Paul was a man who knew what it was like to be freed. He was once one of the fiercest opponents of this new Christian faith that in his eyes, and those he associated with, that this was a rough group that must be cut off before they infected the mainstream. He had made it his mission to search out and execute anyone who did not reject this new practice. Yet Jesus saw something in this man that no one else did. He took Saul and offered him a chance to change his ways and follow Him. In that moment Saul accepting what Jesus was offering changing his name to Paul as an outward sign of his inward change.
This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.
All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.
May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen
Galatians 1: 1-5
Paul knew firsthand what it was like to receive an audible calling from Jesus. This type of call to believe is rare but not unheard of these days. There are reports of stories of Muslim men and woman being spoken to by Jesus and then repenting choosing to give up everything to follow Christ. I believe we are so overwhelmed by entertainment here in the east that we do not know how to block it out and hear his voice. I can attest to this as last night as I was at our churches prayer time I was bombarded with things that distracted me on focusing on prayer. I left feeling discouraged and wondering if I just wasted an hour of my time.
I am finding it hard to separate myself from the entertainment of the world. There is always a great new TV show or movie to watch. Maybe it is the latest novels that are enjoyable to you. Yet we avoid or spend minimal time investing in the bible which is written with the intent of us learning the heart of God. We see later in Galatians 1 that Paul writes that he was freed in Christ but did not run headfirst into the ministry, he waited three years to pray and learn, asking God for direction and purpose. He separated himself from the old ways that had put him on a path of destruction. How effective would Paul have been if he had accepted Christ but still hung out with the people who were killing believers?
I guess the question I ask myself as well as you, is do we truly want to be rescued from this evil world? Or are the pleasures so good that they feel like to leave them behind is asking too much? I don’t have the answer for you, but I know this if we trust God and dig into His word asking Him to guide our path He will put our feet on the path of freedom. Only then will we become effective in sharing our faith with others. And that is our ultimate mission is it not?
Father, I pray for grace and peace to all who read this message. I ask today that you guide us to the path of freedom. Holy Spirit move in us to dig deep into the bible asking questions and receiving answers. Help us to choose Jesus over the distractions of this world and become effective in sharing our faith with others. If we want to truly escape the evils of the world we need to recognize them, help us to see what is hindering our faith. We pray that we become stronger bearers of the light and shine brighter than ever before. We pray for freedom. Amen