In his second epistle, Peter explains that faith is the cornerstone upon which all other aspects of our faith in Christ must be built.
…add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-8
Peter’s own early faith was frail and insubstantial, easily broken when he experienced trials or events incomprehensible to him.
Remember how he failed to walk all the way to Jesus on the stormy seas, or cast out particularly stubborn demons?
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? – Matthew 14:29-31
And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief. – Matthew 17:18-19
And who could forget Peter’s taking matters into his own hands as he (rather clumsily) sliced off a man’s ear in defense of Jesus?
Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? – John 18:10, 11
Before the Crucifixion, Peter denied Jesus. Following the Resurrection, Peter was even unsure initially that Jesus had risen from the dead. (See Mark 16:7; John 20:4-9, and Luke 24:10-12.)
He understood from experience the limitations that a lack of faith brings.
But, as we know, Peter became a different man after Christ’s Ascension and the events of Pentecost. Then, his faith grew powerful enough that God used him to heal the sick, raise the dead, preach with boldness, withstand prison, and ultimately suffer martyrdom.
He never could have done all of that without first gaining a solid faith, upon which he built other character traits, topped with that most Christ-like trait of all: love.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – Matthew 22:37-40
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
How has God worked in your life to build your faith? What are some wonderful things you have seen God accomplish in your life when you have held onto your faith? I welcome your comments!