Grudging Obedience

Journal Entry // March 11, 2022

And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:5 ESV

How often do I have this same reaction that Peter does to the command of Jesus. It is a simple matter of trust and obedience, yet I find it so extremely difficult at times to believe that Jesus actually knows what he is doing. Think about this passage. Peter was a professional fisherman who had just finished a night of fishing with his partners with no results. He was probably tired and on edge since they did not catch anything all night. As they are cleaning the nets and preparing to leave, Jesus comes over and tells him to go out to the deep part of the water and cast his net. I can almost hear the incredulous snickers coming from his partners behind Peter. Here is a carpenter/teacher telling trained professional fisherman how to catch fish. It sounds absurd. And that is Peter’s response. And mine…

Peter grumbles at Jesus that he, being the professional, had been working all night at this and had nothing to show for it. The time for catching fish is complete. This is the time for going home. But Peter is obviously intrigued by this request and obeys the voice of Jesus by going out to cast his net. I only assume that he and his partner with him must have said some pretty sharp words about this trip and complained to each other about this waste of time and effort. Asking each other why they are listening to this man. I know this, because this would have been my reaction. This is my reaction now!

I too often fall short of obedience and trust. I will often act in accordance with God’s command with a grumbling and begrudging heart. A heart that thinks it knows better than the Creator of the universe. My heart and mind want to move the line of obedience to a more comfortable place. A place where I still have some say in the matter. If God requires 10 steps, I will go 9 and no more. Or maybe this time I will go 11. Either one is done out of selfishness and pride to prove that I still have some measure of control and say in the matter. The problem is that I keep moving the line that I find acceptable. From my 9 steps to 8 to 7 to 6 to pretty soon I’m not stepping at all. I give sin just the smallest of cracks into my heart and it blossoms and flourishes in the dark recesses and corners within.

I need to be more like Peter. Did he begrudgingly do as Jesus asked? Yes, but he did as Jesus asked and put his obedience into action. He could have refused and written off the request and moved on with life. Yet, Peter said his self-righteous words then fell into obedience. And when the catch came in over abundance, it was Peter who immediately realized who he was talking with. It was Peter who came back to the shore and fell on his knees at the feet of Jesus. It was Peter that saw his sinfulness juxtaposed against this perfect and pure God-man standing before him. I need this… I need to see my obedience put into action. I need to wonder at the glory of Christ working in my life and come in humbleness to his feet in repentance. Not running from him in shame and guilt but clinging to him in humility and trust.

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