We previously wrote about how our lack of trust will lead us to apostasy. In this article, we will focus on the practical aspects of trusting in YHVH aka living by faith. What does it mean to live by faith and how are we to endure when our faith is tested? We shall also share a personal testimony with you.
It is recorded in Habakkuk that the righteous shall live by faith.
4 â€œBehold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.
This verse in quoted by Paul in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. To have faith is to humbly put our trust in YHVH. The proud cannot live by faith, because their security is in themselves.
We are referring to faith and trust here. Just for clarity’s sake, I would like to repeat the difference between faith and trust from the previous article.
To live by faith is easier said than done. We may think we have faith until that faith is tested, and make no mistake YHVH will test our faith.
2 â€œYou shall remember all the way which YHVH your Elohim has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
We can apply this on our own lives. While on this earth, we wander in the wilderness, whilst being tested by YHVH in order for Him to see what is in our hearts.
Testing refines our faith
When faith is tested it is done in the same way gold is refined. Here is an explanation of what happens.
The final stage of gold production —refining — involves removing impurities that remain after the smelting process. Refining companies receive dorÃ© bars, as well as scrap gold, and re-liquefy the metal in a furnace. Workers add borax and soda ash to the molten metal, which separates the pure gold from other precious and less precious metals. A sample is then taken to a lab for tests, or assays, that measure the gold content.1
Consider these scriptures from Peter and James.
1 Peter 1:6â€“7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Y’shua Messiah;
The testing of our faith also produce endurance, having a perfect result, so that we may be perfect and complete.
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Testing of our faith makes us into the people YHVH wants us to be; it makes us grow spiritually. However, this is not done for us; it is done to, ultimately, give glory to YHVH. That is our purpose in life, to give glory to Him, through our lives.
We also know from Scripture; that faith without works is dead. What does this mean?
Faith without works is dead
What are the works associated with faith that James is referring to? To me, it means, firstly, that you cannot say you have faith in YHVH without being obedient to Him. Secondly, it points to how we react when our faith is tested. Do you have any actions associated to your faith or is it just a belief that when tested falls flat? Real faith is works, works of obedience, works of endurance, works of trust. These are all good works which should be associated with our faith. If we don’t see these works, our faith is dead.
17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
We are to walk by faith, not by sight! When we walk by faith, we consider the spiritual instead of the physical.
2 Corinthians 5:7â€“10
7 for we walk by faith, not by sightâ€” 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Master. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Paul said that we are to have as our ambition to be pleasing to YHVH. When are we pleasing to Him?
6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
This word that was translated as faith in all three references is the same Greek word “pisteos” we discussed in the previous article.
Having learned all this, or maybe you knew it, do you know if you really trust YHVH? Have you been tested by Him?
We all have been tested, maybe even without knowing it. We want to share a personal testimony with you. This testimony is to show you from our experience how difficult it is to live by faith and which pitfalls we are to look out for. We are still battling through this, but I am sharing this as it is still fresh in our memory, and hopefully it will help us and you, next time we are tested.
A personal testimony
We have recently been tested, and still are, and I must say I am learning much. This is not our first time of testing, and it will probably not be our last. It is not pleasant and it is not easy, but difficult times are times of intensive training and learning.
As I started studying and writing about trusting YHVH, our test began… Has it happened to you that you learn something and share it with others, just to be tested on that the following day? I have had encounters where I would say to people that we are commanded to give to whoever asks of us, and lo and beholds, I would come across someone begging for money almost the next day. Mostly, someone who would probably not spend that money on food…
Anyway, here is the testimony. Our nine-year-old son had an accident about a year ago. He ran and fell with his mouth on the corner of the coffee table. To make a long story short, one of his permanent front teeth was out, I pushed it back in and prayed that YHVH would restore his tooth. We took him to the dentist immediately, and they were amazed at his recovery in the next few weeks. We thought YHVH healed that tooth miraculously…
We had to go for a check-up the other day, and the dentist saw a little blister above this tooth. She suspected an abscess and took an x-ray. She referred us to a root canal specialist, because she said it looked like the tooth was dead and had an infection in the root canal.
This probably sounds like nothing. What is so terrible about having a root canal, you may think? However, for us, it was devastating, having believed for over a year that a miracle took place, just to find out it may not have been a miracle after all, not in the way we expected it to be. What an immense disappointment! Our trust in YHVH was broken, and we were left feeling disillusioned and letdown, doubting Himâ€¦
Then YHVH showed me that we, in the first place, had no right to a miracle; it was His will for it to be the way it was. We cannot expect miracles; He decides what happens. Neither can we buy ourselves anything by being obedient to Him. Everything He gives us is out of His mercy and grace. He is in control, not us. We are to have our hope in Him, but we have to submit to whatever He decides to do.
However, do not be discouraged by this as YHVH can do miracles and does.
We and many others have experienced miracles. Our two children are both miracles, as we were unable to conceive for 14 years. After many failed medical interventions, we were told by doctors that we would never have children. Nevertheless, five years after this was said, after we chose to follow YHVH, I got pregnant. Nothing is impossible for YHVH!
We find many scriptures confirming it.
14 â€œIs anything too difficult for YHVH? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.â€
17 â€˜Ah YHVH Elohim! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,
26 And looking at them Y’shua said to them, â€œWith people this is impossible, but with Elohim all things are possible.â€
37 â€œFor nothing will be impossible with Elohim.â€
YHVH CAN perform miracles, but He is in control, not us. He does whatever He pleases.
3 But our Elohim is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.
Our story does not have an end yet, but we have left it in YHVH’s hands. Although this experience is nothing compared to what others have been through, it touched us deeply.
Some believers may have sat next to the bed of a loved one, praying for a miracle, which never happened… YHVH allows this to test our faith in Him…
How to endure when we are tested
To endure when we are tested is not easy. How do we do this? I have written down some of the things that aided us and is still helping us. Maybe it will help you too…
Know that it is a test from YHVH
To look at life’s tribulations through spiritual eyes gives us another perspective on it. When you consider it, a test and want to succeed, it may help you.
It will be overwhelming; it will feel as if you can’t bear it. Sometimes it may be too much to bear; that is why we need YHVH to carry us through it. Do not be mistaken in thinking that YHVH will never give you too much to bear. The Scripture teaches that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. YHVH does not tempt (Jam 1 :13),but test.
We need to pray and ask YHVH to help us.Â Without His help, we will not make it. Support and prayer from loved ones will also help.
Encourage and pray for each other
We have many times experienced the effect when we are lifted up in prayer by friends in time of difficulty. Sometimes when we are tested, we find it difficult to pray. These are the times we are to support each other in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
To get a spiritual perspective is most important, but often we need to take ourselves out of our situation and consider the lives of others, who may be in much more challenging situations.
The lives of all the people spoken of in Hebrews 11 also give us some perspective. When confronted with my own tests, I realize why they are called the fathers of our faith. Consider what they have endured and gain perspective from it.
32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. 39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because Elohim had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Y’shua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Y’shua’s life and death provide the ultimate perspective; He endured unto death. We are also to consider His life and be strengthened in knowing that YHVH is in control, and that He has a plan for whatever happens in our lives, even if we don’t understand it.
Endure without sinning
Consider the life of Jobâ€¦We know what happened to him was a test of his faith. YHVH Himself said that Job was a righteous man.
8 YHVH said to Satan, â€œHave you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing Elohim and turning away from evil.â€ 9 Then Satan answered YHVH, â€œDoes Job fear Elohim for nothing? 10 â€œHave You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 â€œBut put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.â€ 12 Then YHVH said to Satan, â€œBehold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.â€ So Satan departed from the presence of YHVH.
Job is indeed a good example for us. He endured everything without sinning.
22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame Elohim.
15 â€œThough He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.
We are not to question YHVH
Although Job kept his faith in YHVH, he questioned Him for which He was rebuked by YHVH (Job 40:6-9). We find two more witnesses that we are not to quarrel with YHVH in Isaiah. To quarrel with YHVH is a form of rebellion.
9 â€œWoe to the one who quarrels with his Makerâ€” An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, â€˜What are you doing?â€™ Or the thing you are making say, â€˜He has no handsâ€™?
24 â€œThey will say of Me, â€˜Only in YHVH are righteousness and strength.â€™ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.
From this, we can deduce that we are not to quarrel with YHVH when we are tested. We are to, humbly, accept and persevere. We are also to remain patient, for at times a promise is made but not fulfilled in the timeframe we had in mindâ€¦
Diligence, trust and patience
At times, we would have to continue to trust, even if we do not see results.
Abraham had to wait for the fulfillment of the promise to him. It took almost ten years from the time the promise was made to Abraham, but he believed YHVH, and it was reckoned him as righteousness (Gen 15:6). He even continued to trust YHVH when he was told to offer that son he waited for so long.
King David is another good example. He continued to trust in YHVH even when his life was in danger. He also had to wait for the fulfillment of the promise made to him that he would be king. When you read through the Tanakh, you find many more examples, some of these summed up by the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 11 and 12. These examples are given to us to show us how we are to trust YHVH.
13 All these people kept on trusting until they died, without receiving what had been promised. They had only seen it and welcomed it from a distance, while acknowledging that they were aliens and temporary residents on the earth.
Those who are diligent, who trusts and are patient will receive what was promised.
11 However, we want each one of you to keep showing the same diligence right up to the end, when your hope will be realized; 12 so that you will not become sluggish, but will be imitators of those who by their trust and patience are receiving what has been promised.
Trusting to the end
Difficult times are ahead of us. Consider every trial you go through training for this.
37 For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
We will always have the choice to trust YHVH or not to. What are the consequences if we choose not to trust YHVH?
The writer of Hebrews wrote, “there is so little time.” He also admonished the reader to live his life by trusting, not to shrink back and be destroyed.
32 But remember the earlier days, when, after you had received the light, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. 33 Sometimes you were publicly disgraced and persecuted, while at other times you stood loyally by those who were treated this way. 34 For you shared the sufferings of those who had been put in prison. Also when your possessions were seized, you accepted it gladly; since you knew that what you possessed was better and would last forever. 35 So donâ€™t throw away that courage of yours, which carries with it such a great reward. 36 For you need to hold out; so that, by having done what God wills, you may receive what he has promised. 37 For â€œThere is so, so little time! The One coming will indeed come, he will not delay. 38 But the person who is righteous will live his life by trusting, and if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.â€ 39 However, we are not the kind who shrink back and are destroyed; on the contrary, we keep trusting and thus preserve our lives!
If we do not learn to trust in YHVH now, how would we trust in Him, when things really get difficult? What would we do?
Work on your relationship with YHVH. Learn to, completely, trust in Him. Not doing that will lead to your destruction. Remember also that answered prayer is grace and mercy from YHVH, that will, without trusting in Him, never become a reality.
16 Therefore, let us confidently approach the throne from which Elohim gives grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.
5 Trust in YHVH with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
… If you will not believe, you surely shall not last.
This is not in any way an exhaustive list of what may help during times of testingâ€¦maybe you can add whatever helped you, to the comments underneath. It will be much appreciated!
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (375â€“376). New York: United Bible Societies.
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