A good friend drew my attention to Acts 10 again recently. It’s a passage I’ve looked at before and in one sense there were no surprises at all. Yet, what struck me more than ever this time is the massive internal journey that Peter went on. All of his life he’d known things a certain way, right or wrong, everything within him saw the world through particular eyes. Then encountering Christ through a vision changed that…not all at once…but gradually, a new world view emerged. That and those which he had previously seen as ‘out’ were now ‘in’ and those he walked past were now to be welcomed, embraced, loved, like never before.
Some people love embracing new stuff. Every time they go for a curry, a chinese, they’re up for trying something new of the menu; for others it’s safest to stick to what they know, and like. I think I’m braver on some days but not others!
The paradigm shift that Peter went through may not be the same as the shift I believe our Baptist Union is facing (or is it?) but nevertheless I sense that its not just seeing a fresh vision that is needed, but also facing the internal battle of saying, ‘yes’ to God and embracing that vision. Peter displayed an immense and admirable courage when others were slipping back into old ways, and it seems from other NT letters that the early churches battled with this dilemma too.
For me, it’s fear that holds me back; fear of losing what I have, what is familiar and comfortable. All too often I settle.
What I need is courage, determination and regular reminders that the Lord calls me forward to embrace a new future, which is much more challenging and mind blowing than I might possibly imagine.
The danger is of course, we go so far…and stop there.
‘Lord, give us the courage Peter displayed’.