What freedom we have in Christ. How liberating it is to know God and receive his endless blessing. But at the same time, it is such a relief to be able to check in with the fellowship of the church, our ministers, brothers and friends in Christ. How else are we to be sure that we are not wasting our efforts and running the race for nothing. We have all been called in different circumstances and been blessed with different gifts and so none of us, on our own, can ever be fully sure that our gift or our calling is a true one without the corroboration of out fellow believers. When we feel the the Lord has called us to a specific task, we should not fear the opinions of those in authority in our churches and communities, but we should take courage from Paul’s example. We can do nothing for God by our own strength, so why should we imagine we could do anything without the full support of the church from which we come.
Galatians 2:1-10 NLT
Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too. I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing. And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile. Even that question came up only because of some so-called Christians there—false ones, really —who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favourites.) Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles. In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognised the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews. Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.
My goal today is to hold on to the thought that God will do his work despite the attempts of false believers to under mine it. Genuine converts and followers of Jesus can see the work of the lord, they can recognise the hand of God on another believer. I want to encourage myself, along with all those who are feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord God Almighty with their gifts and talents. I want to encourage them to put aside their doubts and fears and answer the call they are hearing from God.
Isaiah 19:1-21:17, Galatians 2:1-16, Psalms 59:1-17, Proverbs 23:13-14