1:11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin;
1:12 for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
1:13 You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it.
1:14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.
1:15 But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased
1:16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being,
1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.
1:18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days;
1:19 but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother.
1:20 In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!
1:21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia,
1:22 and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ;
1:23 they only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.”
1:24 And they glorified God because of me.
It is amazing how quickly someone can change once God gets a hold of them. Paul’s conversion, I am sure, took time before he was the Paul that we know today. But the change in his heart was immediate. The vengeance in his heart was changed to love and compassion. The zeal to follow the way of his ancestors was replaced with the zeal to spread the gospel. He went from persecuting to being persecuted. Paul was a force in the NT church that could not be stopped once God changed him.
But we must also recognize that Paul actively sought the Lord and was zealous to be obedient to the calling. As repentant Christians we must be like Paul and seek the will of God. Merely being “in” the kingdom of God is not the entire plan God has for you. We are to bring that light of God to the dark places of this earth. To give hope to the hopeless and joy to the sorrowful. We must share this love with the outcasts and the lame and the downcast.