Imagine for a moment that you actually believed this with your whole heart. What would be different about your life? If you believed that God thinks your awesome how would you live? I can relate with Peter in Luke 5 when Jesus asks Peter to cast his nets to the other side of the boat and when he does and his nets are full his reaction is to fall before Jesus and exclaim his unworthiness and ask to be left alone. Alone. In isolation without Jesus. He can’t handle God’s holiness so he would rather be alone….He pushes Jesus away from him.
I find myself a lot like Peter sometimes when I am faced with my shadow self. I know how dreadful my heart can be at times and so did Peter. We face that dark side of ourselves with fear and push people far away when our worst comes out. We don’t want anyone to see the sin and yuck that we see in ourselves. So, we like, Peter push others away and sometimes we push Jesus away, just like Peter does here.
I love Jesus’ response, He doesn’t even flinch, He just says “There is nothing to fear. From now on your be fishing for men and women.” Jesus already knows how Peter feels, he already sees his shadow side. Jesus knows Peter’s heart was faithless at times “Master, we’ve been here and haven’t even caught a minnow”. He’s kind of saying, “I mean lets be real here Jesus there are no fish, we’ve been out here all night long and have caught nothing…but okay if you say so we’ll put the nets out again”. I think Peter here threw the nets back out rolling his eyes and was ashamed of his unbelief, his attitude and lack of faith so he pushes Jesus away. Do you ever do that when you make a mistake? Maybe he was washed in shame because he was “wrong” about the fish. Shame does that, makes us feel unworthy and afraid to be in relationship.
Here is what I love. I love that Jesus says “Do not be afraid.” He spoke truth to Peter’s fearful, shameful heart. He speaks the language of love….”do not be afraid.” Fear and love are opposites. Peter in his fear of being found out pushes Jesus away and Jesus in his perfect love holds Peter close. Jesus knows Peter, he knows his unbelieving heart, he knows his dark side, he knows his tendency to push people away in his fear, shame and doubt and still Jesus thinks Peter is pretty awesome. Awesome enough to say “listen buddy the fish, that’s nothing. From now on I have big things for you. You will be fishing for people. Yes, you. In all of your doubt fear and imperfection you will be working with me side by side for the rest of your life because I think you’re awesome and I want to be in relationship with you.”
What if you heard Jesus say to you, “you know, ___________ I know you and all of your shortcomings and I think you are pretty awesome, you don’t have to fear, I already know all about your dark side and I love you especially there because it’s where it hurts the most and that’s why I came to free you from shame, guilt and fear so you could live into the amazing person that you already are.” Now that is living fully alive!