred in their soul to be curious about the One who sent me.
What is my response?
Father, remind me daily who I do this for! Give me the strength, courage, and endurance to keep going no matter what. Let me be a valuable tool in the kingdom of God so that I may point some back to who You are and that I might let the glory of God shine upon the Son in my lifetime. I pray that I can stay on the target of my calling. Discipleship and freedom for men who are bound to addiction is heart. Everything I do has the bent of leaning toward discipleship and freedom. Maybe because that’s where I was. I don’t want another man to go through the same struggles I did in walking. I know that we are to teach the next generation these same foundations. Father, am I faithful enough to say place me anywhere you want me? Do I believe you enough to know I can lead others in any place I land? Can I handle the messiness of life with other men? I know I don’t have to have all the answers, but I know I have to go and let them know that someone cares about them. What does that look like in my life? Is it more than I am doing now? Will I ever really know?