We are currently in a study of the life of the Apostle Paul. Many consider Paul to be the greatest Christian who ever lived. What made Paul’s faith so great? I believe that it was his ability, his availability, and his dependability. But there something else that happened very early in Paul’s salvation experience that helped to prepare him for a life of service.
Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
Soon after his conversion Paul traveled into the country of Arabia. Some suggest that he spent three years there; however, scripture seems to indicate that the three years included:
– His conversion
– His time in Damascus preaching in the synagogue
– His time in Arabia (possibly the desert of Arabia)
– His return to Damascus and time spent there again
– Then his journey to Jerusalem
Concerning these three years, Warren Wiersbe writes – “Paul gave himself to study, prayer, and meditation, and met with the Lord alone.” Many believe that this was Paul’s three years with the Lord, even as the other apostles had spent three with Christ while He was here on earth. What practical application can we make from this to our lives today?
In Proverbs 8:17 we read, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Jesus later told His disciples that what He told them in darkness, they would be able to speak in the light.
Most likely it was during those three years that the Lord began to reveal to Paul many deep spiritual truths. They were not wasted years, but years of preparation so that when he was given the opportunity to speak he would have something significant to say.
We must learn to follow the example of Paul and value quiet, intimate time alone with God. Perhaps the Lord has a great ministry for you, but first He is waiting for you to purposefully set aside time to be with Him. Begin today find your private place and listen carefully to what the Lord has to say.