Peter risked becoming the joke of his hometown when he rowed out in broad daylight to the deep waters of Lake Gennesaret and let down his net to catch fish. Everyone watching him from the shore must have thought he’d gone mad. Even a small child could have told him that if he wanted to catch fish, he must do it at night and in shallow water.
But this was a moment in Peter’s life when he did the right thing first. He had just listened to Jesus teaching the multitudes from his boat. It must have touched the heart of this fisherman so deeply that he was willing to forsake all his professional expertise and go about fishing in all the “wrong” ways, just because Jesus told him to do so.
He could have politely said to Jesus, “I respect You for being a great teacher and an excellent carpenter, but believe me, Your knowledge about fishing is really off. Take it from an expert—what You suggest will never work.”
Instead, Peter replied, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5).
That day Peter discovered that when he abandoned his own thoughts and acted on God’s Word and God’s thoughts, he experienced a wonderful miracle.
I am often amazed when I read in the Gospels how the experts in the law of Moses—the Pharisees and Sadducees— rarely, if ever, experienced miracles in their lives. At the same time, common people who knew very little—Peter, the Roman centurion whose slave was sick and the widow whose only son had died—witnessed the most incredible wonders. Surely these theologians in Jesus’ time had sickness and urgent needs in their families just like everyone else. What prevented them from seeing God’s promises fulfilled?
I believe it was pride causing them to cling to their own clever thoughts. Pride wouldn’t allow them to humbly acknowledge that they could be wrong and that God’s thoughts and ways were so much higher than their own.
By the way, we see the same thing happen in our day as well. Young national missionaries and simple believers on the mission fields of Asia experience a book-of-Acts-type of Christianity on a daily basis, whereas many of us “Bible experts” seem to miss out.
You see, the foundation for learning to walk with the Lord, for serving Him and for becoming a blessing to others begins with the humility to act on God’s thoughts instead of our own.
Peter, the centurion and the widow (like those simple believers on the mission field) had nothing to hold on to. Unlike those religious leaders, they were not preoccupied with protecting their reputations or guarding traditions and someone’s teaching. That’s why God’s Word could flow freely into their lives and become the basis of their thoughts and faith and, in turn, their actions.
We too must come to God with the same humility and submission, telling Him: “Lord, I don’t know; I want to learn; I want to change.”
And, by the way, we cannot use psychology, carnal reasoning or philosophy to bring about these changes—to pull down wrong thoughts, imaginations and anything that causes us heartache and cripples our faith.
God’s Word clearly says that this very real battle has to be fought with spiritual weapons: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
The most important factor in abandoning our thoughts is to look in the Bible and see what God says about a matter. Then we must determine to act on His Word rather than on our own thoughts or those the devil may whisper into our minds.
For example: If I think, “No one loves me,” God’s thoughts on the same subject are, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
If I say to myself, “I failed,” God’s Word says to me, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4).
If my thoughts are, “I am weak,” the Lord says, “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong’ ” (Joel 3:10).
If I am convinced that “I can’t do it,” God’s truth is that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
How can you learn to apply God’s promises to your life and in turn experience His blessings? When you face troubles, problems or uncertainties and you don’t know what to do next—stop for a second. Ask yourself: Am I thinking the thoughts of God? Am I doing what the Lord would do in this situation? Am I making the decision? What does the Lord say about this? How can I respond to it?
If you don’t know the answer, go to your Bible. Check your concordance or ask someone to help you find God’s thoughts concerning your problem. See if you can find an example in God’s Word in which someone faced a similar situation.
Then pray over the Scripture portions you find. As you do, the Lord will enlighten you. The verses will no longer be abstract to you but instead will become living words for your situation.
Put your life in the context of Scripture. Start thinking God’s thoughts about your situation and act on them in faith. As you daily practice and develop this habit of applying God’s promises, it will become second nature as you grow in following the Lord.
Abandoning our thoughts and humbly taking God’s thoughts as our own truly honors Him and revolutionizes our faith.
Start acting on God’s Word today. Don’t delay.
Destined to Soar © 2009 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.