XVIII. What Is Following God’s Will and What Is True Testimony?
3. What is someone who follows God’s will? And what is true testimony of faith in God?
Bible Verses for Reference:
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:20–21).
“And He said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him. … And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Gen 22:2–3, 9–10).
“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Rev 14:4–5).
Relevant Words of God:
Jesus was able to complete God’s commission—the work of all mankind’s redemption—because He gave every care to God’s will, without making any plans or arrangements for Himself. So, too, was He the intimate of God—God Himself—which is something you all understand very well. (Actually, He was the God Himself who was testified to by God. I mention this here to use the fact of Jesus to illustrate the issue.) He was able to place God’s management plan at the very center, and always prayed to the heavenly Father and sought the will of the heavenly Father. He prayed and said: “God the Father! Accomplish that which is Your will, and act not according to My desires but according to Your plan. Man may be weak, but why should You care for him? How could man be worthy of Your concern, man who is like an ant in Your hand? In My heart, I wish only to accomplish Your will, and I would that You can do what You would do in Me according to Your own desires.” On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was in agony, as if a knife were being twisted in His heart, yet He had not the slightest intention of going back on His word; always there was a powerful force compelling Him onward to where He would be crucified. Ultimately, He was nailed to the cross and became the likeness of sinful flesh, completing the work of the redemption of mankind. He broke free of the shackles of death and Hades. Before Him, mortality, hell, and Hades lost their power, and were vanquished by Him. He lived for thirty-three years, throughout which He always did His utmost to meet God’s will according to God’s work at the time, never considering His own personal gain or loss, and always thinking of the will of God the Father. Thus, after He was baptized, God said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Because of His service before God that was in harmony with God’s will, God placed the heavy burden of redeeming all mankind upon His shoulders and made Him accomplish it, and He was qualified and entitled to complete this important task.
Excerpted from “How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who serve God should be God’s intimates, they should be pleasing to God, and capable of the utmost loyalty to God. Whether you act in private or in public, you are able to gain the joy of God before God, you are able to stand firm before God, and regardless of how other people treat you, you always walk the path you should walk, and give every care to God’s burden. Only people like this are intimates of God. That God’s intimates are able to serve Him directly is because they have been given God’s great commission and God’s burden, they are able to make God’s heart their own, and take God’s burden as their own, and they give no consideration to their future prospects: Even when they have no prospects, and they stand to gain nothing, they will always believe in God with a loving heart. And so, this kind of person is God’s intimate. God’s intimates are also His confidants; only God’s confidants could share His restlessness, and His wants, and although their flesh is painful and weak, they are able to endure pain and forsake that which they love to satisfy God. God gives more burdens to such people, and that which God desires to do is expressed through these people. Thus, these people are pleasing to God, they are servants of God who are after His own heart, and only people such as this can rule together with God.
Excerpted from “How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love of God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator.
Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
As soon as Peter is mentioned, everybody is full of praise…. He paid close attention not only to eating and drinking My words, but even more to grasping My intentions, and was constantly prudent and cautious in his thoughts, so that he was always keenly astute in his spirit, and hence was able to please Me in everything he did. In ordinary life, he paid close attention to integrating the lessons of those who had failed in the past so as to spur himself on to greater endeavor, deeply afraid that he might fall into the nets of failure. He also paid close attention to assimilating the faith and love of all those who through the ages had loved God. In this way he not only in negative aspects, but much more importantly, in positive aspects sped up the progress of his growth, until he became in My presence the one human being who knew Me best. For this reason, it is not difficult to imagine how he could place all that he had in My hands, no longer being his own master even in eating, dressing, sleeping, or where he stayed, but made satisfying Me in all things the foundation on which he enjoyed My bounty. So many times did I put him under trial, which of course left him half dead, but even in the midst of these hundreds of trials, he never once lost faith in Me or became disillusioned with Me. Even when I said I had already thrown him aside, he did not grow faint of heart or fall into despair, but continued on as before carrying out his principles so as to love Me in a practical way. I told him that, even though he loved Me, I did not commend him but would cast him into Satan’s hands in the end. In the midst of these trials, which did not reach unto his flesh but were trials by means of words, he still prayed to Me: “Oh, God! Among the heavens and earth and the myriad things, is there any man, any creature, or any thing that is not in the hands of You, the Almighty? When You wish to show me mercy, my heart rejoices greatly on account of Your mercy; when You wish to execute judgment on me, unworthy though I may be, I feel all the more the profound mystery of Your deeds, because You are filled with authority and wisdom. Though my flesh may suffer, I am comforted in my spirit. How could I not extol Your wisdom and Your deeds? Even if I die after coming to know You, I would be ever ready and willing. Oh, Almighty One! Surely it is not that You truly do not wish to let me see You? Surely it is not that I am truly unworthy of receiving Your judgment? Can it possibly be that there is something in me that You do not wish to see?” In the midst of these kinds of trials, even though Peter was not able to grasp My intentions accurately, it is evident that he considered it a matter of pride and personal glory to be used by Me (be it only to receive My judgment so that humanity might see My majesty and wrath), and was anything but dejected on account of being put under trial. Because of his loyalty in My presence, and because of My blessings upon him, he has become an exemplar and a model for mankind for thousands of years.
Excerpted from “Chapter 6” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When Job first underwent his trials, he was stripped of all his property and all of his children, but he did not fall down or say anything that was a sin against God as a result. He had overcome the temptations of Satan, and he had overcome his material assets and offspring, and the trial of losing all his worldly possessions, which is to say he was able to obey God’s taking away from him and offer thanks and praise to God because of it. Such was Job’s conduct during Satan’s first temptation, and such was also Job’s testimony during the first trial of God. In the second trial, Satan stretched forth its hand to afflict Job, and although Job experienced pain greater than he had ever felt before, still his testimony was enough to leave people astounded. He used his fortitude, conviction, and obedience to God, as well as his fear of God, to once more defeat Satan, and his conduct and his testimony were once more approved of and favored by God. During this temptation, Job used his actual conduct to proclaim to Satan that the pain of the flesh could not alter his faith and obedience to God or take away his devotion to God and fear of God; he would not renounce God or give up his own perfection and uprightness because he faced death. Job’s determination made a coward of Satan, his faith left Satan timorous and trembling, the force of his life-and-death battle with Satan bred in Satan a deep hatred and resentment, his perfection and uprightness left Satan with nothing more it could do to him, such that Satan abandoned its attacks on him and gave up its accusations against Job before Jehovah God. This meant that Job had overcome the world, he had overcome the flesh, he had overcome Satan, and he had overcome death; he was completely and utterly a man who belonged to God. During these two trials, Job stood firm in his testimony, and actually lived out his perfection and uprightness, and broadened the scope of his living principles of fearing God and shunning evil. Having undergone these two trials, there was born in Job a richer experience, and this experience made him more mature and seasoned, it made him stronger, and of greater conviction, and it made him more confident of the rightness and worthiness of the integrity to which he held firm. Jehovah God’s trials of Job gave him a deep understanding and sense of God’s concern for man, and allowed him to sense the preciousness of God’s love, from which point consideration toward and love for God were added in to his fear of God. The trials of Jehovah God not only didn’t alienate Job from Him, but brought his heart closer to God. When the fleshly pain endured by Job reached its peak, the concern that he felt from Jehovah God gave him no choice but to curse the day of his birth. Such conduct was not long-planned, but a natural revelation of the consideration for and love of God from within his heart, it was a natural revelation that came from his consideration for and love of God. Which is to say, because he loathed himself, and he was unwilling to, and could not stand to torment God, thus his consideration and love reached the point of selflessness. At this time, Job elevated his long-standing adoration and yearning for God and devotion to God to the level of consideration and loving. At the same time, he also elevated his faith and obedience to God and fear of God to the level of consideration and loving. He did not allow himself to do anything that would cause harm to God, he did not permit himself any conduct that would hurt God, and did not allow himself to bring any sorrow, grief, or even unhappiness upon God for his own reasons. In God’s eyes, although Job was still the Job of before, Job’s faith, obedience, and fear of God had brought God complete satisfaction and enjoyment. At this time, Job had attained the perfection that God had expected him to attain, he had become someone truly worthy of being called “perfect and upright” in God’s eyes. His righteous deeds allowed him to overcome Satan and to stand fast in his testimony to God. So, too, did his righteous deeds make him perfect, and allow the value of his life to be elevated, and transcend more than ever, and make him the first person to no longer be attacked and tempted by Satan. Because Job was righteous, he was accused and tempted by Satan; because Job was righteous, he was handed over to Satan; and because Job was righteous, he overcame and defeated Satan, and stood firm in his testimony. Henceforth Job became the first man who would never again be handed over to Satan, he truly came before the throne of God, and lived in the light, under the blessings of God without the spying or ruination of Satan…. He had become a true man in the eyes of God, he had been set free …
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You may say you have been conquered, but can you obey unto death? You must be able to follow to the very end regardless of whether there are any prospects, and you must not lose faith in God regardless of the environment. Ultimately, you must achieve two aspects of testimony: the testimony of Job—obedience unto death—and the testimony of Peter—the supreme love of God. In one respect, you must be like Job: He had no material possessions, and was beset by the pain of the flesh, yet he did not forsake the name of Jehovah. This was Job’s testimony. Peter was able to love God unto death. When he died—when he was put on the cross—he still loved God; he did not think of his own prospects or pursue glorious hopes or extravagant thoughts, and he sought only to love God and to obey all of God’s arrangements. Such is the standard you must achieve before you can be considered to have borne testimony, before you become someone who has been made perfect after having been conquered.
Excerpted from “The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What is exactly true testimony? The testimony spoken of here has two parts: One is testimony of having been conquered, and the other is testimony of having been made perfect (which, naturally, will be the testimony following the greater trials and the tribulations of the future). In other words, if you are able to stand firm during tribulations and trials, then you will have borne the second step of testimony. What is crucial today is the first step of testimony: being able to stand firm during every instance of the trials of chastisement and judgment. This is testimony of being conquered. That is because now is the time of conquest. (You should know that now is the time of God’s work on earth; the incarnate God’s main work on earth is conquering this group of people on earth who follow Him through judgment and chastisement.) Whether or not you are capable of bearing testimony of being conquered not only depends on whether you are able to follow to the very end, but, more importantly, on whether, as you experience each step of God’s work, you are capable of the true understanding of God’s chastisement and judgment, and on whether you truly perceive all of this work. You will not be able to slip through by merely following to the very end. You must be able to willingly surrender during every instance of chastisement and judgment, must be capable of truly understanding each step of work you experience, and must be able to attain knowledge of, and obedience to God’s disposition. This is the ultimate testimony of being conquered, which you are required to bear. Testimony of being conquered primarily refers to your knowledge of the incarnation of God. Crucially, this step of testimony is to the incarnation of God. It matters not what you do or say before the people of the world or those who wield power; what matters above all is whether you are able to obey all of the words from God’s mouth and all of His work. Therefore, this step of testimony is directed at Satan and all enemies of God—the demons and hostiles who do not believe that God will become flesh a second time and come to do even greater work, and furthermore, do not believe in the fact of God’s return to the flesh. In other words, it is directed at all the antichrists—all the enemies who do not believe in the incarnation of God.
The last step of testimony is testimony of whether or not you are able to be made perfect—which is to say, having understood all of the words spoken from the mouth of God incarnate, you come to possess knowledge of God and become certain about Him, you live out all the words from God’s mouth, and achieve the conditions God asks of you—the style of Peter and faith of Job—such that you can obey unto death, give yourself over entirely to Him, and ultimately achieve an image of a person that is up to standard, which means the image of someone who has been conquered and made perfect after experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement. This is the ultimate testimony—it is the testimony that ought to be borne by one who is ultimately made perfect.
Excerpted from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Bearing a resounding witness for God is mainly related to whether you have an understanding of the practical God or not, and whether or not you are able to obey in front of this person who is not only ordinary, but normal, and even obey until the death. If you truly bear a witness for God through this obedience, that means you have been obtained by God. Being able to obey to the death, and being free of complaints in front of Him, not making judgments, not slandering, not having notions, and not having any other intentions—this way God will gain glory. Obedience in front of a regular person who is looked down upon by man and being able to obey to the death without any notions—this is true testimony. The reality that God requires people to enter into is that you are able to obey His words, able to put His words into practice, able to bow down in front of the practical God and know your own corruption, able to open up your heart in front of Him, and in the end be gained by Him through these words of His. God gains glory when these words conquer you and make you fully obedient to Him; through this He shames Satan and completes His work. When you don’t have any notions of the practicality of God incarnate, that is, when you stand firm in this trial, then you bear a good witness.
Excerpted from “Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When God comes, people should enjoy His majesty and His wrath, but no matter how harsh His words are, He comes to save and perfect mankind. As creatures, people should fulfill the duties that they ought to, and stand witness for God in the midst of refinement. In every trial they should uphold the witness that they should bear, and bear a resounding witness for God. This is an overcomer. No matter how God refines you, you remain full of confidence and never lose confidence in God. You do what man should do. This is what God requires of man, and man’s heart should be able to fully return to Him and turn toward Him at every single moment. This is an overcomer. Those who God refers to as overcomers are those who are still able to stand witness, maintain their confidence, and their devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and under siege by Satan, that is, when within the forces of darkness. If you are still able to maintain a heart of purity and your genuine love for God no matter what, you stand witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an overcomer.
Excerpted from “You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. For example, if you are prejudiced toward your brothers and sisters, you will have words that you want to say—words that you feel may be displeasing to God—but if you do not say them, you will feel internal discomfort, and at this moment, a battle will commence within you: “Do I speak or not?” This is the battle. Thus, in everything you encounter there is a battle, and when there is a battle within you, thanks to your actual cooperation and actual suffering, God works within you. Ultimately, you are able to put the matter aside inside of you and the anger is naturally extinguished. Such is the effect of your cooperation with God. Everything people do requires them to pay a certain price in their efforts. Without actual hardship, they cannot satisfy God; they do not even come close to satisfying God, and they are just spouting empty slogans! Can these empty slogans satisfy God? When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony. Though they may seem unimportant from the outside, when these things happen they show whether or not you love God. If you do, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony to Him, and if you have not put the love of Him into practice, this shows you are not someone who puts the truth into practice, that you are without the truth, and without life, that you are chaff! Everything that happens to people happens when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Though nothing major is happening to you at the moment and you do not bear great testimony, every detail of your daily life is a matter of testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony. Although you have no insight and your caliber is poor, through God’s perfection of you, you are able to satisfy Him and be mindful of His will. Others will see what great work He has done in people of the poorest caliber; they will see these people come to know God and become overcomers before Satan, loyal to God to a great extent. None will have more backbone than this group of people. This will be the greatest testimony.
Excerpted from “Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today, you can seek to be made perfect or seek changes in your external humanity and improvements in your caliber, but of principal importance is that you can understand that everything that God does today has meaning and is of benefit: It enables you who live in a land of filth to escape the filth and shake it off, it enables you to overcome the influence of Satan, and leave behind the dark influence of Satan—and by focusing on these things, you are protected in this land of filth. Ultimately, what testimony will you be asked to give? You live in a land of filth but are able to become holy, and no longer be filthy and impure, you live under the domain of Satan but divest yourself of Satan’s influence, and are not possessed or harassed by Satan, and you live in the hands of the Almighty. This is the testimony, and the proof of victory in the battle with Satan. You are able to forsake Satan, what you live out does not reveal Satan, but is that which God required that man attain when He created man: normal humanity, normal rationality, normal insight, normal resolve to love God, and loyalty to God. Such is the testimony borne by a creature of God. You say, “We live in a land of filth, but because of God’s protection, because of His leadership, and because He has conquered us, we have rid ourselves of the influence of Satan. That we can obey today is also the effect of being conquered by God, and it is not because we are good, or because we naturally loved God. It is because God chose us, and predestined us, that we have been conquered today, are able to bear testimony to Him, and can serve Him; so, too, is it because He chose us, and protected us, that we have been saved and delivered from the domain of Satan, and can leave behind the filth and be purified in the nation of the great red dragon.” In addition, what you live out externally will show that you are possessed of normal humanity, there is rationality to what you say, and you live out the likeness of a normal person. When others see you they shouldn’t say, “Is this not the image of the great red dragon? The sisters’ conduct is unbecoming of a sister, the brothers’ conduct is unbecoming of a brother, and they have none of the decorum of the saints.” They shouldn’t say, “No wonder God said they are the descendants of Moab, He was totally right!” If people look at you and say, “Though God said you are the descendants of Moab, what you live out has proven that you have left behind the influence of Satan; although those things are still inside you, you are able to turn your backs on them,” then this shows that you have been completely conquered. You who have been conquered and saved will say, “It’s true that we are the descendants of Moab, but we have been saved by God, and although the descendants of Moab used to be forsaken and cursed, and exiled among Gentiles by the people of Israel, today God has saved us. It’s true that we are the most corrupt of all people—this was decreed by God, this is fact, and it is undeniable by all. But today we have escaped that influence. We detest our ancestor, we are willing to turn our backs on our ancestor, to utterly forsake it and obey all of God’s arrangements, acting according to God’s will and achieving His requirements of us, and attaining the satisfaction of God’s will. Moab betrayed God, he did not act according to God’s will, and he was hated by God. But we should be caring of God’s heart, and today, since we understand God’s will, we cannot betray God, and must renounce our old ancestor!”
Excerpted from “The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
As soon as God becomes the life within people, people become unable to leave God. Is this not the deed of God? There is no greater testimony! God has worked to a certain point; He has said for people to do service, to be chastised or to die, and people have not backed away, which shows that they have been conquered by God. People who have the truth are those who, in their real experiences, can stand firm in their testimony, stand firm in their position, stand on the side of God, without ever retreating, and who can have a proper relationship with people who love God, who, when things happen to them, are able to completely obey God, and can obey God unto death. Your practice and revelations in real life are the testimony of God, they are man’s living out and the testimony of God, and this is truly enjoying God’s love; when you have experienced to this point, the due effect will have been achieved.
Excerpted from “Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light” in The Word Appears in the Flesh