“When [Jesus] had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”” (Luke 5:4-5 NKJV)
Are you in a situation where you need to do something new or move forward, and you are scared or afraid of failing or continuing to fail? Launching out into the deep can be intimidating and challenging, be it in ministry, vocation, or any other endeavor. It’s much easier, and more comfortable, to stay by the shore where there’s less likelihood of failure. However, only smaller and fewer fish swim by the shore! Launching into the deep requires a leap of faith and courage.
Can you picture yourself in Simon’s boat in the opening Scripture above? We learn that Simon Peter had been toiling and moiling all night long, trying to catch fish, but he was met with resounding failure. The fish would simply not bite the bait, and they probably playfully swam around the net (or swam further out), much to Simon Peter’s dismay and discouragement– until the Lord showed up! To his credit, Simon Peter was willing to set his feelings aside and obey the Lord’s command. We see the same zeal and humble attitude of obedience in the prophet Isaiah when he was called by the Lord launch out into prophetic ministry. After hearing the voice of the Lord calling, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8a), the prophet’s immediate response was, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8b).
Before starting this website, we faced much discouragement, doubt, and fear, from within ourselves, feeling like unworthy vessels. We also experienced hindrance from outside. After much prayer and studying the Bible to boost our faith and confidence, we are now using our mustard-size faith to launch out. While we are sharing this first message to encourage fellow believers in Christ, this message is also an encouragement to us to keep pressing on and moving forward as we “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
What are Some of the Hindrances to Launching Out?
There are several obstacles and impediments to launching out. Below are a few that we have experienced:
- The enemy’s (Satan’s) schemes: While the Lord Jesus came to give us a full, abundant, and satisfying life, the Bible tells us that Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). The enemy wants to stall anything good that we are called to do. He even tried to hinder the Lord through temptations but the Lord overcame him by repeatedly pointing to the Truth and letting him know “It is Written” (Matthew 4:1-11).
- Intimidation and self-doubt: Feeling inadequate and thinking that you are not good enough, or don’t have what it takes. The Bible says “…The Just shall walk by faith..” (Hebrews 10:38).
- Fear: The Lord reminds us many times in the Bible to “Fear not” (Isaiah 41:10, 13; 43:1, 5; Deuteronomy 31:6). We hope to share more with you on our evangelizing experiences, but when we first started evangelizing face to face about 4 years ago, we were very nervous and fearful of what people would think of us and what kind of rejections we would receive. The rejections surely came, but as we persevered through prayer and studying the Word and pressed on, eventually the joy and fulfillment of obediently sharing the gospel with others became greater than the rejections.
- Excuses and laziness: Not getting things done due to using different excuses to avoid saying “Yes” to God’s calling and simply being lazy (Luke 14:15-20; Matthew 8:21-22; Proverbs 22:13).
- Procrastination: Perpetually putting things off till tomorrow or later and when tomorrow or later comes, again we say “I’ll do it tomorrow or later” (Proverbs 13:4; 20:4).
- Lack of motivation: Not having the inner drive or desire to go further, even though deep inside you are yearning for more (Psalm 40:8; 73:25).
- Discouragement from friends and loved ones: When I (Janet), once shared with one of my uncles that I was interested in pursuing higher education, my uncle insisted that I should not consider this decision. Why? Because this would disqualify me from finding a husband! Nevertheless, I went forward by faith and pursued higher education, and the Lord was faithful to connect me in marriage with a like-minded husband! Even though friends or loved ones might discourage you, it is good to remember that Satan is one behind it (Matthew 16:22-23) as “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV).
- Comparing yourself to others: Focusing on other people’s achievements and comparing your success (or lack thereof) with theirs can causes discouragement, hinder one’s faith, and can lead one to be ungrateful. We are called to be thankful in all things, for what the Lord has done, and what He is able to do in you (Psalm 34:1; 118; Ephesians 5:20).
- Not seeking godly counsel: If you don’t pray earnestly, study God’s word, and seek godly counsel, you end up being deceived (Genesis 3:4-5; 2 Corinthians 11:14). The Israelites did not seek God before signing a treaty with Gibeonites, and they ended up being deceived (Joshua 9:14). When King Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and was deceived when he consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him, he invited rebellion from his own people (1 Kings 12:8-19).
How Some Christians Hinder Fellow Believers
It is wise to obtain Godly counsel and commit our plans to the Lord before beginning something new (Proverbs 16:3; 15:22; James 1:5). However, from experience, we have learned that it is sometimes a good idea to limit sharing information about your calling, or whatever the Lord has put in your heart to do, with others (Genesis 37:8). From our experience, even church leaders and pastors can speak words of “death”, doubt, and discouragement over your plans (Proverbs 18:21), especially if they want you to stay and to use your gifts, time, and talents to help them in their ministry. We have had some experiences where we served in Christian churches or ministries, pouring out our time, energy, and other resources to help out of our love for God. But when it was time for us to leave and we shared this with the pastors, they strongly opposed us and started applying tactics to control and manipulate us to stay. Once you are determined to move on from a Church or ministry, some pastors may start to treat you as someone who is disobedient, proud, arrogant, not willing to take correction or submit to authority, backslidden, worldly, or apostate. They may even speak words of condemnation and concoct dreams and visions that condemn you in a bid to control you. Unfortunately, this is what happens when people try to leave a cult, but there are also many well-meaning church leaders who are behaving this way out of their lack of faith and fear of losing the services of a generous and devoted church member. We have found much encouragement in God’s Word that the fear of man is a dangerous trap/snare, but the Lord keeps us safe when we trust Him (Proverbs 29:25). The Lord also reminds us that we should not fear the fury of the oppressor, human beings who will die and wither like grass. We should never forget that the Lord is our Maker, “Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:12-13), and formed us in the womb, and knew us long before we were born. The Lord is the Only One we should fear and allow to dictate our eternal destiny, not man! (Matthew 10:28).
The Bible reminds us that “you were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:23 NKJV). We should, therefore, heed God’s calling as workers in His vineyard, for “the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-37 NKJV). As we launch out in fulfilling God’s calling in Christian ministry, we should also be careful to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11a NIV). We should not attempt to hold other believers back, but encourage them onward, for the Bible admonishes us to “let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV). In some cases, we have had (and heard of) ministers who spoke many hurtful words of discouragement, which nearly crippled one’s faith, but through prayer and reading the Word, we found strength to move forward. Soon after completing my bachelor’s degree I (Abes) had volunteered to teach at a private Christian high school for a year, with the option to renew for the second year. However, after the first year, I lost the desire to continue working in the bureaucratic environment and was ready to move on. I was yearning to pursue a master’s degree and decided to launch out by faith, without any savings in the bank. I shared this desire to pursue higher education with the school principal, who was also a Church pastor and head of the education department at church headquarters. At first, he gently tried to convince me to stay, but when he realized that I was serious about leaving, he began to boast how he already had earned his master’s degree and that there was no way I could afford to pay for my studies. This emboldened me to cry to the Lord even more! To my utter consternation and shock, the principal then threatened that the church leaders would take me to court and sue me, citing that I had violated the terms of my contract. The truth is that I had requested for a written contract so that I could clearly have all the terms in writing, but none had been granted. Being a foreigner in the land, and realizing that I could end up being controlled and manipulated, trapped, and stuck in an unfavorable situation for many years if I did not act immediately, I decided to courageously press on forward and gain my freedom (1 Corinthians 7:21). I began to fast and cry out to the Lord earnestly. Finally, the Lord opened the door for me to start the master’s program, with zero money down payment and favorable terms to pay in installments! As I moved on by faith, the Lord faithfully and miraculously enabled me to settle the entire tuition over the two years of the program by laboriously selling Christian books, walking and knocking door to door. From this experience, I learned first hand that God is indeed faithful, gracious, merciful, and caring, especially when we are weak and being mistreated.
We believe all children of God have an individual ministry (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8) and that we have all been called to belong to Christ alone (Romans 1:6), rather than tied down to a specific Church sect or denomination (1 Corinthians 3:4-9; 21-23). So, if another brother sees you doing work for God outside of their ministry or church and tries to stop you, this is unbiblical! Here are some examples of situations where believers were serving the Lord outside the boundaries set by man:
- The disciples of Jesus tried to stop someone casting out demons who was not part of their group. The Lord forbade them saying, “for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side” (Mark 9:38-40 NKJV).
- When three of the 12 disciples (James, Peter, and John) saw the grace God had given Paul and Barnabas, they gave them support as partners in the gospel, and that the two should go to Gentiles while they to the Jews (Galatians 2:9). The three apostles didn’t require Paul and Barnabas to stay with them and serve the exact same constituency, but they encourage them to take the gospel further in obedience to Christ’s command to preach the gospel in all the world (Matthew 24:14).
- When the Lord God gave seventy other elders the same Spirit as Moses in order to help him carry the burden of the people (Numbers 11:16-17), two men named Eldad and Medad had remained in the camp. The Spirit of the Lord also rested on these two men and they prophesied as the rest of the other seventy men. When Joshua told Moses to forbid them, Moses, who was a humble leader, did not forbid them; instead, he prayed that all God’s people had the Holy Spirit and could prophesy (Numbers 11:26-30; 12:3).
Many Christians who want to go out and evangelize already face inner challenges and discouragement from the enemy. As such, support from other Christians is very helpful and encouraging, as we are called to be disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) and disciple others just as the Apostle Paul did to Timothy, Titus, and others. As we progress along life’s journey, we should not be causing other believers in Christ to stumble in their faith, or pressuring people to conform to our ways; we will each have to give account to God individually (Romans 14:12-13). The Bible admonishes us not to do things out of selfish ambition; we should not look to our own interests at the expense of other people (Philippians 2:3-4). As believers in Christ, we should be encouraging each other and building each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), serving one another as the Lord taught and set an example for us (Matthew 20:25-28; Philippians 2:5-11).
Some Examples of People in the Bible who Overcame the Fear of Launching Out
In the Bible, we find some other examples of people who overcame fear to launch out:
- When the Lord called Moses to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt, Moses had self-doubt and was at first reluctant to go (Exodus 3:11; 13; 4:1, 10, 13), even citing that he was “not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10 NKJV). Only after God’s anger was kindled against Moses and after the Lord appointed Aaron to help him did Moses finally agree to go back to Egypt (Exodus 4:13-20).
- When the Lord sent Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites, Gideon was intimidated because his clan was the weakest and he was the least in his family (Judges 6:15).
- Jeremiah’s excuses when the Lord called him were that he could not speak and that he was too young. Still, the Lord strengthened him, put words in his mouth, and sent him forth (Jeremiah 1:1-10).
- Joseph was discouraged by his brothers when he shared his dreams (Genesis 37:8).
- After Jacob faithfully worked for his uncle and father-in-law, Laban, for 20 years in Padan Aram, Jacob returned to his fatherland with God’s help. Even though Laban made it very difficult for him, Jacob was determined to launch out (Genesis 31:3; 38-42).
All of these brethren overcame as they let go of excuses and negative past experiences and chose to look to God for help, have faith in Him, not fear man, be obedient to God’s Word, and pray. Whenever we are afraid or discouraged about moving forward or starting something new, we should do the same (Psalm 121:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Isaiah 26:4; John 14:15; Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 43:18-19). If you are afraid of launching out, or feel hindered because someone spoke words of doubt and discouragement over your plans to move forward, take refuge in the Lord, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you… The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:6; 8 NIV).
When is the Right Time to Launch Out, or Wait Out?
In this message, we cannot give you a clear-cut answer on when you should launch out since this varies from person to person and from circumstance to circumstance. From our experience, when it is the right time, you will experience a stirring in your spirit to take action, excitement, peace, or a sense of urgency, but without excessive pressure. Just like it happened to Jacob, the children of Israel in bondage in Egypt, and King David, you may start discerning the changing circumstances in your workplace; for example when you start being excluded or marginalized, and hostility develops against you, this is one of the signs that it’s time get moving (Genesis 31:1-3; Exodus 1:8-14; 5:4-9; 1 Samuel 18:10-11, 20:32-33). As you seek the Lord’s will and direction in your life, here are some things we have learned:
- Be careful not to be misled or deceived by false dreams, visions, prophecies, or any other empty words (Matthew 24:4; Ephesians 5:6). Do not just trust every word you hear from self-declared prophets or “men of God”. The Bible admonishes us: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Believing a false message from false teachers can mess you up, big time! You can easily end up being broke financially, your marriage wrecked, miss opportunities to learn and grow by going to school, miss getting a job or starting a business, and worst of all, miss your heavenly destiny (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 19:13; John 10:10). Some false prophecies and false visions will cause ungodly fear and condemnation, others may be laced with a mix of truth and lies meant to control you and hinder you. Always let the Word of God and the Holy Spirit be your anchor and firm foundation, being “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7 NKJV).
- Be careful not to be a people-pleaser and be misled into unholy alliances, because this can lead you to compromise your faith (2 Corinthians 6:14). Closely linked to the previous point, in 2 Chronicles 18 we learn how 400 false prophets deceived King Ahab to go into war and King Jehoshaphat submitted to this plan. King Jehoshaphat’s decision was against his better judgment, having been warned by one true prophet, Micaiah. The result was catastrophic! True to Prophet Micaiah’s word, King Ahab died in battle, and King Jehoshaphat had to flee for his life; he was saved only by God’s grace after he cried out to God in desperation.
- It is not good to launch out in anger or out of vengeance. It is wise to take some time to forgive, heal, take responsibility for your mistakes, and learn your lessons first. Be patient and let the Lord restore your joy and peace.
- Avoid selfishness or being a stumbling block to others. Human nature is, by and large, selfish, and in today’s society where competition and achievement are glorified by the world, it is easy to look out only for one’s interests at the expense of other people. This behavior is contrary to God’s Word, which commands us to love God and love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39), be humble and contrite (Psalm 51:17), and therefore look out for other people’s interests (Philippians 2:3-4).
- Examine yourself (Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5) and submit yourself to the Omniscient One to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV). It is always good to have a clear, clean conscience and righteous motives (Hebrews 13:18).
- Be led by the Spirit of God (Isaiah 30:21; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16-18) and His peace (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15).
- Maintain integrity and godly character (Proverbs 11:3; Psalm 25:21). You may have to start afresh, but God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:3). Trust in Him, for He is able to “restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust..” (Joel 2:25).
In conclusion, keep seeking the Lord and trusting Him to guide you all the way as you strive to walk on the narrow road that leads to everlasting life (Matthew 7:13-14). We leave you with these encouraging Words:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NKJV).
“… And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matthew 28:20 NKJV).
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV).
Today, if you are ready to say “Yes!” to the Lord Jesus Christ and would like to launch out in a new relationship with Him, please refer to this Prayer of Salvation. You may also reach out to us using this Contact Us form.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord and have a Merry Christmas!
Brother Abes and Sister Janet.