The second principle is found in Luke 5:4. The second time the disciples went fishing, they fished under the direction of Christ, obediently following his instructions. We must not only appropriate God’s presence in our lives, but also cooperate with God’s plan in our lives. Jesus told the disciples where to fish, when to fish, and how to fish. When God is guiding your life, you cannot fail. As the late gospel singer Ethel Waters used to say, “God doesn’t sponsor flops.”
Peter’s reaction to Christ’s guidance was beautiful. First, he didn’t argue. He didn’t say, “Wait a minute, Jesus! I’m the premier professional fisherman on this lake. I own the record. Who are you to tell me how to fish?” He didn’t ask, “Lord, are you sure?” He didn’t ask any questions, and he also didn’t hesitate. Peter might have been thinking that if he didn’t catch anything at night, then he certainly wasn’t going to catch anything in the middle of the day when the sun was glaring down on the water. But Peter didn’t ask any questions; he just obeyed.
He also didn’t listen to his feelings. I’m sure he was dog-tired from working all night, but he didn’t ask, “What’s the use? Why should I keep on going?” Peter’s attitude was perfect. He was eager to cooperate with God’s plan.
Why do you think Jesus said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep”? I think it was because it’s in the deep water that the big fish are located. You only catch minnows in shallow water. Most people live in the shallow waters of life. They simply exist on a superficial level. There’s little depth to their lives because they’re content to just play around the edge, never getting out into deeper water. Why? Because it’s safer in shallow water. They think, “If I get out into the deep water, there might be some waves. They might rock my boat, and it might overturn. So I’ll just stay back here where it’s safe and comfortable and fiddle around.”
When God works in your life, it always involves risks, because God wants you to live by faith. Many Christians barely get their feet wet because they’re afraid of getting in over their heads. They think, “If I really get serious about my commitment to the Lord, he may make me a fanatic. My family might get really upset. What will my friends think?” So they’re content to live in the shallows of life—and they miss out on so much.
God’s plan for your life is a good plan, one that will work for your benefit. God says, “Let me get into your boat. Let my presence be with you wherever you go—in your business, in your family, in your marriage, in every area. Let me direct you. Cooperate with my plan.”
Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
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