O Ye Of Little Faith

Matthew 14:30–31 (ESV)
"But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Have you ever tried to put yourself in Peter’s shoes in this verse? Did you imagine yourself faring better than Peter, the same, or worse? Personally, I could only imagine myself—a non-swimmer—and how I would respond.

So what does this tell me (and perhaps you)? That it’s easy to have faith when all is well. It’s like saying we are going to go on a diet just after a heavy meal. But when our life is on the line or we are being asked to do something in the name of Christ that is outside of our comfort zone, do we still have the same degree of faith?

We are called to have a growing faith, built up by prayer and the encouragement of others, and also through testing. As we mature, our faith should be growing proportionally (2 Thessalonians 1:3). It is through a faith that increases, where our potential influence can also be enlarged in relationship to others. Paul had such a hope for the troubled Corinthian church that they would, through a growing faith, recognize the wisdom of what the church elders were preaching (2 Corinthians 10:15). Similarly, the church in Thyatira was praised for its growth in works, which represents an outward sign of a growing faith (Revelation 2:19).

For those of us who need a boost in our faith, how do we acquire it?

First and foremost, we must make our requests known to God through earnest prayer (Luke 17:5; Mark 9:24), but also we can grow in our faith being surrounded by other believers. This is one of the most important functions of attending church regularly. The encouragement we can receive from others is well-founded in Scripture (2 Chronicles 32:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Luke 22:32; Acts 14:22; Romans 1:11–12). If you are a believer who does not see the value of church membership, I strongly encourage you (no pun intended) to find a church where you can serve. Remember, joining a church is not about what they can offer you, it’s about what you can offer others through a personal ministry.

But let us not forget how important the various trials of life can be to strengthen our faith. We need only look at the amazing lives documented in the New Testament of the Apostles to see how perseverance through trials bolsters one’s faith. Those who overcome much quite often are those whose faith is alive and growing.

Salvation was a free gift to us, but an increasing faith requires an active effort on our part. We can see through the various individuals in the Bible examples of both strong and questionable faith—often from the same person. This should provide comfort for us to see that even in moments of doubt and weakened faith, God did not give up on them.

It is the same with us. The same God who took care of Elijah in his moments of doubt will also never forsake you in your weakest moments.

Jesus certainly did not give up on Peter because he didn’t make it all the way to Him on the sea.