Saturday, January 9, 2016

But at your word

Simon answered, "Master we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word, I will let down the nets."  Luke 5:5

But at your word.

As our church prepares to enter into a season of fasting and praying, my heart is torn.  To be honest, fasting creates a bit of an uneasy feeling in me.  Not fear or dread. Not a lack of desire to spend concentrated time seeking God.... just an uneasy feeling. 

This morning as I was talking to God about all of this, he impressed something on my heart that I feel explained my uneasy feeling.  He said,

"Don't you dare enter into a season of fasting unless you are willing to COMPLETELY obey everything I tell you to do."

Perhaps that was my dilemma.  Perhaps I am not 100% sure I want to hear what God has to say. 

This morning I read in Luke 5.  The story is familiar. Simon Peter is cleaning his fishing nets. He and his buddies had spent the night before fishing. It was a disappointing catch.  Jesus comes by, gets in the boat, and has Simon go out just a bit in the water then Jesus sits down and teaches.

After Jesus finishes teaching, he looks at Simon and gives two commands:

1. Put out into the deep
2.Let your nets down for a catch

Simon's response, found in verse 5, is simple "We toiled all night, BUT at your word, I will let down the nets."

My response to the call to fast has been has been like Simon.  "I have been praying. I have been seeking you and your will for our life, our church, our community...BUT because you have instructed my pastor to call us to this, I will do it."

My attitude has not exactly been one of obedience.  Here is what I learned this morning.

1. The Instructions.    Found in verse 4.
A change of  location. (Put the boat in deeper waters) They fished at night! This was not the routine!

An action. (Let your nets down for a catch)

2.  The Results.     Found in verse 6.
They caught a LARGE number of fish.  The catch was massive!  Greater than they could have planned for or imagined. Taking place in the same waters they had been fishing in just hours before. Don't forget, they "took nothing" in that fishing trip.

The nets were breaking!  This is a beautiful reminder that God keeps his word.  Back in verse 4, Jesus told them to "let your nets down for a catch."  What a catch it was!

3. The Impact. Found in verses in 8 and 9.
A change in Simon.  His response was a repentant heart!

Simon and ALL that were with him, were astonished! Simon's obedience created an environment for a personal miracle, but also a miracle for those around him. 

Here is how God pulled all this together for me.

1. God will often ask you to change your location and daily routine for a reason.  Fasting will cause a change in our routines. It will remove distractions, but it will also create an environment for a miracle.

2. While fasting is intensely personal, the results of the activity of God in our life WILL impact the world around us.  We cannot even imagine what God has planned. 

3. Do not enter this fast unless you are ready to obey.  Just as blessings follow obedience, consequences follow disobedience. 

Life will be different the next 21 days.  I am sure walking away from the things God has impressed on my heart will seem difficult at first, HOWEVER:   

If God calls us to something, it for a reason.  He has a purpose in mind. He is beginning a good work and Philippians 1:6 tells that when God begins a good work, he is faithful to complete it. 

I can hardly wait to see how He  ASTOUNDS us!