Acts 11

Chances are that you have a handful of deeply rooted beliefs and world views. These types of beliefs don't just pop up overnight or come from one experience, they develop over time. If you ask my one-year-old, he might tell you that experience is a critical component of his current journey through working out his opinions on gravity. He is experimenting with when and where gravity exists (We all know that the answer is: everywhere and always. He's not quite sure yet).

Most beliefs are more complex than the basic understanding of gravity. I'm assuming most of us can agree on gravity. Gravity is black and white, there isn't much grey to discuss. In today's culture, there seems to be a hue for every grey imaginable. Every single idea, belief, view… you name it, has the perspective of millions who all see things just a little bit differently. We like to think our own perspectives are either black or white, but more than likely, they are just another shade of grey.

In the New Testament, Peter broke a massive cultural wall by eating with Gentiles. He proclaimed his vision, preaching that God said, "Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean." The Jews in Peter's time had a specific vision of how things should work, of how God works. They were black and white. In their minds, the well-established, God-approved cultural wall separated the Jews from the Gentiles. It was black and white, there was no in-between. It was gravity. As a Jew, Peter's take on eating with Gentiles was unprecedented. It was as if Peter said, "drop this rock from your roof and it will rise." His colleagues held a deeply rooted belief that salvation was for them, God's chosen people. So, you can understand how it would come as a shock that Jesus' life, death, and resurrection were meant for more than just their own insular group. 
I think we often let certain thoughts weave so intricately into our daily lives that we miss out on something even better. When Peter unraveled his long-term understanding of salvation, he was able to follow the Spirit where it led, spreading the love of Jesus further than ever before. He moved beyond black and white, or grey, to God's world of color. I love how the New Living Translation shares Peter's words describing his interaction with a group of Gentiles, "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. Then I thought of the Lord's words when he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God's way?'

Who are we to stand in God's way?

If you follow Peter's story, you'll see that the others begin praising God.

I challenge you to take inventory of your deeply held beliefs. Is there anything that might be holding you back from spreading God's love to others or even allowing God's love to reach the furthest depths of your heart and mind? It's time to assess your own personal views. Is there any grey in your black-and-white opinions? But don't stop there. Maybe it is time to stop living in shades of grey entirely and step into God's world of vibrant color.

By Jessyka Dooley

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