As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”Matthew 4:18-19
Peter and Andrew left their nets and followed Jesus to fulfil the desire of His Father. However, these followers depended on what they saw and failed to visualize the unseen God, who had sent Jesus to this world. Peter had fellowship with Jesus when He physically lived among them but was unable to connect himself with the resurrected Jesus. Without understanding the presence of the invisible God, Peter decided to go back to his family business and went out to fish in the sea of Galilee (John 21:3). He had decided to feed his worldly requirement, ignoring his noble responsibility of feeding Jesus’ sheep.
Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples followed Peter that day, as they went out to fish with him in the sea of Galilee. Jesus blessed Peter to be influential among people so that he will be a fisher of people. Knowing this, satan used Peter’s influence to lead people away from God. Satan pursues the leaders to choose the evil way to lead others toward evil. If we are leaders, it is time for us to examine ourselves whether we lead people towards Jesus or away from Him. If we are the congregants, it is time to discern whether our leader are imparting faith in us to follow Jesus or inadvertently blinding our eyes to follow satan.
A Common Call
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28 – 30
For a sinner, their sins are not a burden. If sin burdens anyone, then they would love to stay away from it. Sin without burdening anyone lures people towards eternal death. The god of this age blinds the eye of a sinner, so that the outcome of sin seems like a usual thing to him as he will never try to come out of it but rather start getting accustomed to it.
We are wearied because of the persistent challenges we face in this world. The mistakes we commit while facing the challenges of our lives makes us weary. Jesus is calling us to give rest to the wearied ones. If we accept His call, He will train us to live in this troublesome world by allowing us to learn our lessons by carrying His yoke. Learning from Him will be easy and light because Jesus emptied the heaviness of the cross and death, through His resurrection. And because of His resurrection, we have hope that we shall also live.
A Specific Call
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.Matthew 16:24
Denying ourselves denotes valuing God and His love more than our lives, and our beloved ones and belongings. His call to take our cross is the state of our acceptance and repentance. Carrying our cross means accepting our sins and repenting with penitence. Jesus asks us to follow Him with a mindset that would seek to amend our mistakes.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”Genesis 4:6-7
God warned Cain about the consequences of his grudge but Cain did not bother to heed the Word of God because satan had blinded his eyes and prevented him from taking corrective measures. Cain did not rule over sin, but allowed sin to kill his brother (Romans 7:11). Processing further our emotions and unhealthy desires may pave the way to evil in our lives. Repenting then and there, whenever passion and evil desires try to overtake us, will help us in a great way to come out of it.
To fear the LORD is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13). This fear is not about any punishment, but for us to be careful not to hurt the heart of God, who is loving us and did not spare His only Son to redeem us through His Holy blood. When we start hating sin in this manner, sin becomes a burden, and we will certainly like to stay away from it. At this endeavour, evil desires may try to overcome us again and again. Jesus asks us to follow Him along with the battle of our minds.
Paul had a struggle in battling sin and thanked God for His deliverance through His Son, Jesus. Before his conversion, he took pride in killing the followers of Jesus and thought that he was fulfilling his duty. But after meeting Jesus, Paul was zealous for the Living God, and at times he was tempted to show his anger against those who oppose the Gospel. He sincerely pleaded with God to show His mercy in this area of his life. The transparent lifestyle of Paul influenced the lives of many gentiles, and they accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!Romans 7:24-25
When we fight evil, we may have to deter from our old habits and mistakes that drive us back to our old lifestyle. At this stage, if we follow Jesus, all our temptations will vanish, and we will become free. To achieve this, we have to sincerely admit our inability to overcome evil and not pretend that we are tough enough to face the challenges that come our way.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10
God has given us the ability to influence others towards Him. Let us not misuse this influence to fulfil our agendas or to feed satan’s desire. We should tell others how we overcame our temptations rather than posing that we do not have any. Let us ask God to strengthen us to project ourselves with transparency, that we may lead many others towards His Kingdom.