Sometimes we can be spiritually self-deprecating. I know I’m guilty of that. Why am I not doing more for the Lord? Why isn’t my faith stronger in difficult situations?
In those moments of discouragement, it can be tempting to reach for false hope. To simply tell yourself, “Come on, I’m doing fine.” Or, “Not everyone can do amazing things for Christ all the time.”
It’s one thing to try to cheer yourself up by telling yourself your faith is good enough (who are we kidding, right?). But when a giant of the faith tells you that your faith is second to none, that’s the kind of encouragement we need.
The “giant of the faith” I’m referring to here is the apostle Peter. Here’s what he says, almost casually, in the first verse of 2 Peter:
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ…”
Peter is writing to people whose faith is “of equal standing” with his own. Who are these great men and women of faith? Just regular old Christians. Peter was writing to Jewish Christians scattered around Northern Asia Minor. Not church leaders, not apostles, not super-Christians. Just Christians. Saints, as the New Testament calls them. (Even though we tend to think of saints as super-Christians, the New Testament refers to everyone who has genuine faith in Jesus as a saint.)
And to these ordinary Christians, Peter says, “your faith is of equal standing with mine.” That’s a big deal. Read the Gospels and Acts and you don’t get this impression. Peter is the only non-Son-of-God to walk on water. He literally saw Jesus’ glory at the transfiguration. He healed people and performed all kinds of miracles.
And yet Peter says to us, your faith is the same as mine. Why? Because we have obtained it by the righteousness of Jesus, who is both our God and Savior.
The faith you have is no credit to you. Faith doesn’t belong to those super-humans who are able to grab hold of their spiritual bootstraps and pull themselves above the doubts that plague the rest of us. No. Faith is obtained. It comes from our righteous God. The whole point of faith is that it sidesteps what any of us earns or deserves (thank God!) and connects us to the God who is righteous.
So the next time you’re tempted to downplay your faith, recognize that Peter’s faith did not exceed your own. Your faith is more amazing then you can imagine. It’s no less valuable than that given to Peter. In your moments of spiritual discouragement, don’t give yourself a superficial pep-talk. Instead, agree with the Bible’s assessment of the value of your faith, and then “build yourself up in your most holy faith” (Jude 20).