Today, our good friend Nate Pruitt preached the sermon at our church. He read from John 21, about Peter jumping from the boat and swimming to Jesus, because he was so excited to be with his Lord that the boat wasn't fast enough for him to get there.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize
that it was Jesus.
He called out to them,“Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find
some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the
large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as
Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment
around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other
disciples followed in the boat, towing the net
full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
I want to jump in the water, wholeheartedly and excitedly, with no concern for who's watching, and swim to my Lord.
But first, I need to become small and weak enough that I can't hold myself back when the Spirit moves me.
See, there was this moment during the sermon when, on hearing about Peter's enthusiasm for returning to Jesus' side, my body wanted to leap up and run into the next room and kneel down and pray. I could feel the excitement in me swell, that wholehearted, unabashed desire to be next to Jesus.
But apparently, I'm a little too strong for my own good.
Because instead of leaping up and running to His side, I sat in my chair.
Yep. I just sat there.
I could feel my blood pulsing through my veins with that adrenaline rush. But I contained myself. I gave no indication of what I was feeling. I controlled my body, rationalized away the impulse.
Somehow, I don't think this is the kind of "self-control" that Paul talks about as being good (Galatians 5:22-23).
Why do we do this to ourselves? I say we, because I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one. I think that it's part of our fallen nature, the self-preservation that we feel. Because we all at some point struggle with what other people think.
I struggled with it immensely growing up. I was always worrying about what other people would think of me - my friends, peers, teachers, leaders - even my own family. I remember having many a stunted worship experience because I was afraid to raise my hands or clap or shout for joy because I was afraid of what my family would think.
And these are people who should share the journey with us, be joyful when we are joyful, grieve when we grieve.
Like the other members of my church.
Like the disciples with Peter.
Peter didn't care what they thought when he jumped in the water. They weren't like, "Dude. We're like a hundred yards from shore. You could totally just stay dry and wait a minute. We'll be there in like two seconds."
Nope. They just brought the boat in, following Peter.
But by the time they got the boat anchored and got their dry selves off the boat and onto shore, Peter had already been with Jesus.
Even though it was probably only an extra minute or two, Peter had that extra time with Jesus. Just being with Him. Even if Peter spent it catching his breath, he was breathing with Jesus.
I want to be so excited about Jesus that I will go to any lengths - even if I have to look ridiculous doing it - just so I can breathe with Jesus for a few moments before the rest of the crowd catches up.
God, please make me weak enough to run after You before I think about what I'm doing.