What Is True Faith?
What is faith? Under comfortable environments, with our careers going well and family lives maintaining peace, 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 this word, ‘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 does not align 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 faith is something that is followed by refinement; refinement and faith cannot be separated. No matter how God works, and no matter your environment, you are able to pursue life and seek the truth, and seek knowledge of God’s work, and have an understanding of His actions, and you are able to act according to the truth. Doing so is what it is to have true faith, and doing so shows that you have not lost faith in God. You can only have true faith in God if you are able to persist in pursuing the truth through refinement, if you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts about Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and if you are able to seek in the depths for His will and be considerate of His will.” “When you face suffering, you must be able to lay aside concern for the flesh and to not make complaints 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 dissipate. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design and be prepared to curse your own flesh rather than make complaints against Him. When you are faced with trials, you must satisfy God, though you may weep bitterly or feel reluctant to part with some beloved object. Only this is 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 had ever 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 became 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 he could interact with 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 God’s intention is to perfect our faith and our knowledge of God, and also to purify us. The trials for Job elevated his faith in God and knowledge of God; the refinements Moses experienced made him cast off his temper and naturalness and be qualified to be used by God. Though we haven’t encountered circumstances like theirs, their experiences give us the right direction: No matter what hardships or setbacks we meet with in our life, no matter what misfortunes befall our family, we must not deny God’s name and must have true faith in God’s sovereignty and omnipotence just like Job and Moses, and we are still able to pray to God and rely on God to face those adversities with obedience. By doing this, we will have achieved true faith in God and gained more knowledge of Him.
» Further reading about Sermons on Faith:
• What to Do When You Lose Faith in God in Setbacks
• What Should We Do When We Face Trials? Learn From the Story of Job