Well, I hope everyone had an awesome Sunday! I’m pretty daggum pumped to share some Gold with you today that may get a little wild, but bare with me. I believe God has some big truths in this God Gold for myself and for you!
So, today I want to share one of those good ole fishing stories with you. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon so me and my buddy Craig decided to grab our fishing poles and head down to the pond. I’ll go ahead and tell you that I have been fishing at a lot quite a few ponds over the years but I am by no means a “professional” or experienced fisherman. To be honest, I’m pretty clueless about fishing except for putting the bait and hook on the line and throwing it out there. We started fishing probably around 2 o’clock or so and with some quick bites on our lines, we were getting excited and confident that we’d catch that first fish soon, maybe a whole bunch of fish. As time went by we began catching a lot of things but no fish. I promise you, I caught more sticks pieces of wood today than you could have found on an oak tree. At one point I even caught a couple of pine combs. After a couple hours of this we were both getting pretty antsy so we kept looking for new things to switch up thinking for sure we could outsmart these fish. We changed the weights on our lines, changed the baits up, we even moved around to different parts of the pond but still, NO LUCK!
We couldn’t figure it out, no matter what we tried nothing seemed to be working. The only thing we had going for us was persistence, well, I guess you can call it “stubbornness.” We kept coming up short handed but we were bound and determined that we were going to catch a fish. It was about 5 o’clock and still no fish. My neighbor had came out and told us we were more than welcome to go up the road and fish in her parents backyard which faced the big reservoir in town. We didn’t think twice about it, we thought for sure after all this bad luck we’ve had at this pond, we’ll 110% FOR SURE catch some fish there. We got out there with a new energy and kept fishing away. That’s when I caught the catches of the day in those pine combs but still, NO FISH!!! We kept throwing our line out, trying new stuff because we may not have had many results but we were going to keep working our tails off to catch one. There was NO WAY that we’d go this whole day and not catch a fish! We kept at it and kept at it but then it got to be almost 7 o’clock, we had been fishing for going on five hours now and we couldn’t take it anymore. After all the work we put in to catch a fish, we came to the end of our energy to keep trying any longer. For 5 whole hours we worked and worked but at the end of the day had no big fish story to share. Besides the lack of success with the fish it was still a great Sunday afternoon spent with a good buddy which are moments that are hard to pass up.
Now, I bet you’re wondering why I told you about my bad day of fishing? Well, today at church the Pastor spoke on these verse from Romans 3 and gosh!!! It blows my mind how relate-able is to the truths learned at church today. The Pastor began in these verses speaking about how God’s love is “No Ordinary Love.”
‘Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”/ Romans 3:9-12
I bet you’re wondering, what does this have to do with God’s love and even more so, what does this have to do with fishing? Well, hold on to your hats because I’m going to get there. So he started in these verses to show us the truth of who we are as a people outside of God’s love. Obvioulsy Paul is stressing a major point here that “no one is righteous.” It doesn’t matter who you are or all the things you do, you are still just as broken and just as messed up as the next person. Now I know that’s a harsh reality but the thing is, it’s reality! Even if you think, “well I do all these things at my church and go to all the Bible studies.” It doesn’t matter because Paul states clearly that; “no one does good, not a single one.” Just in case you missed that, NOT A SINGLE ONE! I know this may step on your toes and hey, mine are already hurting so I get it! It was in realizing this truth that apart from Christ we are no good, the next set of verses were magnified even more.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.”/ Romans 3:23-27
This is when I started to realize just how much my bad day of fishing made a lot of sense with these truths that are a foundation to our faith. Despite what God’s Word says, somehow I catch myself and I’m sure all of us do, I catch myself thinking there is something I can do to get myself out of this broken state of sin that I find myself in daily. Maybe if I just work a little harder or try doing some new things such as serving at my church or whatever it is. We find ourselves working so hard to be “less-broken” and somehow earn God’s love in our lives but at the end of the day no matter how much work we do or hard we try we always come up short. That was the case with fishing today, we were bound and determined to catch a fish so we tried everything we could think of and we kept working away but ended the day with no fish. The truth about our Christian lives and YES, I struggle with this so much myself, is that we are constantly hiding from the truth of who we really are, depraved and broken messes. We try everything to “fix it” and we just keep on throwing our lines out there but why do we keep catching sticks and pine combs???
Maybe because, as mentioned in the last set of verses I put up from Romans it’s because the fish has already been caught. God saw us in our broken state of sin and out of His HUGE amount of love for us decided to send His Son as a sacrifice for me and you with His blood covering us in ways we could never accomplish. We could try to keep fishing all day long but Jesus has already caught the big fish of victory for us. Why would we try to keep doing what Jesus has already done, well maybe it’s because we’re stubborn enough to keep throwing our line out or prideful enough to think we can actually catch a fish. I fall into that trap so often and in the meantime while I’m working away I lose sight of the truth, the complete joy and LIFE I’ve been given in the sacrifice Jesus has made. But maybe if I just try this kind of bait instead, or put this weight on the line, NO!!!!
In verses 9-12 of Romans 3, Paul put it plainly that we are completely incapable of saving ourselves. Not one person no matter how “good’ they are or how much work they do, we can never do the job that Jesus has already done. The beauty of God’s relationship with us is that God’s love doesn’t depend on us, and thank God it doesn’t because we would never be able to earn it. God’s love and the Salvation Jesus has brought to our lives is based purely off the sacrifice that Jesus has made, by the grace that God gave us as a gift that made us right in His sight as His Son suffered for us on the cross. That’s the truth of the Gospel, it doesn’t matter what kind of fishing rod you have, what kind of bait you use or how much work you put in to catch that fish, the TRUTH is that the fish has already been caught and there’s nothing we can do to change that or add to it. This love we have from God is purely a gift from God and He expects nothing in return from us except for us to lay our fishing rods down, quit your energy-wasting striving and fight the good fight surrendered to the Jesus Christ.
Seeing the realness of just how broken and incapable we are just hit deep today as I looked at the fact that God saw that we couldn’t catch any fish, so he went fishing for us and caught the fish that we never could. Thank God for loving us so deeply and abundantly when we deserve none of it. It’s all about God and none about us. Seeing how great our need is for a Savior makes me so happy that God has sent His Son to save us and do the job that we couldn’t!
This week I’m challenging you and myself to first off, sit in this truth, pray about this truth and completely be consumed by this truth. It is so crucial to our faith as we see the bad news of us and the Good News of Jesus played out in our lives. Also, secondly, I want to challenge myself and you to put down our fishing rods, our stubbornness and pride, stop trying to work our way to catch God’s love or Salvation and just rest in the truth that Jesus has already caught the fish. In His grace all we can do now is submit our lives to Him and lived consumed by His love and surrendered to the call He’s saved us for to spread the Good News of how Jesus has taken the death we deserved, paid the price and given us LIFE abundantly with Him forever. There so many out there fishing away, some are believers that won’t put down their rods, some are unbelievers that don’t know the fish has even been caught. Thank God for saving us and giving us the opportunity to share the greatest news there could ever be!!!!