If you are here, it is because you find yourself doubting. You are still in that stormy place…or you find yourself tossed back there often.
“How is our faith restored?” is the question of all importance, especially since Jesus Himself said, “This is the only work God wants from you: believe.”
I would like to reach out a hand, take yours, and together, let’s allow the saints who’ve gone before show us the way.
Peter is a good place to start. Jesus told him, “When you have returned…” indicating that Peter’s posture and gaze had drifted from Jesus. We all know that the head directs the body, and where the head goes the body follows.
In order for Peter’s faith to be restored, he needed to “return” his eyesight to Christ. He needed to “return” his posture to Christ. He stumbled because he was pointed in the wrong direction!
When I focus on my sin or failures, I am pointed in the wrong direction and my faith gets slammed.
When I focus on my circumstances, I am pointed in the wrong direction and I become disillusioned.
When I focus on other people, I am pointed in the wrong direction and I lose my footing.
But when I am focused on Christ, I transcend myself, my circumstances, and others.
A.W. Tozer said it like this, “Jesus equates ‘looking’ with ‘believing.’ Faith (therefore) is the inward gaze of the soul upon a saving God.”
And here’s a fact: You can’t trust Somone you don’t know. And you can’t surrender to Someone you don’t trust.
I discovered something when I realized my faith needed restoration. I found that I didn’t really know the character of God!
I tried to gaze at God but found I had a very hard time! I knew a lot of facts about God and had a lot of scripture knowledge, but I didn’t really know ~for myself~ the character of God. My faith was more in my Bible knowldege, my own efforts and righteousness, and my resources than it was in the nature of God.
Through a very difficult and dark process, I came to understand that my faith was being purified and God wanted HIM alone to be the object of it.
When asked what the most important truth to teach believers is, Bill Bright replied, “The attributes of God.”
To restore trust, we must gaze at God. To gaze at God, we must understand Him.
A very simple yet profound place to start is by studying the attributes of God. I was facilitating a bible study just this week and I shared an illustration:
Imagine you are on one of those airport buses that take you from your car to the terminal. In this bus there is standing room only. The bus lurches and turns and you are shaken off your feet. You immediately grasp one of the straps hanging from the ceiling to regain your footing. From there on, you are okay, even though the bus slams on brakes or jerks hard turns.
Studying and knowing the attributes of God gives you “straps” to grab hold of.
His attributes are real “loopholes” we can grasp and find our footing with. When our faith is shaken and we need to return our gaze to Him, these characteristics are the straps we can hold onto.
There are several great books out there that can help you begin this lifetime pursuit. Here are a couple better known ones:
God: Discover His Characterby Bill Bright
May I make one other suggestion? A habit that develops faith and exercises the choice to believe is gratitude. If we can give thanks in whatever circumstance we are in, we are consciously making the choice to trust in God’s goodness, His sovereignty, and His wisdom. Developing this habit multiplies your faith…and it pleases God. For an excellent, moving account of how gratitude changes, read Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.
Take the time to listen to this message on faith by Dr. Tony Evans? The ending story is powerful. Maybe you are limping, but keep your eyes on the coach…