Studies reflect that around 40 to 60% of all addicts eventually relapse back to their old habits. Even though this study was taken within the group of individuals suffering from substance and alcohol abuse, the statistic remains true even for us who indulge in not-so-harmful habits.
“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. John 21:4
At the first hint of stress or dysfunction, our internal guidance system wants to reset and go back to how things used to be. Peter was no different. He had been through the trauma of seeing his master get murdered before his eyes. He also was carrying a bucket load of guilt from denying even knowing his Lord. And yes, there might have been that weird vision where he saw Jesus resurrected, but he could not know for sure.
All he knew was those three years of ministry had come to an abrupt end. He wanted to reset his life and as all smart people do, he decided to go back to the things he was best at - Fishing. He was so good at it, that when he mentioned that he was returning to his boats, the rest of the disciples tagged along with him.
2000 years later, we are more or less the same. We always seem to revert to old habits when faced with a difficult situation. The problem is, that is the same place the Lord took us out from and built us up to stand on higher ground.
As the story goes, once again Peter couldn't catch any fish. Deja vu. That is because, from the last fishing session he had, he should have realized one major component missing on his boat. Just because we reverted to our old ways doesn't mean we will enjoy the old favorable circumstances. When the Lord moves us on from a particular season, he expects us to move forward. We cannot continue to reap from fields that the Lord has shut down.
We continue to read that Jesus showed up on the shore this time and like always, the Master guided them to a bounty of fish. But the intriguing part of it all was the by the time the disciples came back to the shore, Jesus already had fish cooking on a fire.
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. John 21:9
Backsliding might feel comforting at first. Sometimes we feel that it is the only way to manage our life. But we must understand that once we have decided to follow Jesus. Our needs are no longer our concern. It is the Lord's. If we stay by him, we wouldn't have to toil all night for scraps because when the time comes, Jesus has everything we need ready for us by the shore.
If you feel yourself slipping back to old habits and are tempted to get back on the boat, remember the Lord already has the fish cooking on the shore.
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62