I had barely read past verse 3 in the first chapter of Galatians when I realized something had caught my attention. It was earlier than normal and without coffee flowing in my veins, I was startled by how quickly the words were jumping off the page.
“My authority for writing to you does not come from any popularity vote of the people…”
“I’m God-commissioned…” Galatians 1:10-11 (The Message)
If I were giving you the cliff notes of Galatians 1 it would be that Paul starts off writing to the Galatians and rebuking them for their wavering hearts and then starts sharing his own personal testimony again. He reminds them of the truth of the original gospel they had heard (aka, the saving grace of Christ) and then goes on (this is my favorite part) to talk about where this truth came from.
Verses 10-12, “Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 1:10-12 The Message)
When I imagine Paul, it’s with a very stern, powerful, not-mincing-words authority. Honestly, I’d probably be intimidated by him. I don’t see him as the laughing type or someone who I’d naturally want to hang-out with, but there’s something different about him. He seems so confident and so counter-cultural that I’m not sure I’d even know how to read him. He confronts Peter later in Galatians 3 and seriously, who’s bold enough to confront Peter?! But Paul had such an encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road (read the full story in Acts 9), where he received not only salvation, but a calling and commission from God that his whole life changes. After that encounter, without consulting anyone (no friends, no leaders, no well-versed apostles of the day, no schooling) Paul sets out to another country to share the good news of God’s grace (see Gal. 1:16, 19, 2:1-2).
Maybe I’m the only one who finds this fascinating and jaw-dropping, but in a world where I am constantly battling comparison, inadequacy, the need for a popularity vote before moving forward with the next step that I feel God calling me to, Paul’s story gives me hope. I read his testimony and whole-heartedly know that God put his story in there on purpose. Not because he was perfect (far from it), but because He had been God-commissioned and chose to say "yes" to the call of God whole-heartedly - and if it’s available for Paul, then it’s available for you and I.
So, are you God commissioned?
What if your confidence and authority could be like that of Paul? I know that’s what I long for. The confidence of my calling and boldness to walk it out (Read Ephesians 1:11-14, 18, or just the whole chapter really!). So the real question is, have you had an encounter with Jesus to receive it? The truth is, if you’ve encountered the overwhelming grace of Jesus the Christ and received it, then you’ve been commissioned. Daily assignments are waiting for each of us. Full confidence and authority of who we are as sons and daughters of God is ours to walk in!
So consider this your reminder, you’re not waiting on anyone to give you permission or give you enough encouragement to fulfill the call of God on your life. You may simply need to sit with Jesus a little longer and ask him to put the same bold confidence in you that He put in Paul. That’s my prayer for each of us.
Prompt: Take a moment to read Galatians 1 in The Message version. Ask yourself the question below and write out your answer. Invite the Holy Spirit to come do some digging in your heart as you write.
Are the things God put in your heart waiting on a popularity vote, or are you obediently stewarding what He’s entrusted to you daily?
About Jenae Tankersley
Jenae is an Arkansas girl who has grown to love the big city of Dallas, Texas. She’s always looking for the next adventure and loves change more than comfort. As a writer and photographer, she aspires to capture what is often overlooked - to find beauty in everyday life and put courage in every person she meets along the way. She lives amazed by Jesus and His abundant grace that makes her confident. Running, traveling, gardening, and coffee are just a few of the things that feed her soul.