but when he who had set me apart before i was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that i might preach him among the gentiles, i did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did i go up to jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but i went away into arabia, and returned again to damascus. [galatians 1:15-17]
this man, hater of the church, persecutor of the saints, lover of a false gospel of legalism, blind to the truth, arrogant, hungry for status, full of head knowledge, but with a heart of stone…was set apart for the glory of God before he was born.
if this doesn’t encourage us to the core, i don’t know what will! God loves us at our worst, dead to his glory, blind to his truth, rebels to his purpose. that was our state when he looked on us in love and called us to himself, by his grace, pleased to reveal his Son to us. and because he loved us at our worst, he will forever delight in us as his children. there is nothing we can think, say, or do to change that. if we are his, we are his forever.
since God calls us in this state, it is God who also qualifies us to serve him, to spread the gospel, to minister to his church. this qualification does not and cannot come from man. God sent paul, and so paul listened and obeyed. not seeking to prove himself worthy, not trying to “get in” with the right circles, or earn his way into leadership. just paul. called by Christ, changed by the Spirit, obedient to the God’s word.
this is personally something that I struggle with. feeling unfit for some ministry. feeling overfit for others. wanting to prove myself worthy instead of just listening and following the call. sometimes God calls me to teach, sometimes God calls me to write, sometimes to cry with someone, and sometimes God just calls me to change a diaper. but in all of these things, God does the calling, and so God does the qualifying, and God does the equipping. no approval of man needed. only humility before God who is the one doing the work.
this obviously doesn’t mean that we disregard the wisdom, encouragement, or exhortation of others. no, God often speaks truth through his saints, and we are to be exhorting one another daily to Godly worship. [heb 3:13] but what freedom would we know if we were completely open to God’s perfect plan for us! [jer 29:11] it would lead us to be just filled with joy to do every good work that God had created for us to do! he promises to work all things together for our good as his children. so we can trust his call, and trust his plan.
for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [eph 2:10]
the steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; [psalm 37:23]
Gracious Father, you have planned out my life, from before the foundation of the world. you chose me, in your love, at my worst, and you have plans for me to bring you glory because of your Spirit who seals me and lives in me. so let me live in your approval. let me walk in your Spirit. let me be satisfied in your glory. amen.