Read Galatians 1:13-24
13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.
18Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. 19I saw none of the other apostles — only James, the Lord's brother. 20I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." 24And they praised God because of me. (NIV)
Paul is beginning his defense of the Gospel he preached by using himself as an example. His claim in his letter is that the message he got was direct from God and not from any human source. He uses the change in his life as the witness to this gospel. What is interesting is that after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul does not go to any sources by instead heads off to Arabia to be alone with God. He wants to work things our with God before he talks to anyone. There is power in taking time to be with God to allow God to speak to us during dramatic moments in our life.
Paul then says he returned to Damascus to begin his ministry. This was a bold move because he was headed to Damascus to destroy the church – now he goes to preach the Gospel. This was a bold move because he was known in Damascus. There were those who probably opposed his change and wanted to harm him.
He then says it was three years before he finally spoke to Peter and James, the brother of Jesus. He spent 2 weeks with them and then returned to Syria and Cilicia. This is where Tarsus was located. This is the area Paul grew up in and went to school. People knew the old Paul here. It would be a tough place to go again. But Paul went to where he was know again to use the change in him as an example of the Gospel.
Paul over and over used the change in his own life as a witness. We are called to do the same thing. That is our best testimony we have. We can always share what God has done for us and we need to do it unashamedly. We should not worry about what others think, but just what God thinks when we share our love for God and what that love does in our lives.
This begs the question, are you sharing your story to the people you know? That is where we begin before we share it with the world. We are called to be a witness and that can be as simple as sharing our own story. We don’t have to have all the answers to the deep theological questions, we simply have to tell our story.
Blessings and Peace
We have shared so much over time–I feel drained as the days go on and on and on and….