Your Way or God’s Way
God has His ways. He is the master planner. He knows the end from the beginning. In case you haven’t thought about it, the true measure of your success is how well you have followed and fulfilled God’s will for your life.
I want us to look at this particular story in the book of Acts 11:1-17. This passage of scripture details how Peter defended the actions he took earlier in Acts 10.
“The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
4 Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance, I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’
8 “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9 “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
11 “Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. 12 The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with[a] water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.’17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
I can summarize from this story why Peter did what he did, even though it was so unconventional and controversial among the believers of that time. Have you always believed certain things about yourself?. Always done things a certain way? Or maybe operated within your comfort level? Well, I have news for you. God is the exact opposite of that. The Bible says His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.
You may or may not have noticed, that most times when God wants to use you, He will take you out of our comfort level, He will challenge your thinking and your way of doing things. This is how He gets you and I to depend on Him and Him alone!
God gave Peter a dream that painted a scenario that was totally against everything that Peter understood about God and holiness. But God was challenging him to think outside the box. God was showing him that he needed to begin to open his heart to the possibilities that lay ahead of him. While Peter was thinking locally, God was thinking globally. God gave the word “Globalization” it’s first true meaning right here! Peter was thinking about today, but God was thinking about you and I coming into our inheritance in Christ. This faith of Jesus Christ was not meant for Judea and Israel alone, but for all the human race. To Peter, this was a novel concept; one he and the other disciples had never considered.
Peter had to be transformed by the renewing of his mind. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Before the dream, Peter conformed; after the revelation, he became transformed in his mind. Yes, now I’ve got it!, God has to reach my mind before He can reach my life. He has to renew my mind before He can renew my life.
Sit and think for a moment, how has God been trying to reach your mind? Has he given you dreams about your future? Has he spoken to you through His word or lead your imagination in a certain direction? Have you listened? You need to gain an understanding into the mind of God for you. I Corinthians 2:14-16 But the natural man receiveth, not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
If you are a born again child of God, first you are spiritual, second you have the mind of Christ, so you can receive and understand the things of the Spirit of God. They that are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. Peter first received from the spirit of God, then he was led by the Spirit of God to go visit Cornelius.
Peter had the mind of Christ and he was able to judge by the dream and the events that followed, that God was leading him. Howbeit it was a very uncomfortable and new experience. And thank God he obeyed, today, we are all a part of the body of Christ. Peter said in Acts 11:17b who was I to think I could oppose God,” Not my way, but God’s way. Every day God is speaking; someday He will ask you something that may be out of your comfort zone. Moses had to turn aside to see the burning bush; Joshua had to gather up the courage to lead; Gideon was called a mighty man of valor contrary to the perception he had of himself. God was calling to the greatness within him. Whatever it is, HIS WAY, AND NOT YOURS. Amen!