Matthew 4:18-20 (NLT)
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
I’m made mention, to some brothers in the Lord, of the fact that God’s been whispering to me in earnest that he’s got a different challenge in mind for me. Preparing me for whatever that may be. I don’t know exactly what he has in mind but the Spirit has been speaking in no uncertain terms that it’s time to get ready because changes are coming.
This passage this morning, really jumped out at me as Peter and Andrew had a stable career in the fishing industry. Like me, while no job is guaranteed, I’ve put a respectable number of years into my industry and I’m well established. For Peter and Andrew, this was their livelihood and an honorable vocation. But Jesus called out to them and told them he had a new job opportunity in store for them which was totally foreign to them.
They didn’t stop to debate with Jesus why they couldn’t or shouldn’t give up their years of experience and equipment to pursue this idea of his of ‘fishing for people’. No instead, they dropped their nets and walked away from the boat and equipment to take up the opportunity that Jesus had presented them with; regardless of how little sense it made to them at the time.
Regardless when the Master called to them, they immediately dropped everything and dedicated themselves to the task that the Master was calling them.
I am going to follow their example and do the same. In good time, God will speak through the Holy Spirit and show me what exactly it is that he’d have me do; in the intervening time, I will pray, study His Word and listen to His instruction.
God maps out a complete plan for us that anticipates every decision we are going to make along with every stone that dashes our feet and causes us to stumble on our journey.
Galatians 1:15 (NLT)
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him
It pleases God to architect our travel plans for this life journey we are undertaking right now. Because He gave us free will, it falls to us to choose to take that route or if we want to stray off onto other paths.
This is true of those who have chosen to place their trust in the blood of Jesus to redeem them for His glory. It’s also, true of those who do not. He wishes for all to come to repentance and be redeemed but He will not force His love on us.
These plans don’t end at salvation. Indeed, the plan he has becomes that much more involved once we find redemption in Christ Jesus. The point in a life where an individual surrenders their will to the will of God is effectively the beginning and far from a conclusion.
Because of this we must be ready and willing as God’s children to do all we can to follow this plan he has for us, as He in his infinite wisdom discloses it to us. So often we are too willing to rest and languish in the fact that we have salvation, when God’s plan for us is not remain idle and stagnate, but to flourish in his will.
2 Corinthians 6:1 (NLT)
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.
Don’t ignore ‘God’s kindness’… Don’t settle into a routine and get comfortable. This isn’t about comfort. It’s about doing the will of the Father. It is about following that plan He has created for us as best as we can, because he is building something in and through us.
Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
When we are in step with the Lord’s will then we have both the desire and power to fulfill the plan he is placing before us. There are no viable excuses that can diminish the capability of the believer, walking in the will of God. There is no power that can defeat the faithful in their effort to serve the Lord. Why? Because the Lord is going to provide both the desire and power to accomplish what pleases him!
The opportunity to live a full and rewarding life is made available to all of us. So long as, we are willing to surrender our will to God’s and seek to follow His plans for us.
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
You should be getting the impression that God has both designed a plan for you that will fulfill his will ‘and’ given us that resources to accomplish whatever it is that he sets before us to do. As a result, it pleases HIM.
Is that not what the desire of your heart is?
If not, then it’s fairly assured that you’re not walking as close to the Master, as he would like you to be. Your proximity to the Savior is only something that only you can control. He has not varied from His plan, and if you want to be in lockstep with him it is time to get closer.
“Plans to give you a hope and a future!” Your personal set of plans, instructions and directions; designed by God, specifically for each of us.
There is a new ‘Job Opportunity’ for each of us every sunrise. It presents itself every minute of every day.
How do we get closer? How do we put this all together and get in step with Jesus and His will for us?
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Whoever wants to be my disciple…
No exceptions. This isn’t just for preachers, missionaries, or church leaders. It is for all who would be called a Christian, a follower of Christ!
Must deny themselves…
Make no bones about it, if you want to be in lockstep with Jesus it’s going to mean that you surrender your will to His. There simply isn’t any way around it. Only the one way. The way of the Christ!
Take up their cross and follow me
Take up the tasks set before you. Take up the challenges He asks you to tackle. Follow Him in earnest with all your ability.
But how do we follow? How do we know where and what to do?
The Spirit placed in us when we gave our life over to Jesus. It is through that Spirit, that we are given the direction we require to remain in step with God’s will.
Galatians 5:25 (NIV)
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
John 16:13 (NIV)
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
You have felt your conscious prodding you to alter what you were considering doing, because it ‘simply wasn’t right’. The way the Holy Spirit speaks to us, is somewhat similar to the way our conscious works. The major difference is that when the Holy Spirit speaks there is a sense of urgency and conviction that goes far beyond what is the correct thing to do. This guidance goes far beyond right and wrong, as it puts us in sync with God’s voice speaking to us.
Further, the Holy Spirit teaches and speaks to God on our behalf when our words are not enough.
John 14:26 (NIV)
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Romans 8:26 (NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
When we can’t hear the Holy Spirit sharing with us then that is the time to pour yourself into prayer and reading of God’s word to put your heart in the place where God can deal with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The ‘job opportunity’ is out there. Jesus is seeking willing workers for His kingdom. God has forged your work orders. His Son is waiting for you to pick them up, at the foot of the cross in front of you and follow him. No matter where this roadmap leads you. Regardless of the storms and improbabilities that come along the way. He is going to guide and provide.
If you showed up at the job site and there doesn’t seem to be anything for you to do, then you should grab the manual and start reading, following the instruction in our manual; the Bible, God’s Word. Giving Him praise constantly and sharing your heart with the Master in prayer.
Come on… This work isn’t going to take care of itself!