Chapter 6 Several Forms of Differentiation That You Should Possess in Your Belief in God
5. The Difference Between Following God and Following People
Relevant Words of God:
Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing entry into life or the fulfillment of God’s will, everything should be centered around the words of God today. If what you commune and pursue are not centered around the words of God today, then you are a stranger to the words of God, and totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit.
from “Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of the Holy Spirit changes from day to day, rising higher with each step; the revelation of tomorrow is even higher than today’s, step by step climbing ever higher. Such is the work by which God perfects man. If man cannot keep pace, then he may be left behind at any time. If man does not have an obedient heart, then he cannot follow to the end. The former age has passed; this is a new age. And in a new age, new work must be done. Particularly in the final age in which man will be perfected, God will perform new work ever more quickly. Therefore, without obedience in his heart, man will find it difficult to follow the footsteps of God. God does not abide by any rules, nor does He treat any stage of His work as unchanging. Rather, the work He does is ever newer and ever higher. His work becomes more and more practical with each step, more and more in line with the actual needs of man. Only after man experiences this kind of work can he attain the final transformation of his disposition. … The work done by God differs from period to period. If you show great obedience in one phase, yet in the next phase show less or none at all, then God shall desert you. If you keep pace with God as He ascends this step, then you must continue to keep pace when He ascends the next. Only then are you one who is obedient to the Holy Spirit. Since you believe in God, you must remain constant in your obedience. You cannot simply obey when you please and disobey when you do not. This kind of obedience does not meet with God’s approval. If you cannot keep pace with the new work I fellowship and continue to hold on to the former sayings, then how can there be progress in your life? God’s work is to supply you through His words. When you obey and accept His words, then the Holy Spirit shall surely work in you. The Holy Spirit works exactly in the way I speak. Do as I have said, and the Holy Spirit will promptly work in you.
from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do not think that following God is so easy. The key is that you must know Him, you must know His work, and you must have the will to endure hardship for Him, have the will to sacrifice your life for Him, and have the will to be perfected by Him. This is the vision that you should have. It will not do if you are always thinking of enjoying grace! Do not suppose that God is there just for people’s enjoyment, and to bestow grace upon people. You thought wrong! If one cannot risk their life to follow, if one cannot abandon every worldly possession to follow, then they will absolutely not be able to follow to the finish!
from “You Must Understand the Work; Don’t Follow Confusedly!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people do not rejoice in the truth, much less judgment. Rather, they rejoice in power and riches; such people are deemed to be snobs. They exclusively seek out those denominations in the world with influence and those pastors and teachers coming from seminaries. Despite having accepted the way of truth, they remain skeptical and are unable to devote themselves fully. They speak of sacrificing for God, but their eyes are focused on the great pastors and teachers, and Christ is brushed aside. Their hearts are filled with fame, fortune, and glory. They do not believe at all that such a meager man is capable of conquering so many, that one so unremarkable is capable of perfecting people. They do not believe at all that these nobodies among the dust and dunghills are the people chosen by God. They believe that if such people were the objects of God’s salvation, then heaven and earth would be turned upside down and all men would laugh their heads off. They believe that if God chose such nobodies to be perfected, then those great men would become God Himself. Their perspectives are tainted with unbelief; indeed, far from unbelief, they are preposterous beasts. For they only value position, prestige, and power; what they hold in high regard are large groups and denominations. They have no regard at all for those led by Christ; they are simply traitors who have turned their backs on Christ, on truth, and on life.
What you admire is not the humility of Christ, but those false shepherds of prominent standing. You do not love the loveliness or wisdom of Christ, but those wantons who associate with the vile world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but admire those corpses that seize offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but gladly go into the arms of those reckless antichrists though they supply to you only flesh, only letters, and only control. Even now your heart still turns toward them, toward their reputation, toward their standing in the hearts of all the Satans, and toward their influence and authority. And yet you continue to hold an attitude of resisting and refusing to accept the work of Christ. This is why I say that you do not have the faith of acknowledging Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is entirely because you were forced. In your heart forever tower many lofty images; you cannot forget their every word and deed, nor their influential words and hands. They are, in your heart, forever supreme and forever heroes. But this is not so for the Christ of today. He is forever insignificant in your heart and forever undeserving of reverence. For He is far too ordinary, has far too little influence, and is far from lofty.
from “Are You a True Believer of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
There are some people who are often deceived by those who outwardly seem spiritual, seem noble, seem to have lofty images. As for those people who can speak of letters and doctrines, and whose speech and actions appear worthy of admiration, their admirers have never looked at the essence of their actions, the principles behind their deeds, what their goals are. And they have never looked at whether these people truly obey God, and whether or not they are someone who truly fears God and shuns evil. They have never discerned the substance of the humanity of these people. Rather, from the first step of getting acquainted, bit by bit, they come to admire these people, venerate these people, and in the end these people become their idols. Moreover, in some people’s minds, the idols who they worship, who they believe can abandon their families and jobs, and pay the price on the surface—these idols are the ones who are really satisfying God, the ones who can really receive a good outcome and a good destination. In their minds, these idols are the people who God praises.
from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Result of His Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
Following God means to obey God in everything, to submit to all arrangements of God, to act according to God’s words, and to accept everything that comes from God. Those who believe in God should follow God, but the majority of people follow people without knowing it. This is a both absurd and lamentable thing. Strictly speaking, people will believe in whomever they follow. Though some people nominally believe in God, there is no God in their hearts. What their hearts worship is the person who is leading them. When people only obey the leader, even to the point of refusing God’s arrangement, this is precisely a manifestation of believing in God but following people. Before obtaining truth, people believe in this muddleheaded way, and even do not know what following God is at all. They don’t know how to distinguish between what is following God, and what is following people. Whoever talks the best talk, whoever talks the loftiest, they call them daddy or call them mommy. To them, whoever has milk is their mother, and whoever has power is their own father. This is how pitiful people can be. It can be said that most people have this situation to varying degrees.
What does it mean to follow God? And how do you put it into practice? Following God doesn’t just involve praying to God and praising God; what’s most important is to eat and drink the words of God and live according to the words of God, to act according to the truth, to find a path of life experience in the words of God, to accept God’s commission, to perform every one of your duties properly, and to walk the path before you as guided by the Holy Spirit. In particular, at critical junctures, when major problems befall you, there is an even greater need to search for God’s intentions, to be wary of being tricked by man’s doctrines, and to not fall under anyone’s control. “That which comes from God I obey and follow, but if it comes from the will of man I staunchly reject it; when what is preached by leaders or workers is in conflict with the arrangements of God, then I absolutely follow God and reject people. If it is in complete accord with the arrangements and will of God, then I can listen to it.” People who practice in this way are those who follow God.
And what does it mean to follow people? It means that a person follows the one whom he worships. In his heart, God does not have much status; he simply wears the sign of being a believer in God. All that he does is imitate people and follow their example. Especially on major affairs, he lets people make the decisions, and lets people dictate his fate. He himself does not seek God’s wishes, and he does not apply discernment to what people say. As long as what they say seems reasonable, regardless of whether what they say conforms to truth, he accepts it all and obeys it. This is the behavior of a follower of men. His faith in God is unprincipled, and there is no truth in his handling of affairs. He complies with whomever speaks reasonably. Were his idol to take a wrong path, he would follow to the end. If God condemned his idol, he would have a notion about God, holding tightly to his idol. His reason is that he should obey whomever is in charge of him. A high official is no match for a hands-on manager. This is simply the logic of a fool. Those who follow man really are this bewildered. People who follow men have no place for God in their heart and have no truth, and they are idolatrous, have been misled by other people and are not true believers in God. Only followers of God truly believe in God.
from The Fellowship From the Above
Many people believe in God but do not know what it means to obey God, and think that listening to their leaders in all things is the same as obeying God. Such a view is totally absurd, because the source of their obedience is wrong. They consider listening to their leaders to be obeying God. To believe in God according to this view is to believe in God in name only; in reality, these people believe in people. …
When we believe in God, God should hold a leading position in our hearts, we should surrender control to God in all matters, we should search for God’s intentions in everything, our actions should be in accordance with God’s words, and in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and we should obey all that comes from God. If you listen to people, then this proves that God has no place in your heart, that only people have a place in your heart. Nothing is more important for people than to pursue the truth and understand God’s will. If you do not focus on seeking God’s intentions and grasping God’s will, then yours is not true obedience. No matter how right their words sound, if you always listen to people, then in substance you are obeying people—which is not at all the same as obeying God. In fact, if those who believe in God are able to understand God’s intentions directly from His words, if they can find their own path to practice in His words, and they commune the truth, and understand the truth, in His words, after which they put it into practice, and if at the key moment, they can pray more, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and obey the intentions of the Holy Spirit, this is truly obeying God. Those who obey God search for the path in God’s words, their problems are resolved in God’s words, and they act amid the guidance of the Holy Spirit; this is truly obeying God. Those who listen to their leaders in everything are sure to have strayed far from God in their hearts. What’s more, they are not at peace before God, they are not those who live before God and seek the truth, they have no relationship with God, and the principle behind their actions is to listen to whoever says the right things, and as long as their leader says something, they will obey. Such practice is ridiculous. They have neither the truth nor the ability to differentiate, and can only establish what is right or wrong according to their conceptions or brains, so how can they know whether it conforms to the truth? If they believe in God according to such a view, then in their whole life they will not understand the truth or come to know God. Such a form of belief can be said to be believing in their own brain and walking their own path, and they bear no relation to the practical God.
from The Fellowship From the Above