“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 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. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 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. 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 which they had taken;”
Luke 5:1-9 NKJV
Shallow thinking will produce shallow results. The watermark of a Christian life will show the depth that they’re willing to go to grow and mature in their relationship with God. I have underlined two very important things in the scripture above. Jesus instructed Peter to launch out into the deep and let down his nets (plural) . Peter reluctantly let down a net because he doubted Jesus’ word because he had been out all night and had caught nothing. What happened afterwards was a shock to them but not to Jesus. Why? He told him to let down his nets. What was even more amazing was that even an additional boat could not contain the amount of fish that they caught.
Has Jesus asked you to do something that seemed to make no sense at all? Did you do it reluctantly only to find out that it was the best decision you’ve ever made? Or have you ignored Him only to find out it was the biggest mistake of your life to do so? I enjoy the ocean but I’ve never learned how to swim. I’ve also discovered that I cannot learn how to swim in shallow waters. The same is true of our Christian life. If your watermark hasn’t moved past your ankles, that’s an indication that you’re not growing. Ankle deep Christians never grow beyond the elementary stages of their born again experience. We’ve all been given the same measure of faith. Why is it that some people are experiencing the fullness of the blessings and promises of God and some aren’t? Shallow living.
Jesus says launch out into the deep and let down your nets, we say, “I just washed them so I’m only going to use one. He’s not a fisherman so there’s no way that He knows what He’s talking about.” Not only did He know what He was talking about, He knew how to speak the language of fish. He already told them to get into the nets. The fish had more faith than Peter. They just kept coming. And Jesus did nothing to stop them, not even when He saw that their boats were sinking. Why? He will not alter or change the Word He has spoken. Psalms 89:34 When are we going to start believing the Word of God? How many miracles does He need to perform? When will we move from the shallow waters of doubt to the deeper waters of trust and believing?
Jesus said by His stripes we were healed. We say I know but. Jesus said ask anything in My Name and My Father will do it. We say I can’t do that, that’s being greedy. Jesus says I will supply all your need. We say I need to work three jobs and overtime to meet my needs. Jesus says cast all your cares upon Me. We say I’m so stressed out but that’s life. We have an answer for everything but nothing changes. Why? Shallow water thinking. The watermark can’t move above our ankles. We complain but aren’t willing to go deeper. Living continuously in the shallow end of religion will create a superficial spiritual life. You may look the part but your watermark is low showing no results of a changed life.
The fear of letting go of the familiar to embrace the unknown has christians standing in ankle deep stagnation wondering why they’re not making progress in their walk with God. God is El Shaddai, He’s more than enough. He does exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever ask or think. He cannot abide shallowness. He’s constantly moving and creating. To stand still is to miss God. Standing still with faith isn’t doing nothing. Standing still in God is having active faith in His ability to do whatever He’s promised. When Moses told Israel to stand still, he also told them to do something. “See.” Believe that the Lord is about to deliver them from their enemies. It takes great faith to see your enemy pursuing you and don’t run, to trust that God will keep His Word. Paul said having done all to stand, stand therefore. That’s not a shallow ankle deep watermark standing. That’s launching out into the deep standing. Ephesians 6 & Exodus 14.
Has your watermark moved above your ankles? Or are you allowing disobedience to keep you stuck in the familiar? Peter’s disobedience almost cost him two boats. The Bible says they began to sink. That was the grace of God that they didn’t. The grace of God is why some of you haven’t suffered greater loss. He’s still showing mercy. But would you rather believe and be blessed? Wouldn’t it have been easier if Peter had just obeyed and let down all the nets instead of making excuses? He didn’t believe, so he was being cautious. Past experiences cannot compete with a fresh Word from the Lord. It doesn’t matter what you’ve tried before. Get out of the shallowness of your mind and launch out into the deep waters of the supernatural. God wants to do a miracle in your life. He knew they had caught nothing, but everything about Jesus is a life lesson. It’s an opportunity to grow and stretch us. When Peter realized what had happened, he wanted Jesus to go away. But instead Jesus offered him a better fishing option. Uncharted waters: Fishing for men.
That was way harder than fishing all night and catching nothing. This assignment would test not just Peter’s commitment to launch out into the deep, but all of us who would follow the Lord Jesus Christ. This would expose the watermarks of our lives. Are we deep, go all the way people, or shallow, satisfied with the status quo people? Are you growing or stagnant? You’ll never do anything for God living in the shallows. The deeper the water (your faith) the better the buoyancy. Your whole posture changes depending on the depth of the water. You accomplish more for God the deeper you go in Him. Leave the shallow waters of complacency and unbelief, and launch out into the deep for a catch. Jesus has already provided your lifeguard, the Holy Spirit. He’s all the help you need. Let Him change the level of your watermark to a level of immeasurable possibilities. God wants to get us to a place where we cannot help ourselves so we will depend on Him. Shallow water is safe, but there’s no adventure there. There’s nothing to see. There’s no room for growth. Our faith will not grow in shallow waters, but when we launch out into the deep we will have the catch of a lifetime. Peter did. And his life was forever changed.
How can you identify someone who’s progressing in their walk with Jesus? Check the watermark. You cannot receive the fullness of God with limited intentions.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
October 13, 2021