A clue to the first principle of success is found in Luke 5:3: Jesus was in the boat with the disciples. Christ’s presence made a big difference! This time the disciples weren’t fishing by themselves; God was with them. The first principle for successful living is this: You must appropriate God’s presence in your life. In other words, you have to get Jesus into your boat. That’s the starting point. Nothing has greater influence on your personal success than whether or not you are living with Christ in your life. For Peter, his boat represented his livelihood. When you’re a fisherman, that boat is your business! It’s significant that Peter made his boat available for Jesus to use. Christ used Peter’s business as a platform for ministry.
Does God have access to your job? Is your business available for him to use at any time? Is he able to minister to people through your job? Too often we try to separate the secular and the spiritual; we have our Christian life nicely partitioned off from our career. But this prevents God from blessing your business or job. And the truth is, God will bless anything you give him. If you give him all your life, he will bless all of it. But if you give him just a part of it, he will bless just that one part.
A friend told me that as the president of his corporation he invites God to every board meeting. He reports that as a result, the board members make fewer mistakes and have more peace of mind about difficult decisions.
There is something about having Jesus in your boat that eliminates the fear of failure and reduces your worries about the results. When Peter made Christ his fishing partner, the results were incredible: he caught more fish than he had ever caught on his own. Don’t miss the sequence, though. First Peter used his boat for Christ’s purposes. Jesus took the boat and preached from it to reach people. Then, after Christ had used the boat for his own purposes, God took care of Peter’s needs.
God promises us that if we “Seek … first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,… all these [other] things shall be added” unto us (Matt. 6:33 KJV). Does this mean that if I give my whole life to Christ, putting him first in every area, then he will bless it all? Yes, that is God’s promise to you.
Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
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