JESUS IN THE BOAT OF YOUR LIFE
Jesus is always looking for a ‘boat’ – a heart, a life, a ministry, a business, a family, a church, a nation to enter into. When Jesus got into Peter’s boat, Peter didn’t shut or shove Jesus out of his boat, he allowed Him in. Allowing Jesus into his boat, gave Peter a life-changing encounter with the Captain of our Salvation.
What happens when the Captain of our Salvation comes into the boat of our lives?
1. He does a new thing in our lives –
When Jesus entered Peter’s boat, something new happened. A new thing is God changing a present situation or condition. It is God changing the way things are or have been for you. Before Jesus entered Peter’s boat, this was Peter’s condition: he had “toiled all night and caught nothing”. He had put in so much effort, but there was no result, there was nothing to show for all his toiling. When Jesus entered Peter’s boat, the situation changed. The report concerning his fishing changed from we have caught nothing, to we have a great number of fish that our net can’t even contain them. His situation turned around from laboring in vain to fruitful efforts (Luke 5:5-6). I pray that as Jesus enters into the boat of your life, your present situation will change. Peter had toiled, labored, tried so hard, yet no change, no improvement, but with Jesus in His boat, the situation turned around because no matter how bad or hopeless a situation is Jesus can turn things around, He can bring about a radical change or transformation.
A new thing is God showing up in something you have been doing for years and giving you a totally new experience. That night wasn’t Peter’s first night in fishing, but it was the first time in all Peter’s years of fishing that he caught this number of fish. What Peter saw and experienced that day, was a totally new experience for Peter in his fishing career.
For Jesus to do a new thing in our lives, we must make the boat of our life available for His use. We all desire and pray for something new; for a turnaround for good in our lives, but are our lives available for the Lord? Jesus entered Peter’s boat because He was looking for a boat to use. “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” (Luke 5:3). Whatever we give to God, He will use for His glory. God is a Master at taking the ordinary and using it for the extra ordinary. He took Peter’s boat and used it as a pulpit. He took Moses’ rod and used it to perform great signs and wonders in Egypt (Exodus 4:1-4, Exodus 6:8-9, 14-21, Exodus 8:5-6, 16-17, Exodus 9:23-26, Exodus 10:13, Exodus 14:15-16). He took the sling and stone in David’s hand and used it to bring down and destroy Goliath (1 Samuel 17: 40, 49-50). It is the devil that enters into a place, takes something or someone and spoils, scatters and destroys that thing or that life (John 10:10). But when Jesus is in something or someone, He takes that thing or person to reveal God’s glory, to demonstrate the awesome power of God. After Jesus finished using Peter’s boat to teach, the miracle working power of God was shown in a miraculous catch of fish. We want the miracles, we want a new thing, but we are not ready to make our boat; our home, our business, our time, our talents, skills and abilities available for God’s use.
For some of us, we allow Jesus into the boat of our life, but give Him ‘terms and conditions’ on how to use our boat. Conditions like my boat is only available for Sunday mornings during Church Service, any time after that you can’t use my boat, you can’t control anything that happens in and with my boat. Peter didn’t give Jesus ‘terms and conditions’. He allowed Jesus use his boat for His own purpose and for how long Jesus wanted to. There were no interruptions while Jesus was teaching, no please excuse me, I need to be somewhere else, do something else. Peter allowed Jesus have His way. Yes, we may have told Jesus come into my boat, come into my life, but are we allowing Him have His way or are we the ones choosing, directing and controlling everything that happens in the boat of our lives.
For the new to come, for God to move us to the next level, for our miracle to come, for the power of God to fill our lives like never before, we must be ready to allow God alter, disrupt and disorganize our own plans, agenda, way of thinking, customs and traditions. Interestingly, when Jesus got into Peter’s boat, He didn’t do the usual things people use boats for. Jesus didn’t enter Peter’s boat and the first thing He starts to do is fish, which boats are usually used for. Jesus didn’t enter into the boat and use it as a means of transportation to get another location. He didn’t enter the boat and use it for a boat ride, to relax, for sightseeing and all the usual things boats are used for. Jesus entered into Peter’s boat and steps out of the norm; He turns Peter’s boat into a pulpit. I can imagine that if it were you and I, we would have said things like sorry, this boat is for fishing not for teaching. I have never used my boat for teaching neither do any of the fishermen around here use their boats for teaching. We would have put up some form of resistance. But Peter gave Jesus permission to alter his plans. Peter was tired, was washing his nets (Luke 5:2), ready to go back home and probably have a good rest, but when Jesus came on the scene, he allowed Jesus disrupt and disorganize his schedule. He was open to a new way of doing things with his boat, different from what he had been used to. No wonder he had such a miraculous catch of fish. How about you and I? Can Jesus shake and change our plans and schedule? Can He use our boats for something that doesn’t fit into the customs and traditions of men? I pray that today as Jesus comes into the boat of our lives, fresh grace to allow Jesus have His way in our lives comes upon each and every one of us.
2. He shows us that He knows and cares about all our struggles, all our needs –
Before Jesus came into Peter’s boat, Peter had struggled hard and long to catch fish. When Jesus entered his boat, Jesus didn’t say anything about this. He just began to teach. Then when He was through teaching, without Peter making any mention of how he had struggled all night to catch fish, Jesus addressed that need, that struggle in Peter’s life. He says “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Many times it appears that God isn’t saying or doing anything about our needs and struggles. But even when He hasn’t said a thing, even when the situation hasn’t changed, Jesus knows all about it and at the appropriate time He will attend to it. The first thing we want when Jesus enters into our boat is to immediately attend to our needs and our struggles, it is to turn things around. Even though Jesus knew Peter had toiled all night and caught nothing, this wasn’t the first thing Jesus attended to when He entered Peter’s boat. Even though He knew there was no fish, no food, for Peter to take home that day, this wasn’t the first thing Jesus addressed when He entered Peter’s boat. No wonder Matthew 6:33 tells us “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This means don’t seek first miracles, blessings, breakthroughs and testimonies. First, open the boat of your life to the Lord, let Him use your boat; let Him use your life for the work and purpose of the Kingdom of God, and all these things; all your needs will be addressed and attended to.
All that while when Jesus was busy teaching, He was actually planning something big for Peter. But who would have known this because He didn’t mention anything about it when He first got into Peter’s boat. When it appears like the Lord isn’t saying anything about what you are going through, He is actually planning something big for you. God knows without our telling Him all our needs, all our fears, all our struggles. He knows those areas of our lives where we have toiled all night and caught nothing. He knows those times when we are ‘washing our nets’; when we have had a bad day, are weak, tired, frustrated from toiling all night and catching nothing, from having low sales, no sales, no promotion. He knows those times when we are worried that we caught nothing, we have no fish to take home; have no food at home or no money in our account to pay our bills. He may not say anything about it, but He knows. It may look like He isn’t doing anything about it, but He is. He is actually planning something big for us, something really amazing concerning that need, situation or issue in our lives. We just need to trust Him and obey Him totally and completely.
When Jesus got into Peter’s boat, He gave Peter two instructions. The first was “Put out a little from the land” (Luke 5:3). Peter obeyed. When Jesus finished teaching, He gave Peter another instruction “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Peter obeyed. Doubtful, not certain, not in any way convinced that there was going to be any significant change if he did what Jesus said, yet Peter obeyed. Some of us keep struggling in the same problem, habit or difficulty because we are not ready and willing to do what God tells us to do to get out of the mess we are in. We don’t obey divine instructions because they don’t make sense to us, we can’t see how they will work, they aren’t popular, or we fear what people will say or do to us when we follow the instruction. If we can get to that point where we can say at Your Word; since it is You Lord speaking, even if it doesn’t make sense to the human mind, even if I can’t see the logic in doing it, I will trust and obey You. Even if people turn away from me, don’t support me or make fun of me, I will still trust and obey You. It is at this point of surrender to God’s Word and instruction that we are ready for a ‘net breaking testimony’.
Peter’s obedience that day was total and complete. He didn’t obey Jesus partially. He didn’t obey the first instruction then ignore the second. Or obey the second and ignore the first. Some of us obey God’s instruction on paying tithes, dressing modestly, but ignore other instructions like “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37). We pick the instructions we like, the ones that are comfortable and convenient for us.
God knows all our needs, He knows all our weaknesses and struggles and wants to give us victory in these areas. When He gives us our own ‘put out a little from the land’ instruction and ‘launch out into the deep’ instruction, we must be willing and obedient. Complete obedience, timely obedience not partial obedience, not halfhearted obedience, positions us to receive uncommon blessings and turns our struggles and failures into major testimonies.
3. We see the Lord in His power and glory –
Another important benefit of having Jesus in the boat of our lives is that we see the Lord in His power and glory. There’s a big difference between seeing a consultant and seeing the Lord, seeing a specialist and seeing the Lord. It is not one and the same thing to see your pastor and see the Lord. There’s a difference. When we see Jesus, when we see the Lord like Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah 6:1-7, like Peter saw the Lord the day Jesus entered his boat and gave him a miraculous catch of fish, we can’t be comfortable with sin. You want more than anything for anything called sin, iniquity, transgression and unrighteousness to be taken away for your life. When Isaiah saw the Lord’s glory, he said “Woe to me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). When Peter saw the power of God to change a situation from nothing to more than enough, when Peter saw the miraculous power of God at work, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8)! You can’t behold the glory and power of God and it means nothing to you to lie, falsify records, refuse to forgive someone who offended you or engage in sexually immoral acts. When we see the Lord, when we have an encounter with the Lord, we don’t need someone to shout at the roof top telling us what we are doing is wrong. The glory and power of God does that for us, the light of God begins to expose all the fruitless deeds of darkness in our lives. When this happens, there’s no way we can be comfortable hiding, pretending about, justifying or excusing any sin in our lives (Proverbs 28:13, Job 31:33, Psalm 51:3, 5-6, 1 John 1:8). Our hearts are broken for what we have done wrong and all we want is to be washed and cleansed from sin so there’s nothing that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).
If you are comfortable with sin, then maybe you should ask yourself who and what do I see? Am I so busy with my office work or business that all I see day in and day out are business associates and colleagues? Am I so engrossed with my family that all I see and think about is my spouse and children? Is coming to church just one of those things I do routinely that all I see Sunday after Sunday are the choir and preachers? Have I allowed Jesus enter into my boat, spend quality time with me in my boat, so I can see Him clearly and know Him dearly, so I have an encounter with Him that changes my heart and my life? I pray that Jesus will enter into the boat of our lives today so that we all, with unveiled face, shall behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, and be transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).
4. He blesses us and makes our lives a blessing –
Jesus can’t enter into the boat of your life and you aren’t blessed. One of the reasons why Jesus died for us was to redeem us from every curse and bring us into a blessed and fruitful life. In John 10:10, Jesus says “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. He gives abundant blessings like He gave Peter an abundant number of fish. Peter was surrounded by blessings on all sides; fish that were too much for him.
Laboring in vain, fruitless efforts were terminated when Jesus entered Peter’s boat. Curses are broken and annulled when Jesus is in the boat of our lives. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13-14). Peter operated under the blessings of God free from every curse when Jesus entered his boat. No devil, demon, evil curse, covenant, enchantment or spell could delay or stand in the way of Peter being blessed when Jesus was in his boat. Blessings replace curses when Jesus is in the boat of our lives. Outstanding success replaces failure. Good health replaces sickness. Sound mind replaces confusion. Fruitfulness replaces barrenness. Accelerated progress replaces stagnation. May every curse and barrier to our being blessed give way as Jesus enters into the boat of our lives.
One of the blessings given to Abraham which comes into effect in our lives when Jesus is in the boat of our lives is “I will bless you and make you name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2, Galatians 3:14). Not only was Peter blessed with a large number of fish, his partners also benefitted from the blessing he received from God. “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” (Luke 5:7).
It was a joy for Peter to call on his partners to come and share in his miraculous catch of fish. Being of help to others is one of the things we enjoy from having Jesus in the boat of our lives. Our focus is not only on ourselves what we can get from the Lord, but on how we can share what we have received from the Lord with others. If you have received grace to pray, God will put in your heart a desire and longing to spend time praying for others not just making your prayers about me, myself and I. If you are blessed financially and materially, Jesus will give you a burden to want to give and help others. Whoever believes in Jesus, whoever has Jesus in the boat of the person’s life will discover that out of his belly will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). Out of our belly flows different gifts, operations and acts of service. The focus of this river of living water flowing out of our bellies is others not self, it is on being a blessing to others. We were not designed to be like water that collects into a pool, lake or pond and remains stagnant there. We were not created to collect and hoard blessings to ourselves.
Whatever ‘fish’ Jesus has helped us catch; whatever blessings we have, are not to be kept to ourselves. Like Peter did, we are to call on our partners; we are to reach out to our family members, friends, colleagues, church members, people going through difficult times, people we meet on the street or in the everyday course of life, so they too can benefit from God’s grace and blessings on our life. As we keep being sources of blessings to others, we will continue to bask in the blessings of God.
5. He gives us clarity of purpose –
After the miracle, after the blessings Jesus told Peter “from now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10). In other words, miracles are good, it is a wonderful thing to have this number of fish, to be mightily blessed of the Lord, but that’s not what you should spend all your life, all your time running after. There is an assignment to be done, there is a purpose for your life. Your assignment is to catch men. Jesus made it plain and clear to Peter what God’s purpose for his life was.
The reason why Jesus wants to come into the boat of our lives is so we don’t waste a second on things outside His plan and will for our lives. Jesus comes into the boat of our lives so we don’t live purposeless and directionless lives, wandering around in circles. As we allow Him spend time in our boat, have quality times of fellowship with Him, He makes it plain and clear to us that before He formed us in our mother’s womb, He knew us. Before we were born, He already had a plan in place for our lives, He had set us apart to do certain things (Jeremiah 1:4-5). In Psalm 139:16, David said “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them”. David discovered that even before he was born, God had written out who he was to be, what he was to do. Acts 13:36 tells us that David served God’s will, God’s purpose for his generation, then passed on to glory. May it be said of you and I that we fulfilled God’s purpose for making us a part of this generation, a part of our family, a part of our church, a part of the organization we belong to.
Even when God reveals His purpose for our lives, we can drift away from that purpose. Jesus told Peter in Luke 5:10 that he was to devote his life to catching men. But in John 21:3, Peter returned back to fishing. With the death of Jesus, fear of persecution, fear of what lies ahead, Peter had lost his passion and interest in fishing for men. He went back to where he was, to what he was doing before he had an encounter with the Lord. Jesus in His mercy, restored Peter back to his divine purpose. Jesus made it plain and clear again to Peter the purpose of God for his life. Jesus told him “Feed My lambs…Tend My Sheep” (John 21: 14-17). This is the purpose of God for your life, this is what you are to devote your life to.
I pray today that if we have lost our passion for the Lord and our joy of salvation, if we have drifted away from God’s original plan for our lives, God will restore us back, in Jesus mighty name. Amen!
6. He ensures that the boat of our life doesn’t capsize or sink –
Jesus doesn’t promise anyone that if He comes into the boat of your life, there will be no storms; no trials, no afflictions, no persecutions, no challenges whatsoever (John 16:33). In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus was in the same boat with His disciples and the next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. The storm was so furious, their boat was going down, they thought they would drown, they would die in the storm. Jesus arose and released the peace of God into that situation and everywhere became calm. Their boat didn’t capsize, it didn’t sink. They survived the storm because Jesus was with them in the boat. No storm is too turbulent for Jesus to calm.
God’s Word assures us that as long as Jesus is sailing along with us as the Captain of our Salvation, even when storms of life come, the boat of our lives won’t capsize or sink. When we pass through deep and difficult waters, Jesus will be with us; we won’t drown (Isaiah 43:2). Jesus is the Anchor of our souls that keeps the boat of our lives firm and secure even when we are battered by contrary winds, even when boisterous health, financial, marital, spiritual winds make it difficult for the boat of our lives to move freely or threaten to bring down the boat of our lives (Hebrews 6:19).
It is not only the storms of life that can make a boat sink. Success can actually make some people’s boat sink. Not everyone knows how to handle success. When Peter and his partners filled their boats with the fish, the weight of the fish was too much for their boats to carry that it began to sink (Luke 5:5). But their boat didn’t run aground and remain stuck there because Jesus was there with them. Jesus helped them manage the success, manage the outstanding catch of fish. Pleasant and unpleasant times, good and bad times if not properly managed, can make the boat of our life sink. This is why we need Jesus sailing with us in every situation that comes our way, so He can help us and steer us in the right direction.
There’s real danger out there and the worst thing that can happen to anyone is to sail through life without Jesus in the boat of your life. If Jesus is not in the boat of your life, allow Him in today for your own safety. The Captain of your Salvation is ready to sail with you and use the boat of your life to showcase the awesome power and glory of God. If He is already in the boat of your life, but you aren’t allowing Him have His way, today He wants you to hand over the steering wheel to Him so He can take you to the ‘harbor’ God has prepared for you; so He can get you to the place and heights God has prepared for you. The ride may be bumpy, but that’s nothing compared to the blessings and glory that will come your way as Jesus remains in the boat of your life. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
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