by Liu Yan
I have believed in the Lord for so many years. However, when someone asked me, “For what purpose do you ?” For a moment, I didn’t know exactly what to answer. About this question, I had ever asked my brothers and sisters in the Lord. They gave me various answers. Some said, “Believing in God is to be a good person and live as a real man”; some said, “To receive God’s protection and fleshly peace, and avoid disaster”; some said, “My belief in God is just for being saved. And also, I can receive a hundredfold in the present age and eternal life in the age to come. God’s blessings are countless”; some said, “For my sicknesses to be healed”; some said, “In order to gain temporary comfort”; some said, “For a good destination and an eternal life.” … In a word, each of us has our own viewpoint of belief in God. Then, do such viewpoints conform to the Lord’s will? Are our viewpoints of pursuit right?
Holding this question in my thoughts, I studied the Scriptures. I saw the ’ words, “Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:25). “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). From these words, I learned that in the belief in God, we first need to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We should not pursue things for the flesh such as food, clothing, and enjoyment, for that belongs to what unbelievers pursue. As believers in the Lord, we ought to pursue ways to gain the truth and life, to get rid of sins and receive God’s salvation, and to live out the real life of obeying and worshiping God. As for me, I had the same viewpoint of believing in God as most people, just taking thought for my flesh. Our belief in God is for our soul to and our flesh to have peace. When we are ill, we ask God to heal us; when we are weak, we ask God to support us; when we are in lack, we ask God to supply us; when we are in pain, we ask God to comfort us. What’s more, we hope that after death, we can enter into heaven and avoid the suffering of hell. … We believe in God just for the purpose of getting grace and blessings from Him.
One day, I saw in a book of truth: “Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word ‘God’ and phrases such as ‘the work of God,’ they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. ‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God.” These words suddenly enlightened me. The exact definition of faith in God is made clear here. Comparing our former viewpoints of belief in God we had held on to with these words in the book, I found that we were muddled in our faith. It reminded me of Job recorded in . In his life, he sought to understand the fact that God is the almighty Ruler in the laws of all things, followed the way of fearing God and shunning evil, and enjoyed an abundance of material blessings bestowed by God. Afterward, a trial came upon him. He didn’t forsake God though he lost his property and his children. Instead, in such a trial, he said these words, “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). He stood firm in his testimony, gained God’s approval, and received double blessings from God. On the contrary, his wife rejected God because calamities had befallen her. Job called her a foolish woman. Here we can see two different beliefs in God.
Another day, I saw the following passage of God’s word in a book of truth: “A true belief in God is not about believing in Him in order to be saved and is even less about being a good person. It is also not just about believing in God in order to have human likeness. Actually, people should not view their belief in God as just a belief that there is a God, and then nothing more; it is not that you should merely believe that God is the truth, the way, the life, and then nothing more. Nor is it just so you acknowledge God, much less is it merely to believe that God is the Ruler over all things, that God is almighty, that God created all things in the world, that God is unique and that God is supreme. Rather it is so that you—your whole being and your whole heart—should follow God, allow God to employ you, allow God to use you in His service, and that you should do anything for God. It is not to say that God preordains and chooses these people to believe in Him. Actually, all of mankind should worship God, heed Him and obey Him, because mankind was made by God. This now touches on the issue of essence. If you always talk about the reasons why you believe in God, saying that you believe in God in order to gain eternal life, or in order to be saved, then your belief in God is like some kind of peripheral matter, believing merely in order to gain something—this is not the view you should have of your belief in God” (“Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God”). From these words, I understood all of mankind actually should believe in God without conditions, for man was created by Him. Yet today, it seems that we all believe in God with additional requirements. If God blesses us, we will believe in Him; if not, we won’t. Our believing in God is all to carry out a transaction with Him, and it becomes a path for us to gain entry into heaven and receive blessings. Just think: Could it be said that God likes our such faith in Him, which is full of impurities and transactions? We come to believe in God to be blessed; what if we receive evil instead of good some day? Will we still follow and worship God, and thank Him in our heart? This is a very real issue about belief in God. Moreover, this involves the important matter of whether or not we can be approved by God. As I was contemplating this, I realized that the most important thing about belief in God is holding a right viewpoint. Walking a right way can bring us success in our belief in God.
I saw another passage of God’s words in a book of truth: “Having faith in God, you should not solely seek blessings, but seek to love God and know God. Through His enlightenment and your own pursuit, you can eat and drink His word, develop a true understanding of God, and have a true love of God that comes from your heart. In other words, your love for God is most genuine, such that none can destroy or stand in the way of your love for Him. Then you are on the right track of faith in God. It proves that you belong to God, for your heart has been taken possession of by God and you can then be possessed by nothing else. Owing to your experience, the price you paid, and the work of God, you are able to develop an unbidden love for God. Then you are freed from the influence of Satan and live in the light of God’s word. Only when you have broken free from the influence of darkness can you be deemed to have gained God. In your belief of God, you must seek this goal. This is the duty of each of you” (“You Ought to Live for the Truth Since You Believe in God”).
After reading these words, I understood that in our belief in God, we should have right views and an objective in our pursuit. This reminded me of Peter. Why did the Lord Jesus take delight in him and even give him the keys of the kingdom of the heavens? During the years of his following the Lord Jesus, he did not seek fleshly pleasures and blessings but seek to have knowledge of the Lord Jesus. He saw that the Lord Jesus’ work cannot be imitated or replaced by any person. He also saw that the Lord Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea to make them stilled, and resurrected a dead man just by saying a single word, and so on. From this, he felt that the Lord’s words are full of authority and power. What’s more, from the Lord Jesus’ daily life, he saw that the Lord Jesus possessed normal humanity and there was nothing supernatural. As a result, he knew that the Lord Jesus was the appearance of Christ. He saw that the Lord Jesus loved and satisfied God wholeheartedly to carry out the heavenly Father’s will without paying heed to His life or death. He followed the Lord Jesus all his life and in the end, he came to have greater knowledge of God than any other through the ages, and loved God above all. Out of his love for God, he was crucified upside down for Him, and received His approval. Therefore, only when we pursue our faith in God like Peter can we be approved by God.
In fact, our purpose behind believing in God is to seek to know God, love God, and worship God. We should imitate Job’s and Peter’s means of pursuit to believe in God: not thinking about blessings or disaster, or caring fleshly joy and peace, but merely fearing God and shunning evil and seeking to truly love God and know Him. This is the right view that God likes in terms of faith. All the glory be to God!