“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” – Luke 5:4.
Peter was busy washing his nets. Working with John and James, Peter was trying to clean the nets. The previous night was as a bust: not a single fish to show for their efforts. Luke 5:3 says, “stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. Jesus finished His message and turned once again to Peter. “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” (Luke 5:4).
Initially, Peter responded to Jesus’ command like you and I would have done—with logic. “Master, we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing…” The Bible doesn’t tell us but I wonder if Peter’s thoughts were something like this: “Jesus, you are a carpenter, and an excellent teacher, but fishing is my thing. Fishing is what I do.” What Jesus had just asked Peter to do was contrary to all of Peter’s training and experience.
Even so, Peter made a critical decision: “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” This is a pattern repeated throughout Scripture: God often doesn’t intervene until the task seems impossible, at least from a human perspective. For example, Gideon: “The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” (Judges 7:2). Gideon experienced the truth that God does not operate in the realm of the possible and that faith begins where man’s power ends.
As Christians we are longing for a deeper and more meaningful Christian life. We sense that the answer is found with God and that the Holy Spirit has placed that passion within every Christian to know God and grow spiritually.
In some cases, the greatest obstacle in going deeper is ourselves. Like Peter’s disappointing night of fishing, our attempts to serve the Lord in our strength seems to result in empty nets every time. Moving into deep water requires commitment. It means you leave the shallows behind— fully surrendered to the will of God. During 2020 it is easy to stay in the shallows with so many unknowns swirling around us. But even in uncertain times like these, our goal should be to go deeper in our spiritual life.
When we are willing to follow Christ into deep, unfamiliar waters, we will have closer fellowship with Him. When we rely on Him to meet our every need, He will guide us along the way. When the only answer to a problem is dependence on God, we tend to listen to Him more closely and spend time with Him more often. As we give our time and resources and serve others, our spiritual growth increases more than if we stay onshore. Out in the deeper water, we learn how to trust and how to pray.
- What does the idea of “going deeper” mean to you?
- What can we do this week to begin grow spiritually?