Focusing Your Faith
My pastor always asks the question: how do you know you have faith if you have never been in the position to apply it?
Think of it this way…
How do you know God can heal you if you’ve never been sick?
How do you know God will provide for you if you’ve never been in need?
How do you know Jesus is our comforter—our friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)—if you’ve never been lonely?
So, what’s the first step in focusing your faith on Jesus?
First you need to make sure what you have is faith.
Look at this passage where Jesus says there is no faith.
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” he got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”” Mark 4:37-40 NIV
Notice what the disciples said to Jesus: Don’t you care if we drown?
Have you ever asked God something in that manner? I remember when I was going through a breakup during college, I sat on my bed in tears and I asked my mother: why doesn’t God just send me the right man already? Can’t he see how miserable I am right now?
At the time I was in a lot of pain and I was speaking angrily and emotionally. I was not looking at the situation in faith, I was looking at it through my flesh. I could not see that God had done me a blessing in removing that man from my life—I could only see the pain I felt and the fact that I was suddenly single and unhappy and, somehow, I blamed God for that. I told myself that God didn’t care and that He wasn’t answering my prayers because He didn’t see how sad I was.
Asking if God cares is a statement that supports practical Atheism. Why? Because God says that He cares for you (John 3:16). God loves you so much the only way He could not care for you is if He did not exist. So, if any person doubts His love and concern for His own children, then they are also doubting His very existence.
Never allow yourself to get so caught up in your pain that you forget who God is—He is the Almighty, your Father in heaven. If you are ever questioning whether or not God cares, then that is a sign that you have no faith.
Now look at this passage where Jesus says there is little faith.
“…Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”” Matthew 14:29-31 NIV
I’m sure we have all read this passage in the Bible before but let’s take another look at it. Jesus told Peter that he had little faith, even though Peter had just done something no one else on earth had done besides Christ himself. So, how on earth could Peter have little faith?
The statement Jesus made about Peter’s faith was very correct. In the moment he walked on the water to meet Jesus, Peter was focused wholly on the Lord. But as soon as he took his eyes off Christ and saw the storm raging around him, he lost his focus and his faith and began to sink. His faith was only strong when he was looking toward the Cross, but once the focus was shifted away from Jesus it became very clear just how little faith Peter truly had.
In other words, when you are faced with your own storm in life you must stay focused on Jesus. Do not look at the circumstances: the date the bills are due, the report from the doctor, the divorce papers waiting in the mailbox—look at what Christ said. Jesus said He would supply our every need (Philippians 4:19 NIV). Jesus said by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 NIV). Jesus said a man will be united with his wife (Matthew 19:5 NIV).
When you are looking at the Lord and His Word, you are putting your faith in Christ. Like Peter, you are saying you trust in Jesus and you are depending on Him to work this out. But the moment you look away from the Lord and shift focus to your problems, you begin to put your faith in the issue. You are saying you trust in your storm and you doubt God. Doubt is evidence of little faith. Do not be like Peter and sink while Jesus is standing right there in front of you. No matter what is raging around you, stay focused on Jesus and His Word and you will be able to walk right over your storm.
Now how do we make sure we don’t have no faith or little faith?
We all know our faith is like a seed (Mark 4:31 NIV) but think about what a seed needs to grow here on earth.
Water, soil, nutrients, sunlight.
In comparison to our faith seed, we provide water, soil, nutrients, and sunlight by spending time with Jesus and with His Word. How can you expect miracles to come from a stranger? You wouldn’t ask a random person for gas money, would you? Well it’s the same with God! If you aren’t spending time with Christ, getting to know Him, developing and cultivating a genuine relationship with Him, then don’t expect Him to be so generous when you ask Him for help or for blessings.
Prayer, fasting, and reading your Word are all ways to grow your faith and focus more on Jesus. Let’s take everything we went over from this study and apply it now.
1. Know and understand that God sees you in your situation and He cares for you.
2. Do not doubt. Focus on Christ and His Word NOT on your circumstances.
3. Apply the Word to your situation and keep believing no matter what.
These are the steps to growing in your faith. As you continue to get familiarized with these three simple steps, you will subconsciously begin to focus on Jesus more and more—it’ll happen without you even noticing. Before you know it, you won’t want to move at all without first coming to Jesus, giving the problem over to Jesus, or thanking Jesus in advance for fixing whatever situation you face.
Jesus said He came so that we could have an abundant life (John 10:10). That doesn’t just mean He wants to give us lots of money, it means He came so that we can also have abundant joy, peace, happiness, good health, love, healthy relationships, and a righteous relationship with Him. God wants us to be blessed, but we must do our part in claiming these blessings through our faith. You cannot claim anything if you have no faith, and if you have little faith, you will only stand for so long before doubt causes you to sink.
If you cannot remember anything else from this article, remember this: never stop believing. No matter what, believe God despite the circumstances, despite how much time has passed, and despite what anyone else tells you. Christ didn’t raise a quitter.