A Fixed Focus

“When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double minded and unstable in everything they do.” James 1:6-8

You try to keep your balance in a small boat in the center of a swirling grey lake. The water is moody, and the waves are beating against the boat, rocking it vigorously. You look up and see Jesus out on the water, walking amongst the crashing waves. In a burst of courage and enthusiasm, you call out, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” Jesus responds.

Your heart swells with the rush of excitement and adventure as you step out onto the waves. Adrenaline rushes through your body as you feel the strange sensation of cold water moving underfoot. You focus your eyes on Jesus and begin to take steps toward your friend, when suddenly, an unwanted emotion creeps in…

doubt.

The spike of courage is replaced with fear, and you begin to notice the violent wind whipping through your hair; the powerful grey waters knocking against the boat behind you. Suddenly, your heart is flooded with panic, and to your dismay, you begin to sink. Terror replaces the adventure in your veins as you feel your legs slipping beneath the stormy waters.

In a frantic voice you barely recognize as your own, you cry out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately, Jesus extends His strong hand and catches you. Your pulse races so quickly, you can see your frenzied heart beating through your clothing. Jesus assists you as you climb into the boat, His strong arms supporting your dizzy, disoriented body.

The second Jesus steps into the boat with you, the raging waves transform into serene waters. The once perilous tides are now a placid lake, smooth as frosty grey glass.

Jesus makes full eye contact with your unfocused gaze and gives you a gentle smile, laying a strong hand on your trembling shoulder; “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Doubt can creep out of any corner at the most inconvenient times, even when you’re feeling on top of the world (or perhaps the waters). When Peter first saw Jesus walking across the stormy lake, he was struck with admiration and wowed with Jesus’ power, almost like a little kid who sees their big brother riding a two wheeler for the first time, and they want nothing more than to imitate him.

Peter had a desperate longing to be like Jesus, but he couldn’t hold his focus. We have to admire Peter’s initial bravery and boldness, but we must also take note of the moment he lost his balance. Peter was so eager to get started, but so quick to give up; he pumped himself up with great enthusiasm, but promptly fizzled out.

Enthusiasm alone is not enough to keep us afloat. The second Peter began to sink was when he removed his eyes from Jesus, shifting his focus from the kind, steadying eyes of his Savior to the swelling waters. It’s only logical that your focus will become your alignment.

When Peter fixed his gaze to Jesus, he walked boldly across the waters, fueled by his faith. When Peter broke his eye contact with Jesus, and his eyes began to dart at the surging waves, he began to sink into those very waters.

We are so quick to get started; to do great things for Jesus, but our feelings alone deflate quite quickly; they are not enough to carry us to our Savior. Peter needed to do more than have faith in himself and his abilities; he needed to put full trust and concentration on Jesus.

We live in a world filled with distractions that can easily break our eye contact with Christ. Jesus never looks away, but we so easily avert our eyes to our worldly concerns. Putting trust in Jesus involves making eye contact with Him as we take steps to become closer to him. The stronger our eye contact with Jesus, the more faith He infuses us with, and the more we become like Him.

No matter how distressed, scared, or confused you may be, keep your eyes focused on Him, and you will not be caught in a cloud of misty confusion. If you run marathons without training, you will become quickly fatigued, just like Peter. Locking eyes with Jesus will provide you with the steadying discipline you need to run your race with energy and faith.

Do not be overwhelmed or consumed by the steps you must take to get to the places Jesus calls you; focus on Him, and you will be provided with an abundance faith and discipline, even when you feel exhaustedly empty and unprepared.

When you approach Jesus, whether you are asking Him for wisdom, direction, or comfort; you must trust He will provide it for you, keeping your focus on Him each step of the way.

“When you ask, you must believe and not doubt.” James 1:6

Trust Jesus with a strong spiritual boldness, and put full belief in His power, knowing that He has the ability to provide you with anything you need. Steady your gaze upon His gentle strength, and you will become balanced; keep your eyes on the life guard who will never let you drown.

I promise (but more importantly, He promises) He will never let you sink.

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