He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Sometimes Jesus asks us to do things that seem “not so bright.” In our finite, unrenewed minds, His directions can appear stupid. But if we will just go ahead and do what His Spirit is asking, we give ourselves opportunities to allow Him to work the miraculous through us! Miraculous opportunities are based one question: Do you trust Jesus?
Case in point, there’s a story found in John 21, where the disciples are fishing out in their boat. They fished all night long and caught nothing, so you can imagine they were a little grumpy the next morning. However, Jesus woke them up while yelling from the shore, “Hey! Throw your nets on the other side, there’s fish on that side of the boat!” (See John 21:6).
They could have said, “Why would there be fish on the other side, merely a few feet away? We’re fishermen! We know what we’re doing!” But they didn’t. They listened to Jesus even though it seemed like a dumb move, and here’s what happened:
“When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” (See John 21:6)
They couldn’t even get the net into the boat! Fish were bursting through the seams! They had to tow it to shore because it was too heavy! (See John 21:8). C’mon somebody, there’s a message here! What seemed like a very dumb thing to do, turned into a huge blessing! Why? Because they listened and acted! Because they had trust!
Listening to God’s Spirit, acting on what He prompts you to do, and trusting Him to work out something good! These are the keys to doing amazing things through Jesus Christ!
Here are some very “dumb” things I’ve done in my life, which at the time made me look and feel like an idiot. But all along, Jesus kept saying, “Just trust me.”
- Stand up to the religious Christians. First off, let me define “religious Christian.” This is someone who does not believe in the complete forgiveness of Jesus’ sacrifice at the Cross. They exude conditional love and semi-grace. They might say they do believe in Jesus’ complete, finished forgiveness, but their lives, teaching, double-talk (saved, not saved, saved, not saved, works, it’s all free, works, it’s all free), and their emotional manipulation of “I’m not having a Bible discussion with you!” say otherwise. They hold peoples’ complete forgiveness hostage because they don’t want to give away “licenses to sin” even though all human beings are sinning just fine without licenses–including them. They are focused on the wrong thing: sin. This is stupid because when we finally know we’re completely forgiven–and nothing can change this–only then do we realize we don’t want to sin. Christians don’t want to sin, period. Why? Because we have new sinless spirits. So when the flesh and unrenewed minds choose to sin, an internal battle occurs. It goes against our identity. We can spend our lifetime attempting to desensitize ourselves, but no matter how long we incorrectly live in sin, it never feels right. So we may as well be ourselves and continue to turn from sin until our bodies die. But to the religious Christians, until we shape up and “be like them,” we’re no good to God (or to them for that matter). They say there must be proof of our saving. Really? Ephesians 2 says otherwise–that it’s by grace (free, unearned) through faith (simply believing), and that it’s a free gift. Religious Christians also say you must confess every sin even after you get saved. C’mon, just think about that for a minute. What if you forget one? Or what about the sins you belittle, overlook, and let float into the rear-view mirror of your life? Do those just go away and not count toward the list of sins that need to be confessed? No. This demonic method is madness and puts our salvation in our own hands when it’s actually in Jesus’ hands. He is keeping us saved, not our many words (see John 7:25). There is a NEW COVENANT based on a ONE-TIME sacrifice of Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 8:13, 10:10). Our asking didn’t save us anyway, our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice did! If this weren’t true, then we could just sin away and ask for forgiveness once a week–or whenever. What kind of relationship is that? A terrible one. The truth is, once you believe in His perfect blood, you are adopted into the family of God as God’s own child–just like Jesus! (See Ephesians 1:5). The Bible verse they keep taking out of context in 1 John 1:9, about confessing every sin, they need to realize John was speaking to non-believers who thought they had never sinned. Go read it and you’ll see that once they confess they have sinned, they get forgiven of all their sin–past, present, and future. So when you first stand up to the religious Christians, rather it be a church leader, legalistic friend or family member, it won’t be easy. But be kind and full of grace in your speech! Learn from my mistakes and don’t attack! Don’t be condescending! Be gentle, even if they aren’t. Your identity is not found in proving or disproving anything, so show them love and remain under control.
- Go public with your weaknesses. My goodness, this might have been the most difficult thing for me to do! We all think we have a reputation to maintain, but God wants to break that down, destroy it, and give us a brand new one! A reputation built on Christ! The problem is, nobody wants to air out their dirty laundry to get to this point. We don’t want to look bad, weak, or wrong–this seems like a very dumb choice. But the Bible says otherwise. It says God’s power is made perfect in our weakness! (See 2 Corinthians 12:9). It also says our testimonies overcome the power of the enemy! (See Revelation 12:11). Your testimony will help those who are struggling with the same stuff you’ve struggled with! None of it will go to waste! God is in the business of taking our painful past and using it for great things! The devil wants you to be ashamed, but Jesus wants you to be transparent and confident in what He did to redeem you! For me, it seemed like a dumb move when I first began to talk publicly about my addictions, my difficult upbringing, my codependency issues–and many other things. But I trusted Jesus and did it anyway. It hurt the flesh’s ego, bad! It was embarrassing to my old way of thinking! But I got over it and listened to Him. When I did so…it felt authentic. I was finally being my true self. Now He’s using that old stuff for good, all because I spoke up and stopped caring about what people thought of me. Instead, I started caring about what God thought of me! The fact is, people aren’t looking to Christians to see a clean, shiny person, who has never had a problem–NO! THEY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT OUR GRIT AND GRIME–AND HOW CHRIST SET US FREE! So don’t be anonymous any longer. You have no reason to be. Anonymity is based on shame and fear–SO BE BOLD! SPEAK UP! SPEAK OUT! This is not a dumb move, it’s called bravery! It’s called doing all things through Christ in us! (See Philippians 4:13).
- Bless and pray for those who cause you pain. Again, this seems dumb. To be honest with you, when I first began to really seek out Jesus through His Word, I was actually looking for Scripture I could use to sic Him on my enemies. What I soon found out is that Jesus does not do this. He loves us all, no matter what, and He wants to live inside of every person. My spirit already knew this, but His Word revealed it in black and white, and red. As a heaven-ready person, I don’t want to cause my enemies harm. I want to establish healthy boundaries. I’m a holy saint who is literally possessed by the Spirit of God–so is every believer on planet earth. Therefore, what I want is to genuinely pray for my enemies to be blessed, to think of them with grace, and to ask God to help them come to know Him personally. Why? Because once they do, only then will their lives change for the better! So yeah, this seems dumb at first, but ask God to bless your enemies! This is what you truly want!
A prayer for you: Dad, today I want to let you know that I love you. I know I say it a lot, but I really mean it. The more I trust you, the deeper my love grows. And thank you for removing all fear and condemnation from my heart by revealing YOUR love for me! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who might be on the brink of completely falling into you, pull them over the edge! I know you’re not going to force them, but you know what I mean! Use people, places, and things to teach them who they really are in Christ’s finished work! RENEW RELIGIOUS MINDSETS! Help these dear readers to make the moves you are asking them to make, the moves that may seem dumb! Give them bravery as they walk out their true identity as your kids! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!