ACTS 10:44-48: “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) fell on all those hearing the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were astonished, because the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone refuse water for these to be immersed, who have received the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) just as we did?” So he commanded them to be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.” TLV
OBSERVATION: How do I respond when I face a paradigm shift in my life? A paradigm is any kind of theological or philosophical framework that we hold toward life. It is how we expect things to happen. Yet, how do we deal with change when our patterns are turned upside down?
This is what happened to Peter when he proclaimed the Gospel message to the household of Cornelius. There were several steps that took place in Peter’s life before he was positioned to accept this paradigm shift. Peter was familiar with the voice of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when he had the dream of the clean and unclean foods, Peter did not simply dismiss it, he prayed over it. And when he was approached by Gentiles to come to their house, he listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit telling him to go.
Yet, going to a Gentile’s house was not the only paradigm shift that Peter faced. It was Peter who proclaimed the Gospel to the large gathering on the day of Pentecost. And Peter had given all who listened what he believed was God’s pattern for a person to become a believer and receive the Holy Spirit.
- “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the emissaries, “Fellow brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away—as many as ADONAI our God calls to Himself.” Acts 2:37-39 TLV
This was the pattern that Peter expected. This was the pattern that Peter had proclaimed. This was how God worked in his life, and surely how God would work in the lives of others. And when Peter was in the midst of sharing the Gospel to Cornelius and his household something unexpected happened. God changed Peter’s paradigm!
While the Gentiles heard the Gospel the Holy Spirit fell upon all of them and they began to speak in other tongues and give glory to the Lord. Peter was faced with a choice. How would he respond? Many of us would have stopped and corrected the Gentiles. I can imagine saying – “Wait! This is not how things are supposed to happen!” And if this is how Peter would have responded he would have missed God’s sovereign move in the life of these new believers. Fortunately for them, and for us, Peter responded correctly.
- “For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone refuse water for these to be immersed, who have received the Ruach ha-Kodesh just as we did?” So he commanded them to be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua. Then they asked him to stay for a few days.” Acts 10:46-48 TLV
Just a couple of Sundays ago I had a paradigm shift. It was the Sunday after Easter. We were going to have a Baptism service for 4 individuals who had prepared and were desiring to follow Jesus in water Baptism. I had given the invitation for Baptism over the past 4 Sundays, and I was prepared for four candidates. When I had finished the brief orientation on Sunday morning, a new attendee, a father, came to me and indicated that his adult daughter wanted to be baptized too. I had not met with her, she was very new, and she had not responded to the call for baptism over the past weeks. What was I to do?
This was completely out of the normal pattern of the way we do things. I took a moment to think and pray. It was only a moment, but it seemed like time stood still. This had never happened to me before in all my years of ministry. I cried out to God – “What do I do?” Then I sensed what Peter sensed – the sovereign move of the Holy Spirit. She was responding to my Easter message and the call to commitment. It was a week late, she did not send me an email, she did not even ask, she sent her father to ask. Yet, when she came out of the baptismal waters with tears and an evidence of the Holy Spirit moving upon her life, I knew that I had made the right decision.
What wonderful opportunities in life and in the Lord do we miss when we refuse to allow our patterns to be turned upside down? I am not speaking of changing our Biblical convictions. I am talking about being willing to let go of our traditional patterns. God is God, and He moves sovereignly in the lives and hearts of those who are open to His call. How He does this is His business and not mine. Peter understood this. It did not fit his pattern, but it was evident that it was God’s hand at work in the Gentiles lives, as it was His hand at work in this young woman.
The older we get, the harder it is for us to deal with paradigm shifts in our lives. Yet, if we don’t, we will miss the move of the Holy Spirit and forfeit many wonderful opportunities to see His power manifest in our lives and in our ministries.
Lord, help me to position my heart in such a way that I never let go of the truth, but always am willing to let go of my traditional patterns, when You move sovereignly by Your Spirit in my life. Help me to never miss the still small voice and direction of the Ruach ha-Kodesh!
In Jesus Name!