Verse:  Galatians 2:6-10 
As for those who seemed to be important – whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance – those men added nothing to my message.  7 On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews.  8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.  9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.  They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.  10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.  

In these verses, Paul is talking to the churches in Galatia about Jewish Christians who are undermining the gospel by saying that Gentile Christians need to follow the Jewish laws.  What does this say to us today?  Are there still people saying that we need to think this way or do these things or we are not Christians?  I hear that all the time.  The gospel that Paul and Peter and all the apostles preached was very simple.  Jesus died for our sins and rose from the grave to show us our eternal life with Him.  We don’t have to do things to make us Christians.  We do what we do because we are Christians and God’s love is pouring through us and out to others around us.  

That leads me to one more thought about how this applies to us.  Listening to Paul talk about himself as an apostle makes me hear a person who was very confident in his gifts and his purpose.  And yet he was also always humble.  Do you wonder sometimes what your gifts are and why you are here?  While you might not be an apostle, God has given you and me and all of us certain gifts to help the church and to help others.  Paul had people, important people, questioning his gifts.  But he stood firm in what he knew came from God. 

I always heard it said that, if you don’t know what your gifts are, ask someone close to you.  They see your gifts at work.  The other apostles saw that Paul was also an apostle and affirmed that in him.  Your friends in Christ will see your gifts.  Of course, you can always pray and ask God to reveal them to you.  But if you hear others saying you don’t have any gifts or that you are misusing them, know that there are people and forces that want to keep you from your purpose, just like people did against Paul.  

The two main ideas in this devotion are related.  Know that the work on the cross that Jesus did is sufficient to save you and others.  This was done because of His great love for each of us.  In that love, he gave us gifts and a purpose to advance His kingdom by loving others.  Jesus is enough.

Father God, thank you for all that you have done for us.  We did not and do not deserve your saving grace.  Help us to be confident in who you are in us.  And guide us to a knowledge of our gifts and purpose that you have laid out for us.  

Author: Brad Dunn