Don’t Tell Me How to Fish!

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Last week I shared about my phobia of snakes. But is it the most significant phobia I have? Is snakes the phobia that holds me back when God offers “breakthrough?” No, not at all. The real phobia is a phobia that radically limits my living. The real phobia is similar to Peter’s phobia. Can I really be what God envisions for me? Can I really do or say what He sees me doing or saying? What if Peter had refused?

An alternate ending

Last week I share Luke 5 where one day Jesus told Peter to launch his boat back out, this time into deep water, and to lower his nets (not designed to fish in deep water) and the catch that nearly overwhelmed the two boats. Probably 12 times the normal nightly catch.

The reason for the catch? Peter said, “Because You say so, I will do it.” Even if it makes no sense at all.

Picture an alternate ending.

Peter, brash that he is, folds his arms over his chest and juts out his chin. He sternly says, “Look, Jesus, don’t tell me how to fish! You are trained to be a carpenter. I’m the one who is trained in fishing. I’m the one who is experienced here.”

What would he go home with? Nothing. Empty handed. He would have missed an experience that would begin to change his thinking about himself.

Am I really trained?

Peter may have been trained by his father to catch enough fish to provide for the family and crew and a few to sell in market every day. But it was hardly extravagant. It may have been subsistence living at best.

Consider what Paul says God strongly desires for us.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 (NLT2)

I may know how to do some things. But am I really accomplishing infinitely more than I can ask or think or even imagine? Honestly, I’m barely scratching the surface.

The real fishing experience

I love what God told Isaiah to tell the children of Israel. Their defining life moment to date was when God freed them from slavery to Egyptian task masters by parting the Red Sea so it became a dry path for them to walk through and then snuffing out the army belonging to the task masters. Think the movie Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston only infinitely greater. We can’t make a movie as mind-blowing as the real event.

15 I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King. 16 I am the LORD, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. 17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. Isaiah 43:15-17 (NLT2)

Yet God told them to forget all that. Can you imagine being told to forget about the most amazing thing that ever happened to you? Forget about the moment when your life changed completely.

Why? Because it can’t compare at all to what’s next.

18 “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT2)

Picture seeing a path open up across a barren wilderness. Wilderness that all looks the same. I was hiking in Canyonlands National Park once but ignored the markers along the path. When I turned to go back to my vehicle, the area all looked the same. Where was the path? God will make a path, one that we will easily recognize. A way for us to accomplish infinitely more, even though before life had all looked ordinary and the same.

See a river of possibilities suddenly appear in a dry wasteland. Not a little trickle of water, but a Big Thompson Canyon flood. Amazing, impossible feats. Impossible to us, but not to God.

We may be trained in living our lives and in our daily activities, even some ministry, but we are not really equipped for what God plans. Jesus offers to do the impossible for us, just as He did for Peter. Our amazing “catch” will not likely be fish, but will be results of efforts way beyond what we can naturally achieve. God makes us qualified.

5 By ourselves we are not qualified in any way to claim that we can do anything. Rather, God makes us qualified. 6 He has also qualified us to be ministers of a new promise, a spiritual promise, not a written one. Clearly, what was written brings death, but the Spirit brings life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (GW)

Experiencing what’s beyond phobia

Like Peter, I have a limiting phobia. A fearful undercurrent in thinking that I cannot do or be what God wants. And I can’t. But He can. He invites me to a version of launching out into the deep water and lowering my net. Take a step that enables me to see what He wants to do. Phobia nearly kept me from going to Uganda or blogging or writing. I expect God to show me the real catch.

But how? How do I begin when I don’t understand that my phobia is illogical and exaggerated? Completely unreasonable (to God)? When I can’t see past my phobia of allowing God to change me or to do something in me?

Isaiah asked, “Can you not see it?” Can you not see the new thing God wants to do? Perceive it? Recognize it?

Isaiah used a word that involves experiencing through relationship.

Truly what God wants with you. Relationship. One based in His unfailing love for you. One that walks hand in hand with you to accomplish this infinitely more. And delights in seeing you accomplish it. It’s an unconditional love we need not fear.

Allow me to share from The Passion Translation.[1]

14 So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, 15 the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth. 16 And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.

17 Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.

18-19 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.

21 Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!

Ephesians 3:14-21 (TPT

We have to choose. It can look like the alternate ending where we refuse to trust God’s love for us and His ability and desire to help us. Our own version of “Don’t tell me how to fish!” Or we can take a step, trusting that He will do what He said.

Be encouraged, my friends. We will continue to discuss this concept, but meanwhile, never doubt God’s might power to accomplish all He envisions for your life. Go ahead. Confront that phobia. You don’t have to be qualified. He is, and He delights to experience the amazing with you. “Launch out. Cast your net.” And get ready for the most amazing results!

Because You say so, God, I will do it. He will always do what He says. Get ready to be energized!


Carol Boggess, author and speaker at A Healing Journey

Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts

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[1] The Passion Translation® Copyright © 2017 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.