Lenten Scripture Reflection | Sunday: Psalm 18; Lamentations 3.34-66; Galatians 1.1-10

From: Nick Sarantopoulos

He is the one who calls us.
Jesus called Paul to be an apostle. Jesus stood right in front of Paul, He spoke to him and gave him clear instructions. Paul did not make any of this stuff up, so that he would eventually be prosecuted and lose his life on the mission field. Paul's calling was real and it came with power, the kingdom power that made Paul feel that it was completely natural to put his old self and his old life aside in order to follow and serve Jesus with all he had.

But what about our calling? He called us to the faith. Now what?  We often think about our own service or ministry. We sometimes wonder what our next big thing to do is. After all, there are so many unreached people on the planet that will eventually end up in a Christ-less eternity, unless we do something to share the gospel with them. We see in the Bible that fruit comes from meeting Him in the secret place, hearing His calling and His will for each one of us, and others around us being blessed with the overflow of grace. As I see it, our calling is not about ambition, striving, delusions of spiritual grandeur, or self-made plans. Our calling is His calling, and it will be given to us as we abide in the vine.

He is not the God of confusion.
Confusion is not from Him. Confusion is the result of listening to different gospels, or allowing ourselves to mix with the world (“evil age”), or forgetting who He is and what He has done ("gospel of Christ"). He gave us the blueprint and the way to avoid confusion. The “gospel of Christ” is not a gospel of confusion. It’s simple and it’s good. It’s good to remember that more often.

Who is going to please whom?
It’s a good spiritual discipline to remember that I am the one who is supposed to surrender my will to Him, as a result of my gratitude for His kindness, just like Paul did. He did not have to save me. He did not need to. It was His grace that called us to life. So, I need to remember to forget my long wish list or the drama du jour, and look to see what is His will.

(And as far as our own wish lists, let’s not forget them in prayer. Remember how many times in the scriptures prayers of everyday people who put their trust in God were answered and blessings were realized many years later, but in totally unexpected or unpredictable ways.)

To love our neighbor and to please our neighbor are two different things.
People around us have their own wish lists. They often value us based on our ability to satisfy their needs, to provide them with things they have on their wish lists, or based on the degree to which we agree with them or we are similar to them. If we concern ourselves with what people think, life can get insane really quick. (We are so predictable in our behavior as we interact with others, that it is funny to observe our interactions from time to time). In the end, it is all about God’s love and approval; not other people’s approval. We don’t need anyone else’s approval.

Every time we remember that we were set apart from the world (“rescued from the present evil age”), and we step out of our circumstances with both feet (“calling”), and we look at Him with the eyes that only He can give us, life changes in the blink of an eye and suddenly there is so much more. We hear more, we see more, we encounter more.

P.S. Be encouraged.

I live in Somerville. I am grateful to God every day and I love the Bible. I work as President/CEO of a local credit union. I fully enjoy each and every new interaction with you all.