Gospel Daily Devotional
Faith: Clinging Tight to the Unseen
Day 2 – Faith, Hope, and Love
I. START WITH PRAYER AND THEN READ…
“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith . . .” — Thessalonians 1:3
READ: Hebrews 11:1–2 and Matthew 14:22-33
II. DIGGING DEEPER
The meaning of the Greek word for faith is not an intellectual belief in a concept or theological argument. It means to trust. It’s not just believing in Jesus but trusting Him enough to follow Him wherever He leads.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). After defining faith, the author describes the acts the heroes of the Old Testament did by faith.
- Noah built an ark
- Abraham left his home
- Moses left Egypt
- The Israelites passed through the Red Sea
Faith is not just believing something; it is acting on what you believe in the way you live your life. Faith is to trust God’s promises so much that you blow trumpets as you march around your enemy’s city for seven days, while they mock you from the top of their wall (Joshua 6). This is why James can say, “Faith without deeds is useless” (James 2:20). As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, true faith produces works.
All the superheroes of the faith we read about in the Bible were just ordinary people like you and me. But God gave them strength and power by faith. Hebrews says by faith they conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, escaped the sword, routed foreign armies, and saw the dead raised to life (Hebrews 11:32–35).
But they didn’t do those things themselves; God did. They just trusted in what God said and followed Him, even when it sounded crazy to the rest of the world.
Hebrews also says that some of those heroes were tortured, stoned to death, persecuted and mistreated (Hebrews 11:35–38). By faith, God gave them the power to endure to the end and receive eternal life (James 1:12; Matthew 24:13). Faith doesn’t necessarily promise we will be saved from the fire. Sometimes, God gives us the faith to follow Him into it.
Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith even the size of a mustard seed, they could move mountains (Matthew 17:20). But what about when things get scary, when the storms of life rage all around us? When Jesus was walking on the water to His disciples, there was a violent storm all around Him. Storms on the Sea of Galilee can be fierce, and they usually come up out of nowhere. But Jesus was able to walk on the water through that storm. Peter, by faith, got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Him, even though the storm raged around him. When we walk by faith, amazing things can happen!
But the text says, “When Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink” (Matthew 14:30). When he looked at the storm, he was afraid. He started to doubt when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the storm. That’s what can happen when we look at all the scary things in the world around us. We can start to lose faith, start to lose hope, we start to sink. We can even start to feel like we’re drowning.
Yet, when Peter started to sink, he knew exactly who to cry out to. “Lord! Save me!” he cried. Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. Immediately. Because Jesus is right there through all of the storms in our lives and He is more powerful than any storm we will ever go through. When Peter started to sink, Jesus was still walking on the water. And as soon as Peter cried out to Him, Jesus reached out and pulled him up out of the raging sea. When we struggle, when we doubt, when we fear, when we worry, when we start to sink, Jesus is right there, waiting to grab hold of us. Immediately. All we have to do is cry out to Him.
III. APPLYING IT TO LIFE
Like the old Caedmon’s Call song says, “My faith is like shifting sand, changed by every wave. My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand on grace.” We don’t have to have perfect faith all the time in order to follow Jesus. We all have moments of doubt and fear, just like Peter out there on the sea, no matter how long we’ve been following Jesus—even elders, ministry leaders, and pastors. Faith isn’t just belief. It is choosing to get out of the boat and follow Jesus wherever He leads, even when things are scary. Our faith can be like shifting sand, so we fix our eyes on Jesus, the solid rock, choosing to trust in Him, even while the storms rage.
REFLECTION QUESTION: What fears and doubts are you struggling with right now? How can you fix your eyes on Jesus even in the middle of the storm?
REFLECTION QUESTION: If faith is not just intellectual belief, but trusting and following Jesus, how can you trust Jesus this week? In what ways is He asking you to step out in faith?
IV. SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: GO FOR A NATURE PRAYER WALK
A nature walk may be harder for some of us than it is for others, depending on where we are sheltering in place. If you cannot physically get out in nature, search for virtual nature walks on YouTube and take a “walk” on your computer. Nature walks can help us connect with God through His creation. Even secular scientists agree that being in nature is beneficial in reducing stress, anger, and fear and is good for our overall well-being.
The theological purpose of the nature walk is to meditate on what it means to walk by faith. As you walk through God’s creation today, virtually or physically, pray for God to fill you with faith and enable you to walk by trust into whatever situation He has for you.