"At Thy Word I Will"
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:5-11
How those words could mold and make our lives if we dared to say them honestly and without reservation to Jesus Christ! How wonderfully challenging and exciting our Christian experience would become instead of being the humdrum sort of thing that many know, month after month, year after year.
The first lesson of Christian experience that we have to learn is that of instant and complete obedience to the will of God. Delayed or incomplete obedience can and usually becomes disobedience. So often we have arguments and reasons for disobeying, just as Peter may have had, but our own ways prove to be empty and fruitless. Yet his way, however unpromising it may seem in advance, always proves blessed and fruitful. Are you ready to say every day, at any time, “At thy word I will”?
We need to realize that the Master was asking for obedience even in the simple task of throwing a net overboard. The disciples might have asked Him to wait until the nets were mended or until they had been able to get fresh ones or even to continue the argument, as experienced fishermen, they knew what was best. But no, the nets they had used all night, even torn and half mended, were the nets the Master wanted them to use. The miracle speaks for itself, that God in his marvelous grace can use even a torn, blemished net to fully accomplish His will.
Is it possible that God in His infinite power and grace can use torn, imperfect lives that are obedient to His will? Of course, if those imperfect lives listen and obey the voice of the Master they love. The responsibility for help and guidance is always His. The responsibility for obedience is always ours.
The scripture says, "Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak." These words ring, all too often, very true. The "I can't" mentality has robbed God of much glory and robbed ourselves of many blessings. Hatred for weakness and inadequacy is why we tell our kids never to say, “I can’t.” It’s why we love the inspiring words of Thomas the Tank Engine: “Yes, you can!” However, If we aren’t careful, we’ll be deceived into thinking we’ve “got this” apart from the power, provision and the presence of God motivating and empowering us.
Consider a familiar passage. Many of us can recite it from memory. It’s one of the clearest passages on finding and fulfilling God's will for our lives.
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thess 5:16-18
God couldn’t be clearer: His will for his people is always found in a life steeped in rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving! We never have to wonder if we’re on the right and godly path to the perfect will of God with these actions. Yet, they can be some of the most difficult commands to obey.
Why does God command us to “rejoice always”? Because it’s more natural for us to grumble and complain about our circumstances than to see God’s character and purposes at work in them.
Why does he tell us to “pray without ceasing”? Because, in an age of distraction and entertainment, it’s easier to give our focus and time to nothingness, wasting it on self-centered, temporary pleasures, than to give ourselves to eternal, Kingdom matters.
And what about his command to “give thanks”? We usually forget or refuse to because, somewhere deep within our hearts, we fail to remember that everything is a gift from God. We think we’re entitled to what we want and deserve an easy life.
By ourselves, obedience to the will of God is impossible. We need his help and power, secured for us through our union with Christ, to do his perfect and complete will.
Help me to be willing to follow wherever you lead,
realizing the future, my future, lies in your hands.
Help me today and always to fully obey your will,
knowing that blessing and fruitfulness will be mine.
- Pastor Rudy