In my quiet time, I have been reading through the book of Galatians. I am fascinated by Paul explaining his encounter with Jesus. He, zealous in the traditions of his forefathers, advancing ahead of his colleagues, and once a persecutor of the Christians – “But when God…” (Galatians 1:15, see key verses below). Don’t you just love it! We all need us a “but when God” in our life! Paul goes on to say God called him by His grace and revealed His Son in him.
The word Paul chooses to use for reveal is thought provoking. There are two uses for this Greek word. One is used to describe something given to the mind; God reveals to the intellect of man. However, here Paul uses the other usage. Within the context this revealing is done to the senses. To sight, hearing, feeling, touching, and smelling. Meaning, when Jesus presented Himself to Paul (remember the bright blinding light) He knocked Paul on his backside and was appealing to his senses NOT his intellect. Paul was a highly educated man, a thinking man. Perhaps God was getting past his head, so he could NOT attempt to rationalize the encounter, (thus three days of blindness, see Acts 9). The verse goes on to say, all this was done “so that” he might preach Him.
I appreciate the word of God is so practical. The phrase “so that” not only gives us insight, but also is powerful – “this is why.” Good godly cause and effect. Not that God needs a reason, but graciously inspired the writers to include it. “Walk in the ways of the LORD your God so that you may live and prosper” (Deut. 5:33). “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Paul prays “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better” (Ephesians 1:17). Boldly Paul declares, dress appropriately, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).
I too have experienced a strong “so that.” In all my growing up years, I was challenged (an understatement) with reading. I suffered from Comprehension Deficit Disorder. I could (s-l-o-w-l-y) read the words but had really no clue what I just read. It all got lost somewhere. I graduated High School with a 4th grade reading level. Stepping into my plans of being a graphic artist, God called me out. When He did, in all honesty, I laughed. I did a Sarah. He was calling me (the gal who couldn’t read) to a book – THE Book! Long story short. I ended up at Bible College. It was there He healed my mind. I know beyond any doubt, He graciously healed me “so that” I would teach His word. In my lacking all those years, God was training me. He trained me to listen for the details. Paying attention to detail is important. The who, what, where, how and why. It isn’t me. It is Him through me (to the glory of God). My life response is dedicated to His calling, to His word, to Him. To the One Who opened my mind.
May we spot the so that’s in scripture. Knowing there is a reason, and the reason is intended to be known. May we also spot the “But when God… so that…” in our own life. Perhaps He addresses us intellectually or He does a Paul, getting our attention and puts us on our backside.
He is in the detail. He is lovingly intentional. He is faithful.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
Key Verses: “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man” (Galatians 1:11-16 NIV).