“What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” (Acts 21:22-24)
Growing up I was told what is taught at church should stay at church. We didn’t want to offend anyone who didn’t believe in Jesus—a cultural belief, not a Methodist one. My family (not me or my middle sis) ridiculed my cousin who always talked about Jesus. Customs place a stronghold on us. I still have difficulty speaking about Jesus and praying out loud with people who need prayer. Am I a hypocrite? Yes. What should I do?
Did Paul compromise his faith? He hadn’t been keeping Jewish law and didn’t believe he was unclean, so why would he pay for and participate in purification rights when Jesus keeps us pure? He tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:22. “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
Paul compromised his faith out of love. I can’t say that about myself, so I pray for God to change me. I’m thankful He understands that cultures have strongholds on us. He didn’t choose me to tell others about Jesus—He chose me to write about Him. I thank God for His grace.
Father, I praise You for Your understanding and forgiveness when I compromise my faith. Continue to change me. Give me the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit as I follow Your will. Keep me and my loved ones safe and free from the enemy and bind us closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.
6 thoughts on “Daily Devotional Acts 21:22-24 – What should we do when our cultural strongholds don’t agree with God’s word? – Free online Bible study – Commentary in easy English – Day 645”
God knows our personalities, after all He made us. Not all people are meant to minister or shepherd others. I don’t think that mom or dad would have been upset if any of their children had decided to become a minister or a missionary and preach God’s word. I think what they wanted us to know was proper etiquette, you shouldn’t discuss religion or politics because it can easily lead to disagreements. What they taught us is true. I don’t believe that they wanted to stifle our thoughts or beliefs. Our culture now and Paul’s culture are totally different. It is like trying to compare apples and oranges. What was common place then is completely different now. When our cousin’s faith was new to her, she wanted to share it with everyone, and she wanted all of us to believe exactly the way she did. I believe she thought what we believed was not good enough, and that we needed to claim ourselves as born again Christians to be saved. She still thinks that way and she will challenge and lecture you about why you are wrong if there is a difference of opinion. No one wants to be lectured about their beliefs and she can become very aggressive in a discussion. I think that is why she made our family feel uncomfortable and that makes me feel uncomfortable now. I do not discuss my religious beliefs with her because I know what will happen. I do not believe you are a hypocrite. I believe that you know the correct forum for discussing religious beliefs and you would not tell someone they were flat out wrong for believing differently than you do.
Proper etiquette is part of our culture. The disciples had a different culture, perhaps better than ours, where they told people about Jesus. Isn’t every Christian’s job to minister to others? I agree with you that it is wrong to flat out tell others they are wrong for believing differently because that is not done with love. But asking questions can be done with love. For example, why don’t you claim yourself to be a born-again Christian? Read what Jesus has to say about it in John 3 before you answer. I haven’t had the problem you have had with our cousin or I wouldn’t have used her as an example. We have discussed things we’ve disagreed upon but when I have backed my reasons with Scripture, she will say, you could be right but that’s not what I believe. Love you, Sis. Please answer my question. Do so privately if you wish. Or you don’t have to answer, but it is something you should think about. I definitely proclaim to be a born-again Christian.
First, when I read back over my comments, I sounded a bit harsh about our cousin. I didn’t mean for it to sound that way but she is VERY insistent about her beliefs. Next, I should not have used born again Christian. I should have used the term fundamentalist or apostolic, both read the Bible literally. Our cousin and you both remember Bible verses and I really have a hard time with that. So when you have a discussion with her you can back yourself up. I am not able to do that. I love her very much but we don’t agree on somethings because she is a fundamentalist.
Yes, I believe that all Christians should minister to others at the appropriate time and place. I also believe the words in John:3 are the truth and we are born again. If I didn’t answer your questions let me know. I apologize for the confusion.
Apostolic means relating to or conforming to the teachings of the New Testament apostles. A fundamentalist is a person who believes in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture. I consider myself both apostolic and fundamental. That being said, I realize that people interpret the scripture in different ways.
Fundamentalism may be the word you are looking for, but I think legalism is a better word. People who are legalistic can’t come to terms that life is unpredictable with God because he wants us to trust Him. Those people use Old Testament laws or laws they have made up that they feel are necessary to be a good Christian because it makes Christianity more predictable. They force those beliefs on everyone when Jesus tells us there are only two commandments we should follow. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)
Don’t ever apologize for what you write. People often shake their heads when they say, “That person is a fundamentalist or that person is a born-again Christian, and we think I’m not a bad person; I’m neither of those things. But when we look at the definition or what the Bible says about it – maybe we are those things.
I have very few Bible verses memorized. I can’t tell you how many times a day I refer to Biblegateway.com and search the couple of words I do remember from Bible verses. I know you love Diana and I agree with you that she can be a little legalistic. And I do believe it is because she needs God to be predictable when he’s not. Legalistic people can be a pain in the butt at times (can’t we all), but most are very nice people that sometimes give Christianity a bad name.
Thanks for the feedback, Jody. You are right, I love Diana and you can always count on her for prayer. I like the word legalistic to describe her. She has been able to count on so little in her life, at least her earlier life. She probably does have a need for her beliefs to be predictable. The one thing life can be is unpredictable. Love you, Sis. Blessings!
Thanks for your comment. I love you, Sis.