Read Galatians 1:1-24
There is no doubt that one day changed the entire life trajectory of the apostle Paul. Acts 9 describes it well. While walking along the road leading to Damascus, he encountered the crucified and risen Christ. That day marked his life for eternity. He would never be the same.
But there is something about the flow of events that is not abundantly clear from the narrative found in Acts. Verse 23 includes the simple phrase, “After many days had gone by…” We are inclined to think that this was a week, maybe a few weeks, or perhaps a couple of months. Meanwhile, Galatians 1 gives us more insight into the actual length of time: “Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem…” (v. 18).
That may seem like a useless piece of trivia except for the fact that Paul describes what he did after his conversion with these words, “my immediate response was not to consult any human being.” (v. 16) Oh, I am sure that he had contact with others. His point, however, was that his faith and convictions were not being formed by the opinions of others. Those three formative years spent in both Arabia and Damascus (v. 17) were apparently a timeframe during which God Himself was molding him into the servant that he was becoming. During these three years, the apostle was careful to remain in and draw from the true Vine. Eventually, the day came when Paul both met up with other spiritual leaders and fully embraced his ministry. But first, he spent time with God.
Certainly, the point here is not that we avoid people, that we never ask questions, that we give up seeking godly input from others. Instead, it is the realization that there is no substitute for regularly seeking God in those “one day” experiences of concentrated focus on Him. It is the frequent practice of a personal Sabbath. It is the development of a pattern of consistent retreats from the noise of the world in order to hear the unmistakable voice of God. It is the recognition that there are certain things that the believer can do to give priority to time with God…on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, and on an annual basis.
What are you doing to make that happen for you?