Devotional: Ways Disciples Used Their Strengths, Part 3

“Fix It Now” or “One Step at a Time”: How Do You Solve Problems?

Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths, Part 3

In the aftermath of Jesus’ arrest, death, and resurrection, His disciples solved problems, processed information, managed change, and faced risk differently. Their different strengths helped them work together to move forward to build His church.

Jesus making breakfast onshore while disciples are fishing

Image: Steven Gledhill

Jesus appeared to them several times. The disciples knew He was alive. But what was next? On a fishing expedition, the disciples pondered how to answer this question. How the disciples responded to Jesus’ appearance reveals the different ways people solve problems.

Solve Problems: “Fix It Now” versus “One Step at a Time”

Peter and six other disciples had been on the boat all night with nothing to show for their efforts. Imagine their fatigue … frustration … impatience. They were exhausted and discouraged. Then a man called fishing instructions from the shore. The man was Jesus!

Peter’s pioneering, goal-oriented, determined nature drove him to get some answers. Peter was anxious to see Jesus so he could know the next step in ministry. When it came to solving problems, Peter was an Aggressive. That’s why he needed to get to Jesus as quickly as possible. “As soon as Peter heard John say, ‘It is the Lord! … he jumped into the water” (John 21:7, NIV). If you asked Peter what approach to take with problem solving, he would say, “Fix it now!”

Meanwhile, John and “the other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish” (John 21:8, NIV). Even though it had been John who recognized Jesus, he considered practicalities: how can I accommodate everyone? What are some ways I can be responsible for the catch? When it came to solving problems, John was a Reflective. He used a conservative, cautious, unobtrusive approach. If you asked John how to solve problems, he would say, “Let’s take one step at a time.”

Aggressive and Reflective

Peter and John represent two different ways to solve problems: an aggressive approach and a reflective approach. Both are strengths.

God values bold decisiveness, admonishing us repeatedly to be brave and assertive in Kingdom efforts: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified” (Joshua 1:9, NIV). Aggressives are not afraid to make a decision that will solve a problem so your team can move forward.

Yet how many times in scripture are we encouraged to cultivate careful watchfulness? Reflectives offer that trait. They are the people with a long fuse and a gentle, cautious approach that is aligned with wisdom: “The wise are cautious and avoid danger” (Proverbs 14:16, NLT).

Solving Problems: God Uses Both Approaches

The two problem-solving approaches complete each other. Where would God’s church be without those who look at an issue and bravely step forward with determination and drive to address it? We need Peters who say, “Let’s fix this now!”

But the church needs Johns in the wings – those who are careful, agreeable, and a bit more thoughtful. They take “one step at a time” to avoid extra unnecessary glitches when solving a problem.

Drive and caution. Determination and care. Together, these strengths solve problems in a balanced way.

Especially when it comes to knowing what’s next.

Growth Point

God uses both Aggressive and Reflective problem solvers.


Peter jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat. (John 21:7-8, NIV)

Prayer Points

  • With whom do you identify more: Peter or John?
  • What is the biggest challenge you face when solving a problem?
  • Consider those in your family or on your team who solve problems differently from you. Spend some time thanking God for the way their strengths complete you.

More Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths

Part 1: Managing Change – Let’s Go or Let’s Make a Plan

Part 2: Processing Information: That’s Wonderful or Give Me Proof

Part 4: Facing Risk: Outside the Box or Work the System