Thursday, November 3, 2016

Telling the Lord to Go Away

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.  When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’

Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:1-11 NIV)

Many years ago, a student asked to meet with me.  She had been involved in the ministry I directed but had dropped out a couple of years before.  I had not seen her since, but had wondered about her.  She told me she had walked away from the Lord during that time, but had now returned to following Him.  During our conversation, she said something that, at the time, amazed me.  She said she had seen me on campus a number of times, but went out of her way to avoid me because seeing me convicted her about the way she was living.   The very sight of me convicted her!  

It took me awhile to figure this out, but I finally realized, to her, I represented the Lord and seeing me reminded her of her life of sin. Now imagine Peter’s experience with Jesus.  No wonder he told Him to go away!

The Scriptures tell us that light and darkness must be separate (II Corinthians 6:14) and Peter himself later says that believers are called out of darkness into the Lord’s wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)  Light, in the biblical sense, exposes darkness (sin), so when Peter truly realized whom he was dealing with, he felt very exposed as a sinful man.  His instinct was to tell Jesus to go away.  

Isn’t that our instinct as well?  Like the young student when she saw me on campus, we want to run from the Lord out of fear our sin will be exposed.  Yet, we need to hear the words of Jesus, “Don’t be afraid.” We fear at least His scolding and at worst His condemnation, but we will receive neither.  There is no need to tell Him to go away or to avoid His presence.  As He did with Peter, He will accept us where we are, forgive us, and then use us in the work of His Kingdom.  

Today, do not be afraid of the Lord because of your sin.  He knows all about it.  In spite of it, He still has plans for your life.  Just don’t tell Him to go away and you will be amazed at what He will do!

© Jim Musser 2016

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