The Essence of Discipleship

Read Luke 5

When Jesus had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch
out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But
Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have
toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless
at Your word I will let down the net.”
(Luke 5:4-5)

Thoughts… From the very moment Jesus first called him to follow, Peter demonstrated what it meant to be a true disciple. In so doing, the response of this very first disciple established the benchmarks for would-be disciples in every age.

To begin with, Peter exhibited a fair amount of holy discontent with his current experience. Peter could have rejected Jesus’ command, and we would understand. He had already worked hard the previous night. He had tried what Jesus was suggesting, with no results. He had “been there, done that.”

But Peter wasn’t satisfied. Despite his best efforts, his past experience had left him empty. The old way hadn’t worked. To keep doing the same thing yet expect different results was pure insanity. Peter wanted more, so he was willing to let go of the past and risk the adventure of something new in order to follow Jesus.

As Peter’s experience demonstrated, both literally and figuratively, you cannot set sail for new horizons of faith and stay tethered to the shore of what you know. Holy discontent calls you to let go, and set sail!

On top of holy discontent, Peter was quick to subjugate his feelings to his faith. He was tired. His muscles ached from a night of tossing and dragging those heavy fishing nets. His fingers had been worked to the bone as he picked out the weeds, untangled the tangles and mended the rips that had been caused by snagging rocks.

And to make it even worse, all that effort and nothing to show for it. Peter just wanted to get to the local pub, unwind with his buddies before heading home to crash for the night, and catch a few winks before getting up early the next day to go through the same routine yet again.

Peter had neither the physical nor emotional strength for another fishing expedition. Yet there was just something about this amazing man named Jesus who had the audacity to asked Peter to do what he had already been doing that caused his faith to rise. And in that moment, Peter made a life-altering decision to grab his “want-er by his will-er” and do what Jesus had commanded.

True discipleship demands that you give your faith the authority to rule your feelings.

That’s what Peter did. He simply obeyed. That’s the bottom line of authentic discipleship. Peter was willing to take Jesus at his word and just do it. Without argument or delay, Peter merged belief with behavior; he took action.

And the result was a miraculous catch. Suddenly where there had been emptiness and barrenness, there was fullness and fruitfulness—the reward of obedience.

And that’s what Jesus is asking of us today. We must allow the Spirit of God to foment a holy discontent with the emptiness and barrenness of our lives. We must take our feelings and our emotions and enslave them to whatever faith is requiring of us. And then we must simply, purely, quickly and completely obey. That is true discipleship.

If we will just do that, a miraculous provision of holy contentment will be ours!

Prayer… Lord, full obedience, not out of fear, but out of love, is what I will offer you today—and every day for the rest of eternity.

One More Thing… “Beware of reasoning about God’s Word – obey It.” —Oswald Chambers

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