Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 5, 2014

trust Him to fill your nets

A couple of weeks ago, while quickly browsing through television channels, I took special notice at an exceedingly meaningful program … a golf lesson!  Actually it did turn out to be meaningful to me, and I trust the concept taught will be meaningful to you. Paul Azinger, a professional golfer, used the phrase, “powerless effort vs. effortless power.” The words rang clear because golf, for me, is often lots of power with not so good results (powerless effort). Almost immediately, my imagination also went to a professional golfer, small in stature, with enormous power and a relaxed smooth swing (effortless power). In golf, as I believe it also is in life, there is a desire to be powerful.  We tend to exert lots of effort and often end up with mixed results. When applying this concept to our spiritual lives, I was intrigued by the parallels.

Time moves quickly between the day of thanks and the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  Each Sunday during this Advent season we are encouraging you to slow down a bit and be intentional in preparing for that day of celebration. Today, however, I would like you to go with me to a scene thirty-three years later; an unusual time for the disciples. Christ had died for our sins and appeared twice to the disciples.  His third appearance is detailed in John 21 and Jesus is speaking to his disciples, first from the shore as they fished.

Think of the potential questions that must have filled the minds of the seven disciples that went fishing on this particular night.  So much had happened!! They had walked with Jesus and seen His miracles. He had died and then rose from the grave. He had met with the group of disciples twice after the resurrection. Now what would life be like?  Was there just an incredible sense of, “what now?” And we find them going fishing.

Peter and six of the other disciples headed out onto the Sea of Galilee to fish.  It was one of those nights. They caught nothing! But look at what happens:  At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied.  Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. (John 21:4-6) Later in the chapter we find that there were 153 large fish in the net … wow!

Consider the results when the disciples obeyed the Savior. They went from 0 to 153 with the simple act of obedience. I wonder if they paused a moment to question, thinking they knew what they were doing. But the Bible says, “so they did.” They simply obeyed. Obedience to Jesus is always the key to the success available for believers … Supernatural success, I might add.  It’s interesting that obedience to His word (even when they didn’t yet know it was His word), brought amazing results. I am not a fisherman, but I doubt any fisherman reading this has ever gone from no fish to 153 large fish in such a short window of time. This was the ultimate illustration of powerless effort (their own) vs. effortless power (obedience to the words of Jesus).

I really believe so much of our journey of faith is still built on powerless effort (we try hard).  Simple obedience to the Word yields powerful results, the kind that are generated through the power of the Holy Spirit (It isn’t that hard, when we yield to Him). Effortless may not be the exact word, but I trust you get my point. So when you look at your life in Christ, is there too much powerless effort vs. effortless power? If so, determine to obey His Word, and trust Him to fill your nets.


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