A strange thing happens when you’ve decided to drop your nets to follow Jesus – you find yourself on a constant journey of noticing that you still have more nets to drop if you wish to keep following Him:
1. You start noticing that your good works are all about you
You notice that you pick and choose what you prefer to do and shy away from the tasks that make you uncomfortable. You notice that you get upset when your good work goes unappreciated or when people you help are not grateful. You find that you get too pleased by praise and that you are not gracious with criticism.
2. You realise how your prayers are all centered on yourself
You find that you pray for your needs – whether material or spiritual – almost exclusively. (Of course this is a vast improvement from not praying regularly at all!) When you do pray for others you begin noticing that you pray for the people you like, and not as much for the people who make life difficult for you unless it be to ask God to change them.
3. You realise how you always put your own needs first
You start wanting to live more simply and you begin to realise how difficult it is to simplify because you’re still thinking about your own needs first. It is easy to give away things that are no longer useful, but you find yourself still wanting to keep things that might somehow be of use to you somewhere down the road… even if you have not used it in years!
4. You realise how afraid you are of being misunderstood
Serving God and Church is all well and good when you are seen as a good disciple and upstanding member of the Church. But you begin to notice how important it is to you that your good name is preserved. You begin to realise how measured and calculated your service is because you do not wish to be misunderstood by others. You realise to your dismay that you aren’t a very good soldier for Christ because you are afraid to “die”!
5. You realise you prefer to be rich rather than poor
You are willing to help those less fortunate than yourself, but you come to acknowledge that you are not willing to be poor with them. You want your comfort, you want convenience, and you want the security of not having to worry where your next meal comes from and the many little luxuries of life. You realise that you are far from being indifferent and detached enough from material riches to be able to go wherever Christ wishes to send you.
Stranger yet than all these realisations of how far you still have to go in becoming a mature disciple is the realisation that Christ himself will bring you where you need to go. You realise that it is the grace of the Holy Spirit that allows you to see these truths about yourself, and that it is the Holy Spirit that infuses you with hope because God loves you so much that he will ensure that you reach union with him. You marvel at how God can do the impossible and, as you lift your heart in praise, you find that you have dropped yet another net. And you know that you will continue to drop your nets – as many as there are – until your hands are completely free for God to use as His own.
(Photo from hdlost.com)