FAITH NOT BEING HOPE
Now we need to ask what faith is not. Faith is not hope. Those who have hope do not necessarily have faith. When you talk to others about overcoming and ask whether they have overcome, you know that they do not have faith if they answer, "I hope I will overcome." This is like talking to someone about salvation. If he tells you that he hopes to be saved, you know that he does not have the faith yet. Some people constantly hope that the Lord will save them, and they constantly hope that the Lord will help them overcome. Some people constantly pray and ask the Lord to make them overcome. Some people constantly wait for the Lord to make them overcome. Some people say that they have surrendered and believed, but they are still waiting to see whether it will work. If they want to wait and see whether this works, it will never work, because faith is not hope.
A brother once asked me whether a person who has overcome should try to constantly remember that the Lord is his victory. He said, "I have over twenty workers working in my factory. I have to supervise them, but I easily forget about things. I am the supervisor over many girls. Every day, from morning until 8:00 in the evening, many things happen to them. How can I always remember that the Lord is my victory? If I cannot remember, am I still victorious?" I asked, "When you are in your factory, do you remember that you have two eyes?" He said, "No." I asked, "When you leave the factory, do you have to touch your eyes with your hands to make sure that they are there?" He said, "Of course not." It does not matter whether he remembered his eyes. The only thing that mattered was whether his eyes were truly there. Thank and praise the Lord, the overcoming life is not a matter of us remembering the Lord, but a matter of the Lord remembering us. It would be great hardship on us if we were required to remember the Lord. Thank and praise the Lord that He remembers us!
FAITH NOT BEING FEELING
Some people are not hoping, praying, or waiting, but they are looking for feelings. A sister said that she has surrendered and believed that the Lord is living in her, but that she dare not say that she has overcome. This is because from the day she received the Lord Jesus as her victory, she never had any feeling about it. Brothers and sisters, believing is having absolute faith in something; feeling does not play any part in this. Feeling has nothing to do with what a picture looks like; it only takes the eyes to see. There may be some occasions when feelings are useful. However, feelings are useless in understanding the things of God. The hand can only touch things and sense their temperature; it cannot see a picture. Spiritual things can only be substantiated by faith; they cannot be substantiated by feelings. We overcome because of the Word of God. God speaks, and it is done. This is not a matter of feeling some kind of strength or experiencing some exuberant sensation for a few days. In order to overcome, there only needs to be one word from the Lord.
This morning, a brother mentioned his problem. He had already surrendered and believed, but he dared not say that he had overcome. Satan was still accusing him. Something happened yesterday which seemed to tell him that he had backslidden. He began to doubt whether his victory was real. I said to him, "Suppose I sold the garden in back of my house to you and wrote a contract for it. If someone else comes and says that the plot of land is his, what will you do?" In such a situation, there are two things that he could do. The first thing would be to believe the contract and believe that everything mentioned in the contract was his. The second would be to believe my word and believe that since my words were true, the other man’s words must be false. The question was whose word he would choose to believe. If he chose to believe that man’s word, he would have to allow the man to remain on the land. But if he chose to believe my words, he should tell the man to leave, and the man would have to leave immediately. God’s promise and His Word are trustworthy. If you say that your temper and pride are real, you make God’s Word unreliable. If you do not have faith, your temper and pride will become real. But if you have faith, all these things will be driven away.
God has given us a covenant which says that meekness is ours, patience is ours, and love, temperance, and everything in Christ are ours. But when you lose your temper again, and your pride, uncleanness, and failures come back, what should you do? If you believe God’s Word, you should say, "God, I thank and praise You because I can be meek, patient, humble, loving, and temperate. I can be all these because Christ is living in me." As long as you grasp hold of God’s Word, the things you fear will go away.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)