Jesus is worthy! He is not just worthy of our affection and or our attention. He is worthy of all our entire life. Jesus is worthy of our fanaticism. When the Lord moves us from the fan level of faith to the fanatic level of faith, we soon discover how dangerous real faith can be. So lets answer this question… Which boat are you in today?
- Are you staying in the boat close to shore or are you in the boat floating out in the deep?
- Are you in the safe boat… the place where you are comfortable simply listening to the teachings of Jesus?
- Or, are you in the boat which is encountering the miraculous way out in deep waters?
Which boat are you in today?
The boat out in the deep is the one where you either pass or fail faith’s tests. This is the one where you are challenged and ultimately changed into Jesus’ image. No one else may even detect you are out there in the deep, except those out there with you. In fact, those on shore may even deny there is a “deep water experience.” The mild-mannered Jesus they know would never suffer His followers to undergo such a trial.
There is no challenge when you stick close to shore. Yeah, you hear Jesus’s teachings and you get to watch what is going on, but there is no action in your own life.
Which boat are you in?
One day with Jesus changed Peter’s whole life. He had been washing the nets while keeping one ear listening to Jesus. He had other responsibilities and duties to do. He had to fish in order to make a living. His family relied on him to bring in a good catch to eat and sell. So he thought he couldn’t give up what he was doing in order to spend a whole day with the Lord. But, Jesus had other plans for Peter. He has other plans for us as well. Listen as the story continues in Luke.
4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. Luke 5:4-7
This movement from the shallows into deeper water is an analogy of what Jesus was going to do in Simon’s faith life. Jesus was going to move Simon from his superficial, half-hearted and casual attention to Jesus and turn it into a deeper, more personal and real commitment. While Peter’s baptism didn’t turn him into a radical believer…while watching Jesus heal his mother-in-law didn’t make a fanatic out him. One day in the deep water did change Peter’s life forever.
Resistance is Futile! Jesus was not the leader of the Borg collective, but Simon couldn’t resist. Peter tried to counter Jesus’ suggestion, but quickly caved. I don’t know about you but I don’t like starting over on task when I have already cleaned up and put my stuff away. When I conclude my business…I am finished.
Here is what you and I need to know. Just how does Jesus take us from where we are to where He wants us to be? Jesus pushes us, that’s how! The Lord pushes us, ever so gently. Sometimes He uses words and sometimes He moves us with actions. He encourages us to move from one level of stability, as symbolized by the shallow water near the shore, to a place where we are more dependent on God than even before as symbolized by the deeper water.
We might mildly argue with him, saying, “Lord, I’ve already been there and done this several times. I’ve already tried reading the Bible, I’ve already tried praying, and it hasn’t worked. I’ve already done what others have attempted numerous times.” Hopefully we won’t stop at this point. Like Peter we need to say, “Lord, if this is what you want me to do, I will move one more time from where I am now, and be obedient to Your word.”
Which boat are you in today?
Now I personally wouldn’t want to get into a boat with Peter. Every boat he gets into begins to sink. Twice storms ravaged the boats Peter takes to cross the lake. Jesus doesn’t seem to care. On one occasion, Jesus is asleep and the other He is walking on the water attempting to sneak pass the boat. On this venture the catch of fish begins to take the boat under. Why would anyone want to get into boat with Simon Peter or any other disciple? It is going down! Who wants to purposefully undergo a near death experience every six months?
It is tough being in a boat with someone who needs to learn their faith lessons. Invariably, the boat begins to sink and they have to exhibit faith. It is tough to watch your own self or other believer struggle in faith. Why? Everybody has to go under two or three times before they learn. I know…I have been there and got two or three (actually 5-6) wet t-shirts to prove it. How about you? All Jesus will say during these failures is…”Where is your faith?” I have absolutely hated those words at times in my life. I thought, if I have to continue hearing that phrase I will scream and pull out what little hair I have left. For some of us, our hair isn’t falling out on its own…we are pulling it out because we struggle with faith.
But there is a reason why I kept hearing those faith words…. I wanted out in the deep with Peter and the boys. I didn’t want to remain close to the shore with most of the other fans. I wanted and still want to “walk on water” with the Lord. I don’t want to just see Jesus exhibit faith…I want to exhibit faith too! I have always wanted to be a fanatic. In fact, those fans on the shore drive me crazy too. They always talk about great faith but have never left the shore. If you stay there long enough they will chain your boat to the bank and convince you Jesus doesn’t operate this way. Tell this to Peter.
Pass or fail, sink or swim… I wanted to go to the deep. Anyone who really wants to grow must go out into the deep with the Lord and learn what real faith is all about. No one can do it for you. No one can help you. Your faith lessons are not my faith lessons. My faith lessons are not your faith lessons. I don’t know how God does it, but He personally tailors each person’s walk of faith.
Have you see the “Footprints the Sand” poem? Have ever noticed how neatly the tracks are in the sand? Well, my tracks are not like the poem’s. My shoreline looks like “D-Day on Omaha Beach.” I have left tracks all over the beach where I fought with the Lord, rolled on the ground, and kicked sand all over the place. I’ve cried, wallowed, and basically thrown fits. The only thing I can hope for was the Lord wasn’t recording during the melee. Learning to walk in faith is not pretty.
Your greatest blessings will always be out in the deep. Yes, it is a little scary, unstable and unfamiliar out there. But it is also where most of the fish live. Fishermen never catch many fish from the shore. They have to go out into the deep water to catch larger and greater numbers of fish, unless you want to catch them one-at-a-time with the rest of the fans hugging the shore. You might still have your hair, but will not have grown in faith.
Which boat are you in today? Jesus wants to take you from your comfortable shoreline to a deeper place where you will find more food for your soul and discover your dependence on Him. Are you ready to go! The Captain of Our Souls is calling.