Chapter 19. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” (IV)

Not Sinning in Word Is the First Standard for Having a Heart of Reverence for God

Let’s take a look at these words: “After the temptation, Job did not sin with his lips because he had lost his property and his children, but continued to praise the name of Jehovah God. His actual conduct made God applaud him, and give him full marks.” There is truth that can be sought in these words. In all things, we need to seek the truth, and seek to grasp God’s will—you acknowledge this, right? (Yes.) Then that is how you must practice. Every sentence of God’s words contains the truth; every time a trial befalls us we must seek the truth and try to understand God’s will. This is an indispensable part of experiencing God’s work. If you can’t put this into practice it shows that you don’t know how to experience God’s work, and you are not someone who pursues the truth. The three words “After the temptation” speak to something: What God most cares about is the outcome after a temptation, and it is what God eventually wants to gain. What He wants to gain, what He hopes to gain is that outcome after a temptation. That outcome determines whether or not His heart is satisfied. In addition, people’s own final outcomes develop out of that outcome. The time after a temptation is when the final winner in the battle between God and Satan is revealed. “After the temptation, Job did not sin with his lips because he had lost his property and his children, but continued to praise the name of Jehovah God.” We have seen this outcome. How was it revealed? It was based on his behavior, mainly expressed through words. What everyone focused on in the aftermath of the temptation was what Job spoke; Satan was listening, God was listening, and the angels were listening. All the people present were also listening, and the spiritual and material worlds were watching and listening. They were watching to see what Job would say—the words he spoke are very important! It was the focus of the world’s attention. Here it says: “Job did not sin with his lips because he had lost his property and his children, but continued to praise the name of Jehovah God.” This is incredible! Did Job sin with his lips and deny God? Did he complain about God? He didn’t, “but continued to praise the name of Jehovah God.” He still did not sin with his lips at that time and he was still able to praise the name of God. This really meant something. This was the outcome of his undergoing the temptation. Job’s declaration after the temptation is such an important matter. What did he gain after his declaration? “His actual conduct made God applaud him, and give him full marks.” What does “full marks” refer to? God was fully satisfied. He wasn’t just generally satisfied, but fully satisfied. That is, God said: “You did a great job—you completely achieved what I required!” God did not have any higher requirements of him. Job achieved what God required, fully and completely, so God gave him full marks.

For in the eyes of Job, his offspring or his assets were not enough to make him renounce God. God’s place in his heart, in other words, could not be replaced by his children or any piece of property.” We need to have fellowship on these words. How did Job achieve full marks? Some people don’t understand this, and some may say: “Job had thought this through, so no matter what temptation he encountered he just spoke based on this principle. That was his formula, ensuring that he could satisfy God when the time came.” Some people have thought that. Some people aren’t convinced, and say: “We have the perfect trick to gain salvation! Firstly, we won’t betray God under any circumstances, not even if we’re beaten to death. This is how we can stand firm, right?” How is this trick? And some people say: “In the future if my mom, my dad, my child or my husband (or wife) dies, I will not deny God. This way, I will be the same as Job. I can get full marks too.” What do you think of saying this? Does it hold water? (It doesn’t.) Why not? Why did Job get full marks in his testimony? He possessed that actual stature—he didn’t make it by sheer luck through keeping some rule. During tests, there are probably times that someone does that. How does he pass it by sheer luck? He has reviewed those particular questions so in the test he gets it right. As a result, he passes the test. It’s possible to go by sheer luck in a test—there may be an opportunity for coincidences in external matters, but encountering a trial reveals one’s stature, and that is not simply a matter of sheer luck. That requires true stature. There are quite a few people who have made the following resolve: “If the great red dragon catches me I won’t betray God even if they beat me to death!” Are there few people who have set this kind of resolve? As a result, as soon as they’re tortured in prison they confess, they submit before just a couple of days have gone by. They become Judases. Without that kind of true stature you cannot bear that kind of resounding witness. This is one aspect of it. In addition, you must be able to rely on God. God will be your backup force; He will give you more strength so that you can achieve that. If you are unable to rely on God but instead rely on your own willpower, you will be defeated as soon as your willpower falters. As a result you will fail, and that failure will be disastrous. Why did Job get full marks in that trial? He had true stature, and how was his true stature proven? In God’s words: “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man.” From these words of God we can see that at that time, no one was as perfect and upright as Job. He was second to none—no one was better than him. This is why he received God’s blessings. God bestowed great blessings upon him, and protected and safeguarded him. What stature had Job achieved at the time? It was: “God’s place in his heart … could not be replaced by his children or any piece of property.” These words proved that Job possessed that reality, that no one could replace God’s place in his heart, not even belongings or children. This is why he was still able to praise God even after God stripped him of all his belongings and children. A time like that is most revealing of whether God truly has a place in someone’s heart. Some people say: “My stature isn’t too far off from Job’s.” Would you dare say that? If so, God will take away your children and your possessions, and see if you can still stand firm. Do you dare say that to God? Some say: “God holds the highest place in my heart.” Then how does your father’s place in your heart compare to God’s? And your mother’s? How about the place your children hold in your heart compared to God? Measure them one by one. “God’s place in my heart cannot be replaced by anything at all. He’s my one and only.” If you dare to say that, to give that testimony, that shows that you have stature, that you have reached the stature of Job. If you really have reached Job’s stature God will allow trials to befall you, to reveal you. When you say something like that, is Satan convinced? Will Satan agree with you? You don’t know, right? Suppose you boast in front of others or in front of God, saying: “Now God is my one and only. Nothing can take Him away from me. He is the greatest for me, so I guarantee I can stand witness no matter what trials befall me. I’ll be able to praise God just as Job did.” This may be what you believe in your heart, but Satan will be there, unconvinced. It says: “You’re boasting! Fine, I’ll go talk to God and bring some temptations upon you and see if you can stand firm.” When the time comes, you might start sniveling. This isn’t something you can brag about—this is serious! When you speak, you’re not just saying this to a few people. This relates to the entire spiritual world; you mustn’t speak carelessly. The great red dragon spouts nonsense: The entire universe knows that, the angles know it, God knows that even more. Everyone can see it. That is why the great red dragon will suffer immediate retribution. What will its outcome be? It will be eternally damned to a bottomless pit! The outcome of resisting God that way is eternal damnation; it is the outcome of an evil demon. So, the words you speak will determine your outcome, your fate—you must not speak carelessly. It’s okay to say something insignificant, but the moment you say something related to God, related to your outcome these words serve a purpose. They bring about certain results and you must take responsibility for them and pay the price. For example, sometimes you’re just chatting with someone else and they ask you: “Why do you believe in God?” You say: “Believing in God can bring blessings, so I believe in Him. Otherwise, I wouldn’t.” Once you’ve said that, that’s done. Satan will remember that, God will make a note of it as well, that your faith is to obtain blessings. Doesn’t saying that reveal your outcome? That is casually sinning with your lips and it determines your outcome. Someone brags, saying: “Whoever may retreat, I would never do that!” When trials befall someone after bragging like that, they will be the one to stumble. They will fall first. Can you say that carelessly? (No.) Do not sin with your lips—this is terribly important! What’s the primary expression of fearing God? Not sinning in word. There are some impure, filthy things in our thoughts that we cannot say. There are some things we cannot say that are not in line with the truth or with God’s will. We must weigh them in our hearts against the truth, and reject them if they are at variance with the truth. Do not sin with your lips. This is the first standard used to weigh whether someone has a heart of reverence for God.

Overcoming Satan’s Temptations Requires Pursuing the Truth and Knowledge of God

Now can we see what kind of stature Job possessed? Did he possess the reality of the truth? What kind of position did God occupy in his heart? None of his possessions or children could take God’s place; he loved, believed in, and obeyed God more than anything at all. He achieved that stature and he possessed that reality. No matter what God took from him, no matter how Satan attacked or tempted him, he would not be overcome. When Job’s children and possessions were all taken from him, he was able to stand firm. If his very life had been taken from him, he still would have been able to stand firm, though God did not allow Satan to do that. But if his life really had been taken Job would not have given in. That was his stature, and that was his reality. He was only able to stand witness because he possessed the reality of the truth and true stature. That is a fact. Can this kind of testimony be achieved through just following rules? That method is this: “From Job’s witness I see that when Satan tempts God’s people, it first takes away their assets, then their children, and then strikes at their flesh. I can summarize one rule from this: No matter what assets are taken, what loved ones are taken, or what kind of health problems I encounter, I will not forsake God. If I stick to this rule I can definitely stand witness for God when the time comes.” There are a lot of people who now believe that that’s how they should put it into practice. Does this statement hold water? (It doesn’t.) Why not? Can you explain it? If you can’t say clearly, would you be able to stick to that? I think you would. This issue must be seen clearly—you cannot stand witness by relying on the resolve and beliefs of the flesh. That is not real stature. In trials the suffering exceeds the limits of human endurance. You won’t be able to hold the line of your resolve—it will be broken through. You absolutely will not be able to stand firm just by relying on your determination to follow the rules. Did you hear what that bandit, the great red dragon’s policeman said? “Most people can’t bear these few tricks of mine. 99% of people can’t tolerate it. They give up after I try three things and they sing like a bird. Only the believers in Almighty God are made of diamond.” Why is it that so many of his tricks weren’t successful, that they all failed? Is it because the people are so capable? It was an achievement of God’s words. God supplied them with words and those words became their life and their power, enabling them to overcome Satan. Without God’s words they would have crumbled early on. No one can withstand that! At that time their prayers to God were very earnest, very honest, so He enlightened them with some words and the Holy Spirit worked in them. When God’s words become someone’s life and they become the strength within a person, they are able to overcome and shame Satan in the end. If someone is lacking that kind of faith when the time comes and they don’t pray that way to God, they won’t be able to stand firm because Satan’s brutality surpasses what humans can withstand. A person absolutely cannot bear a beautiful, resounding witness just by relying on human resolve, on just following rules. So what must you do to overcome Satan’s temptations? Pursue the truth, seek to know God. Once a person has understood the truth and has an understanding of God they will have a proper relationship with God and will be able to rely on Him when the time comes. Otherwise, they won’t be able to rely on Him and will fail in whatever temptations befall them. Having true faith or not will determine whether or not someone is able to overcome. Without true faith in God, a person will crumble even without a temptation. If they possess true faith and they pray to God when a temptation comes, they can draw on strength from God at any time and connect with Him; God will become their shield, their strength, their life. Once their relationship with God becomes close enough they can pray to God at any time and then will have strength; whatever befalls them, they always have faith. Having faith is having strength; by possessing the truth, they possess ability. This is entirely true. Job had this practical stature—what does this indicate? Job was a person who pursued the truth. Because he was someone who pursued the truth, he prayed to God on a regular basis, learning to rely on God and call out to Him in all things. As a result, he saw God on his left, he saw Him in front, he saw Him on his right. God was beside Job, observing him—this was his feeling. Although he didn’t see God with his own eyes, he felt that God was always at his side. Doesn’t that show that he had true faith in God? If a person has never felt “God is by my side, He is in my heart, He is silently protecting me and leading me,” can they have true faith? (No.) Do you have this kind of feeling? If you have never had this kind of feeling then your faith in God is certainly paltry—so paltry it’s negligible! At its feeblest, how paltry is people’s faith? They just acknowledge that there is a God in heaven, that there certainly is a God in heaven. If their faith is a little greater, people will acknowledge that God is on earth. If it is a bit greater than that, people’s faith will be up to 20 percent. Greater than that, people will recognize that God can live within their hearts, and that is 30 percent faith. Greater than that, people will recognize that God truly is guiding them; this is faith at 40 percent. Greater than that, people understand that God has predetermined everything for them, and their faith grows. Even greater than that is, people believe, “God predetermined before every age that He is guiding us this way today; everything we have has been given by God, we have not earned it through our own toil, our own blood and sweat. If He hadn’t given it to us we could never earn it no matter how hard we worked. God bestowed it upon us first and then we withdrew it through our hard work.” This kind of faith is close to Job’s faith. Faith even greater than that is recognizing that God’s work in the last days truly is saving and perfecting mankind. More than that is: “The entire spiritual world, even Satan, evil spirits, and demons are all under God’s rule and they dare not take one step out of bounds!” Which point is your faith at? Have you considered these things? If you only acknowledge that God is in heaven, that’s a problem. You’re hardly any different from nonbelievers.

There are some people who, when subjected to torture, had a certain feeling. They say: “I felt that God was by my side watching me.” Is that an accurate feeling? “Before encountering any particular trials I never had that feeling, but when I was being tortured I felt God by my side watching me. It was so real! He was observing me and He gave me strength. Everything Satan did to me at that time, God was right there watching and He protected me from beginning to end. During that trial I saw God and although I didn’t see His real person, it was just like seeing Him. How God worked by my side and what He did was clear in my heart!” Is this seeing God? They gained true faith that time. “This trial allowed me to develop true faith in God. My faith used to be so small, but in this I gained true faith. It was practically like coming face-to-face with God.” After his trial, God spoke to Job, and when He did that, did Job see God’s real person? He didn’t. But what did Job say? “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5). Is hearing God speak the same thing as seeing Him with your own eyes? The feeling is the same. So when being subjected to torture, some of God’s chosen people feel that God is by their side watching them, giving them strength, accompanying them. Would you say that this is the same as seeing God with their own eyes? When they pray it’s probably like this: “Oh God, my faith was always so small and I only acknowledged Your existence. But today, though I have not seen Your real person, I have seen Your existence with my own eyes. You are by my side—I can feel it very clearly. That feeling of mine is the eyes of the spirit!” Is having that kind of experience a precious thing? What is exchanged for that kind of experience? Can you just experience that whenever you want to? In general, when you have enough to eat and drink, and everything is going fine, would you pray: “God, allow me to feel You by my side. Give me that feeling”? You wouldn’t, and in such a case, you wouldn’t be able to feel that. So under what circumstances would God allow someone to feel “God is by my side protecting me, being my shield and giving me strength”? When trials occur He personally protects His chosen people so that Satan cannot do greater injury to His chosen people with its own hands. What use here is personally protecting His chosen people? Is it just a fear of Satan beating them to death? If it were just that, it would be an extremely simple matter. What is the most important significance here? God is appearing to His chosen people. It is allowing you to feel that the God you believe in is real, thus giving you more faith and having you know Him—this is God’s will. This is one of the ways that God appears to man during trials. God’s love of man is revealed so that their souls may see Him and feel Him and they may then have true faith in God, thirsting more to seek knowledge of Him and bear a beautiful, resounding witness for God to repay His love. This is one of the ways that God appears to people during trials. What of God’s words of the last days does this fulfill? “All who are in the flames behold the Son of man, who is refined in the blaze.” When people recognize the reality of God, this is a true testimony of God’s presence with mankind. All of the words uttered by God in the last days are being experienced by God’s chosen people, and once you’ve experienced them you will recognize that this God incarnate is practical and genuine. Have you had this kind of experience? The more critical a moment is, the more you are able to gain the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and the more you are able to see that God is leading you and enlightening you, giving you strength. Particularly in the area of the truth, sometimes you may suddenly encounter the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that allows you to understand God’s will. God is guiding you and leading you like this. These are the ways that God appears to man. If anyone truly has this feeling in their spirit: “This is God’s work, I have felt God and He is by my side, He is speaking to me in secret, bringing me enlightenment and light, and guiding me. Though I cannot see Him, I can just feel His work, that this is done by God, that He is giving me strength,” then they are one of God’s people. Anyone who has several years of experience but has not had an experience of God’s work like this, who has never felt God by their side, God accompanying them, certainly is not someone who pursues the truth. Those who do not pursue the truth are unable to enjoy this kind of unique experience in life.

Possess Job’s Character and His Faith, Reverence, and Obedience to God to Gain God’s Blessings

During his life over the previous several decades, Job had beheld the deeds of Jehovah God and gained Jehovah God’s blessings for him. They were blessings that left him feeling enormously uneasy and indebted, for he believed that he had not done anything for God, yet had been bequeathed with such great blessings and had enjoyed so much grace.” What can we see from these words? Have you seen what kind of character Job possessed? There’s an old Chinese saying that you don’t get something for nothing. And Job received such great blessings from God that he felt uneasy and guilty. He felt: “I haven’t done anything for God but I’m enjoying such enormous blessings.” His soul was never at peace. This describes Job’s character—was he a greedy man? Was he someone who liked to take advantage? Was he ungrateful? He enacted the idea that “the grace of a single drop of water should be repaid with a welling spring.” That’s the kind of person Job was. Would you say that he was a good person? He enjoyed such great blessings from God and he felt uneasy, guilty—he believed that he hadn’t done anything at all for God but had still received those blessings. He felt he owed God, that he should repay Him, do something for Him, otherwise he was unworthy to live in front of God. That kind of person with that kind of mentality, with that kind of thinking inside and that kind of uneasiness, would he have frequently mentioned that to God in his prayers at the time? How would he have expressed it? Is that something that you can imagine? First, he would have said: “Oh God, You have blessed me so much, I have seen this.” Second, “But I haven’t done anything for You, I feel I am in Your debt.” Plus, “I am not at peace, I want to do something for You! I want to repay Your love.” There’s also, “Oh God, what can I do to satisfy You? What should I seek to fulfill Your wishes?” From these prayers of Job what other aspect of him can we see? He had a true spiritual communion with God. His contact and heart-to-hearts with God were genuine and they were proper. Job placed a lot of importance on repaying God’s love. He did not want to take advantage. He thought, “God has bestowed such great grace upon me, so how should I repay Him?” This was certainly what most tied his heart up in knots; he was always pondering this matter. He could not let it go. “How can I repay God? God has been so wonderful to me; He is so genuine. If I don’t repay Him I am unworthy to live in front of Him and I am unworthy of being called human!” That’s the kind of person he was. Isn’t someone with that kind of humanity the best kind of person? Isn’t he the most kind-hearted person? (Yes.) In the wealthy families of today, does anyone give thanks to God? Do they have the mentality of Job? (No.) Their humanity is not worth speaking of. Job was the best kind of person—no one was better than him at the time, and in the last days very few people can surpass him, but I dare not say with certainty. Job’s character was so elevated, so wonderful; his love and faith in God were very genuine. Job had that kind of longing, that kind of mentality; he felt that he owed God and was willing to repay God’s love. This is the best mentality that people can have in front of God and only that kind of person can gain God’s blessings. It’s a wonderful mentality and one that is most blessed by God. Is that what you have? What is your mentality before God? Say a few words to sum it up and see if it will gain God’s blessings. What is the mentality of most people? “Oh God, can I be perfected? Will I be preserved? I’m so worried, I want to know the answer!” Isn’t that how you think? “Can I be saved? Am I one of God’s people or am I just a service-doer? I can’t figure it out. God, how important am I in Your heart? What type of person am I? What will my outcome be? God, I’ve suffered a lot. I don’t have a home, or material wealth, or status. I just have true faith in You—nothing else. You haven’t blessed me but I see Your protection. Just being alive is really not bad.” When some people speak with God they only say these few things. What kind of mentality is this? It’s no good. It’s not normal humanity—it doesn’t contain adequate normal humanity. They’re always trying to make deals with God, their corruption is too deep, and their mentality is no good. They have not been blessed by God and they are not worthy of it. They don’t thirst for the truth. Isn’t this a critical weak point? How about the mentality of someone who prays this way to God? “Oh God, I’m not worthy of receiving Your blessings which is why I have nothing now, but I long to pursue the truth. What I lack is the truth. I believe in God for nothing else, but to gain the truth; then I will be satisfied. As long as I can know You, fear You, and live out a true human likeness I will be satisfied. This is my heart of longing—I hunger and thirst for righteousness. I don’t want anything else!” What do you think of this mentality? (It’s good.) Is this the kind of mentality that you have? If not, you won’t be able to gain God’s blessings or the work of the Holy Spirit—it is critical for these things! Some people have this kind of mentality: “Is there really a God? It seems that there is, but then it seems like there isn’t, too. When I read God’s words I feel that there is, but after I’m done reading them I feel like there isn’t.” They think this over all the time: One moment they feel there is, the next moment they feel there isn’t. What kind of mentality is that? As soon as they encounter a trial or something undesirable they’ll start blaming God and doubting Him. They always have notions and complaints about God; they always doubt God. How about that mentality? Are they capable of possessing the work of the Holy Spirit? You need to be clear on different people’s mentalities. Let’s take a look at Job’s and then compare it to our own so that we know what we’re really lacking, what our faults are, why we can’t gain God’s blessings or the work of the Holy Spirit, and why we can’t get God’s approval. Once we’re clear on all of that we will know ourselves.

Job loved and obeyed God more than all else. His thinking was, “Even if He takes away my wife, my children, and my belongings I will still worship God. I will not deny His name—I will still praise Him!” Anyone who possesses this kind of reality, this kind of mentality, and this kind of faith will be blessed. Do you possess these things now? How far off are you? If you were to encounter the kinds of temptations that Job did, what would you do? If either wealth or children were taken from you, you wouldn’t be able to stand firm, let alone if both of them were taken from you. Some people complain to God when just their house is taken from them. They stumble and fall, they sin with their words. Some people can’t bear it if a loved one is taken from them, and they no longer believe in God. And when some have to suffer a bit and face a bit of torture they turn into Judases—they can’t even give up their own life! Can they compare to Job? Definitely not. Can they gain God’s approval? You cannot gain God’s approval or His blessings without possessing Job’s stature, his reality, character, faith, reverence, and obedience. Now after comparing yourself with Job, do you still dare to ask for God’s blessings? Continuing to ask for that is unreasonable. Is it reasonable for someone to say this? “Oh God, my faith has reached what Job’s was, so bless me.” Some say: “My faith is greater than Job’s. I understand truths that Job didn’t, so why haven’t I been blessed by God?” That is even more unreasonable. You’ve heard quite a bit today, but what is your stature like? How about your faith? Are you someone who fears God and shuns evil? Have you achieved these results? No matter how many sermons you listen to you still lack this stature and this reality. You don’t possess Job’s faith, love, obedience, or his reverence. In spite of all you’ve heard it hasn’t become your reality, and no matter how much better you are at preaching than Job was, it’s of no use. Your practical stature is inadequate, so you cannot be blessed by God—you do not meet the standards of receiving His blessings. The more we have fellowship on Job the more admiration we have for him. Have you gained some understanding of him? (Yes.) We can’t just rely on reading the Book of Job, we must have God’s revelations.

Farther down we can see: “For this reason, in his heart he often prayed, hoping that he would be able to repay God, hoping that he would have the opportunity to bear testimony to God’s deeds and greatness, and hoping that God would put his obedience to the test, and, moreover, that his faith could be purified, until his obedience and his faith gained God’s approval.” Job was still not satisfied with his own stature, faith, and obedience to God. Although he thought that he did possess some of that reality he felt that he still had deficiencies and that he couldn’t necessarily fully meet God’s will. He certainly prayed this way: “Oh God, I feel that I can seemingly obey and I have genuine faith in You, but am I in accord with Your will? Have I achieved what You require? I do not know. I hope that You will test me when there is a chance and I can come to know my own deficiencies through experience.” Would he have prayed that way? If he did, what would that mean? He was someone who pursued the truth. He always had a need to enter into the truth more deeply, more practically; he always had a need for his stature to increase and to gain sublimation through trials. That is awesome! That is a person who pursues the truth. He hoped to endure more suffering and to undergo more trials so that his stature would increase and he would be able to satisfy and bear witness to God. This was what Job sought, that was his aspiration. True pursuers of the truth emphasize increasing their stature; they are not content with their current stature or state, but always feel that they still have deficiencies, that their stature is inadequate, too small. This is a person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness.

There are currently some people who are always complacent. What does that mean? If they don’t sin for a period of time they think that their stature has grown; if people admire them for a period of time, they feel that their stature has grown and they are content; if they are able to talk about some new light during a period of time, they’re content and feel that they have reached a peak; if everyone casts admiring glances their way for a time, they will become self-important and listen to no one else. What is that kind of person like? They’re a bit nauseating. They do not know themselves; they are lacking in self-awareness. The enlightenment from God and the Holy Spirit’s work do not represent a person’s real stature, and sometimes what people speak of is something they are undergoing at the time, or something they have just understood. It doesn’t represent something that they fully live out. For humans, entering into the reality of truth is something that has no stopping point; it is boundless. Entering into life is an endless affair. What is it that nonbelievers say about learning skills? One is never too old to learn. It’s the same with entry into the truth, and there is no limit to it. Take loving God for example. If you have a bit of love based on your conscience and you think, “I must repay God’s love,” this is the most surface-level love. Does that love count as genuine? It’s too adulterated; it hasn’t been tested. Would you be able to maintain that love after undergoing trials, if all sorts of things were taken from you? If it’s a love that cannot withstand trials, then it is not a genuine love. The most superficial love for God is based on conscience: “Wow, I’ve seen God’s grace and His blessings and protection of me. I must repay His love.” This is the most superficial level; it contains some vestiges of love. What kind of love is the most superficial love? It’s relying on your conscience to repay God’s love. So what kind of love is genuine love? Your love for God surpasses your love for those closest to you, for your parents, your children, and your own spouse. It surpasses your love for your material wealth. That kind of love can withstand trials. Love that can withstand trials is the only kind that can gain God’s approval. If your love cannot withstand trials, it is inadequate, it is not up to standard. Your stature is too small. Over the course of Job’s pursuit of life he always felt that his stature was too small and feared that he could not stand firm through trials, so his prayers to God were genuine. How did he pray? “Oh God, what kind of stature do I have in my reverence for You? If trials befall me and You take away everything I have, will my faith in You really be capable of meeting Your requirements and standards? I really don’t know so I dare not boast. I feel that my stature is still limited. God, I beg You to continue to work in me, to increase my faith, to perfect my faith so that it may be in accord with Your standards.” This is what Job said to God in his heart; this is how he often communicated with God. So when the time was right and God allowed trials to befall him, those trials allowed Job’s prayers and pleas to God and his wishes over all those years to be realized. This was God’s blessing for him.

God would perfect Job’s faith and obedience and enable him to bear his testimony and live out a proper human likeness, becoming upright and indomitable to shame Satan and be blessed by God; that was God’s will, and it was what God wanted to complete. To put it another way, what is God’s greatest blessing for mankind? Material blessings? It is perfection and growth in life, it is knowing God, being able to stand witness, and live out a true human likeness. This is God’s greatest blessing for mankind. Did Job gain this? When Job was blessed this way by God, what was his attitude toward the blessings of wealth and material possessions? Those things did not have a place in his heart, so when those trials befell him, Job did not sin with his words, he did not curse his enemies, and he particularly did not complain to God. That’s because those things were not important in Job’s heart. What did he treasure most? Being able to satisfy God with his faith, his obedience, and his reverence. Was bearing testimony for God seen as important in the Age of Law? It was. Those witnesses of Daniel and the testimonies of the prophets and saints hold a very important place for God’s chosen people. Bearing witness for God was incredibly important to them. What does the fact that Job was able to stand witness for God through trials indicate? Job was, one hundred percent, a pursuer of the truth which is the only way he was able to bear such a beautiful, resounding witness in the end, and be perfected by God through trials.

Previous: Chapter 18. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” (III)

Next: Chapter 20. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” (V)

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