“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.'” (Acts 10:35 NIV)
On my daughter’s first day of school, I spent the day cleaning out her room. I knew it was time when she came out after her own time “cleaning” and announced she needed a bigger room. The one she had was simply not big enough for all of her stuff. I laughed at the time and when I went to inspect her work found that she had not purged one single thing. She had just shoved it under the bed, night table and into her closet. She had decided that she did not need to get rid of anything but instead needed a bigger space to store all of her treasures. Needless to say, I came in and hauled most of her “treasures” away to the garbage can. I discarded three trash bags full of meaningless stuff. The fact is, my daughter can’t seem to part with anything. She does not like to throw anything away and seems to have some sort of attachment to useless junk. What she needed was someone wiser than her to come in and clean out her disaster area. So, Mom came to the rescue and decided what was trash and what could stay.
This morning I was reading chapters 10 and 11 in the book of Acts. I guess I had never noticed before the sheer prejudice the apostles (or all Jews for that matter) had toward Gentiles. It was astonishing to me that Peter insisted that he should not enter the house of a non-Jew. It was against his “religion”. It was against his “custom”. It was against his “personal belief system”. And I guess I never thought about the fact that even though the apostles had walked with Jesus, they were still on their own spiritual journey learning as they went along. This was so eye-opening to me for so many reasons.
I am sure the apostles had a bit of pride in their hearts because they had walked with Jesus. They saw His miracles, prayed with Him and ministered to the masses with Him. And I’m sure a part of them felt a bit privileged because they were close to the Lord. I wonder if it ever dawned on them that they wouldn’t be doing business as usual. I wonder if they realized the prejudice that dwelt within them. I wonder if they even realized what Jesus would require of them. The Lord had some purging to do in the hearts of men and He began with the apostles. He showed Peter the sin and pride that filled his heart. Then He commanded him to move beyond what he had always known and minister to “the least of these”.
The other day, I went in and decided what my daughter needed to get rid of. I was the one to show her that those things she was holding near and dear was actually trash. God does the same for us. He comes in and shows us that our hearts need to be purified. He shows us that the things we have a tight grip on are things we need to let go. He shows us the dirty places filled with pride, unforgiveness and prejudice and He offers to clean them out for us. He has plans for us but if we are not willing to let Him into the dark places of our hearts, He cannot shine.
God wants us to grow to be more like Him. He continues to work on us because He loves us. No matter if you have been walking with Him for a week or a decade, there is still some work to be done. He wants us to be a genuine reflection of Him. And I thank Him for that.
Thank you Lord that you are always working in our lives, showing us the things we need to get rid of so our hearts can be more like Yours.