Believing in God Just for Blessings and Ascending to Heaven?

By Zhao Yu

Recently, once when I was browsing the web, I saw a book Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. This title, striking and novel, immediately attracted me. Having believed in the Lord Jesus for so many years, I never thought about such questions: According to the present situation of my belief in the Lord, am I a believer or a fan? And do I have genuine faith in the Lord?

Believing in God Just for Blessings and Ascending to Heaven?

We all know that the Lord Jesus was able to heal the sick and cast out demons, perform signs and wonders, and even resurrect the dead. And in the end He became the sin offering and redeemed the whole mankind from sin. After we learn of the Lord Jesus’ accomplishments from the Bible, we firmly believe that the Lord Jesus is the God with great power, who is loving and merciful and bestows grace and blessings on man. Then, when we are in the grip of disease, we regard the Lord as a great physician and often pray to Him to ask for His mercy. Indeed, our belief in the Lord is for having our diseases cured. When we learn that the Lord is a God who bestows grace upon man, we frequently pray to Him and ask for more material wealth. Actually our belief in Him is to get grace and blessings from Him. When our hearts are nourished by the Lord’s words, these words become chicken soup for our soul whenever we encounter some difficulties or frustrations in life, and we often use them to fill the emptiness of our heart. Our faith in the Lord is merely in order to find spiritual sustenance. When we know that the Lord Jesus will come to rapture us and take us into a wonderful destination, we attend meetings actively, pray and read the Bible frequently, work for the Lord diligently, run around and spend ourselves for the Lord, suffer and pay a price for Him, and even will not hesitate to suffer in jail. Then, it can be said that we hold our faith in the Lord just to avoid the suffering of hell and receive the blessings of heaven. … These are the various kinds of faith that are produced in us when we have seen the Lord Jesus’ power and authority.

We all think ourselves as a devout believer, and that we will have firm faith in the Lord Jesus at all times. However, when God’s actions do not conform to our imaginations, will our faith in Him still be steady? When we are in the grip of disease and pray to the Lord to heal us but He does not answer our prayer, will we lose our faith in the Lord? When we pray constantly for the Lord’s blessings but after a long time, they still do not come upon us, will we misunderstand the Lord, complain about Him, and even leave Him? When tribulations and trials befall us, will we continue attending meetings, praying to the Lord, reading the Bible, and working diligently for the Lord? … From all kinds of faith of ours, we can see a very serious problem, which has been neglected by many Christians: None of these kinds of so-called faith of ours is for the sake of knowing God. Now that we believe in God not to know God and satisfy Him, then what on earth is our faith for? Can such faith gain the Lord’s approval?

At this point, perhaps we would feel somewhat confused: Then what kind of faith receives the praise of the Lord? Reflecting upon this, I can’t help thinking of Job’s experience recorded in the Bible that we know very well. When Job had sons and daughters, was possessed of great wealth, and even was of high rank, he didn’t make demands of God. He didn’t ask God to keep his family healthy and happy forever, nor did he ask God to protect his property from getting damaged and make his life flourish. When he was rich, he didn’t get carried away with his property but still held on to his integrity: Fear God and shun evil! He knew that everything he possessed was bestowed by God and not gained through his own struggle, so he calmly faced his wealth, without boasting, without showing himself off, without greedily enjoying pleasures. In his eyes, his wealth truly was an externality, and what he really paid attention to was the desire of God.

Job spent all his life walking the God-fearing, evil-shunning way. He gained inspiration and confirmed God’s wisdom and great power from the laws of change of the natural world. Also, he confirmed the true existence of God from the fates of all kinds of people. Moreover, he appreciated God’s sovereignty and predestination from his own lifetime experiences. He saw that everything is in the hands of God, and that whether one obtains blessings or receives misfortunes can’t be determined by man. So, when he underwent suffering and trials, he was able to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements no matter whether he lost his children or had a serious illness. When he was faced with the loss of his property and children, and the torment of illness, he didn’t cry and fuss, or beat his breast and wail in anguish, nor did he complain about God or anyone. Though Job’s suffering of that time had reached beyond the utmost of an ordinary person’s ability to bear, yet he didn’t say a word lightly or complain that God was unjust. Instead, he fully accepted all the things arranged by God without any complaint and completely obeyed God’s orchestrations and arrangements. It is just as Job said when he suffered most in the trials: “Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! Then should I yet have comfort; yes, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:8-10). From Job’s words, it can be seen that he willingly accepted any unsatisfactory arrangement from God. And even if it meant death, he would not abandon God’s way or speak a single word of complaint and judgment against God, and even took comfort in doing so. When he was in continuous sufferings, in his heart he still sought God’s will, and expressed true praise to God. He believed that God is righteous, and that everything is ordained by God. Just as Job himself said, “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Job gained such knowledge from his appreciation and confirmation of the Creator’s arrangements and predestination after he underwent many hardships and ups and downs in most of his life. And this was also undoubtedly the voice of Job’s heart as well as his desire to obey the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements after he had a knowledge of God’s will and disposition.

In the whole experience of Job’s life, no matter whether he was poor or rich, whether he was healthy or sick, he was able to face it calmly. And he took pleasure in seeking to satisfy God’s will all his life. This was the greatest thing Job gained from believing in God his whole life, and is also the most correct goal to pursue. God accepted Job’s faith, so after Job had undergone trials and stood witness, Jehovah God appeared to him and spoke to him. As a result, Job saw God’s back, heard God’s voice, understood God’s will better, and knew His disposition; he went from originally having heard of God by the hearing of the ear to truly beholding the deeds of God and hearing His speaking. Not only did Job believe that God is the Ruler of the heavens and the earth and all things, but also he could pursue to know God, to love God, and to satisfy God in the environments arranged by God. This is the true faith in God.

After we carefully ponder Job’s experience and his viewpoint of pursuit in belief in God, do we obtain some new knowledge? Then, let’s reflect on our viewpoints of belief in God and our goals of pursuit. Compared with Job in these respects, are we not base and short-sighted? I remember the Lord Jesus once saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, You seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you.… For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world” (John 6:26-33). “… I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). From the words of the Lord, we can see that what God really wants to give us is not sufficient food to fill our bellies or the happiness of family or good fortune. God wants to bestow on us the truth for our life and to let us know God and understand His will through the truth He expresses and the environments He orchestrates for us, so that we can better obey and worship Him. If we believe in God only to pursue living happier and healthier lives and being successful in our careers, or to seek to go to heaven after we die, but not to seek to gain the truth as our life and know God, then is our faith not just to gain enough bread to fill our bellies? And are such faith and such pursuit not in opposition to God’s will?

Maybe you also like to read: To Enter the Kingdom of Heaven, We Must Be Purified

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Now, disasters are occurring frequently everywhere. In the Philippines, the pandemic and the famine have not passed yet and powerful Typhoon Molave, Goni and Tropical Storm Atsani have landed. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?

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