In my last post, I described the importance of walking by faith. I talked about how genuine faith comes out of the foundation of relationship with God. Interestingly, faith is what brings us into a relationship with God in the first place, but then the relationship becomes the foundation for a walk of faith. The more we know God, the more we can trust Him and step out in faith.
Another key element of walking by faith is hearing the Word of God. Faith outside of the context of relationship turns into a formula, and faith outside of the Word of God (both logos and rhema) turns into presumption. Faith is not based on blind hope or wishful thinking, but on the substance of the Word.
Now, I want to discuss another element of faith: enduring faith. As Peter learned, it is one thing to step out of the boat, but it is quite another to keep walking on the water when things look bleak.
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
Peter was doing everything right. He made sure it was Jesus before He stepped out of the boat, and He did not presume to walk on the water until the Lord beckoned Him to come. But then, he took his eyes off of Jesus and “saw that the wind was boisterous.”
I can imagine Peter’s thoughts: what am I thinking?!? Why did I ever get out of that boat? Who do I think I am, anyways? I am going to die out here! Look at that wind and how dangerous this storm is!
The result was that Peter became afraid. And soon after the fear and doubt crept in, he began to sink.
Before you or I get too hard on Peter, let’s first acknowledge his incredible faith and courage by stepping out of the boat in the first place. Let’s also acknowledge that we too have a tendency to look at our difficult circumstances instead of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. It is all too easy for us to begin to let worry, doubt, and fear creep in when things do not look good. We can easily forget the faithfulness of God when we are faced with seemingly impossible circumstances or difficult times.
I believe that the key to enduring faith is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Consider this portion of Hebrews 12:1-2: “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, and as we look unto Him we will endure. Somehow we have to look past our circumstances and into the eyes of the Lord; this will sustain us when things get tough!
I am not saying that we should ignore our circumstances, but that we should not be controlled by them. Instead of focusing your attention on the negative or “impossible” circumstances, fix your eyes on Jesus. Remember God’s faithfulness, quote His Word, spend time worshiping and thanking Him, and rest in Him.
As we endure in faith, we will see the faithfulness of God!