Becoming a Lifelong Learner – Part 3

by Rick Duncan, Cuyahoga Valley Church Founding Pastor

We’ve been learning how Peter learned from a confrontation by Paul recorded in Galatians 2:11-14.

Decision #1 – I will hear my godly critics.

Decision #2 – I will heed my godly critics.

It would have been easy for Peter to hear but not heed this criticism from Paul.  Peter had a long list of reasons why Paul ought to follow Peter’s lead, not Peter following Paul’s.

  • “Hey, Paul, I’m one of the twelve who walked with Jesus for 3 years.
  • “Jesus changed my name from Simon to Peter because He said I was a Rock.
  • “I walked on the water.
  • “I was in the inner circle of three.
  • “I saw Jesus transfigured.
  • “I saw the Risen Lord.
  • “I was told by Jesus to tend His sheep.
  • “I preached a message on Pentecost and 3,000 became followers of Jesus.
  • “I healed a lame man at the Temple.
  • “I gave another message and 5,000 believed.
  • “And don’t forget, for 15 days after your conversion, you sat at my feet learning about Jesus.
  • “So, you know what, Paul, you need to do what I say.  I don’t need to do what you say.”

That could have been his attitude.  But it wasn’t.  He had read verses like Proverbs 8:33.

Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.
Proverbs 8:33 (NASB)

Some people are intimidated by leadership conflict.  They expect everybody to always agree – especially with them!  They think that problems are bad things.  Conflict, though, is a good thing when handled correctly.  And the bigger the problem is, the more strategic the solution will be.  Some Bible teachers would say that this confrontation between Peter and Paul did more to keep open the door of the gospel to the Gentiles than anything else – including Peter’s vision.

The conflict was a short one.  But it appears that it led to an ever-deepening love and respect from Peter to Paul.  God can take an unpleasant incident and turn it into a life-changing lesson.

It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools. Ecclesiastes7:5 (NIV)

Whose advice ought you pay attention to?  Whose counsel do you need to heed?  Whose instruction do you have to take note of?

Some of us have been hearing the same criticism over and over and we won’t take note.  Proverbs says, “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond all remedy.”

To help me become a lifelong learner, #1) I will hear my godly critics and #2) I will heed my godly critics.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at Decision #3.