Before his eyes were opened to the truth, the apostle Paul (then known as Saul) was well known for violently killing and persecuting Christians (see Gal 1:23). Once he had his dramatic encounter with God, however, he fervently switched gears and began the wondrous pursuit of Jesus. His story is one of beauty and radical grace. The two lives he lived are drastically different in comparison, but that’s the transformative power of God—he can do that.
In today’s reading, Paul tells the church in Galatia that as soon as the truth of Jesus was revealed to him, “immediately I did not consult with flesh and blood [any human being, niv].” Instead of going to Jerusalem, where he could learn from other apostles, Paul immediately went away to Arabia. He didn’t think twice about his next step. He encountered God and then immediately shared about his transformation.
So intense was Paul’s pursuit of God that he was willing to follow God’s lead wherever it took him. That’s something each of us should dwell on if we claim to follow Jesus. Paul didn’t do what was comfortable, natural, or easy. He traveled the world telling others about Jesus.
Paul was all in on the wondrous pursuit. Are you? Am I? Are we really in this 100 percent? Do we ever hesitate or withdraw?
There’s so much to see in the little window into Paul’s life that this passage gives us. I encourage you to spend some time with this passage and open yourself up to what God has to show you in his word.
Verse 10 offers another element of Paul’s wondrous pursuit that stands out to me. “If I were still trying to please people,” he writes, “I would not be a servant of Christ” (niv). Pleasing people isn’t found in any drop of what it means to be immersed in the Christian life. It’s simply contrary to the calling we’ve been given.
Paul wasn’t worried about living for the approval of others. Why? Because living for others’ approval is a draining process that will never harvest eternal fulfillment. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a people pleaser, and I’ve always had a hard time hearing that someone doesn’t like me. But the reality is, even Jesus has people who don’t like him. Not everyone is going to see eye to eye with my way of living, my writing, my beliefs, or my pursuit. And I’m okay with that.
Today, I encourage you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of life. We’re all children of God, and that is where we should find our worth. If we fail to do so, we will never find true value or identity. Instead, we’ll be running around life like a chicken without a head—lost, aimless, and confused. Our worth is to be found in God, sought in God, and rooted in God.