Faith (2)

The story of Jesus walking on water says a lot about faith.

It’s a great story (see Matthew 14:22-32).  The disciples are struggling with a boat heaving in the waves as Jesus walks on the water toward them. They look at him and are terrified.

I would be terrified, too.  It isn’t natural, walking on the water.

Jesus hears them shouting “It’s a ghost!”  And he tells them not to be afraid – it is him, Jesus.

Peter is not entirely convinced.  But he has the courage to say: “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

So Jesus tells him to come and Peter climbs out of the boat.

At that point, Peter was obviously full of faith.  He believed it was Jesus standing there on the water.  And he trusted Jesus.

So Peter starts walking on the water toward Jesus.  Then, Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and sees the wind-whipped waves and he loses heart. 

He cries out in fear to Jesus who catches him by the hand and says: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

It is striking that a moment of doubt knocked the confidence Peter had in Jesus and turned an amazing miracle into a desperate cry for help.

This whole episode is full of lessons about faith.

The first is fairly clear – Peter was filled with faith as he looked at Jesus.  He believed that somehow Jesus could help him walk on water, too.

But that faith was useless until he tested it by trying to walk on water himself.

This step required obedience – to Jesus’ command to come to him.  Everything went well as he stepped out in obedience and walked toward his master.

Then, when he looked away from Jesus, he allowed fear and doubt to overcome him and he sank.  His eyes were no longer on God.

So, applying this to myself, I draw these conclusions about faith from this story:

  • I need to humble myself and depend entirely on God;
  • I need to keep my eyes on Jesus while dealing with whatever problem I am facing;
  • I must NOT focus on myself and my own weaknesses;
  • I must obey Jesus, even when obedience is costly; and
  • I must act on my beliefs and step out in faith.

One of the most difficult areas, of course, is obedience.  From my reading of scripture, it is obedience which is essential to seeing God at work.  If I refuse to obey him, how can I expect God to work powerfully in my life?

Obedience implies action.  I cannot obey unless I act.  When I obey and act, God will do whatever he has promised to do.

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