129. The Principles of Distinguishing Between Those Who Follow God and Those Who Follow Man
1. Whether they pray to God, seek the truth, rely on God and look up to God in all things and allow God to hold sway, or whether they always look up to man, heed and follow man;
2. Whether they choose to obey God’s words and words that conform to the truth, or whether they only heed what people say, uphold man in all things and are restrained by man;
3. Whether they only obey the leadership of God and the man used by the Holy Spirit, or whether they are restrained and controlled by false leaders, antichrists and evil people;
4. Whether they focus on accepting the truth, and obey the truth according to God’s words in all things, or whether they submit to man’s status, spiritual doctrines and life philosophies.
Relevant Words of God:
Those who do not understand the truth always follow others: If people say that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, then you, too, say it is the work of the Holy Spirit; if people say it is the work of an evil spirit, then you, too, become doubtful, or also say it is the work of an evil spirit. You always parrot the words of others, and are incapable of distinguishing anything by yourself, nor are you able to think for yourself. This is someone without a position, who is unable to differentiate—such a person is a worthless wretch! Such people always repeat the words of others: Today it is said that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, but chances are one day someone will say it isn’t the work of the Holy Spirit, and nothing but the deeds of man—yet you can’t see through this, and when you witness it said by others, you say the same thing. It is actually the work of the Holy Spirit, but you say it is the work of man; have you not become one of those who blaspheme against the work of the Holy Spirit? In this, have you not opposed God because you cannot differentiate? Who knows, maybe one day some nitwit will appear who says that “this is the work of an evil spirit,” and when you hear these words you’ll be at a loss, and once again bound up by the words of others. Every time someone stirs up disturbance you’re incapable of standing by your position, and this is all because you do not possess the truth. Believing in God and pursuing the knowledge of God is no simple matter. They cannot be achieved simply by gathering together and listening to preaching, and you cannot be perfected by passion alone. You must experience, and know, and be principled in your actions, and gain the work of the Holy Spirit.
from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people believe in God—but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter those who preach the true way, some of them would say, “We have to consult him about our belief in God.” See how they require someone’s consent to believe in God; is that not a problem? ...
No matter whether previously you followed someone else or you didn’t satisfy the will of God, you must come before God in this stage. If in this stage you continue to follow someone on the basis of experiencing this stage of work, then you will be considered unforgivable, and will end up just like Paul.
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
7. In work and matters of the church, apart from obeying God, in everything you should follow the instructions of the man who is used by the Holy Spirit. Even the slightest infraction is unacceptable. You must be absolute in your compliance, and must not analyze right or wrong; what’s right or wrong has nothing to do with you. You must only concern yourself with total obedience.
8. People who believe in God should obey God and worship Him. You should not exalt or look up to any person; you ought not to give first place to God, second place to the people you look up to, and third place to yourself. No person should hold a place in your heart, and you should not consider people—particularly those you venerate—to be on a par with God, to be His equal. This is intolerable to God.
from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
It would be best for those people who say they follow God to open their eyes and take a good look to see exactly who they believe in: Is it really God that you believe in, or Satan? If you know that what you believe in is not God but your own idols, then you had best not say you are a believer. If you really do not know who you believe in then, again, you had best not say you are a believer. To say that would be blasphemy! No one is forcing you to believe in God. Do not say you believe in Me, as I heard enough of those words long ago and I do not wish to hear them again, because what you believe in are the idols in your hearts and the local villainous snakes among you. Those who shake their heads when they hear the truth, who smile widely when they hear talk of death are the offspring of Satan, and they are all objects to be eliminated. There exist in the church many people who have no discernment, and when something deceptive happens they just stand by Satan’s side. When they are called Satan’s lackeys they feel so wronged. And someone might say they have no discernment, but they always stand on the side without truth. There has not been a single critical time when they have stood on the side of truth, not a single time when they have stood up and argued for the truth, so are they really without discernment? Why do they always stand by Satan’s side? Why do they never say one word that is fair or reasonable for the truth? Is this situation really created by their momentary confusion? The less discernment someone has, the less able they are to stand on the side of truth. What does this show? Does it not show that those without discernment love evil? Does it not show that those without discernment are the loyal offspring of Satan? Why is it that they are always able to stand on the side of Satan and speak the same language as it? Their every word and deed, and their expressions prove amply that they are not any kind of lover of the truth, but rather that they are people who detest the truth. That they can stand on the side of Satan proves amply that Satan really loves these petty devils who fight for Satan’s sake all their lives. Are all these facts not abundantly clear? If you truly are someone who loves the truth, then why can’t you have any regard for those who practice the truth, and why do you immediately follow those who do not practice the truth the minute they have a slight change of countenance? What kind of problem is this?
from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” 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 sects 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 sects. 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, their reputation, their standing in the hearts of all the Satans, their influence, and their authority, yet you continue to have an attitude of resistance and refusal 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
Peter sought to live out the image of one who loves God, to be someone who obeyed God, to be someone who accepted dealing and pruning, and to be someone who fulfilled his duty as a creature of God. He was able to devote himself to God, to put the entirety of himself in the hands of God, and obey Him until death. That was what he resolved to do and, furthermore, that was what he achieved. … Although natural revelations did occur after Peter began to follow Jesus, in nature he was, from the very beginning, someone who was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit and seek after Christ. His obedience of the Holy Spirit was pure: He did not seek fame and fortune, but was instead motivated by obedience to the truth.
Paul did not know his own substance or corruption, much less did he know his own disobedience. He never mentioned his despicable defiance of Christ, nor was he overly regretful. He only offered a brief explanation, and, deep down in his heart, did not completely submit to God. … He was not someone who was filled with love and reverence for Jesus Christ, nor was he someone who was adept at seeking the truth, much less was he someone who sought the mystery of the incarnation. He was merely someone who was skilled in sophistry, and who would not yield to any who were higher than him or who were possessed of the truth. He envied people or truths that were in contrast to him, or in enmity with him, preferring those gifted people who presented a great image and possessed profound knowledge. He did not like interacting with poor people who sought the true way and cared for nothing but the truth, and instead concerned himself with senior figures from religious organizations who only spoke of doctrines, and were possessed of abundant knowledge. He had no love of the new work of the Holy Spirit, and cared not for the movement of the new work of the Holy Spirit. Instead, he favored those regulations and doctrines that were higher than general truths. In his innate essence and the entirety of what he sought, he does not deserve to be called a Christian who pursued the truth, much less a faithful servant in the house of God….
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
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 the path to experiencing the life amid 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 meaning, 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.
What does it mean to follow people? Following people means one follows the workers or leaders that they worship. God does not have much of a place in their hearts; they have merely hung up a sign saying they believe in God, and in everything they do they imitate or copy people. Particularly when it’s something major, they let people decide, they let people command their fate, they themselves do not search for God’s meaning, and they are unable to discern words that are spoken by people. As long as what they hear sounds reasonable, then regardless of whether it conforms with the truth they still accept it and listen to it. These are the manifestations of following people. Such people’s belief in God has no principles, there is no truth to their actions, they listen to whoever speaks sense, and even if their idols take the wrong path, they follow them to the very end. If God condemns their idols, then they will have conceptions toward God, and cling tightly to their idols. Their reasons are that “we should listen to whoever is in charge of us; the nearer power is better than the higher power.” This is wretched logic, pure and simple, but such is the silliness of those who follow people.
from “Differentiating Between Following God and Following People” in The Fellowship From the Above