For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me,* so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother. In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie! Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only heard it said, ‘The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me. (Galatians 1:11-24, NRSV)
How many of you know someone who has changed?
You knew a person back in high school and they were rough and tough and a part of the crowd you didn’t mess with. They were always getting in trouble and doing things that seemed cool…
Then you meet them again years later and your scared when they come up to you, worried that they remembered they said they were going to get you, but never did and now they have finally caught up with you…
But they say, “I just wanted to invite you to come to worship at the church I am serving. You see I’m a pastor now and really would like to see you on Sunday morning with us for worship!”
“Hold on a minute, you’re a pastor? When did this happen? You were the rough kid who always beat us up and skipped school, that wasn’t very religious.”
“Well, God got a hold of me and I’ve changed…”
God has a way of making us see what we can be, rather than what we are. Or better yet He shows us the person we really are, apart from what the world says we are! He helps us live into the person He created us to be.
You see Paul was Saul and a very vehement persecutor of the people who followed Jesus. He was rough and tough and hauled disciples of Jesus to jail, or had them stoned. He was merciless.
But God got a hold of him and showed him what He created him for. And now he is changed!
So what is the life God has for you that we may not see or realize because the noise of the world is so loud that it is keeping us from hearing Him?