"Not so, Lord! For I have never . . ." Acts 10:14
Stuck. It's the kind of battle that happens within each of us. It's a real raging reality. Stuck happens when our traditions collide with the flow of God’s life. Stuck happens because there's a stand-off in our spirit. Yet, in reality, if God’s work is not happening through us, we are stuck.
Peter gives his reason for being stuck. "Not so, Lord! For I have never . . ." He refused, not because he was wrong, but because he had never done it before. This story is a picture of the deadening influence of routine. It's an x-ray of the spiritually crippling and enslaving power of custom.
It's worth noting that the vision was given before any preaching to the Gentiles could be done on a large scale. Peter had to break free of old religious ways of thinking. His vision had to be broadened out beyond his traditions.
The push back of Peter is not a struggle unique to only Peter. We see ourselves in his struggle. How we love to cling to our rituals. How we become set in our ways and work to make sure they remain undisturbed. God’s ways are often difficult, inconvenient, and sometimes include suffering.
The business of Christ followers in the world is to proclaim the gospel – the great and wonderful gospel of the grace of God in the redemption of people through the sacrifice of Christ. Extreme litany to the gospel means learning to let lesser things go.
However, new times demand new measure and new hearts. The world advances and God moves forward with new vision, new challenges – and we don't. We fail to adapt ourselves to the fresh currents of God’s work. Our stubbornness brings us only missed opportunities to reach others for Christ and build His kingdom.
There are people in churches everywhere who have resisted the ways of God. By refusing to be lifted out of the grooves of old routines, they have dug for themselves graves. And the only difference between a groove and a grave is the depth.
What grooves and graves have you created?