In the book of Luke, chapter five we find the story that altered the life of Peter. Jesus, seeking to teach the people, asked Peter if He could use his boat as a platform to speak from. Peter took Jesus into his boat and launched out a little from land so that Jesus could be heard by all the people. After the ministry time was over, Jesus told Peter to go out a little deeper and let down the nets to fish. Peter explained that the fish were not biting but, as a courtesy to Jesus, they would let down the nets again. The catch was so great that it took another boat to hold the fish. When Peter saw what happened, he realized that there was more than a great catch of fish and an itinerant preacher in his boat. Peter fell on his knees before Jesus and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
It was at this point that Jesus spoke the word to Peter that “altared” Peter’s life forever:
“Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
I remember very vividly the day that I heard the Lord speak a similar word to me. I was sitting on my discount couch in my duplex in the town I went to high school. The couch was something else! The reason it was so cheap was because it was cloth stretched over wood with little padding! If you ran and jumped on the couch, you could easily come away with a concussion!
Anyway, while sitting there reading the word, the Lord spoke my destiny and calling to me out of Romans 8:29:
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
At that moment, I knew what my destiny was and what I was called to do. My destiny was to be conformed to the image of Jesus. This is what I would work toward everyday for the rest of my life! But, my calling was to be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. I knew that God was calling me into the ministry of the gospel of Christ!
That day changed my life! I assume that the day Jesus called Peter to catch men changed his life as well. That word from God “altared” Peter’s life. I know that I misspelled that word, but I did it to make a point.
From the moment that Jesus spoke to Peter about entering his boat, Peter’s life changed. From that point on, Peter would never do anything the same as before. His life not only altered but it “altared”: In essence, Jesus told Peter, “I am going to turn you into something you are not!” This word required a change in focus and priority. Peter left who he was and what he was doing so that he could answer the call. From the time that Jesus spoke to Peter going forward, Peter would live an “altared” life: one that centered around his destiny to become like Christ and his calling to catch men – a life in submission to Jesus and His chosen pathway for Peter!
All true followers of Jesus cry out for a word like this one, often without considering the impact it will have on their life. I recall Psalm 105:17-19 and how it summarizes the impact that the word from God given in a dream from God had on Joseph’s life:
“He sent a man before them — Joseph — who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.”
What did the word regarding his destiny and calling do to Joseph?
It tested him!!!
The word from God altered and “altared” Joseph’s life. The word from Jesus altered and “altared” Peter’s life. The word from God regarding your destiny and calling will alter and “altar” your life as well.
To “alter” your life means the word will bring change to your schedule, the way you handle your finances; your day be day activities, and maybe even to what you do for a living. To “altar” your life means acceptance of the word will take control of your life from your hands and give it permanently over to Jesus. Things put on the altar are forever given over to God. They are “dead” to us and alive to God.
Are you prepared for the changes that the word from God will bring into your life?
I’m not trying to scare you – I’m trying to prepare you. The same word that brings death carries resurrection power! You can’t have resurrection without death. Death is painful but, the rewards are supernatural!
If you’re going to get this type of word from God, you are going to have to allow Him access to your “boat” – your “discount couch” – to the place you live! The word He speaks will be impossible, scary, exciting, challenging, stretching; all of these things at once. It will demand change.
If it doesn’t change you into something you are not, it is probably not from God!
Jesus, get into the “boat” or onto the “couch” of my friend today! They desire to here the word that changes “life” into “living!” Use them for your glory and may your grace carry them all the way through to their destiny and calling!