In yesterday’s devotional, episode 76 titled “I’m Finally Ready”, we heard about two brothers who were fishermen, Peter and Andrew. When Jesus walked by them and said, follow me, they dropped their nets and followed him. We learned that it is the following of Jesus, the pursuit of Jesus that changes us. We do the following and Jesus does the changing.
Today we’re going to dig a little deeper in this story and see how it applies to our own lives and journeys. I’ve been inspired by an old journal entry from a TD Jakes sermon on Matthew chapter 4.
How many times have you dropped something, experienced some success, then gone right back and picked up that old thing again? Maybe it was a habit. You broke the habit, you were doing so good, then for some reason you picked it back up again and before you knew it you were right back where you used to be. Maybe it was an attitude. You changed your attitude and perspective. You were like a new person with a new and improved attitude and darn it felt so good. Then something happened and it took you right back to your old way of thinking and talking, then you found yourself worse off than you were before.
I think if we’re being honest, this is the real life journey of every single one of us. We make progress, we taste success, then we relapse. And isn’t it harder the second time around because we now know what we can have, we’ve tasted it, we even lived it for a time and going back to who we were and how we were is painful. Have you ever lost weight, then gained it back? Have you ever ran a race, then stopped running? Have you ever slayed one of our challenges to simplify your life, then gone out and bought a bunch of stuff you don’t need? Or have you ever taken on the zip-it challenge with us and successfully restrained your tongue with no nagging, nit-picking or complaining for a period of time, then boom … you’re right back to running off at the mouth like a mad woman.
We sure have a way of screwing this up don’t we? We make progress with one step forward, then it’s two steps back.
Peter and Andrew did the right thing when Jesus walked by with an invitation to follow him. They immediately dropped their nets and followed. But let me tell you something, these two fishermen often went back and picked up their nets again. Jesus told them to drop it, but they kept picking it back up again. But Jesus didn’t give up on them. He saw something in them. He knew their potential. So he kept coming back for them.
We’ve all relapsed before. Each of us have gone back and picked up something that God told us to drop. But God isn’t giving up on you. Even when you’ve given up on yourself, God isn’t. And you know why? He sees something in you. He knows your potential. Do you know how he knows your potential? Because he put it there. He filled you with potential to successfully live a big, beautiful life and he just keeps coming back to you time and time again with more opportunities to drop whatever you’re holding on to and follow him.
God wants to lead you to something new, a new place in life or a new level of living. To get there, you will have to follow him. You can’t get there on your own. And where he’s taking you will be uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Your environment will be out of your comfort zone. And I know this, you will want to run back to what is safe and familiar time and time again, picking up those old nets that you laid down. But if you will stay the course. If you will continue to trust and follow God. If you are willing to get out of your comfort zone and dive into the deep end of the pool, God’s going to show you your potential. He’s going to show you what he’s seen in you from the beginning.
Peter only saw himself as a fisherman. He was from a family of fishermen and all he knew how to do was fish. But God saw him as a disciple of his son Jesus. Someone who would be chosen as part of the inner circle. God saw him as the rock on which he would build his church.
I wonder how God sees you. Likely different than how you see yourself. How about you just start leaning into what God sees in you. Start believing in the potential he has placed inside of you. Be willing to follow him outside of the confines of your comfort zone where he is leading you to new places and new levels to discover the life he has designed for you and the destiny that has your name all over it.
God is calling you to what you’re going to be all while you’re trying to fit in with what you used to be.
Psalm 37:23 says “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.”
Today you’re just taking another step. Another step towards the life you were created for. Another step towards the person you were always intended to be. Another step towards that potential that’s inside of you. One day you’ll do what you simply aren’t strong enough or confident enough to do today. If you keep stepping. If you keep going. God’s going to strengthen you and take you to those new places, but you have to keep stepping. Keep following. Keep trusting. And you may never know the step it was that brought you your breakthrough. You may never know this side of heaven which step it was that sealed the deal.
But today, keep stepping. And if you’ve picked back up that which God has told you to put down, just let it go again now.