Do you ever find yourself avoiding God? How often do you feel unworthy of His kindness toward you?
When Peter witnessed the miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5, he fell down at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Go away from me.
In what circumstances do you resist the presence of Jesus? How do you respond when you feel undeserving of His attention or His gifts?
We may not use those words, but we can communicate the message loud and clear when we avoid or ignore Him.
It’s so interesting how Jesus responded to Peter’s protest: “Don’t be afraid.”
Why would Peter be afraid? What caused him to feel fear in the presence of Jesus?
The same thing that causes you and me to feel fear in the presence of Jesus.
“I am a sinful person.” Jesus, I don’t deserve your attention. What you have provided for me is too much. I cannot receive this much blessing. After everything I have done. After everywhere I have been. After all the times I have failed. After all the ways I have disappointed you. After all the people I have hurt. After all the pain I have caused.
Shame is that insidious voice telling you that you’re not good enough. That when you fail, it means you’re a failure
Shame causes fear of God’s presence. Think of Adam & Eve hiding from God when they heard Him walking in the garden. “I was afraid, so I hid.” Shame always drives us to resist God’s invitation for connection.
What do you do when you feel shame in His presence? How is shame hindering your relationship with Him?
Shame nearly caused Peter to miss out on a relationship with Jesus. “Go away, Jesus. I’m not worthy.” Peter’s experience of the miracle gave him a clearer glimpse of himself and of Jesus. While he didn’t know everything about Jesus, he knew enough to feel undeserving. He just didn’t yet know the BEST part: he didn’t know about love and grace and forgiveness.
All Peter knew was that Jesus was holy, and he was not.
But when Jesus looked at Peter, He saw something different. Jesus saw what Peter would become. He saw Peter’s future. He saw the transformation that was coming after Peter spent time with Him. Jesus knew how sin had marred the image of God within Peter, but Jesus also knew what the cross would accomplish in Peter’s life.
I love those final words Jesus spoke into Peter’s destiny: “From now on, you will catch men”.
FROM NOW ON. From this point forward. There was a demarcation line. There was a past, and there was a future. “Peter, you will be changed by being with Me. You will be changed by following me. Don’t yield to your fear, Peter. Don’t give in to the shame and the feelings of unworthiness”.
“FROM NOW ON, you will catch men”! Jesus spoke prophetically to Peter’s future.
And He speaks prophetically to yours: “FROM NOW ON, your past does not define you. Your past does not disqualify you. Your failures do not dictate your future. FROM NOW ON, you follow Me. I will use your weakness to bring glory to My Name and to draw others to Myself”.
Peter left everything behind. His past. His shame. His failure. We think “everything” is about the boats and his career and his family. But when he followed Jesus, Peter left behind the lies he believed about himself and about God. His insecurities and his fears and his shame. I’m sure he still battled those beliefs from time to time. He was human, after all. But Peter no longer allowed those old shame scripts to dictate his future.
Peter. Followed. Jesus.
From now on.
How often do you feel unworthy of God’s kindness toward you? In what ways do you tell Him to “go away”? Perhaps by staying busy or distracted? Or ignoring His gentle requests for your presence? What effect is shame having on your relationship with Him?
What if we tried something different? FROM NOW ON, follow Jesus and welcome His presence. FROM NOW ON, leave the past behind. Leave behind the lies we believe about ourselves and the lies we believe about God. FROM NOW ON, leave behind our insecurities and our fears and our shame. We’ll occasionally battle those beliefs because we’re human. But we can make a decision every day to no longer allow the past to dictate our destiny.
FROM NOW ON.