Acts 17: 29-34
Our reading today has Paul winding up his discussion with the Epicureans and the Stoics in Athens. Epicureans live for the joy of life’s pleasure and the Stoics cling to logic…science. Both philosophies are alive and well in our world today. We know we have the right to “happiness.” My son often tells me, “You drink your Kool-Aid mom and I’ll drink mine.” He believes there is no absolute truth so take your choice. Paul would disagree. Before Christ, God was distant, unknown and unseen and approached through sacrifices. But with the coming of Jesus the Christ, God revealed his true character and proved it by the resurrection. “Ignorance of the law” is no excuse anymore. God does not live in building and temples. God is not represented by some carving by people. Paul challenges his listeners to repent and embrace a new truth.
Repentance is turning away from our ignorance. I remember as a young adult being engaged in a life style that was not getting me where I wanted to go and came to a crisis. Would I continue making the same mistake, dating the same type of guys, going to the same type of events and coming home unfulfilled? Something needed to change in order to grow. Spiritual discipline is that gradual struggling with choices about how we are going to live. God does not force us to be Christians nor to abandon lifestyles that are destructive to ourselves. Even as those people listened to Paul and then had to decide how to live, we listen to Scripture, friends, music, sermons and choose to embrace the truth being revealed to us. There is a God who revealed himself in the life of Jesus Christ, who died and rose, and who wants to spend eternity with us. That is hard to believe. Like the Athenians we say “We want to hear you again on this subject.” (verse 32) Blessings as you grapple with your choices.