What Does It Mean to Have Faith?

It Means the Willingness to Step Out of the Boat

Faith is the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. This is much easier to say than to do. Saying it doesn’t require the level of commitment that doing does.

In Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus’ followers are alone in a boat in the middle of the night and there’s a storm. They see something on the water and think it’s a ghost, but it’s Jesus. Peter says, “…if it’s really you, then command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus says, “Come.”, and Peter gets out of the boat and walks to Jesus. Then Peter gets scared and starts to sink. Jesus reaches out and catches Peter and says, “Your faith is small.”

How big is your faith?

I think this story of Peter getting out of the boat is a great example of our humanness. Faith is easier in the beginning when you’re still close to the solid comfort of the known. The real test is when you get out in the middle. The goal still looks far away, and we begin to doubt ourselves and our decision.

It requires faith to step out.

Imagine standing on the edge of a wide and deep canyon. It is scary, standing there you can’t see the bottom or the other side. You know that on the other side is something important. It could be a person, a business, a home, the life of your dreams.

The only way to get there is to go across a swinging rope walkway. Some of the boards on the walk are missing and some are broken. The rope is frayed and looks to be unwinding. You can’t even see the whole bridge, so you have no idea what condition the part you can’t see is in. This fear is what keeps most people stuck in the mediocrity. It’s too scary to step out there on the bridge.

What if the thing on the other side is the thing that God wants for you? To have it you just need to have faith and go get it.

We want to have faith. We start to have faith. Then we quit.

The loss of our faith gradually happens as we mature. As we go through life, we become more and more cynical. We witness discouragement and heartache and we lose our faith. In Matthew 18:3 and Mark 10:15 we are told to enter the Kingdom of God; we need to be more like children.

Andy Andrews talks about a childlike faith in his book The Traveler’s Gift. In the Persistent Decision, one of the seven life principles in the book, he speaks to faith. He says, “How long must a child try to walk before he actually does so? A child would never ask the question, for the answer does not matter. By persisting without exception, my outcome – my success – is assured.” A child would not think twice about running out on that bridge over the canyon.

We need to have the faith of a child.

Faith requires that we put our complete trust and confidence in Someone other than ourselves. If we ask God to walk on the water and He says, “Do it”, we can be sure that it’s safe to step out of the boat.

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