I have a lot of work to do in trying to have the “mind of Christ” (see 1 Corinthians 2). He challenges my thinking and my perception of events every single day. Without fail. When I read the Bible and look at the people that He chose to use, like Saul who later became Paul, I realize once again the differences between us. He can take horrible circumstances like the persecution that the early church experienced, and use them for His purposes. Because the believers were scattered, the gospel spread with them. Only God could do that. He can do the same thing with horrible people. When He enters the picture, everything has the potential to change if we allow it. Knowing this, it challenges me to look at my own circumstances with different eyes if I truly believe that He can take the ugly and make it beautiful. God never wastes our pain.
We read this week about Peter’s thinking being challenged as well, as Jesus gives him a vision that shows him that nothing that Jesus makes clean can be considered unclean. That opened the door for the gospel to continue to be spread from the Jews to the Gentiles (those who were not Jewish). Jesus continued to break down barriers between people because the gift that He gave with His own life was for everyone.
One of our goals as believers is to become more like Jesus – to think like He thinks, to act the way He acts, to love the way He loves. That’s a huge goal that takes work and perseverance. It often goes against our normal way of thinking. It’s often inconvenient and even uncomfortable. It’s a daily challenge but one that He calls me to every day. I would love to say that I knock it out of the park on a daily basis, but that would be a lie and Jesus is all about truth. The struggle is real.
Rusty’s message this weekend was about “the church” – all of us who have professed Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We belong to the same church that began all those years ago. He talked about how we can think that somehow we bring a lot to the table for God – that somehow He is lucky to have us. This can also lead us to thinking we are better than others – “those” people. But God sees us all as broken beyond repair without His intervention, without the incredible gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection paying for our sins and giving us a new life. Peter learned that God doesn’t play favorites and that’s a lesson that we need to learn as well. For God so loved the WORLD – not just a few, but the entire world. And He calls us to love them as well. Even those that are different from us and hard love; especially those that are hard to love.
Are you open to Jesus challenging your thinking? I often try to make my faith comfortable, but God didn’t call me to comfortable. He called me to something much bigger than that. He called me to be His hands and feet to a world that is in desperate need. That’s what He’s called you to as well. Are you up for the challenge?
Executive Director of Education and Outreach