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Paul goes out of his way in Galatians 1:11-24 to emphasize that he was called by Jesus Himself, not by one of the Apostles. His calling has the same standing as theirs… a direct invitation from Jesus. We quickly see that Paul operates independently of the other apostles, but it is not an unhealthy independence. He does consult with Peter and the others and they recognize the legitimacy of his message. An interesting part of Paul’s autobiographic description of these early years of his preparation is a three-year period of time spent in “Arabia.” He was not in Saudi Arabia, but rather in the Nabatean kingdom which included many important Gentile population centers east of the Jordan River. When Jesus ministered in the Decapolis, he was ministering in this same region. This is not only a time where Paul reflects upon the gospel and hones his message of grace. It is also a time where he likely honed his skills in communicating the gospel to Gentiles. It is this time that, in part, accounts for his effectiveness during His missionary journeys. There are a couple of lessons for us. First, to properly discern God’s call upon your life and live into that calling. Secondly, to take time to be equipped and hone, by God’s grace, the skills that you will need to be effective.