Trusting Jesus: 4 ways to trust him and let down your nets
So often in life and in business, self-reliance is our standard mode of operation, making it a great challenge to break the chains of overachievement and stop working as the world works. The fascinating thing is, we’re not alone in this. The saints of the Bible had the same issue with trusting Jesus!
While watching S1E4 of The Chosen recently, I was struck by the story of Jesus meeting Simon (Peter) at his boat after a long night of fishing and showing Simon that his way isn’t the way. Here’s how The Chosen depicts the situation:
Simon and his brother Andrew have been fishing all night and their nets are empty. It’s a pattern that’s repeated for days, and its especially dire because Simon has made a deal with the Romans to buy time to cover his back taxes.
As he heads out daily to fish, his nets remain empty day after day. He’s throwing out his net, and nothing is happening. He’s frustrated and thinks he’s just got to keep working at it.
When he decides to go fish on the Shabbat (Sabbath), his wife calls him out: not only for breaking the law of working on the Shabbat, but more importantly, for not trusting Jesus (well, God). She sees his faith shrinking and his work taking priority.
He’s pushed God out of the way. Simon thinks he’s in control and only he can rectify the situation on his own.
Does that pierce your heart, knowing you sometimes operate this way?
I know it pierced mine while I watched.
What struck me is how often I’ve been like Simon: self-reliant, overworking, overachieving. Feeling like “if it is to be, it’s up to me!” or like I had to go make things happen. How often I’ve pushed God out of the way, thinking I’m in control and my way is logical, measurable, and the only way. Speculating and calculating what I can do in my own power and understanding and putting my faith in productivity to make progress. Clearly not trusting Jesus to lead me.
Back to the scene:
Simon and Andrew go back out to fish on Shabbat with Zebedee and his sons, James and John. All night they let down their nets and catch nothing. As they call it quits and reach the shore, they see this man (Jesus) teaching a crowd of people. The crowd can’t hear him well, so Jesus asks Simon if he will move the boat out into the water so Jesus may teach from the boat to project his voice. What happens next is a lesson for all of us in trusting Jesus:
And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 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.
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5:4-11 ESV
Let’s review a bit about cast net fishing. It’s been used for thousands of years, and how and where the net is used is key to its effectiveness. The net is thrown out with two hands in a circular motion, not like throwing a hammer with one hand, so that it spreads out while it’s in the air before it sinks into the water. The casting is best done in water free of obstruction: an area without reeds that cause the net to tangle, or branches that cause the net to get caught. The line is thrown out using both hands in a circular motion and it can be cast from a boat, the shore, or by wading into the water.
In other words, casting the net requires two hands, an open space, and a steady stance.
Friend, when we are caught up in self-reliance, struggling in deep waters on our own, could it be because we have turned off the volume to our Lord’s word? Could it be that like Simon, we’ve pushed our priorities ahead of the only priority: God, and we’re trying to do things our way, in our power and might?
How often are we asking the Lord partially for his help by not opening both hands to lift our burdens to Him? Instead of keeping our hands closed as if we’re in fighting position, or trying to hammer things into place our way, we need to open our hands and cast our net to ask for His instructions and His way.
Are we allowing obstructions like distraction, discontentment and doubt tangle up and snag our consistence in worship and communication with the Lord? Maybe the obstructions are the words of others, or shaky belief because we think we haven’t seen God move for us like we’ve seen him move for someone else.
Are we on steady ground or in a steady position in our prayer posture? Whether on your knees or lying prostrate before Him, it’s about being still and knowing He is God.
Four Steps for Trusting Jesus In All Circumstances
Whether you’re in a valley or a mountain top in your business, whether your nets are coming up empty or you’re trying to hammer everything in place your way, here are four steps to trust Jesus in all circumstances:
- Worship Him: bring your cares to Him – all of them – and worship Him for who He is, His unending love, grace and mercy, and for keeping His promise to never leave you nor forsake you. 1 Peter 5:7 is the perfect verse for this.
- Seek Him: Seek him first in everything. Trust Him to define and direct you, before you take action. This was Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6:33, and He modeled this for us!
- Listen to Him: When you seek Him, don’t just hear Him. Listen! I saw a meme recently that said, “It’s hard to hear God’s voice when you’ve already decided what you want him to say.” OUCH! Tune out the world and tune into His truth.
- Obey Him: This is where the rubber meets the road, because all the worship, seeking and listening mean nothing unless you obey. Ask yourself, “Have I done the last thing that He directed me to do?”
There is a tool I use with my coaching clients called the Decision Tree, and these four steps fit could be your own decision tree by using them as questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed, when you sense you’re overachieving, or your spiraling in anxiety, doubt and distraction. Download the free tool at https://erinharrigan.com/decisiontree .
These four steps are simple to take, but how often do we make it so much more difficult in our analysis paralysis or speculating the outcomes? How often is our commitment, consistency and completion upended by trying to do things our own way? Go listen to episodes 103-105 of my podcast for more on these three C’s.
Remember friend: God made you ambitious, but He didn’t make you to work the world’s way. As you cast out your nets, do so by tuning out the world, tuning into God’s truth, and turning up focus. He gave you a mission in the marketplace – don’t’ let overwhelm and overachievement stall your work for His glory!
I pray this speaks to you and your situation today, with practical ways you can grow in trusting Jesus. If you found this helpful, share it with a friend, and let me know with a DM on LinkedIn @erinharrigan or Instagram @erindharrigan
If your outward success is warring with your faith and priorities, I hear you. I see you. And it doesn’t have to be this way. God made you to be ambitious, but He didn’t make you to work the world’s way. I’m the coach that can help you break free from business as usual! Schedule a call to explore working with me: https://erinharrigan.com/discoverycall