How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
What Is Faith in God? Has Your Faith Been Approved by God?
In a chance encounter, when my husband and I were passing the door of a church, we heard a foreigner asking a young man, “Do you use your mouth or your heart to believe in the Lord Jesus?” Sticking his hands out before the foreigner and shrugging, that young man shook his head and said, “I don’t know.” Then, the young man left. Seeing this scene, I couldn’t help reflecting: There are many people who believe in the Lord Jesus, including me. However, are we using our mouth or our heart to believe in Him on earth? The Lord, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). The Lord’s words clearly told us God’s requirement: Only by worshiping God in spirit and in truth can we be approved by God. Then, let us reflect on ourselves carefully: Are we people who worship God in spirit and in truth?
1. We need to reflect on whether we practice God’s words and follow God’s way or not.
God’s words say, “The greatest fault of man havingis that his faith is in words only, and God exists not at all in his practical life. All men, indeed, believe in the existence of God, yet God is not a part of their everyday lives. Many prayers to God come from the mouth of man, but God has little place in his heart….”
Contemplating these words, I saw that God has revealed most believers’ actual situation of believing in God. Most of us just believe in God nominally but put God behind us in our practical life. For example, we have believed in God for many years and pray to Him every day. We often listen to sermons, read God’s words, and are also able to preach them to others and commune them with others. However, what are our living out in real life? God teaches us to be honest people. But we often lie and deceive for the sake of our own interests and we are even not able to speak honestly even if we want to. God teaches us to practice forgiveness and tolerance and love others as we love ourselves. But when our interests are infringed upon or what others do is not in accordance with our thoughts, we not only can’t be tolerant with them, but lose our temper with them and even bear a grudge against them. God told us, “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). However, many of us wholeheartedly pursue worldly pleasures, money and material enjoyment but treat spreading the gospel and assisting our brothers and sisters as something we do in our spare time. Moreover, we say that we want to be loyal to God, satisfy and bear witness to God, but when we encounter disasters and calamities, we still complain to God. … We behave like this, and are we using our heart and our honesty to worship God?
The Lord Jesus also said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words. … He that loves me not keeps not my sayings” (John 14:23-24), “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). From God’s words, we can understand His will. His will is that after listening to God’s preaching and reading His words, we can use an honest heart to follow and practice them and bring His words to our real life, and that even if our own interests are infringed upon, we can still make no complaints and practice the truth. Just like Job, in his daily life, he often offered burnt offerings, walked in God’s way, feared God and shunned evil. When trials came upon him: His property was taken away, his children died and he had sore boils all over his body, he didn’t complain about God but still followed His way and extolled His holy name. Finally, he was praised by God. This is truly worshiping God in spirit and in truth.
2. We need to reflect on whether our devotion to God has the hint of transaction or trade and is in order to love and satisfy God or not.
God’s words say, “People believe in God, love God, and satisfy God by touching the Spirit of God with their heart, thereby obtaining His satisfaction; when engaging with God’s words with their heart, they are therefore moved by the Spirit of God. … If people do not give their heart to God in their belief in Him, if their heart is not in Him and they do not treat His burden as their own, then everything they do is cheating God, and it is all the behavior of religious people—this cannot receive God’s praise.” This passage tells us that true faith in God is that we must give our heart to God, say what is really within our heart to God when praying, have no hint of transaction or trade when serving God, and satisfy and love God in all things. Only in this way will God accept everything we have done.
There are many people who are sacrificing everything, and working in the teeth of wind and rain. Some often donate, some are busy in spreading the gospel, some preach to others everywhere and some have even renounced marriage to serve the Lord all their life…. From the outside, it looks like these people have paid a great price. However, have we thought of what kind of attitude they carry when they are giving and expending and whether God will accept such sacrifices or not? The Lord Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23). In the end, not only are these people who heal the sick, cast out demons and perform many miracles not approved of by the Lord, but they are called by the Lord those who work iniquity and are asked to leave. I thought: Why does the Lord say they are those who work iniquity? After pondering it over and praying, I came to understand the meaning of the Lord’s speaking these words. The reason why these people are cursed by the Lord is because although they outwardly give, expend, run around and do work, their intentions are not in order to love and satisfy God, and give every care to God’s burden but to satisfy their selfish motives and personal ambitions. Some of them expend for the sake of their own status: They want to win others’ admiration and support; some spend in exchange for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven and they are making a deal with the Lord…. Such sacrifices are not based on their true heart to God, so such faith can’t be approved of by the Lord and they are not worshiping God in spirit and in truth.
Just like the Pharisees at that time, they were very familiar with the Bible for generations. Regardless of heat or cold, they persisted in going to the temple to worship Jehovah God. And they traveled all over the land and sea to preach the gospel, abandoned their families and gave up their careers to expend, and endured much hardship. But all that they had done was not for satisfying God but for their own status and livelihood. Thus, when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, they saw that there were more and more people following the Lord Jesus, which had threatened their positions, so they tried to find all kinds of accusations against the Lord Jesus, attacked and judged the Lord Jesus, and finally crucified Him on the cross. From this, we can see that the Pharisees didn’t worship God in spirit and in truth. Their godliness were all hypocritical and illusory and were all used to deceive people. So, the Lord Jesus criticized them, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:13).
The Lord Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). From the Lord’s words I understood God’s will: God hopes that we are able to pursue to love Him with all our heart and soul, that our abandonment and expenditure are built upon the foundation of loving and satisfying God, and are because we are attentive to God’s burdens and want to satisfy God’s will from the bottom of our heart. Just like Peter at that time, he paid attention to use his heart to gain a grasp on and sense the Lord’s will and requirements from every word the Lord Jesus said to him. Especially the Lord three times asked him if he loved Him and instructed him to feed His sheep after the Lord’s resurrection (See John 21:15-17). He remembered the Lord’s exhortations firmly in his heart, and in his later work, he even more pursued to love and satisfy God with all his heart and soul, to the extent that he ultimately dedicated his everything and even his life completely to the Lord, becoming a person who was pleasing to and was approved by the Lord.
Through the above communication we see: If we want to be approved by God, we should take the Lord’s words into our everyday life to practice them, love and satisfy the Lord with all our heart and soul, like Peter. Only by doing this can we truly use our heart and our honesty to worship God. Amen!
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