PRAY & READ: Galatians 1:11–24
It is important for one to trust the messenger before one can trust the message. Football season is upon us and armchair quarterbacks are a dime a dozen. Sitting at an FSU football game, it is amazing to find out just how many coaches there are in the stands. Well, at least that is the way they come across.
Every play is scrutinized and fans shout what play should have been run that would have “obviously” scored a touchdown instead of resulting in a punt situation. When the temptation comes to join in the critical analysis, it is good to remember that my background does not give me a right to make that call. In fact, there is a reason why Jimbo Fisher is getting paid the big bucks to be down on the sideline while I am paying the big bucks to sit way up in the stands in a corner of Doak Campbell Stadium. He has the credentials to speak authoritatively to the team while I do not. Those players trust the plays called by Coach Fisher because they trust Coach Fisher and the experience and success he has had over the years.
It is important to remember that the main issue in the letter to the Galatians is to clarify that the good news (gospel) of Jesus is that we are declared righteous before God on the basis of our faith in the Person and work of Jesus on the cross alone and not on the basis of any good works. But would the Galatians even bother reading it if they didn’t trust Paul?
After the initial introduction of the letter, Paul quickly addresses the fact that many were turning away from this gospel (Gal 1:6–10). In order to convince his audience of the truth of his argument, he has to establish his own validity. In the same way that the FSU football team trusts the plays called by Coach Fisher because of his background, Paul is appealing to his own experience and background to establish his own authority. In order to trust the message, the Galatians have to trust the messenger. That’s huge when it comes to sharing our faith with our lost friends! Do they trust you?
Paul reminds the Galatians that he not only had years of experience as a Jewish scholar (Gal 1:14), but he was called by a revelation of Jesus Christ to be a witness for Jesus to the non-Jews, including the Galatians themselves (Gal 1:12, 15–16). Paul did not have to lean on the apostles to establish validity but the apostles validated his authority anyway because he was a changed man (Gal 1:22–24). The same holds true for us. Our story and background should demonstrate a changed life and our daily life should reflect a trustworthy messenger of the gospel to those with whom we share that message. Even Jimbo Fisher would agree with that!
1. As a person who claims that the gospel of Jesus is true, does your life reflect the credibility of that claim?
2. Do people trust you as a messenger of the gospel? Why or why not?
3. Paul used his past failures (Gal 1:13) to demonstrate the radical change that has taken place in his own life (Gal 1:23–24). Does your past haunt you with feelings of guilt or are you allowing Jesus to use your story for His glory?
MEMORIZE: Gal. 1:26 “And they glorified God because of me”
This week's devotional is written by Lance Beauchamp. Lance is a City Church Owner who has served as a City Group Leader, coach and elder. He is also a PHD and the BCM Director at FSU.