A great example of God at work directing someone to think in a new way is the disciple Peter. From his early Bieberesque blunders to the maturing leader giving leadership to the church, Peter had a great teacher who bent his mind into something great.
Following the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Peter had to begin contemplating a new kind of reality in which God must be conceived of in new ways. His former upbringing and behaviour were such that his failures produced shame and a greatly diminished potential. Jesus encounters Peter at a stage when his life had lost purpose and significance. Instead of changing the world, he had proved himself to be an impulsive liar, coward and failure as a friend. At the time of Christ’s arrest, Peter said and did all the wrong things.
Watch how Jesus begins the work of forming new thought in Peter.
The first thing Jesus does to change Peter’s mind is to repeat and reframe the challenge, “Do you love me?” As Peter is repeatedly asked, he repeatedly responds until the full weight of the question is felt.
Sometimes God is at work asking you questions that you need to answer. Sometimes repetition brings us to the place of discomfort. This is where real learning begins.
Second, Jesus gives varied responses. The consistent answer to the question is nuanced to reflect deeper understanding. Feed my lambs… take care of my sheep… feed my sheep… From the repetition of God’s Word in our lives, we are given consistent ways to respond, though there are many nuances to what we must learn.
Like the taxi driver rewiring his brain to handle difficult traffic and navigate through many paths, we learn to be a disciple by staying in the relationship and listening to repeat instructions.
Finally, Jesus indicates to Peter that learning establishes new control. He may have been an independent man given to freely speaking his mind and choosing his own path. Now, Jesus is teaching Peter about the cost of learning new ways. He will eventually give his whole life to follow Jesus.
Knowing that this was the cost, Peter allowed his egocentric way of thinking to be changed in ways that would become his legacy. From this point, the story of Peter’s life is one of outstanding adaptability and significance.
What has God been repeatedly asking of you?
In answering God’s questions, our mind will be shaped and grow immeasurably. Take time to listen to God’s questions.