Called by God

Slices

Prepare

Pray: ‘Lord God, help me to know that I am called by you.’

Bible passage

Galatians 1:11–24

Paul called by God

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.

18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles – only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing to you is no lie.

21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: ‘The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ 24 And they praised God because of me.

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I know a young woman who became a Christian a few years ago. Before her conversion, she hadn’t thought much about God, and then… Everything changed, and now she is on a journey of following Christ: ‘I received it by revelation from Jesus…’ (v 12). Sometimes, those who observe our lives think we are merely constrained by our own opinions and don’t understand that as believers we have a relationship with and are called by Christ. That’s what has changed us.

Paul, met by Jesus, deliberately took time out to listen and learn from him (vs 15–21). In retrospect, he understood that he had been ‘called’ by God from birth (vs 15,16). His transformation from persecutor to preacher brought praise from those who witnessed this (vs 23,24) and prepared him for the ministry God had for him.

Our ministry will be different from others’ (certainly Paul’s!). Nevertheless, his testimony challenges us to think about our own experience of Christ. How much time are we spending deliberately with him, seeking his will and calling for our lives? Although Paul’s route to faith was exceptional, notice that he didn’t exclude himself from other believers (v 18). His reason for stressing his call here is to point to his dependence on Christ alone (v 11).

Author
'Tricia Williams

Respond

Ask God to refresh the sense of call to you and strengthen your resolve to follow him now.

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Read the Bible in a year: Exodus 39,40; Matthew 4

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