Galatians 1:13-16 (KJV), (NIV link below)
13For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Call and Response
Paul begins, in this section, to recount his calling by God. He knows that God had set him apart for a task from birth. The thing is, God sets all of us apart for something. For most of his life, though, Paul had not been doing this task for which he had been set apart. In fact he had been actively working against it, persecuting the church and trying to destroy it. Unbeknown to him at the time, this activity, which seemed to work against the purpose of God, was preparation. God waited until the right time and then called Paul forth.
God’s calling is an act of revelation. It was an act within history directed toward Paul. Once it occurred, there could be no doubt in his mind. Paul’s response was immediate. He needed to sort this thing out for himself. This was no one else’s calling, no one else’s faith. This had to be his own faith, he needed to work it out for himself. Now he did eventually go to join the church, and most of his development and work was in the broader community, but this was a personal calling. He could not rely on someone else.
Leave your thoughts below and join the conversation, here are some reflection questions to get started:
Have you experienced a calling on your life from God? Have you responded yet? For Paul, his call to salvation and call to ministry were the same, for others they come at different times. However, Paul was already on a different career path than the ministry he later pursued. Have you considered whether God is calling you to pursue a different path than the one you are on? Instead of thinking this past time spent as wasted, do you think God has been preparing you in unexpected ways? Even if you are in an entirely secular position, how do you think you can demonstrate God’s particular calling on your life in it?