Galatians 1:1-2, 3-5:
1Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia:
What’s in a Greeting?
In his greeting, Paul has no qualms with saying that he is sent by God. This is a bold statement and I wonder how many Christians have this confidence.
The difference for Paul is the knowing – the confidence in the reality that God had put him in a specific time, specific place to reach out to a specific people with the love of Christ. But the same is true for us. Our time is now, our place is where he has us, and our people are the friends and relationships right in front of us.
We struggle with this – often trying to figure out his purpose for us – like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz not realizing our hearts desire is in our own backyard. Or we struggle because we tried to believe like this but felt it did not work out so we assumed we didn’t have faith or we are out of God’s will.
But Paul struggled with these unfulfilled longings and unexpected setbacks too – longing to go to places that he was not able to Rom 1:13 to and frequently getting thwarted in his endeavors. 2 Cor 11:24:29 He didn’t allow this to shake his faith in his mission from God. To Paul, these difficulties were evidential proof that he had enemies in spiritual realms and that God’s purposes where bigger than him but God was always faithful even if we couldn’t understand.
Paul trusted that God loved him and that he was on God’s mission regardless of the situations and circumstances that came his way. He looked for ways to glorify God in them all – for the impossible to become an opportunity for God to do the extraordinary.
Is this the faith you’re experiencing? Does your faith know God is in the middle of all our circumstances? Does your faith recognize and accept the responsibility to love and minister to the relationships God has provided. We are sent and when we realize that, we will be able to encourage others in Christ the way Paul built into the heart of the Galatians – with the grace and peace from God.
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.