As I prep for an upcoming retreat, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the book of Galatians.
And I’m learning so much:
…about Paul and his passion for the church.
…what it means to do hard things.
…what kind of fruit I want my life bearing.
… and how Spirit led my life should really be.
But a couple of weeks ago I read six particular words that struck me deep.
“Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too.” Galatians 2:1 (NLT)
This passage is speaking about Paul’s conversion and what happened to him through his Damascus Road revelation. As a former Christian hater who tortured people for the sake of the law, here he was, fourteen years later, now revisiting old faces and familiar places but with a clearer understanding of himself, a greater life perspective, and a profound faith testimony.
Paul was such a different person now. He wasn’t at all the same Paul from oh so long ago.
What memories must have been going through his mind?
What experiences must have been flashing through his thoughts?
What palpitations must have been happening to his heart?
I can’t help but wonder… if, “fourteen years later I (you) went back…”
What memories would you find?
What were you doing?
Who were you with?
How have you changed?
How have you grown?
What experiences come flooding to your mind?
We all have those “other” versions of ourselves that are old history. We’re different now. We’ve changed. We’re not the same.
But this scripture speaks so much to the journey and the work-in-progresses we all are.
Sometimes God has us revisit old faces (circumstances) and familiar places (situations) not as a way to say we’ve failed or haven’t figured it out, but to show us how much we’ve changed, grown, and matured in our fourteen years of journeying.
Sometimes going back and taking Barnabas (wisdom) and Titus (perspective) with us means we’re stronger and far clearer in our understanding of who we are.
Sometimes going back is about sharing our greater perspectives and powerful faith testimonies with our old faces and familiar places.
And sometimes going back is simply His way of saying, “See that? See how much you’ve allowed me to work in you? Good job. Be proud of your hard work. Keep going.”
Life is a journey. It’s not one season with only one version of ourselves. We’re a process, a creation, a work of art, and each day He is conforming us into His image with an ever increasing glory.
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)