On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. Luke 5:1-5
I have made so many excuses in my life. Excuses to not obey. Excuses to neglect the things God was asking of me. Excuses to follow my own lead instead of submitting to His. I can think of many times in my life when what He was asking made no sense. Times when I questioned His knowledge. Times when excuses came way easier than obedience. Have you ever questioned what Jesus was asking you to do? Or perhaps found making excuses easier than obeying?
I read these verses and I desperately want to be like Peter. As Peter stepped out on faith and lowered his net into the deep water, He had Christ by His side, directing his work. I want to be so close to Christ that every step is directed by Him. I want to believe His words so strongly that my circumstances have no sway over me. But as I read, I immediately recognized the excuses I would have made.
Lord, I have toiled all night and have caught nothing. I am tired.
Lord, my nets are already cleaned. It makes no sense to dirty them again.
Lord, I know fishing. You catch them at night in shallow water, not during the day in deep water. You don’t know fish the way I know fish.
Lord, these conditions are not ideal. The crowd is loud. The fish have been scared off for sure.
Lord, I really don’t have time to do this.
I look at Peter’s response to the request of Christ and I wonder how he was able to put aside all those excuses. I know for a fact, if I had fished all night with no luck, I would have been done. What was Peter’s secret to obeying even when it made no sense? Where did this faith to take immediate action come from? And then I looked again and it’s so clear. So simple.
It came from hearing the words of Christ and being in His presence. As Jesus preached from that boat, Peter listened. He paid attention and believed the words that Christ proclaimed. He esteemed the words of Jesus more than the circumstances that surrounded him. He allowed Christ’s words, instead of his own doubt, to dictate his actions. He kept Christ by His side every moment as he let down that net.
“It is a blessed thing to see Christ sitting in the boat while you cast out the net. If you catch a glimpse of His approving smile as He watches you, you will work right heartily.” -Spurgeon
There may be times in our lives when obeying Christ makes no logical sense, when it goes against the nature of who we think we are, when it requires us to act in ways that are out of the ordinary or demands effort when we would much rather quit. In those moments we have the choice to either obey or make excuses and I pray that I would be so close to Christ that obedience would be my more natural choice. I pray that every step would be directed by Him. And like Peter, I would believe His words so strongly that my circumstances would have no sway over me.
It’s when obedience doesn’t make sense that faith must step in. When God asks you to recast the net that you have already washed, faith must step in. When you are weary from trying yet He asks for more, faith must step in. When all your circumstances are stacked against you, faith must step in. The truth is, we miss out on so much greatness when we allow excuses to take over, rather than faith to step in.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. -Proverbs 3:6
Digging Deeper: When have you allowed excuses to take over rather than faith to step in? Have your circumstances ever influenced your behavior more than the commands of God?
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