The old life, who we were formerly apart from Christ, is a dead end. I learned this the hard way when at nineteen years old, due to a personal, spiritual failure on my part, in shame I returned to the world which I had previously left behind. I can’t justify or rationalize what I did, all I can say is it was foolishness on my part to think that after walking intimately with Jesus, I could somehow return to the old life. The result was that I was filled with conflict and sorrow. I no longer belonged to the world; I didn’t fit in and I knew I was breaking the heart of my loving Savior who was calling me back home.
In those years of rebellion, I suffered needlessly, but eventually, like the Prodigal Son, I came crawling back home and my heavenly Father took me in with open arms. I can never and will never leave Him again—I am absolutely convinced this world has nothing for me.
Peter, too, had experienced a personal, spiritual failure in his life when he denied Jesus three times on the night of Christ’s betrayal. As a result, in shame, he may also have attempted to return to the old life. We read in John 21:2-3, “Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.”
Of course, Peter may have had other reasons for going fishing, but it is still important to note that fishing had been Peter’s life prior to following Jesus. We read in Matthew 4:18-20 that Jesus saw “Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Peter left his old life to follow Jesus, but now he was going fishing; yet, notice the result — he caught nothing.
Today, I believe the Lord wants to remind us that if we were to attempt to return to our old lives, we, too, will catch nothing. Are you finding yourself looking longingly back over your shoulder to the old life, or perhaps you have already returned there? If you can relate to this today, please reject and repent of the old life once and for all. The old life is no longer who we are because that former version of ourselves is dead, for we are made alive and new in Christ. Our old lives are a dead end because this world truly has nothing for us.