A vision on a rooftop by the sea - 03

This story in Acts 10 about Peter's vision is pretty remarkable. Peter spent his whole life up to this point immersed in Jewish culture and was devoted to following Jewish laws and customs. This included the dietary laws which forbid Jews to eat specific animals. Then one day on a house rooftop by the sea just before dinner, Peter had a vision of a sheet full of unclean animals being lowered down from heaven. Then he heard a voice say, "Rise Peter, kill and eat." 

I've shared before how there are always patterns at work in these stories. First, Peter was walking with the Lord, filled with the Spirt, and had a desire to hear and obey God. That is positioning. If we are not in a position to hear the Lord or not willing to hear, we probably won't. Sometimes I think about all the opportunities I have missed along the way because I was not listening, or my focus was elsewhere, or anxiety and fear were occupying my thoughts. God is patient and faithful though and his Spirit can break through all that and get our attention.

Second, Peter responds to the Lord. His initial reaction is "Shurley not, Lord," and then God responds again. It's OK for us to argue with the Lord. Discussion and conversation are good. God wants us to know him and understand how he is leading us. We will not always understand, but understanding is never withheld from us. That is all part of a healthy relationship. 

Third, is the opportunity to act on what God has spoken. The vision was not about eating unclean animals, but about Peter stepping beyond his current situation and growing beyond his beliefs. As Rob Bell would say, he was presented with an opportunity to "evolve and expand beyond his human consciousness." When the opportunity comes, we can choose to hold on to what we know or trust God and step forward into the unknown. Thats how we learn and grow, right?

Lastly, Peter obeys. That is the point of possessing new truth. This is when transformation takes place, and new understanding of truth becomes a part of who you are. When Peter arrived at Cornelius' household, it was not hard for him to step beyond the Jewish customs and laws concerning Jews and Gentiles because he could clearly see the Holy Spirit at work there. Obedience moves us to a new place that God has already prepared for us.

So, pay attention to the beautiful pattern here in this story. Positioning-Discussion-Opportunity-Obedience. God doesn't just say forget what you know or abandon your doctrines and traditions. He only asks that we walk with him and follow the leading of his Spirit. He will lead us forward into an ever-expanding revelation of truth.

The Apostle Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 " 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God."

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