What It Takes to Have Strong Faith

Written By Phoebe F., Malaysia

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”—Luke 8:24-25

Have you ever felt like you’re up against a tsunami wave with nowhere to turn? Have you ever proclaimed and declared that God is sovereign, but found it a little hard to hold on to this truth when there’s a huge wave or a mountain in front of you?

I have. Sometimes, I struggle to keep my faith, and I doubt God’s sovereignty. I feel like my prayer isn’t that important compared to others. There is a voice nagging me in my head, “People out there are starving and here you are praying for good grades? Do you seriously think that God can, or even wants to hear you?” In those instances, I usually give up praying and try to take matters into my own hands.

But when I read about the healing miracles that took place in the Bible, I realized that many of the people who were healed had one thing in common: faith. From the centurion (Luke 7:6-10) and the woman with a bleeding problem for 12 years (Matthew 9:20-22) to blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), their faith in Jesus played an important part in the miracles.

After Thomas declared that he did not believe Jesus had risen from the grave unless he saw the nail marks in His hands and felt the scars on His body, Jesus said this to him (after allowing him to feel the marks on His body): “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”— Hebrews 11:1

I’ve since come to see that to grow a strong and unshakeable faith in God that does not depend on what I see, I need to answer these two questions:

1. How is my relationship with God?
I am constantly reminded about what Jesus Christ said about childlike faith (Matthew 18:2-4). As a child, we believe what our parents say wholeheartedly. If they say something, we believe that it’s absolutely true. Jesus wants us to do the same when it comes to trusting Him. If He says He’ll never leave us or forsake us, we are to believe that it’s absolutely true. If He says that He is the way, the truth and the life, that’s true. And if He says that we are redeemed by His blood, that’s true too. We are to trust in Him wholeheartedly.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. A relationship requires effort from both parties. How can we expect to grow our faith if we don’t make an effort to know the person we profess to have faith and belief in? How can we put our faith in someone whom we have no interest in getting to know or barely even know?

I often compare it to relating to someone whom we’re very close to. Wouldn’t we want to always be near them, to listen to what they have to say, and to care for their well-being? It is a reminder for me to surround myself with God by delving into His Word and praying constantly.

I believe that the strength of our relationship with God is one of the key factors in determining the strength of our faith. It doesn’t matter if we’ve accepted Christ 30 years ago or three days ago; our relationship with God isn’t based on the amount of years we’ve been a Christian. I’ve come to realize that whenever I come to God with my worries and burdens, He always hears me.

2. Who are you fixing your eyes on?
I often think about the story, in Matthew 14:22-32, of Jesus walking on water and Peter stepping out of the boat to join him? Peter starts to sink when he stops looking at Jesus and starts worrying about the wind. I ask myself: Am I focusing on the wind or on Jesus? Do I get too fixated on the challenges I face, and forget that God has got my back?

It’s like eating out at a fancy restaurant with a best friend. Everything is going fine until our phone buzzes. We pick it up and see new messages, some of which appear urgent. We begin to reply, and before we know it, we become completely distracted by our phone, and stop paying attention to the person in front of us. Life must be a lot like that phone. It can distract us and pull us away from the One who is sitting right in front of us.

Instead, if we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will remember His presence. But this means that we must place Jesus at the center of everything that we do, say, and think.

The pastor of a church I attend once said something that has stuck with me ever since: “We do not fight for victory, but from it.” This means that the battle has already been won.

In the Oxford dictionary, “to battle” means “to struggle tenaciously to achieve or resist something”, be it sin, insecurities, financial crises, an uncertain future, illnesses, or even family issues. Jesus has already conquered death when He died on the cross. So whatever we’re going through right now, we can be assured that God will ultimately deliver us.

I’ve learned to fix my eyes on Jesus by talking to Him and leaving all my burdens at His feet, knowing that He will give me rest. I try to continue to seek God through reading His Word, praying, worshipping Him, and living my life solely for Him.

Faith, I’ve come to realize, is not something that can be grown overnight—it is a process. Faith is strengthened when it is tested, not when life is a bed of roses. Jesus Himself was tempted in every way, so He knows what we’re going through. We shouldn’t give up—who knows, perhaps we will have an amazing testimony to share with others about God’s faithfulness and love.

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