Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Now What? The New You is with Me

It had all changed. He thought he understood, and now it was clear that he didn't.

Peter had been a fisherman until he dropped his nets to follow the Messiah. Now the Messiah had been killed and risen from the dead. Alive. And Peter had denied Him. What was this daily life supposed look like now? He left one life for another and even the second life now was altered. Realistically speaking, "Now what?"

He did only what he knew to do. He went to fish, and some of the others went with him.

They fished all night, in their strength and ability, waiting, catching nothing. Fruitless.

Then, someone on the beach asked if they had any food. Picture the disciples of Christ, in a fishing boat, knowing not what to do with themselves. They had gone back to their old stand-by, what they knew before Christ. But knowing Jesus changes everything.

The man on the beach told them to cast on the other side of their boat and they hauled in such a catch that it was amazing that the nets did not break. With this, Jesus was recognized, and Peter, in his eagerness to be near Christ, jumped out of the boat and swam to shore. He left the boat and the catch behind. Peter knew fishing wasn't it.

Jesus gave Peter reconciliation and a 'new job'. He asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Peter was grieved in the repeated questioning, but Jesus wanted him to really hear it. "Feed my sheep. Tend my lambs. Feed my sheep." Why? The 'why' came before the 'what'. "Because you (Peter) love Me (Jesus). And I know that you love Me." Jesus told Peter what to do with his life, and why. Gently. Gracefully. Thrice.

John, also hungry for more of Jesus, followed behind and he too, heard. Peter, with his new purpose, wanted to know what John was to do. Jesus said, "Don't worry about how another is called to follow me or what their specific purpose is or how they are to complete it. You know what I have called you to do. You follow Me."

You see, once we have walked with Christ, believing Him, we have left it all behind. The world, what we used to know and be, is no longer who we are. We have a new purpose, a New Life. Seeing Christ alive and among us, witnessing His miracles in the lives of others and in our own lives, having personal experience with Him, is life changing, mind altering, reality shifting. Jesus is the Son of God, the One True Living God. In Him we are made new. You can't go back. What your life was before Christ can't begin to compare. Jesus has bigger, more important, Kingdom growing work for us to do. He has people for us to love and care for and we can only do it in His love and grace. Without Jesus, what was useful and fruitful in our own strength, is no longer.

Only moving forward in Christ are we alive. Allow Him to redefine your reality, what you know and who you are. Thankfully, there's no turning back. We have new purpose, new life, new meaning, new family, new friends. We are no longer, as Christ is made in us. We must decrease and He must increase. Praise God. And thankfully, none of us are or will be exactly the same.

I don't want to be who I was before. Like Peter, I don't even really want to stay who I am today. I am thankfully plodding along, one foot in front of the other sometimes, but moving forward and growing none the less. How many of us can say that we have the Resurrection Power of Christ to become what we truly desire to be? I can. But only because of the transforming power of the God-Man and His redeeming work.

Jhn 21:4
But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

Jhn 21:5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No."

Jhn 21:6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find [some]." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

Jhn 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on [his] outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.

Jhn 21:8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.

Jhn 21:9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.

Are you dripping, on the beach in the morning glow, looking at your risen Savior and hearing your new call? Or were you the one to recognize Him right away and stay to labor and bring in the catch?

Either way, shiver and warm yourself in the warmth of His presence and provision, and hear. He knows you love Him. He will make it happen and provide for you every need. It is for Him to lead and you only to follow. He has more for you and me.

Thank You, Jesus. I do love You. And I know that You know I do. Ask me again, Lord. Remind me 'why' and then tell me 'what'. And please give me grace to love you more.

For Him, In Him, and to Him, to Jesus be all glory and honor and power.

Love You, Lord.

Carmen Sunshine