It’s so easy to read the Bible and see the people in it as people of incredible faith or to marvel at the miracles that they experience as something that we could never see in our lives. Jesus is here with us today. As much as he called the disciples, he has called us to live lives of supernatural power. He is calling us to step out in faith. We asks us to walk in obedience. He is calling us to feel his power at work in the mundane parts of our lives, redeeming them, and using them to glorify himself.
We tend to compartmentalize our lives. We make little boxes for the different parts of our world and rarely mix their contents. We step into our spiritual box periodically to check in with how Jesus is doing, and then move on to another box.
That was a nice little church day yesterday, but now it’s Monday! Okay, here I go with work…oh, Jesus, hey! What are you doing here?
Jesus wants to mix into our boxes. In fact, he frequently asks us to turn our boxes upside down at his feet, surrendering the contents to him. We find that this concept of compartmentalization was entirely our idea- not his.
In Luke 5, Jesus is called upon to teach. He teaches using a lesson based on one man’s day-to-day, stinky, dirty job.
Luk 5:1-11 NIV 1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Jesus literally got into the boats of some fisherman who were wrapping up a hard day’s work. We don’t actually even know what he taught on that day, but we know from this scripture that he changed some lives that day. Three men became disciples. What made them special? They said ‘yes’. They walked in obedience.
When Jesus asked to use their boats- not just to use them but for the men to help him reach the people, they said ‘Yes’. Maybe they were like me sometimes when Jesus gets into “my” business and asks me to surrender a part of my daily life to him. I tend to think or act like, “Okay, fine, Jesus. You can have my boat. Okay? Now, leave me alone, I have nets to mend.” I would never talk to Jesus like that, but I live like that all the time.
Then Jesus keeps pushing. In this case, at the end of their day, Jesus asks Simon to go back to work. Simon is tired. He’s got everything set to go back to work early the next morning. But Jesus is calling Simon to more. He asks Simon to trust him and obey the simple call to action in the moment that could seem so stupid.
We all have the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us. The very Spirit of Christ beckons us to more closeness and more fruit. The GivenLife.com theme verse, John 10:10 offers us abundant life in Jesus. The thief is the one who argues, ‘Nah, just keep everything in that box of yours. Why would you want to get your nets back out? It’s time to go eat. Jesus loves you, right? Why would Jesus want you to suffer and waste your time? Let’s go. This can wait.’
Abundant life and the experience of power in our lives requires obedience to the voice of Jesus. Simon surrenders his nets to Jesus’s will. He has a relationship with him in that moment where he tells Jesus how he’s feeling but then says, because you will it…He says ‘Yes’. He goes out into deep water for Jesus. In front of everyone, he goes fishing with a carpenter.
He lands one heck of a catch!
That’s the part that we see in the Bible and think, ‘Man, I wish Jesus would help me land a whopper like that.’ 😒
We see other people who have amazing blessings that we want and let jealousy and regret fill us. That’s not what God is calling us to either. How silly is it that we are there, organizing our piddly little crap in our tiny boxes, all the while resenting that other people have larger boxes with better stuff than us? We need to surrender our boxes to Jesus and let him fill them until they are bursting!
We can follow this line of thinking. It’s easy for our little human brains to go into this transactional mode and say, “Okay, so I give up a little and then get a lot.” That’s human thinking for you. But it’s also the thief’s voice in our ear that’s trying to keep us from Heavenly riches and exchange them for fish that will eventually be gone, smelling and rotten.
Jesus calls Simon and his friends to more, and he’s calling us to more too. We miss Jesus when we don’t continue to say ‘Yes’. What if we read this scripture and Simon obeyed Jesus up to this point and then said, “See you, Jesus, and thanks for all the fish!” We can see from our current point of view that he would be a fool to be fixated on the heap of fish that he just landed. Simon (Simon Peter) is Peter- the “on this rock, I will build my church” Peter. He had a lot more encounters of power with Jesus waiting for him. In that moment though, Peter was just Simon with two boats full of fish.
Simon is filled with awe and shame at how he doesn’t deserve this miracle in his life. He actually tells Jesus to go away. Can you relate to that? It’s a natural (but unhealthy) tendency to let ourselves languish in shame. We are truly unworthy in the natural world, but we are not merely flesh creatures. We were created and then redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Jesus is calling us worthy. Who are we to tell the King of Kings, “No, Jesus. I know better than you do. I’m actually unworthy. Go away!”
That’s not our job. We have no place telling Jesus that he can’t have us, our boxes of compartmentalization, or the piddly garbage in those boxes. If Jesus says that we are worthy, we need to surrender our pride and accept the higher call on our lives.
Simon and his buddies don’t just keep fishing. It would be easy for them to believe that apparently, Jesus wanted them to be the world’s best fisherman. Maybe God would bless them with two boats full of fish every night!
Instead, they recognize the pile of fish for what it is: evidence of the glory of Jesus. Jesus is worth pursuing and that means stepping into the next season of life for them. They pull their boats onto shore and follow Jesus to become fishers of men.
It’s important not to let the needs of this world get in the way of a move of Jesus in our lives. Fishers of men make less money than fishers of fish. They ate well and had a blast while they were walking with Jesus, but then Jesus sends them out later with only the clothes on their body and a walking stick.
The season after that? Their Messiah dies. After that? They receive the Holy Spirit and work amazing miracles like Jesus. The season after that? They are persecuted and killed. There are so many ups and downs in life. We need to accept that. We have to know that we are waging war against the forces of darkness and be willing to fight.
The thief wants us to polish our little knick knacks and surrender to him instead of marching into the service of Jesus. Move into the next season of your life. Fight with power on your side. Do the painful thing that is worthwhile. Push your boat back into the water if that’s what Jesus is calling you to next, but also be willing to walk away from that boat if Jesus is calling you to something else next.
Not knowing what is next is totally normal. We are walking in faith. The only answer is connection with Jesus. Keep following his voice. He leads with peace and helps you walk through scary times like we are living through today. It was not easy for Simon to walk away from his job as a fisherman to become a disciple. Simon stepped out in faith to become the Peter he was called to be.
Later, he would step out of a boat and walk on water with Jesus. He started sinking when he took his eyes off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Follow him and you’ll step into what’s next too.
How can we fix a distorted sense of identity and self talk? The enemy of our soul is constantly asking this question of us: “Who do you think you are?!”. Satan tells us that he was the answer: “You’re nothing! You’re capable of nothing. You might as well give up.” He’s lying straight to our faces and many of us believe the lie is true. We should ask ourselves this question. Who do I think I am? Because the truth is that when we tap into the real answer to our identity, our lives change.
The Bible says that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Who we are, how we think about ourselves, all of that self-information is held in our hearts. The belief of who we are controls so much of our lives. It shapes our world view. If we feel unworthy of love, then every act and word from people around us will feel hostile. It will seem that the world is out to get us.
When we get our identity from the lies of the devil, it perverts our calling. Where we are called to love and bless, we’ll lash out in anger and speak hateful, death-soaked words that cut and further the lies of the enemy. Our words then reinforce this false identity in ourselves and others.
God says that no man can tame the tongue. So, what do we do? How do we change our own view of who we are? We need to stay connected to Jesus. We need to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit who speaks words of life into our hearts so that when we speak, our hearts are filled with truth and life. Our lives change when we ask Jesus to save us and be our Lord, he offers us a new identity. We just have to seek that out and welcome it in. We can be transformed. We have to accept it and continue to fill ourselves with the truth of our identity.
“Who do you think you are?!” Good question, devil. I’m a child of the Most High. I’m the property of the King of Kings. He calls me his friend. No weapon formed against me will prosper because I am more than a conqueror. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am not a victim. My circumstances do not control who I am. I have lived in plenty and in times of lacking and through it all, my Jesus has been there with me. I am a soldier in the army of Heaven and I rule with the Creator of the Universe as He directs me. He is my source for every need I have. I am his slave- not a slave to sin. I am filled with the fruits of his Spirit. Not fear or pride or lust. I am loved. I am called worthy by Jesus and no one can take that away from me. Yes, I feel pretty good about who I am. 🙂
Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for a new year that we all get to live in. We want to live our best in the new year. We want to glorify you. We want to show your love and awesome power to the world by living excellent lives. We are not worthy in the flesh, but Jesus, you call us worthy. You adopted us into your family and called us sons and daughters and friends. That astounds me, Jesus. Thank you! Whatever you will, God, we are on board for it. We will lay down our fears, our pride, our selfish ambitions. We lay it all at our feet. We want your Kingdom in our lives. Your Kingdom is worth every second of our day and every ounce of energy that you give us. We want your Kingdom to dominate our thoughts and our hearts’ yearnings. We trust you to give us all that we need.
Touch the hurting people in our world. Release our hearts from entanglements of bitterness and pain. We give those to you, Jesus. Thank you for healing our sickness and guiding us when we feel lost. You are our King. We serve you above all else. Lord of Heaven and Earth, we worship you in this new year! Amen.
God of the Universe, we worship you and call all of our bodies and minds into alignment with your Kingdom. Your Kingdom is free of pain. The pain in our bodies and the emotional pain that some of us are experiencing is not of God. We take authority over this pain and command it to leave.
We speak healing into the injured bodies of our brothers and sisters across the globe. Migraines and chronic headaches, back pain, TMJ disorder, menstrual pain, neuralgia, pain after surgery, whatever it is, God, we command it to glorify you: to be healed, leaving the body and spirit free to worship you in wholeness, Jesus.
We also speak healing over the emotions of millions of hurting people in the world, especially each and every hurting person who reads this prayer. Holy Spirit, embrace them with your grace and mercy and love. Heal us with the power of your unconditional love. Help us to know what might be hindering our healing. Help us to let go of our pain and to forgive anyone who has hurt us. You are bigger than pain and bigger than offense, Jesus. Thank you for helping us to become whole again.
Father, we lift up these prayers to you:
Thank you for Robin and her daughter in the UK:
Bless Sharon with favor in the Canadian visa department and with healing:
Lord, we pray for Jamie in Columbia, SC:
I have a 1 year old daughter who is my everything. Wednesday morning I am going to court after a lengthy battle (not custody related). I have spent hours preparing for this because of my lack of financial ability to obtain an attorney. This has by far been the most challenging, painful, and frightening experience I’ve ever been through. I have been mentally beat down, legally bullied, and have been stripped of the most important thing to me – my ability to protect my child and provide for her everything she is deserving of. Because the father of my child has a very expensive, very good lawyer he was about to have some very unjust and not in the best interest of our daughter ‘rules’ put into our original court order, limiting my ability to make decisions to protect her from unsafe situations.
I pray that God is with us Wednesday morning. I pray that he is in the heart and mind of the judge, allowing her to see what’s right here, to not be fooled by the trickery or an experienced lawyer. I pray that I am re afforded the ability to protect my daughter, to provide for her properly, to be allowed to give her the best, everything she deserves, and more. I pray that God gives me the strength, wisdom, and clarity to communicate effectively with the judge. I pray that God is with my daughters father and lawyer and puts it in their hearts to put our daughters best interest ahead of her Fathers best interest.
If I knew how to put in to words the extent of my gratitude I would. Thank you, so much.
Heal Glenda’s friend in North Carolina. We agree with her prayer for pain relief.:
God, I pray that the power that you sent in healing my depression and bipolar disorder would rain down on Marian right now. Heal her mental and physical pains, Holy Spirit:
Heal Rick in Alabama:
We lift up Henry’s prayer request from Tennessee for his daughter:
Thank you for providing for Grace and her family:
From Johannesburg, South Africa to New York City in the USA, from Zimbabwe to New Zealand, Lord, you know the needs brought to you in private prayer requests. We trust you and your plan for our lives. We love you Jesus!
God, sometimes it seems very difficult to know the difference between judgment and discernment. Help us to know the difference…
Romans 12:2 KJV And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Those two ideas: not judgment, but knowing the difference between what is good and what is not, seem contrary at times. But Holy Spirit, I know they’re not. You know my heart (1 Samuel 16:7). My heart knows your truth. Your truth is inside me.
Your love has filled me to overflowing. I know what your love is like. Help me to look at every situation through the lens of your love. Then I will know my motives. If I am looking at a person and come to the conclusion that they are unworthy or undeserving of anything but the best that you have to offer, Jesus, then I will know that my motives are not pure. Please purge those impure motives from my heart and thoughts, Holy Spirit.
Instead, let me plainly see the world. Let me see what glorifies you and what doesn’t. Let me see my words and actions with sound judgment, but when it comes to others, help me to worry about myself and to only walk in discernment to protect my heart from the things that don’t glorify you.
Thank you, Lord. Thank you for walking with these people and meeting their needs…
We lift up this anonymous prayer request to you, God:
Thank you for Hope, Lord. Send her the husband that she desires, and in the meantime, thank you for being her comfort:
Father, thank you for the plan that you have for Marlo’s life. Bless her financially, and help her to get into a new home soon:
Bless C, Father. Set her free from the bondage of addiction and the problems that have come with it:
Bless Dan, his prayer meeting, and his church:
We lift up Earl’s prayer request from Washington D.C.:
Bless L, Jesus:
Bring companionship into this person’s life, Lord:
We also lift up the private prayer requests from around the globe, including India, Hungary, the Philippines, in the United States of America in California, Georgia, Long Island, Texas, and other areas. Bless these people, Jesus. Thank you, Lord.