Are You Convinced?

November 1st, 2007 • Category: Book of Acts
by Julie Benson

Today’s scripture: Acts 10:34-48 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Julie Benson):

I think we often underestimate the power and the scope of conversion in these stories.

Here, Peter speaks to the crowd of Gentiles, seeking to sway their hearts and minds. Many in this crowd were polytheistic. It wouldn’t be hard for them to add another god to their belief system, but this God would mean discarding the rest of their gods altogether — turning everything they knew upside down!

Let’s put this into a more personal comparison. Let’s assume:

  • You have been raised in church all your life – attending with Mom and/or Dad during your formative years
  • From this upbringing you have established the core beliefs of your faith:
    • You believe in God, the Creator
    • You believe in Jesus Christ
    • You believe in the Bible, whether it be inerrant or simply a guidebook
  • You carry your faith with you into adulthood
  • You find a church and become active in ministry and fellowship
  • You try to be disciplined with prayer, bible study, or quiet time
  • You live a pretty reasonable life:
    • You are punctual and hardworking in your career
    • You are kind to others and try to live with patience and peace
    • You give money to church and other worthy charities

But then this “circus” sweeps into town and passionately preaches about things against your core values.

The ways of this new life would be radical:

  • Stop believing in God, Jesus, and the Bible and worship the widget.
  • The widget allows you to eat what you want, talk how you want, act how you want and it doesn’t matter because you will still be promised super powers, forgiveness, and chocolate for all your days in the afterlife.

And you are drawn in! You are ready to drop everything you have ever lived for and ever believed in! Or are you?

How easy would it be? How much convincing would it take? How would it feel to turn away from everything you have ever known to jump on board of this new belief system?

Many have experienced similar circumstances as they reconcile sexuality with spirituality. They are tearing down the old “truths” in order to build up new ones. Being convinced to receive new truth is difficult — be it your religious adversaries, your gay or lesbian friend, or even yourself.

It takes patience, perseverance, and a willingness to hear the truth. But like the Gentiles — those people who were once considered unworthy — we, too, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives!

Thought for the day: Consider the heart and spirit of the people who are being transformed by your Christian witness.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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