Not by men, but by God - Galatians 1:11-24

In my career, I have worked hard to get where I am. There are times when I have worked incredibly hard but still not advanced. We have also moved many times to places, some we wanted, but most we didn’t have the desire to go to. However, I sometimes can get caught up in my own merits and forget that I am where I am because of God. It is also easy to forget that it is not my job that is moving us places, but it is the will of God. He has a purpose for my family and me, and He has a purpose for you.

Galatians 1:11-24
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

Christianity is not given by man. The Gospel cannot be received from man, but it is a revelation that occurs by the Holy Spirit. It is through Christ that we have the Gospel. Paul was zealous about what he learned and studied. Zealous about the law of Moses. Paul was so zealous that he was likely the last person that anyone would think that God could use. He had a solid and fervent desire toward the cause he thought to be true. He violently persecuted Christians because he thought that he was in the right. He violently tried to destroy what was counter to everything he was taught. Paul had such a passion for the traditions of the law that he quickly progressed through the ranks. But, God saw something in Paul that pleased Him. If God can use someone like Paul, then he can easily use any one of us.

Even though Paul was excelling and passionate about his role, he states that God called him and set him apart by grace. Paul was not called by anyone but God. There was no accomplishment or act that Paul did to earn his salvation. God’s will for Paul was different than what Paul thought the plan for his life was. God called him away and utilized his gifts to spread the Gospel further. Jesus spoke directly to Him. He experienced a revelation in Christ. Everything before this revelation with Christ, everything Paul did, was by his own merit. But, he received the pure Gospel that was not distorted by the words of men. From then all, it was no longer about what Paul could do or about his merit, but it was all about what God could do to further His kingdom. God knows our hearts and reveals Himself to us. He has a calling for all of us, but do we know our hearts, and are we open to the change that aligns with God’s will? God called Paul to go contrary to traditional teaching. There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile in God’s eyes. All are welcome to accept His free gift, no matter what walk of life we come from. 

Therefore, we need to understand that God has a purpose for us. There is something in each of us that is pleasing to Him. He can and will use us, even though it may be completely unexpected. We are set apart by God through His grace. We may not nearly have the passion that Paul did, but we as Christians must continually pursue an increased desire to be closer to God and make disciples of all nations. Are we being the witness that God calls us to be? Furthermore, we Christians need to realize that God can call anyone. They may be the least expected for a certain job required by God, but if God is calling them and places the calling on their heart, then who are we to stand in the way of God’s will? God will provide all of us with the credentials and gifts required for His will in our lives. Let us use them to further His kingdom.
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