A spiritual understanding
A very peculiar high school teacher of mine always used to say: ‘Everybody is entitled to their own ridiculous opinion!’ I used to love that saying. I didn’t mind that others thought differently to me, because deep down inside… I knew I was right! Sometimes I think we’re all a little like that. Sometimes our understanding of things can become like a god – or even God – to us.
In yesterday’s chapter, Peter starts off with an understanding of God’s love and saving grace, which doesn’t really include non-Jews (or Gentiles). In a vision however, the Holy Spirit challenges Peter’s understanding and when Peter visits a few Gentiles, the Holy Spirit falls on them like He did on the Jews. Peter then realises the full extent of God’s grace and his understanding changes.
Part of Spiritual Living is having a spiritual understanding.
A spiritual understanding is one that is subject to the Holy Spirit and one that is shaped by experiences with Him. It’s different to a natural understanding, which is subject to ‘knowledge’ and which predetermines how we perceive things.
When Peter gets back to Jerusalem in today’s chapter, the other apostles are surprised and probably a little annoyed that he met with Gentiles. Peter proceeds to explain the situation to them, how God connected him to the Gentiles and how the Spirit fell on the Gentiles as on the Jews. After hearing this, the other apostles go silent for a bit and then rejoice that God’s grace extends to the Gentiles.
These apostles allowed their understanding to be influenced by the work of the Holy Spirit. They had a spiritual understanding. If they had held onto their natural understanding, as many of us do today, they could have come up with all sorts of reasons why the Spirit fell on the Gentiles, why it was an exception and why it wouldn’t happen again. But they didn’t. The Holy Spirit was more important to them than their understanding.
What about you? Are you holding onto a natural understanding of spiritual things and maybe even making it a little god? Or are you open to let the Holy Spirit give you a spiritual understanding? If so, why not ask the Him to lead you into an experience today that will help you understand things the way that God does?
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you spiritual understanding today, and see what happens!