Recently I began reading Galatians. I’m not really sure if I have ever purposefully read it to learn from it, verse by verse, allowing God to speak to me through it. So, I started at chapter one, figuring that would be a great place to start :). Here, Paul is explaining his reason for writing the letter. The believing Galatians are being taught another “gospel,” one full of things that must be followed in order to be a “true” Christian. So, Paul goes on to defend his own ministry, since those teaching the false gospel are saying he is the one teaching a false gospel. This is where I begin to see something I have never seen before. Paul talks about the first years after his very miraculous conversion (if you want to read up on it, it can be found in Acts 9). I’ve always assumed that after his conversion, Paul dove head-in to preaching about Christ. That’s what it says in Acts, so that is what I assumed. But no! In Galatians, using his own words, Paul explains in more details that he actually took his time! And the only One he let teach him the ins and outs of his new faith was God Himself.
But when God . . . was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia . . . (Galatians 1:15-18; NASB).
Paul took his time getting acquainted with the Christ he persecuted and denied. He didn’t rush around getting others’ opinions. He didn’t turn to the apostles who were there, living and learning under the teaching of Jesus Himself. He let God and God alone teach him what he needed to know, not depending on human witness or knowledge.
I wonder if there are times when God is directing us very clearly in a certain direction, but we turn to friends and loved ones to get their spin and perspective. Or maybe we turn to books to gain more knowledge. Maybe we should be taking the time on our own, with God, to really listen to what He wants us to learn. Society is always pushing us to do more, know more, be more, more, more, more. Maybe we should be more like Paul and take some time away from outside influences to listen to how God wants this phase, this direction in your life to happen. Since God is in control of our lives anyways, listening to Him is the only way to make sure we are doing something His way, right?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for those times when there is no doubt that You are calling us to specifically do something. Remind us, though, that there are times when only Your knowledge is what we need and that it is okay to take the time to hear and learn what we need to know from You. Continue to use us, provide for us, and teach us as we live each day looking for Your guidance. We pray these things in Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.
Contributed by Karen Thomas