At a time when the Church should be walking in it’s greatest victories and releasing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth we find many believers still struggling with the basics of our Christian life. One of these simple truths that makes us more than overcomers is that we are told repeatedly in scripture to be led by the spirit.
Let’s take a look at just one instance in scripture that portrays this simple yet profound truth. It is an example most of us are familiar with but perhaps we’ve not seen it in this light.
Luke 5:1-11 “So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, (They pressed in – there was expectation and anticipation – that is the posture of those who are ready to receive) 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. (Their ministries were idle – they had done what they knew to do and it was unfruitful) 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the
net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid.
From now on you will catch men.” 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
The first thing that really stands out in this scripture is that passion/hunger plus expectation prepares our heart to submit to His authority willingly. The Lord always responds to anyone who passionately and with expectation seeks Him. It is seldom according to our timing that He does so, but He will always respond.
Jesus sees two boats sitting idle and He enters into Simeon’s boat, sits down and begins to minister.
This is a very telling picture! Jesus was at rest while ministering to the people! He could stay in rest because He had the word of the Lord and knew exactly what He was supposed to do. How you may ask? John 5:19 states He could do nothing of Himself and He only did what He saw the Father doing. Utter dependence on the Lord and a clear picture of being led of the Spirit! He did not have a program! He was led of the Spirit. Let me say that again; Jesus was led of the Spirit in all that He did! Can we do anything less?
This is not a popular message as most people are comfortable in the
familiar religious practices they’ve learned over a lifetime of church attendance. This made Jesus very unpopular with the religious system of His day.
We must fully realize that obedience to God and His word is not an option and it does not come without pain and cost!
We sing “Trust and Obey” but what we really mean is “use common sense and do what all the other christians are doing.”
We tend to spiritualize the Lord’s commands and re-interpert His directives until all pain and discomfort is gone and we are left with “Comfortable obedience.” We obey as long as it doesn’t hurt, it’s convenient and it doesn’t rock the boat.
The life of Jesus cuts right across our phony excuses. It cost Him all that he was as God to become man and it cost all that He was as a man to obey the Father.
Philippians 2:7-8 “But made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
2 Cor 12:10 show’s the cost and consolation of obedience! “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
May the Lord forgive all over-zealous ministers who are saying it is easy, fun and prosperous to be followers of Jesus. “Comfortable obedience” has never been an option for the serious follower of Christ!
Jesus practiced something we forget: the response of obedience separates a man from all others and stands him alone before God to say “yes” or “no”.
1 John 2:4 “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Our obedience, not our pious witness or spiritual camouflage is evidence we really belong to Him.
How much am I doing simply because I am expected to do it? How much
am I doing out of habit or routine? How much does tradition or custom guide me and how much does the Spirit guide me? How much of my time is filled with (or wasted on) all kinds of christian activities simply because I suppose this is what God wants? How much am I doing or not doing because of the pressure of people’s opinions or my own desires?
Most of us would have to answer these questions by admitting too much of our lives are filled with activities done under the general assumption “this is what God wants” or “this is what is expected.”
This is not obedience – it’s independence!
Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house
The Lord is looking for radical followers in this hour to take up their cross and follow Him, having counted the cost and realizing that because of His love working in and through us there really is no other option.
The most glorious days of the church are upon us – follow in His footsteps!