Scripture: Galatians 2:1-10
Observation: Paul recounts his visit to Jerusalem, talking to church leaders about the message of Jesus. He makes it clear that the message of Jesus is a message of freedom; we are no longer bound to the law (including circumcision).
Application: You know the stories of the “wild child” of the family? The one who would sneak out, get away with crazy stunts unbeknownst to her parents, refuse to follow the rules?
I was most definitely not that child. In fact, I was completely opposite of the “wild child” – I was the rule-following, authority-respecting, does-her-homework-by-herself-without-being-reminded-and-puts-herself-to-bed-by-nine-on-a-weeknight child. To sum up my life in one word? I was responsible.
(I like to think I was a parent’s dream – Mom and Dad, do you agree? :-)
I’m thankful that I was wired to be responsible – it’s a characteristic that has served me well, especially as I learned how to adult. (I’m 27 and still learning how to adult. I can pay bills, take care of a baby, and make coffee in a real coffeepot, but when it comes to making an appointment to go get my car serviced, I wait at least two months later than I should because well, I have no idea why; it just feels like a daunting task. Anyone else relate?)
But, I started to realize that responsibility isn’t just about cleaning and calling insurance companies and going to bed at a decent time. As followers of Jesus, our responsibility runs much deeper than completing household chores and homework. We have a responsibility to our Creator to carry out the calling he’s placed on our lives.
If Paul is anything, he’s responsible for his unique calling. He knows who he is (a loved Son of God), why he’s here (to share the Good News of Jesus Christ), and how he’s supposed to do it (travel throughout the region, focusing on spreading the message of Jesus to the Gentiles).
“…they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.” (v.7-8)
He knew who he is, why he was here, and how he was supposed to live out his calling. Do you?
These are deep questions – questions of identity and belonging and purpose, questions that define our direction and our relationships and our future. So refuse to answer them alone. Invite God into every question. The world has plenty of “answers” for us – and every answer leaves us longing and craving more, different, better. But when we allow God to tell us who we are, why we’re here, and how we’re supposed to live it out, we discover security and peace.
Paul’s ministry was so extraordinary because his purpose was so clear – and he never wavered. He was asking the Lord where he should go next, but he was never asking who he was or what he was supposed to do. He knew the “who I am” and “why I’m here,” and then stayed close enough to the Lord to hear the answers to the “how to do it now.” He settled it. I love how James focuses on the importance of “settling it” in James 1:
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you… but when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-7)
Today, let’s invite God into these questions we all wrestle with. Recognizing who we are – sons and daughters of the King of Kings, deeply loved, valued, and known – brings security we can’t find anywhere else in this world. Realizing why we’re here – finding our purpose, the reason we get up in the morning ready to face the world and go to bed satisfied – brings a satisfying contentment that transcends our circumstances. And finally, discerning how we’re supposed to live out our purpose – brings direction and clarity to our unpredictable lives. So who are you? Why are you here? How are you supposed to live it out?
Let’s settle it, take responsibility, and live it out.
Prayer: God, thank you for creating me with a purpose, one that brings life and freedom and complete security. I pray that as you reveal it to me, you fill me with the courage to live it out. Amen.