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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Putting God Before Pride"

Date published: 07/28/2012
Acts 11:18 “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life." (NIV) (Larger context is Acts 11:1-18)
 
This verse denotes a major shift in the beliefs of early Christians.  Many converted Jews who had practiced the rituals of eating only that which was clean since their earliest memories were having their eyes opened to false beliefs.  These false beliefs had not only been practiced by them, but also by their forefathers for generations.  Imagine Peter, who was far from an eloquent and trained teacher, challenging accepted truth, the scholars of Judaism, and the traditions that were engrained in so many of the early followers of Christ to boldly explain God’s revelation to them.  I would have sought out a highly respected scholar of the Torah who had respect and credibility to introduce the transformation of this truth that we are not to “call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 11:9)  Peter did not go hide or pass the buck; he boldly taught in the power of the Holy Spirit!  Those who listened faced another dilemma: man’s pride and traditions resist change.  The problem with Judaism was that man had elevated tradition above God so that man’s traditions had replaced God.  This may have been why this moment was so pivotal in the early days of Christianity.  It was a time when Christians listened to God rather than being directed by the traditions of men.  It was a time for putting pride aside, hearing God, and trusting His Word instead of falling into the comfort of man’s traditions and approval.  God had to first break Paul of his pride - "I replied, 'Surely not, Lord!  Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth." (Acts 16:8)   You must not miss God because of your habits, traditions, and pride.  Psalm 10:4 says, “In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”  You must never allow pride to push God out of your life.  Those listening to Peter not only heard and accepted God’s Word, but they also praised God!  They were not bitter and resentful, but excited that God’s Word was proclaimed and that the Gentiles could become Christians!  Live your life in Christ listening not to those around you, but to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Humble yourselves before God, and He will lift you up!
 
1 Peter 5:5 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (NIV)
Hosea 6:6 “For I desire mercy, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings." (NIV)