Saturday, April 18, 2015

Growth and Change

No Christian group or organization has it exactly right. No one has God's total understanding, or heart. Which means God is going to change all that.

He is going to change the way we do stuff. Which means he is going to change the way we think about stuff. Which means he is going to change the way we see stuff. Which means he is going to change our motivations. Which means he is going to change our hearts.

One of the main hindrances to God giving us new stuff is that we like the old stuff too much. We like our traditions. We like the familiar. We like our comfort zones. If we are open to God transforming us, we need to be prepared to move beyond these things.

The Jews were told since Abraham (2000 years) that the world would be blessed through Israel. They were God's representatives. They had the way to please God. And they believed that the way for the world to come to God was to come to them. The world pleased God by joining them in a life of obedience. The Jews had problems when they didn't obey God in the ways he gave them. So, many felt to really please God, they needed to become hyper-obedient. And hindrance to that obedience resulted from being too influenced by the world. So, they avoided contact with the world.

Then, Jesus comes. He provides the final solution to sin. He appoints messengers and entrusts them with the mission. And they follow Jesus' methods.

Then, one day, one of the messengers, Peter, is praying. God gives him a vision. A sheet falls from heaven. On the sheet are many animals. A voice says, "Here Peter! Have lunch!" For hundreds of years, and many generations, the Jews have been following rules about diet. Some animals are OK. Many are not. And the Jews got into trouble by not following these rules, among others. And "not OK" animals were on the sheet. So, Peter says, "I can't! That's against the rules." God gives the vision two more times.

God was changing the way Peter saw stuff, so he could change his heart and motivations. God was changing the way Peter saw right and wrong. God was changing the way Peter was going to do stuff.

Gods was calling Peter to inject himself into the world and its life, contrary to generations of custom, practice, established thinking and tradition. God grabbed Peter by the scruff of the neck and the seat of the pants, and threw him out of his comfort zone.

What did Peter feel like, having lunch in a gentile home, when he had been told all his life that if one followed God faithfully, one never, ever had lunch in a gentile home?

No comments: