I was reading something in Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis that I didn't really agree with. And that is A-okay with me, but it caused me to think.
Rob was giving a lot of very interesting history on Jewish rabbis and the relationship they had with their disciples. And towards the end of the chapter, he said that Jesus is calling his disciples to believe in themselves and that what bugged Jesus most about his disciples was how we have the tendency to lose faith in ourselves.
I believe Christian maturity is not becoming stronger and more dependent on our abilities, but becoming weaker and less reliant on our abilities and more reliant on Jesus. When I read the Gospels, I see Jesus getting frustrated with their unbelief in him. Misplaced faith is usually what I see that happened with the disciples.
Such was the case with Peter on the water. Peter had full confidence in his Master, but when the wind picked up and began to look threatening, he shifted his focus from Jesus to himself. And becoming aware of his own inability to walk on water or withstand the winds, he began to sink. Why? It was not because Peter lost faith in himself. It was because his faith lost sight of its proper object -- Jesus.
Peter, having even great faith in himself, could not have walked on water. It was physically impossible for him. He could have tried with all his might to walk on water and still sink.
We are continually, as Christians, being brought back to the place of absolute helplessness and dependence on Jesus alone. That is true Christian maturity.
Weakness doesn't exactly feel Christian. It is scary to realize you have no control and therefore abandon yourself to a God whom you cannot see.
Faith in Jesus is the only thing that pleases the Father.
You, a human, cannot physically walk on water by your own efforts. It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is of no avail.
Faith is not a practice of self-help but a practice of renouncing self. Abandoning all trust and confidence in oneself and putting that faith where it ought to be: In Jesus.