When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” — Luke 5:8
Last week, I talked about Peter reluctantly obeying God. Through that obedience, Jesus opened up the floodgates of heaven and blessed him. Some would say that He blessed Peter with a boatload of fish, which He did, but it was more than that. Most of today’s Christians would be content to have these types of material blessings. However, Peter did not merely receive presents . . . he received presence.
Here is the thing: Nowhere in this story does Jesus call Peter a sinner. Yet, Peter calls himself a sinful man. Nowhere in the story does Jesus say, “Peter, I am pure and holy, you are defiled and full of iniquity . . . you must accept me as your Lord and Savior or be separated from me.” Peter just knew. In a single moment . . . he knew.
Here’s the other thing: Everybody around him saw the exact same thing, but did not have the exact same reaction. I remember sitting in church as a new follower of Christ. Most of the people there were bored out of their minds, or at least seemed like it to me. But, I remember looking around and seeing tears flowing from some of the men’s eyes. They were experiencing something on a completely different level than the majority of us. I immediately said what was probably my first ever non-material prayer, “God, I want to experience what these men are experiencing.”
It didn’t take long. Within the next few weeks I was listening to Christian radio and “The Best Thing” by Big Tent Revival came on the radio. I had heard the song before, but this time it ignited something in my spirit. God filled my 1991 Ford Ranger up with His Presence. I began to weep. It lasted for probably 10 seconds and I still remember the words that I said, “Turn it off, Lord . . . I can’t take it.”
Now, I had no idea that Luke 5:8 was in the Bible. Nor did I know about Isaiah’s experience in chapter 6 of his book of the Bible. All I knew was that God was holy on a massive scale and I wasn’t anywhere near the spectrum. All I knew was that God was big . . . REALLY big, and I was small . . . crazy small. It was an experience that I will never forget. It is an experience that God still gives me quite often and I seem to be able to handle it for longer and longer durations. I don’t have these experiences as often as I’d like, but I always seem to have them in just the right places at just the right times.
Ask God to show you that difficult thing that He wants you to do . . . or not do. You probably already know what it is. If you are in a position to where you are willing to obey, even though it may be a reluctant obedience, pray this prayer: “Lord, I want to experience the holiness of your presence.”
There is absolutely nothing like it in the world.