If someone asked you who you were, and what is your driving force, I wonder what you would say? I was converted at 16. I was reading frightening books focusing on fantasy that had an evil aspect, and as I turned my light out, I felt that I had been taken into the places I had been reading about. I was incredibly frightened, but as I opened my eyes, the curtains on my large window were not closed, and the moon was shining in, making the shape of a cross. I heard the voice of someone say “Go and find out about this.” So I did, and my life was changed forever.
Galatians 1:11 kicks off the longest autobiographical section in any of Paul’s letters. He recounts his life since he met Jesus on the Damascus road. He speaks of call, in words that echo the call of Jeremiah, a call to mission –to proclaim Jesus to the world outside of his Jewish heritage. He tells us that he is more than a well-educated Jew, zealous for the traditions of his ancestors. He is someone who has met the One that fulfills all those traditions, and whose death and resurrection have opened up the family of God to any who believe in Jesus, particularly those outside his Jewish heritage, like the Galatians he is writing to.
What does this say to me today? If we are to know the freedom Christ has won for us, we need to know who we are, and who made us who we are. Paul tells his story because he wants his experience to serve as a model for all who read it. His former life was dominated by ‘I’. ‘I was’ V13, ‘I advanced’ V14. Now his life is the result of what God wants. God set him apart and called him V15, God revealed his Son to him V16. Notice that God uses Paul’s character, put to a new service, as he sees the truth about his life, his heritage and Jesus, as Son of God and Lord of all. In this he has found exactly who he was made to be, and what he was made to do.
How did you come to be whom, and what you are today? What are the character traits that people see in you? Consider how knowing Christ has given you freedom to be perfectly you. Can you see how God made you, uniquely you, to be equipped for your part in his mission?