Topic: The Danger of Double-mindedness.
Text: Galatians 2: 11-14
Key verse: When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterwards, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.- Galatians 2:12
Criticism is a gift when it helps us stay in alignment with the truth of the gospel. Life in the spirit requires ongoing learning, as God reveals truths we will have to adjust old ways of thinking to live in the light of what God has shown.
Peter was the one God gave the revelation that the gospel should be shared with the Gentiles through a trance and the subsequent visit of men from Cornelius. To avoid any debate about God’s approval the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them while Peter was still speaking the word and they spoke in tongues just like it had happened on the day of Pentecost.
The Gentiles were welcomed to the family of God, but not everyone liked the idea. Some known as the Circumcision, the legalistic believers were not comfortable with accepting the Gentile believers except they keep the Jewish laws, which included circumcision. (Galatians 2:1-5)
During Peter’s visit to Antioch, he related well with the Gentiles until some of the circumcision group arrived from Jerusalem, he started to change his attitude and act differently. This behaviour change we can see was for fear of criticism.
When we act out of fear of man, we often, go against God’s will. We must guard our actions by what we believe to be the truth, and where we are not sure, we should ask to be put through rather than being double-minded.
We ought also to stand on our convictions without wavering because of its effect on others especially the young ones in the faith.
As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. – Galatians 2:13
Jesus gave a warning as he taught the disciples about the danger of being an instrument of offence against the young ones.
But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. – Matthew 18:6
Your double-mindedness becomes a snare to you and also a hindrance to the message of the kingdom.
When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? – Galatians 2:14
Paul criticized Peter not because he wanted to embarrass him but for the sake of the gospel of grace, which is the basis and foundation of salvation both to the Jews and the Gentiles.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. – Romans 1:16
Two lessons to take from our text is to rid ourselves of the fear of criticism, it will always work for our good and the furtherance of the kingdom of God.
We are all growing into Christ and must never be ashamed of being told what is lacking in perfection in our lives. It is a manifestation of pride to think you know it all.
Secondly, our double-mindedness can jeopardize the message of the gospel, especially when we are leaders. This leadership position can be in the home and our workplaces. When you are given to eye-service, acting like Peter, you are exacting a negative influence on the young believers around you.
Those who honestly criticize you are truly those who love you the most and want you to be better in who you are and in what you do.
Stop and pray for your greatest critics, thank God for their role in your life. Pray for wisdom for them to fulfil that ministry in a loving and caring way.