Wednesday, June 10, 2009


"Who was I to think that I could oppose God?" - Peter

Peter came to this realization after he witnessed the Gentiles (who he believed to be outside of God's grace) receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He realized he was wrong and decided to change.

In thought this was easy, but Paul's words in Galatians 2 show us that it wasn't as easy to change in action. Peter is perfectly content in hanging out with Gentiles and eating with them while it was just him and Gentiles. When other Jews start showing up, the peer pressure gets to Peter and he begins to fall into old practices, sitting with the Jews exclusively and falling into their customs. When Paul shows up, he opposes Peter's actions and calls him to task.

Could we call Peter's actions backsliding? He was slowly, in very small steps moving back toward the place of opposition where he started. In wasn't a drastic shift, but it was movement. Peter didn't wake up and say, "You know what, I think I've changed my mind about this Gentile thing." That's not the way that sin works. It is much craftier than that. It devours us little by little, bit by bit so that we don't even realize it is happening. We think that we are standing side by side with God, when in reality we have been slowly moving more and more into opposition with Him.

The same thing happens in our lives that happened in Peter's. We commit to being welcoming, or befriending those different than us or building relationships, but we slowly begin to revert back to our old ways. We move away from our goal and settle for the past. That's not okay.

That's not real life change. Real life change is hard, and it requires us putting forth constant effort to not just continue to change, but to maintain the ground we've already gained. Peter couldn't do it alone, he needed Paul's help. We can't do it alone, we need help too. From each other and from the Holy Spirit. That's the change where we need to put in the most work.

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