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, 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.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:8-11)
When I was divorced, I punished myself by hanging onto guilt. I was afraid to be in the presence of God or Jesus, so I didn’t go there. When we hang onto guilt, it hurts our self-image, and Satan always shows up to “help” us make our self-image better. I think everyone knows what that looks like.
After the fish miracle, Simon Peter was afraid in the midst of Jesus’ love. I wondered why and prayed for God to show me. He led me to the verse, 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,” This part of the verse validated my wonder about Simon, but the last part tells me why Simon was afraid: “because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Jesus didn’t ask Simon to repent, so Simon was holding onto guilt from a sin he had been forgiven from, afraid to be in Jesus’ presence. Then, Simon realized the perfect love he felt in Jesus presence took away his sins. He had to give up his guilt and not be afraid to follow Jesus. Simon, Andrew, John, and James gave up everything to follow Jesus. They became his first four disciples/apostles that day.
Father, God, help us let go of our guilt, so we don’t fear you and let Satan help with our self-image. Let us realize we can only be made perfect in love when we’re not afraid to be in your presence. Help us to attain your perfect love and follow you.