Trying and Trusting: What it Means to Increase Your FaithFebruary 14, 2017
There was a time in my life when I felt it was impossible, or at the very best unlikely, to please God. I don’t know if you have ever struggled with such a thing, but for me it was a spiritual reality. I considered myself one of the “O ye of little faith” crowd. I found myself in a religious cycle of doing this and doing that. The harder I tried, the more unsuccessful I felt. I would do the “right” things but it seemed liked there was always room to do the right things even “righter.” This led to spiritual frustration and feelings of failure. Even though I was actively engaged in the work of the Lord, it seemed like I wasn’t living up to the expectations I had placed upon my life.
One day I felt it necessary to study all the times Christ said, “O ye of little faith.” I thought: who are these people that are seemingly in the same spiritual quandary as myself and what are they doing wrong? I came to the passage where Simon Peter sank in the storm. Christ not only grabbed Simon from the watery grave, but He, at the same time, said, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
There I was.
Just like Simon Peter. Little faith.
But thinking methodically about the passage, I realized something: Simon Peter was not rebuked by Christ because he didn’t try – he was the only one trying! As a matter of fact, in all of history, he is the only person outside of Christ whose efforts were successful in walking on water. I mean, he did it. He got out of the boat, placed his feet upon the waves, and stood upon the sea! He tried harder than anyone else in the storm. I concluded, then, that the rebuke from Christ was not because of Simon Peter’s lack of trying. It was something else, it was a lack of trusting.
There I was.
Just like Simon Peter. Little trust.
Trying places the emphasis on me and my efforts. Trusting turns to Christ and His ability. This is not only where Simon got sidetracked, but this is where many of us live from day to day. You see, faith is not about accomplishing more and more. It’s not about adding more degrees to your wall, more accolades to your portfolio, or more preaching dates to your calendar book. Faith is not about “muscling through” and trying and trying and trying.
Real faith, the kind that pleases God, is simply trusting in the person, work, and strength of Jesus Christ. When the Lord said, “O thou of little faith” to Simon Peter, he was not saying, “You should have tried harder!” On the contrary, He was saying, “You should have trusted me sooner!”
This is faith from every aspect. Faith that saves is a faith that trusts in Christ. Faith that sustains is a faith that trusts in Christ. Faith that perseveres is, again, simply a faith that trusts in Christ.
Trusting Trumps Trying
Such faith doesn’t eradicate the “trying” out of my life. If anything, it equips me and exhorts me to grow my faith. It was Simon Peter, the one who camped out for some time in the “O ye of little faith” crowd who said, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5-7). Peter doesn’t tell us to stop “trying.” He goes to great lengths to admonish us to keep trying. But the trying, by his own experience, is only validated by the trusting.
If you have feelings of inadequacy when it comes to your spiritual walk, remember this one thing: Your ability “to do all things” is contingent upon your willingness to “do all things through Christ which stengtheneth you.” Stop trying and start trusting. Trying may let you walk on the water occasionally, but trusting gives you strength to walk with Christ permanently.