What True Faith in God Refers to and How to Develop It

What True Faith in God Refers to and How to Develop It

What is faith? Many brothers and sisters in the Lord think that as long as they acknowledge God’s name, persist in reading the Bible, meeting and praying, and furthermore are able to sacrifice everything and labor, they are believers who have faith in God. But, this understanding is one-sided.

A Christian woman is praying and reading Bible

How to Keep Faith in God During Trials

A grain of sand: Brothers and sisters, I’m reading the Book of Job when practicing spiritual devotions lately. Whenever I see that God praised Job as a righteous, perfect and upright person who feared God and shunned evil, I admire him greatly in my heart, and I also want to learn from him. I see Job had great faith in God. When he lost his cattle and sheep all over the mountains, his untold wealth, and even his sons and daughters, he didn’t sin through his words blaming God, and he stood witness to God. In the trial he even said words with weight and testimony such as, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). When he suffered great pain from the sore boils all over his body, his wife told him to forsake God and betray God, but instead of doing that, Job said to his wife, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). From this I see that no matter what great sufferings and tribulations Job encountered, even in the face of death, he could retain his integrity by faith and didn’t rebel against or resist God. Job’s faith is very admirable. However, look at myself: Even though I have believed in the Lord for many years, my faith in the Lord is still very small. In my work and life, whenever encountering untoward things that harm my reputation and my interest, or suffering illness and tribulations, though I won’t say anything, I will still misunderstand and blame God in my heart, just unable to obey. Only when I reflect on myself afterward can I see that my faith in God is truly pitiful, and is worlds away from Job’s. If God allows me to encounter trials in the future, with such faith how can I stand testimony to satisfy God? If I can’t, I will be Satan’s laughingstock, and I won’t gain God’s approval. So, how can I have true faith in the Lord? If brothers or sisters have any understanding of it, please fellowship with me. Thanks! Poster: A grain of sand The way of faith: Thank God! A grain of sand, the moment I entered the forum I saw your post. It’s really arranged by God. Previously, I had the same question as yours. But thanks to God’s guidance, after I studied the Bible carefully, prayed earnestly, sought and fellowshiped together with my brothers and sisters, I got some understanding about how to have true faith. Now, I’d like to share it with you here. And if the brothers and sisters interested in this post have any good understanding, please join us and communicate it together, so that we can learn from each other. From the Book of Job we can know that when Job underwent God’s trial, he was already seventy years old. When he had all his property and children taken, even when his body was covered in boils, he still praised the name of Jehovah God, and retained the way of fearing God and shunning evil. This was inextricably linked to his paying attention to knowing God through practical experiences in his daily life. Job’s classic words “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” verified that his knowledge of God wasn’t vague but practical, that his knowledge of God ruling over and controlling everything was real. Job knew clearly in his heart that all his property, livestock, houses and children were bestowed by God. All of those were not obtained by his own hard work and effort. Without the favor and grace of God, no matter how he toiled, how much price he paid, he would have gained nothing. This was what Job was quite certain about in his heart. So, when God blessed him, he praised God’s name; when his property and livestock were robbed of and his servants were killed, he didn’t deny God or forsake God’s name, nor did he try to take them back. He accepted it from God, tearing his cloth up, shaving his head and then bowing down to worship God. This makes us truly see that it was because Job honored God as great and had a God-fearing heart that in tribulations and trials he was able to absolutely obey God, held no misunderstandings or complaints against God, and said the following words “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” At the same time, it can be seen that Job’s faith in God was true, and that his faith was on the basis of having real knowledge of God’s sovereignty. A grain of sand: Thank God! After reading your fellowship like this, I feel much brightened. It turns out that Job’s true faith in God was caused from his knowledge of God’s sovereignty. Job acknowledged from his heart that no matter whether he received good or evil, it was dominated and arranged by God. So he could stand witness to God in trials. This also makes me understand why God praised Job as a person who feared God and shunned evil: He never abandoned God, never did anything to rebel against or resist God under any circumstance; but instead he bore beautiful and resounding testimony for God relying on his true faith, and made Satan completely humiliated and defeated. Job’s faith is indeed worth our emulating! The way of faith: A grain of sand, your acceptance is pure. Thanks for God’s enlightenment! A grain of sand: The way of faith, I have another question: As Job had never seen God, and at that age there was no assembly to attend and no scriptures to read, then how did he confirm God’s real existence, see God’s power and know God’s domination over…

What Does Faith Refer to?

What Does Faith Refer to?

By Anxin With regard to faith, it is said in Scripture: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). From this verse we can see that faith involves the belief that everything we hope for shall be realized, and the confidence that things we cannot see shall be achieved. In the course of following God, faith is particularly important because it represents one’s true dependence on and admiration of God. Only those who possess true faith can witness God’s wondrous deeds and be made perfect by Him. So what does faith refer to? Let’s look at some biblical records to find the answer. It is recorded in the Bible, “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried to Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, You Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and sought Him, saying, Send her away; for she cries after us. But He answered and said, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith: be it to you even as you will. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matthew 15:22–28). These verses tell a story about a Canaanite woman who asked the Lord Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter, and how her daughter was cured because of her faith. So why did the Lord Jesus commend her that her faith was great? What exactly showed her faith? Was it her willingness to be a dog? As for this question, let’s look at a passage of words and then we will understand: “Why did the Lord Jesus praise the faith of this person? It was not because she was willing to be a dog, nor was it because she was willing to eat bread crumbs. This is all secondary. What was it that the Lord Jesus praised her for? It was that she didn’t care whether the Lord Jesus saw her as a dog, as a person, or as the devil Satan. She didn’t care what He saw her as. The most important point was that she regarded the Lord Jesus as God, and that she affirmed the Lord Jesus to be the Lord, and to be God. This is a truth and a fact that is eternally unchanging. The Lord Jesus was God, was the Lord, was the One affirmed as such in her heart, and that was enough. Irrespective of whether the Lord Jesus saved her or didn’t save her, whether He saw her as someone to eat with together at table, or as a disciple, or a follower, or whether He saw her as a lapdog or guard dog, it was all fine, she didn’t care. In any case, it was enough for her to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus was the Lord of her heart; this was her greatest faith.” It can be seen from this passage that the Lord Jesus praised the faith of the Canaanite woman not because she was willing to be a dog, but because she affirmed the Lord Jesus to be the true God in her heart no matter how He treated her or what He saw her as. She believed that He had authority and power and regarded Him as her God, her Lord. From the perspective of our notions, the Lord Jesus could have granted that woman’s plea and cured her daughter, given that He had displayed so many signs and miracles, and had healed the sick and cast out demons many times, yet the Lord Jesus spoke something that didn’t conform to our notions. The Canaanite woman, however, didn’t become disheartened and walk off, nor did she doubt or blame the Lord. Instead, she acknowledged the Lord Jesus as the Lord and God irrespective of whether He would save her daughter or not, and in her heart this is a fact that is eternally unchanging. Having seen her true heart, the Lord Jesus praised the Canaanite woman that her faith was great. There is another story in the Bible: “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him, And saying, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus said to him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done to you. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matthew 8:5–13). This is a story about how a centurion asked the Lord Jesus to heal his servant. So why did the Lord say his faith was great? What is…

What Is True Faith?

What Is True Faith?

By Li Xin What is faith? Under comfortable environments, with our works going well and family lives being peaceful, many of us will have the faith to follow the Lord, actively reading the Bible and attending meetings; however, once something unpleasant happens, we will become weak immediately. For example, when we are facing living difficulties because of losing our jobs, when our families lose peace due to something against our wishes happening, or when we are always refused a new job in spite of our praying, we begin losing our faith in God. Then, in consideration of all these things, what is real faith exactly? As for this question, there are two passages of words that speak clearly, “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. No matter how God works or what kind of environment you are in, if you are able to pursue life, seek to have God’s work carried out within you, and pursue the truth, and if you have an understanding of God’s actions and are able to act according to the truth, then this is your genuine faith and this shows that you have not lost hope in God. Only if you are still able to pursue the truth through refinement, you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts of Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him and you are able to deeply seek out His will and be considerate of His will, then this means you have true faith in God.” “When you face sufferings you must be able to not consider the flesh and not complain against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or disappear. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design, and be more willing to curse your own flesh than to complain against Him. When you are faced with trials you must satisfy God in spite of any reluctance to part with something you love, or bitter weeping. Only this can be called true love and faith.” From these words, we see that true faith is the belief that we should possess when God’s work is not in accordance with our notions. When we face suffering and hardships, we do not lose our faith in God or complain against God and are able to follow God as always, and even if we can’t see His actions after praying, we still completely believe in His work and words without any doubts and have an obedient heart to seek out His will. This is true faith. To better understand this aspect of truth, let’s look at the experiences of Job and Moses. True Faith in Suffering and Trials Job was the richest man in the east; however, in the trials, in a very short time, all his possessions were robbed by bandits and his sons and daughters were crushed to death in the collapse of his house. Facing all this, Job didn’t complain against God, because he had seen a lot of God’s deeds through all things and thus deeply understood that everything he owned was bestowed by God. Therefore, even though God took away everything from him, he never lost his faith in God because of losses in his own interests, and instead he said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Afterward, Job was covered with sores. When his wife advised him to curse God, he said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Because of his true faith, Job was able to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements in the trials, thus bearing resounding witness. In the end, he saw the back of Jehovah God and heard His voice. True Faith in Refinement Moses, as everyone who has read the Bible knows, before leading the Israelites out of Egypt, was exiled by Pharaoh to the wilderness because of his killing an Egyptian. Moses was originally an Egyptian prince and led an extravagant life in the palace; however, he had to raise sheep to make a living when in the wilderness, and moreover, what he would face every day was only animals, with nobody to talk to. We may wonder how he lived such a life. To everyone’s surprise, in those tough years, Moses, through praying to God and relying on Him, survived in the wilderness at last. What’s more, after forty years of refinement, not only his hot blood and natural personality were ground away, but also he developed true faith in God, being a man after God’s heart. Thus, after that, Jehovah God formally used him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When God called him, Moses didn’t make any personal choices, refuse or falter but instead accepted God’s commission. It is through forty years of refinement that Moses achieved this kind of faith. In summary, it can be seen that true faith reveals itself in trials and refinements. Though the circumstances that Job and Moses encountered were not the same, they were similar in that when faced with adversities, they still prayed to and praised God and maintained their faith in Him, no matter what He did. Therefore, in the end, they received God’s approval and blessings. We can see from these facts that every environment we encounter is arranged specifically for each of us by God, and that…

Significance of the Lord Jesus’ Appearance to Thomas

As we all know, in the Bible there are the following scriptures: “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold my hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:26-29). Whenever I read these scriptures, I always think: The scriptures record that the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples after the doors were shut, saying “Peace be to you!” That is to say, the Lord Jesus at that time was no longer a flesh but a spiritual body, for only the spiritual body is not subject to space and geographical constraints, entering into and going out of the house with the doors closed, appearing and disappearing at any time, with transcendent power. However, I wonder all the time, “Now that the Lord Jesus, after the resurrection, has finished the work He undertook, why is it necessary for Him to return to the people’s midst in His original image, appearing to His disciples or talking to Thomas?” Not until I have read God’s words did I have a brand-new understanding and knowledge of the intention of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to His disciple Thomas after the resurrection. God’s word says: “When He came to Thomas, He let doubting Thomas touch His hand, and told him: ‘reach here your hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ These words, these actions weren’t things that the Lord Jesus wanted to say and do only after He had been resurrected, but they were things He wanted to do before He had been nailed to the cross. It is evident that the Lord Jesus who had not yet been nailed to the cross already had an understanding of people such as Thomas. So what can we see from this? He was still the same Lord Jesus after His resurrection. His essence had not changed. Thomas’ doubts had not just started but had been with him the entire time he had been following the Lord Jesus, but He was the Lord Jesus that had been resurrected from the dead and had returned from the spiritual world with His original image, with His original disposition, and with His understanding of mankind from His time in the flesh, so He went to find Thomas first, to let Thomas touch His rib, to let him not only see His spiritual body after resurrection, but to let him touch and feel the existence of His spiritual body, and completely let go of his doubts. Before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, Thomas always doubted that He is Christ, and could not believe it. His belief in God was established only on the basis of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. The Lord Jesus had a good understanding of the faith of this type of person. They only believed in God in heaven, and did not believe at all, and would not accept the One sent by God, or the Christ in the flesh. In order to have him acknowledge and believe in the existence of the Lord Jesus and that He truly was God incarnate, He allowed Thomas to reach out his hand and touch His rib. Was Thomas’ doubting any different before and after the Lord Jesus’ resurrection? He was always doubting, and aside from the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body personally appearing to him and allowing Thomas to touch the nail marks on His body, no one could resolve his doubts, and no one could make him let go of them. So, from the time the Lord Jesus allowed him to touch His rib and let him really feel the existence of the nail marks, Thomas’ doubt disappeared, and he truly knew that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected and he acknowledged and believed that the Lord Jesus was the true Christ, that He was God incarnate. Although at this time Thomas no longer doubted, he had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and His words provided a conclusion, and a verdict on the faith of those who were full of doubts. He used His actual words and actions to tell the doubters, to tell those who only believed in God in heaven but did not believe in Christ: God did not commend their belief, nor did He commend their following which was full of doubts. The day they fully believed in God and Christ could only be the day that God completed His great work. Of course, that day was also the day that their doubt received a verdict. Their attitude toward Christ determined their fate, and their stubborn doubt meant their faith gained them no results, and their rigidness meant their hopes were in vain. Because their belief in God in heaven was fed on illusions, and their doubt toward Christ was actually their true attitude toward God, even though they touched the nail marks on the Lord Jesus’ body, their faith was still useless and their outcome can only be described as beating the wind—in vain. What the Lord Jesus said to Thomas was also very clearly telling every person: The resurrected Lord Jesus is the Lord Jesus that had initially spent thirty-three and a half years working among mankind. Although He had been nailed to the cross and experienced the valley of the shadow of death, and He had experienced…

Lord Jesus and disciple peter

Why Did the Lord Jesus Approve of Peter’s Faith?

By Zhang Jin In Matthew 16:18-19 the Lord Jesus said: “And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Whenever I read these two verses, I would think: Why did the Lord Jesus give Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven? Since the Lord Jesus bestowed upon Peter such great authority, it means that the Lord Jesus approved of Peter’s faith and that Peter was a person after God’s heart. But I couldn’t understand why the Lord commended Peter since he had denied knowing the Lord three times before His crucifixion. I was very perplexed. One day, I opened the Bible, and turned to Matthew 16, trying to find from the context the prerequisite and background for the Lord Jesus’ giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 16:13-19 records: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He said to them, But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” I read these verses repeatedly and pondered them carefully: Did the Lord Jesus approve of Peter because, of His disciples, only Peter recognized He was the Christ? Why did the Lord Jesus say that Peter was blessed and give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven after he answered Him by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”? But I still could not figure out why the Lord approved of Peter’s faith, and didn’t know how I should pursue to receive the Lord’s approval of my faith. I asked all the preachers I knew these questions, but no one could give me a satisfying answer. I was very disappointed: Why do none of them know the answer? How then can they lead the believers onto the path of being approved by God? I felt that the prospects of my faith in God were bleak, thinking: If only I could see the Lord Jesus and ask Him about that. … Later, I finally found the reason that Peter gained God’s approval from a book, which says: “Why is it said that Peter is a fruit? Because he has something of worth, or something worth perfecting, he has a resolution to seek truth and has a firm will; he has reason, is willing to suffer hardship, and he rejoices in truth in his heart, and when he encounters something he will not let it go. These are all strong points.” “After a period of experience, Peter saw in Jesus many of the deeds of God, saw the loveliness of God, and saw much of God’s being in Jesus. So too did he see that the words of Jesus could not have been spoken by man, and that the work Jesus did could not have been done by man. In Jesus’ words and actions, furthermore, Peter saw much of the wisdom of God, and much divine work. During his experiences, he did not merely come to know himself, but also focused on observing the actions of Jesus, from which he discovered many new things; namely, that there were many expressions of the practical God in the work that God did through Jesus, and that Jesus’ words, actions, the ways He shepherded the churches and the work He carried out differed from any ordinary man. Thus, from Jesus he learned many lessons that he was supposed to learn, and by the time Jesus was about to be nailed to the cross, he had gained some knowledge of Jesus—a knowledge which was the basis of his lifelong loyalty to Jesus, and of his crucifixion upside down for the sake of Jesus.” “Though there were three times when Peter denied knowing Christ, and though he tempted the Lord Jesus, such slight human weakness bore no relation to his nature, and did not affect his future pursuit, and cannot sufficiently prove that his temptation was an act of antichrist. Normal human weakness is something shared by all people in the world—do you expect Peter to be any different? … Though the many years of painful experiences of Peter are not recorded in the Bible, this does not prove that Peter did not have real experiences, or that Peter was not made perfect. How can the work of God be fully fathomed by man?” “Peter was made perfect through experiencing dealing and refinement. He said, ‘I must satisfy God’s desire at all times. In all that I do I only seek to satisfy God’s desire, and whether I am chastised, or judged, still I am happy to do so.’ Peter gave his all to God, and his work, words, and entire life were all for the sake of loving God. … What Peter cared about was the true love within his heart, and that which was practical and could be achieved. He did not care about whether he would receive a reward, but about…

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