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January 25, 2021, 1:00 PM

"But when it pleased God... to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not rush to consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles who came before me, but I went into Arabia and later returned to Damascus."
-Galatians 1:15-17

When Saul encountered the risen Christ, he was radically transformed. He went from “Saul,” the church-persecuting and Christian-killing Pharisee, to “Paul,” the born-again relentless chief ambassador and champion of the Gospel to the nations.

Paul received a direct assignment and commission from King Jesus. Therefore, he didn't need to check in with flesh & blood. He didn't need the approval of the guys in Jerusalem since he had absolute certainty regarding his divine calling.

The absolute certainty of that calling allowed Paul to endure extreme persecution, prisons, torture, beatings, shipwrecks, hunger, cold, and eventually to even face death with joy and dignity. "To live is Christ; to die is gain!"

Before we flippantly throw around phrases like, "God told me..." or "I feel like the Lord wants me to..." let's be certain. Let us embrace and practice God's command to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). Not the worldly habit of pursuing and embracing the stuff that's fun, exciting, new, pleasurable, and lucrative, but instead the stuff God calls us to. The stuff that doesn't conform to the economy or pattern of the world.

If it's bigger, shinier, cushier, comfier, safer, with more benefits, more perks, more power... rather than Spirit-led opportunities for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, humility, and lowly service... like Paul... like Christ, then chances are it's not the voice of God speaking. It's not the voice of God we’re hearing.

  • Fact: King Jesus went to a cross and died.
  • Fact: John the Baptist was beheaded in prison.
  • Fact: Paul was beaten, imprisoned, and killed.

Why do we still believe it should be different for us? Why do we live as though we expect, even demand, God to shield and insulate us from trials and sufferings (Rom 5:1-5) the very things producing character and conforming us into Christ’s image through desperate dependency? Why do we insist on affixing God's name and calling to our pleasures and our pursuits in this world?

"There is a way that seems right... but in the end, it leads to death."
-Proverbs 14:12

Yes, Jesus certainly calls us to come and abandon ourselves, our ALL, unto Him as Lord. His promise isn't of temporal or material blessings... where moths and rust destroy. Quite the contrary. Jesus said, "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."

He wasn't trying to sell us on the idea of Christianity, of Christian values, of church attendance, of tithing or building campaigns. He was, instead, pleading with us to call out to Him, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Savior - to eradicate sin in our being born-again by the Holy Spirit; to truly walk in newness of LIFE.

That's precisely what pleases God. That's why King Jesus came. That's exactly why He went to the cross: for our deliverance from sin into the Body of Christ, His Bride, for the Father's eternal glory!

-Pastor Kevin