“But when God who had set me apart before I was born and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being.”- Galatians 1:15-16.
If you had to write about how you came to faith in Christ, what would you say? What changes would you notice, if any, because of the choice you made to commit to Him? I love Paul recounting his story of what the circumstances were that brought Him to faith in Jesus and His church that he at first was trying to destroy. We think we had trying circumstances before we came to faith, or we had no problems at all because we were raised in a Christian home. Paul, has both extremes beat and why? Because he did what he believed to be right, serving his faith and country by persecuting the church of God (cf Galatians 1:13). Yet by the time you get to verse 24, his story completely changes! He is now PREACHING in churches, not burning them!
What was the reason for this change? God’s grace. It is interesting the life changes that happened to Paul because of his change. We will talk more about what those changes were this Sunday, yet for now my question is, what are you willing to sacrifice for Christ? Paul’s “zeal for the traditions of his ancestors”(Gal 1:14) before His conversion means he was a family man. He was also, as noted above, very religious. We are not told how Paul’s contemporaries or his family felt when he became a follower of Christ. We do know how Paul responded: “I went away to Arabia and Damascus”-Gal 1:17. The sacrifice though surely painful, was worth it for Paul. His life was not His own anymore. What would you write for your bio? A better question is, what would people say about it? My hope is the same thing that the churches of Judea said, “they glorified God because of me.”- Gal 1:24. Change is hard ladies and gentleman, the Christians that show change have one thing in common: they have accepted the fact that God has acted on their behalf. Have you come to terms with what Christ has bought for you? He wants you to, and His cross is proof of purchase.
— John Thomas is the Pastor at Carroll Springs UMC