By Shen Mingxin, China
What is faith? Many brothers and sisters in the Lord think that as long as they acknowledge, persist in reading the , meeting and praying, and furthermore are able to sacrifice everything and labor, they are believers who have . In fact, means that when our mind and body endure great suffering during refinement or in adversity, we still don’t misunderstand or complain about God, but instead can obey God and persevere in believing in and following God.
From Biblical records we see: When Abraham was 100 years old, Jehovah God gave him a son, Isaac. After Isaac grew up, God asked Abraham to offer him up. Though Abraham was miserable, he was still willing to bear great pain to give Isaac back to God, obeying God’s orchestrations and arrangements without conditions. When Abraham lifted up his knife to slay Isaac, God saw his true heart, and thus stopped him timely and prepared a burnt offering for him to sacrifice to God. Afterward, Abraham was called the father of faith by later generations. Another example is Job. He was tempted by Satan: His livestock was robbed from him by bandits, his servants were killed, calamity befell his children, he had sore boils all over his body, and his wife laughed at him and asked him to forsake the name of God. When he faced these sudden misfortunes, he endured pain in both his body and spirit. However, he didn’t complain about Jehovah God’s taking away from him, but said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). He bore strong and resounding testimonies for God, which shamed and defeated Satan. Seeing Job’s faith in Him, God blessed Job doubly, bestowing upon him more cattle, sheep, and beautiful children. And finally Job died, full of days. Abraham and Job are models of faith and they are worthy of emulation by each of us believers in the Lord.
From the testimonies of Abraham and Job, we can see that when God blessed them, they believed that everything man has is due to God’s blessings, so they thanked God and worshiped Him; when God’s trials befell them, though they didn’t understand and felt pain inside, they still obeyed God and didn’t have any complaints. Only this is true faith in God, and is also the sincere heart of man toward God. Just as God’s words say, “What does faith refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work is not in line with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of. People are in need of faith during times of hardship and refinement, and along with faith comes refinement. These are inextricable.”
Then, how can we develop true faith in God? This needs us to practically experience and appreciate God’s work in our daily life. When we are able to see God’s mastery, orchestrations and arrangements for our life and God’s authority and deeds, and have a genuine understanding of God through them, then no matter how God’s work doesn’t conform to our conceptions, we will still be able to maintain our faith in God. Just like Job: He only heard of God but he had never seen God. However, he could know God’s sovereignty and see God’s righteousness among all things. For example: Man’s fortune and misfortune, how much money one would possess and how many children one would have in life—he knew all these were under God’s sovereignty, despite man’s plans and calculations; he saw who were evil and punished by God, who were kindhearted and received God’s grace and blessings. Because Job had experienced God’s sovereignty and righteousness in his life, had some understanding of God and developed true faith in God, he made no demands of God and thought that what he should do was to accept and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. When Satan’s temptations came upon him, although he was miserable, he knew all the things he enjoyed had come from God and had not been earned through his own hard work, and that if God wanted to take them back, he shouldn’t complain about or misunderstand God but should obey God. Thus, Job gave a resoundingto God before Satan and was accepted by God.
Therefore, if we want to develop true faith in God as Abraham and Job did, we must experience God’s work in our daily life. Only when we experience God’s guidance, support, help, chastening and discipline, and understand that what God does in us is all His love and salvation for us, will we have true understanding of Him, appreciate His almightiness and wisdom, and even more know that His righteous disposition is inviolable by man. When that time comes, we will have a heart of reverence for God and subsequently we will develop true faith in God.
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