Only Obedience to Christ Is True Obedience to God
What Must You Possess in Order to Achieve Absolute Obedience to Christ?
What must you possess in order to achieve absolute obedience to Christ? If you are able to obey Christ and to unconditionally obey Christ regardless of whether or not everything He says and does conforms to your conceptions, this is what it means to have absolute obedience to Christ. For example, when planting a tree, people tell you to bury the roots in the ground, but what if Christ were to say: “No, plant the tip of the tree in the ground and let the roots grow upward.” Would you be able to obey this? Take another example. If I were to say to you right now: “Take this pen and write with the tip of the pen pointing upward,” would you be able to comply with this? You wouldn’t be able to practice this. It is not enough to admit this only doctrinally; you need to be able to practice it. So when you practice you will say: “When I write like this there are no words. Even though there are no words, I will write, because this is what the above just told me.” “If Christ wants me to plant a tree upside down I will plant it that way. Even though the tree may die, I am obeying Christ. It is not up to me whether the tree will live or die, but it is up to me whether or not I obey Christ.” Is this kind of understanding correct? It is correct. If you try to reason with Christ and say: “The tree cannot live if it is planted that way, so, I cannot plant it that way,” this is being disobedient, for you are still trying to reason with God. Your reasoning is correct, but you are not being obedient. If you are not being obedient then what use is it even though your reasoning is correct? Do you want to be obedient or do you want your reasoning? So, Christ intentionally uses things that do not conform to our conceptions to reveal us, and to test whether or not we really are obedient. But we are always trying to argue, we always feel that we understand things better than Christ, that Christ seemingly does not understand things, and that Christ makes irrational demands. I just asked you all to write words with the opposite end of your pens, but you could not do so, and you said: “That’s not right, we can’t write with the pen that way, you must be crazy.” I might be crazy, but you were being disobedient. You might be sane but you were not doing what you were told. You might be smarter than me but you were being disobedient. Isn’t this the key point of the issue? The issue isn’t whether or not you are able to write things down, and it’s not whether or not the tree you plant will live; rather, it’s to test you, it’s to reveal whether or not you can be obedient. For instance, if Christ were to say to a woman who holds her child: “Hold your kid upside down,” and she said: “No, I cannot hold my child that way; if I hold my child that way that will kill it,” does she understand that that it may kill her child is another matter, but the key point here is that she is being disobedient? In such instances, God is not looking at whether or not your reasoning is correct, but rather, He is looking at whether or not you are obedient. If everything that Christ says and does conformed to man’s conceptions and people could all obey it, then could this show if people are truly obedient? If you didn’t know how to plant a tree and Christ told you to plant one with the roots facing down and you said, “That makes sense, I will obey this command,” would this be true obedience? This is not enough evidence to prove that you are someone who is truly obedient to Christ. If Christ told you to plant the tree with the roots facing up and the treetop pointing down and you really followed this, then that would prove that you are truly obedient. This is the best kind of proof. Rice is edible only when it is cooked according to people’s conceptions. If Christ were to say: “Rice does not need to be cooked, and when it is half-cooked you can eat it,” this would also be hard to obey, right? If you cannot obey this what does that show? It shows that you cannot absolutely obey Christ, that you only have a relative obedience to Christ, that your obedience to Christ is conditional, that you cannot be unconditionally obedient to Christ, and that your obedience to Him is conditional, relative, and selective. Can this kind of obedience show that you are truly obedient to God? Why can’t it? Because you are not able to be absolutely obedient to Christ. Some people will say: “Must Christ demand that we do things that go against their laws? Is God that kind of God?” This is a good question. Do you really think that Christ is such an unreasonable Christ? Does Christ really demand such things of people? He does not. So why is it that the examples we just used were ones about making people do things that go against their conceptions? What is the significance of this? This is to illustrate that man does not have true knowledge of God, so many of the things that God does cannot be comprehended or understood by man, and in these situations, man is unable to obey God. For example, when someone is asked to accept that the crucified Jesus is the Lord and God, is this easy to accept? It is not. For they will think “Anyone who was nailed to a cross was a criminal. Only people that had committed something punishable by death would be nailed to a cross, so if you ask me to obey the Christ who was nailed to the cross, this really is forcing me to do something difficult, and it really doesn’t conform to my conceptions.” So, when people come across this kind of thing they will not submit to it. If someone has unconditional obedience to God, if they are able to absolutely obey God, and regardless of whether or not they are able to comprehend or understand whatever God does, and regardless of whether or not it conforms to their conceptions, if they are always able to obey it, so that from now on no matter what God does they will always be able to obey it, then hasn’t this person truly achieved salvation? Now man is very insignificant, he is unable to understand all that God does, and he is unable to have clear knowledge of it, and as a result, God must train people so that they can attain a certain amount of knowledge of God that allows them to see that regardless of whether or not it conforms to their conceptions, all that God does is the truth and will always be the truth, and that this will always be so. In this way, their formula for obedience will change into this: Everything that God does, regardless of whether or not man understands it or comprehends it, regardless of how much it does not conform to man’s conceptions, it is guaranteed to be the truth, and man must obey it, and obey it absolutely. If someone’s formula for obedience has gone through this kind of change it proves that he has become someone who is truly obedient to God. What is your formula for obedience like right now? “So long as all that God says and all that God does conform to my conceptions and imagination and I think they are correct, I will obey.” This is your formula, isn’t it? Just this one formula reveals you, revealing you as someone who is not truly obedient to God. If your formula for obedience, your principle for obedience, is that “Whatever God does is the truth regardless of how it goes against the conceptions of man, and I must obey it,” and if you are able to do this, then that shows that you are someone who is truly obedient to God. What are your principles for obedience currently? If Christ were to ask you to die, would you be able to obey? If Christ were to say you are a devil, how would you react? If Christ were to say you don’t deserve to live, would you be able to obey this? How would you deal with this? For example, if Christ were to say you are indeed a devil, what would you do? Would you continue following Christ? Would you still be able to believe in Christ? Would you be able to accept these words in your heart? If Christ were to say: “No matter how you believe in God, there’s no way you can be saved, so you are better off going back to the world as soon as possible,” and then after hearing this, you responded: “I will comply, I will hurry back to the world,” would this be obedience? This would not be obedience. If Christ were to tell you that you are a devil, and asked you to return quickly to the world, then what would be your next move? If you were thin-skinned then you might say: “Christ told me I am a satanic devil, can I still be saved? I might as well just be a devil until the very end.” Is this kind of statement correct or incorrect? This kind of statement is incorrect. If you truly have a conscience, and if you truly have reason, then this is what you ought to say: “Thank You, God, You have exposed my nature. I am indeed a satanic devil, but still, I will continue to pursue the truth, because You have given me an opportunity, and I need to properly pursue the truth and strive to live like a human in order to bring comfort to God and satisfy God.” These are things that people with reason and a conscience would say. If you are someone without reason and without a conscience, you would say something like: “Christ has condemned me, so I will not believe in God anymore.” If this is what you say then you really are beyond redemption. If Christ were to say: “You are good-looking, and you seem like a human, but why is it that you are the devil on the inside? How is it that you only do devilish things? How come you can’t do things that humans do?” after hearing these words would you feel good or bad? Would you still believe in God or not? Many long-term believers have had this kind of experience. They received this kind of dealing from God. This is what God said, which is true, and yet they still followed Him. During the great tribulation in 1996, they still searched for God and followed God. In the end, God was moved, and said: “In the past I have dealt with them, I have pruned them, and I have even expelled them, but now during the great tribulation they are still following Me. They have some faith in Me.” In the end the house of God admitted them again. God dealt with them, pruned them and exposed them in that way, and they still followed Him; this moved God, and His heart was very consoled. If after God had dealt with and exposed them in that way and they had run away, then His heart would not have been consoled. So, if a man does not possess the truth, and if he is always using his own imagination and his own thinking to evaluate the work of God, then he will be one who most easily resists God and most easily betrays God. This is the fact.
What Must We Pursue in Order to Achieve True Obedience to God
How can we achieve true obedience to God? This is a most practical question. To achieve true obedience to God, we must first know the substance of our own nature, and we must know whether or not our own conceptions and imagination are really the truth. Only when we have solved these two issues will we be able to truly deny ourselves, and then be able to rebel against ourselves. If we cannot solve these two issues, then there will be no way for us to deny ourselves or rebel against ourselves. Those who are truly able to rebel against themselves always feel that their own ideas may not be right, and they always feel that their own understanding and their own decisions may be unreliable, so, they always will search for others to fellowship with, and they always will pray to God to seek the truth. They will still pray to God several times even for things that they have decided themselves, and they will still seek out their brothers and sisters for verification. These people are ones who are truly able to rebel against themselves. The primary expression of those who are truly able to rebel against themselves is that they do not believe in themselves, and they are able to deny themselves in all things and are able to set aside their own will and seek the truth. It is much easier for such people to obey God, and they have no difficulty with this. The biggest barrier that people face when it comes to obeying God is themselves. If you can first deny your own plans, your own ideas and your own beliefs, and then search for the truth and for confirmation, and when you are certain how to act in accordance with the truth, you put it into practice, then you are someone who is able to obey God. Whenever you are going to do something you must consider whether you are able to say “It is guaranteed that what I’m going to do is in accordance with the truth. One hundred years from now, whoever is looking back on this will think that is so.” You should only act when you are certain of this. If you do something today and some people support you, it may be because their stature is small and they have no discernment of the thing you do. A day may come when they have some understanding of the truth and can discern it and they will tell you that what you did was not correct; then what will you do with your reputation? Who will make up for the losses that people have suffered? What will you use to make up for these losses? So, you should give yourselves some space to back off in the things you do not thoroughly understand. It’s best to do them with reverence for God in your heart and never regret what you have done. It’s best that not only will you not have regrets, you will also need to be sure that it will withstand the examination of others. Regardless of whether they are involved in what you are doing or they are just observers, after several decades they will still feel that what you did conforms to the truth, that it conforms to the word of God, and that it is entirely correct. This is the kind of certainty that you ought to have. If the things that you do cannot bear the test of time, then today most people might acknowledge that what you did was right, but when tomorrow or the day after comes, many of these people will turn against you. Isn’t this troublesome? So, you must search for the truth and practice obedience to God in all things, and you cannot just do whatever you please, because people that do whatever they please are absolutely not people who are obedient to God. With regard to all the things that you are to do and the duties that you are to perform, be sure that they are done in accordance with the word of God and are approved and recognized by a majority of brothers and sisters who understand the truth; only then can you do them. In addition, if you truly have stature, you can inspect and reflect upon yourself through the work of the Holy Spirit and determine whether what you have done is in accordance with God’s will; if this is what you put into practice, then you are someone who is obedient to God. If you do not have this kind of assurance in the things that you do, then you do most of them based on your own ideas, you do not have the confirmation of the work of the Holy Spirit, and in your heart you know that they are tainted by your motivations and objectives. Even if people who have some understanding of the truth do not discover that today, a day will come when they will be able to denounce you for your rebellion and resistance against God. Doesn’t this show that you are still a very troublesome person? Now people are very inexperienced and immature in the things they do, but it is not okay to act blindly. If you blindly do some things, there will not be as many people who will suffer losses, but if I were to blindly do some things, then how many people would be affected? We must consider the consequences before we act. So, you must be cautious and steady in how you do things. Everything you do should have the confirmation of the Holy Spirit and the recognition of your brothers and sisters, and in anything you do, you cannot have your own motivations and objectives, you must always give thought to your brothers’ and sisters’ entry into life, and everything that you bring about must benefit your brothers and sisters. You should give them no trouble and no pain. Only if you do so will you be acting in a way that conforms to God’s will. If everything done by someone who serves as a leader is for the sake of our brothers and sisters, our brothers and sisters will be able to witness this, and in their hearts they will be able to confirm that when doing things, the leader truly considers them in all respects, truly gives thought to their entry into life and entry into the truth in all respects, and is trying to bring them into the presence of God and into the word of God. Our brothers and sisters would say: “He has done so many things for our sake, he does not lack concern for us, and he has said so much for our sake. He does not say a single thing for his own benefit, status or reputation, and he speaks only to bear witness to God, to exalt God, to allow us to enter into life, and to protect our interests.” Wouldn’t you say that this kind of person possesses the truth? Wouldn’t you say that they are obedient? All of the work they do is for the sake of God, they speak to bear witness to God, and everything they say and do benefits and brings edification to our brothers and sisters. The service of this kind of person conforms to God’s will, and you could say that all of their conduct and deeds stem from obedience to God. For whose sake are all of your conduct and deeds? Are they for the sake of yourself, or are they for the sake of satisfying God? Do you speak for yourself or do you speak to bear witness to God? This is what is able to reveal you the most. You always speak out for your own status and reputation. Why don’t you speak out for Christ when there are so many people resisting Christ, judging Christ and misunderstanding Christ? You ought to speak something for Christ. Christ has unspeakable sufferings and earnest intentions that most of God’s chosen people do not understand. If you speak more about these things for them to know Christ’s love, His earnest intentions, and His unspeakable sufferings so that they can understand and care about God’s heart, if you are able to achieve these effects through the words that you speak, then you are obedient to God; only this is an expression of your love of God. If you do not say many words for Christ, but you say many things for yourself, doesn’t that mean that you are a selfish and contemptible person? So many people have notions and misunderstandings about Christ, so why don’t we fellowship more about Christ’s love, Christ’s work, and all of the truths expressed by Christ so that we can reduce people’s notions about God within them and eliminate the misunderstandings that people have about God, allowing them to be able to truly love God and truly obey God? Isn’t this the most meaningful work that we can do? Isn’t this obedience to God? Why is it that you do not put this into practice? You always speak out for your own status and reputation. You do not even hesitate to say such things over many gatherings, and it seems that you only feel satisfied and content when all brothers and sisters listen to you and are able to have absolute obedience to you. What kind of disposition is this? You do not say a single word when so many people have notions and misunderstandings about God—you do not care about these things, but if someone has notions or misunderstandings about you, this will be an issue that you must resolve. So who are you doing work for? Who are you serving? What’s the point of serving your own lousy status? Who gave you your status? Are you afraid that someone else will take it away from you? If it was given by God then nobody could take it. If it was not given by God then you shouldn’t have accepted it. It’s useless. There are so many people that judge me behind my back, and some people make up rumors about me, but I don’t pay attention to it, and I don’t let it make me angry. Why do you all think this is? Because I am not used by man, I was not appointed by man, and it is God who uses me. If you have anything to say about me, if you have a poor opinion of and any notions about me, go discuss it with God. As for me, now I must perform my duties properly, I must bring God’s chosen people before God, and I must bring God’s chosen people into the word of God. My duty is to help all of God’s chosen people to have the knowledge of Him and to enter onto the right track of believing in God. So, when I have finished performing my duties, let anyone who is willing to comment on this say what they want, they can treat me however they want, and I will submit to God’s orchestration. Those who serve God must be obedient to Christ. They must become people who are obedient to Christ, being able to care for Christ’s heart, to worry about all that Christ worries about and think about all the things that Christ thinks about, to be attentive to Christ’s burden, and to carry out their work and perform their duties based on Christ’s requirements. Only if they do so are they truly obedient to Christ. If Christ does not acknowledge all the work that you do and says to you, “What you are doing is not the work that I entrusted to you, nor does it conform to My requirements of man. Everything you do is in order to satisfy yourself, and it is all for your own advantage,” then you are an enemy of Christ. Christ has entrusted the work of leading God’s chosen people to enter onto the right track of believing in God and enter into the reality of the word of God—this duty—to the leaders at every level for them to complete it. As a leader, you need to care for Christ’s heart and obey Christ’s requirements to satisfy Christ. Only if you do so, you are someone who obeys Christ. If you always ignore your proper duty, if everything you do isn’t what Christ has required you to do, then you are going contrary to Christ’s will and disrupting God’s work. Obeying Christ is no simple matter, and we must pray to God, eat and drink the word of God and seek out the truth every day in order to eventually achieve the true knowledge of Christ; once we have attained the true knowledge of Christ through our experiences, we will be sure that Christ is the truth, the way and the life; when, in our hearts, we are certain that Christ is indeed the truth, the way and the life, that everything that Christ does is an expression of the truth, and that it is of real significance, then at that time our obedience to Christ will be true, and our resolution to obey Christ will be greater. In our experiences, when we are able to exalt Christ and bear witness to Christ in all things, we will be even more truly obedient to Christ. At that time, everything we do will be done in order to obey Christ, to satisfy Christ, and to allow people to know Christ, and in that way we will be people who are truly obedient to Christ.