About This Episode:

Don’t start with morality! Modern Christianity oftentimes puts the greatest focus on morality and sin. The problem is that Christians often get sidetracked from their pursuit of God. He should be at the front, center, and beginning of our lives—our new lives in Christ. 

In Luke 5, Jesus teaches His disciples a valuable lesson that modern Christians must also learn. He tells the disciples—fishermen by trade—to cast their nets. When the disciples obey after experiencing initial skepticism (namely Peter), the power of God miraculously provides an overabundant catch of fish. Peter experiences the presence and power of God, and he reacts by telling Jesus to go away. Why? Because “I am a sinful man,” Peter says. His sinfulness collided with Jesus’ holiness.

Peter reflects who we are and what our experience might be with Jesus. We sin and make missteps. What’s our first reaction? We move away from God. Christianity has been modified to zoom in on our sins and moralize us into better people, so it makes sense that we might feel like failures that are unworthy of God when we stumble. We stop praying, reading our Bibles, going to church, etc. We pull away from Jesus out of shame, but Jesus wants us close to Him regardless of our sin and flaws.

When Peter says, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” in verse 8, Jesus responds by drawing the disciples to Himself and affirming their calling to serve His Kingdom as fishers of men. A Christianity that starts with morality gives us the wrong mission. Our mission as believers is not to be perfect but to find the person who is perfect and never let Him go! Don’t start with morality, and the next time you have the opportunity to lead others to Jesus, don’t start with their morality. Morality is not immaterial—we don’t want to be immoral. We simply become better people because we have the better person Jesus in our lives and defining our lives. He is more important to us than anything else, and we no longer want to do and no longer will do anything that would cause us to lose Jesus.

Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, the beginning and the end—not morality. So don’t start with morality. Start with Jesus!

Further Bible Reading:

Luke 5:1-9 (NIV)

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 
He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 
He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 
So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 
For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 
10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 
11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
  • When it comes to Christianity, how does starting with morality hinder the move of God?
  • Do I ever pull away from God when I feel guilty or unworthy? 
  • In what ways can I avoid making my Christianity self-centered and moralistic and make it wholly God-centered? How will this affect how I talk to other Christians and nonbelievers in the world?
  • Do I want to deeply know the person Jesus? Is that reflected in my life?
  • How might I change or improve how I talk Jesus?
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Quotes To Remember:

  • 02:48 The Christian walk does not start with morality.
  • 06:34 Our goal is to get Jesus to come to us. That’s revival. The Spirit of God comes; the presence of God comes.
  • 07:59 His sinfulness collided with Jesus’ holiness.
  • 10:30 No matter how long you’ve been walking with God, if you make a mistake or sin, what’s your first reaction? You don’t want to pray; you separate; you get far away from God. The symptom is separation.
  • 12:18 Instead of wanting to become perfect, find the person who is perfect. The mission changes.
  • 14:00 Personal revival is a love decision for a person—not for better morals, not for better life, not to succeed. All those things come, but it’s for a person.
  • 18:10 You start becoming a better person because you’ve got a better person that’s more important to you. You don’t want to lose that person.
  • 19:00 Don’t start with morality. And the next time you have the opportunity to lead someone to Jesus, don’t start with their morality.
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