Like the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter— who got to know Jesus very early on —was also called upon to rethink certain aspects of his traditional orientation. His reaction to the vision of the unclean animals, as reported in the book of Acts, also provides a good example of the way in which the carnal mind or egoic mind may assert itself— or reassert itself —by way of our attachment to various personal and/or traditional beliefs. For, occasionally, such beliefs will be challenged by the clear leading of the Lord. In Peter’s case, it happened like this:
“About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.’ The voice said to him again, a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane’ ” (Acts 10:9-15).
Similarly, as we continue to live— faithfully and steadfast —in the presence of the Lord, we may find that our lives begin to unfold in directions that seem to conflict with some of our personal and/or traditional preconceptions as to what is true or good or right or appropriate. And like Peter— who was somewhat notorious in this regard —we may be tempted to say NO to the Lord, imagining that our own preconceptions (or the preconceptions of those around us) should take precedence over His clear leading in our lives. Eventually, however, we learn to test the spirits to see whether they are from God (I John 4:1). And as we continue to sense that a new direction really is in order, we know better than to let the inertia of the past quench the leading of the Spirit, here and now.