If your faith is weak, and you feel like you're constantly sinking, it's because your eyes are not fixed on Jesus!
In Matthew 14, we see that Jesus has authority over everything. He's able to multiply some fish and bread to feed over 5,000 people. He heals people's diseased bodies. He walks on water and calms waves.
Jesus is clearly in charge!
A Commanding Faith
This power that Jesus possesses is meant to be attractive. It's meant to make us want to follow him and even do as he does. We see this in Peter. Peter tells Jesus, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water" (emphasis mine).
Peter's faith is a commanding one, and God wants ours to be commanding as well. The problem, however, is that we often want our faith to be commanding for the wrong reasons.
Faith is always meant to bring us closer to Jesus. But in the text we see that Peter's faith wasn't necessarily to get closer to Christ. Instead, it was simply for the sake of walking on water. I think we do this often. We do something radical or crazy and we call it "faith." But the reality is that, though it looks like a commanding faith and acts like a commanding faith, it's probably a sinking faith. And It's a sinking faith because it's more concerned about what we've personally done than getting closer to Jesus.
When Our Eyes Don't Stay On Jesus
When our eyes don't stay on Jesus, we begin to sink. A sinking faith is a faith that does just enough to get that certain thing (which likely took great faith to do) done. But as soon as that thing (preaching a bold sermon, evangelizing someone you know is hostile toward the gospel) is done, our eyes go off of Jesus. And we begin to sink. You see, the issue is not so much about the faith as much as who the faith is in.
This is what Peter did. He got onto the water and walked to Jesus, but as soon as his task was accomplished, he took his eyes off of Jesus. Peter began to look around him (I imagine feeling pretty darn special). But the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus is the moment he began to sink. Peter looked around and saw wind and waves, and as he saw the waves breaking around him, he began think about all the things that could possibly go wrong. Even though he had no reason to, Peter began to panic. Think about it; Jesus was right next to him. All the disciples had seen him walking on the water and he was still standing on it in the moment. It also seems that the boat was still pretty close. And we also know that Peter can swim. He was a fisherman. He knew his way around the water. It was highly unlikely that he was going to drown or anything like that.
But in that reality lies the problem. When our eyes are off of Jesus and on our own abilities and what we think we know, we begin to sink. Peter's faith had turned from Jesus to himself.
Jesus Will Not Let Us Go
I think it's easy, in these sinking moments, to think that we are losing our faith or maybe that we aren't Christians at all. It's easy to think that our self-dependency has somehow caused us to sink to a place where God can no longer pull us out of the deep end. But it hasn't!
Peter cried out, "Lord, save me." And immediately Jesus reached out his hand and took hold of him (Matthew 14:30-31).
I think Peter's cry was a cry of repentance. He recognized that he took his eyes off of Jesus (something he would do again). He realized that he was trusting in himself (something he was quite known for). But he cried out to Jesus and Jesus was right there to pull him up.
So it is for us. When we feel our faith is sinking, we need not give up, because we are never too sunk. We simply cry out to Jesus, "Lord save me," and he pulls us up.
Our life is filled with moments where we feel we are walking on water. Jesus is directly in front of us. Our eyes are fixed solely around him. Our faith is strong.
But waves do come and our heads often get turned.
Jesus wants us to know that he remains right next to us. When Jesus died on the cross and went into his grave, he sunk to the lowest of lows for us so that we don't have to. And in rising victoriously from that grave, we simply need to look up to him with faith and repentance, and we too will be raised to eternal life.
So, "O you of little faith," cry out to Jesus today. He is amazing. He is powerful. He is in control. He is the one and only Son of God worthy of our full attention and worship. And he will always keep you above the water.