46. The Real Meaning of Rebellion Against God
Zhang Jun Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
In the past, I believed that “rebellion against God” meant betraying God, leaving the church, or walking away from one’s duty. I thought these behaviors constituted rebellion. Therefore, whenever I heard of people engaging in such behaviors, I would remind myself that I should not rebel against God as they did. Furthermore, I was cautious in all my endeavors and abided by all the tasks assigned to me by the church. I neither retreated from my duty when I was dealt with and pruned nor withdrew from the church when I was tried, regardless of the hardship. Thus, I believed that I never rebelled against God. I felt that I had already acquired some stature and was confident that I would follow God until the end and ultimately achieve salvation.
One day during spiritual cultivation, I read this in the man’s fellowship: “There are several different types of rebellion against God. One type of rebellion is going against His will or going against His words. Another type is having an arrogant disposition, lacking God in one’s heart, and thus boasting and being hostile to God; this is the rebellion of resistance to God. There is one more type, which is the rebellion of betraying and forsaking God. … The rebellious behaviors that we frequently speak of in fellowship refer primarily to the first two types. This is because those who betray and forsake God are not within the scope of God’s salvation, and the rebellious behaviors written about in the word of God are the first two types; the third type of rebellion is not mentioned. We must not misunderstand or misinterpret God’s intentions, believing that only betraying or forsaking Him can be called rebelling against God, as if going against His word or having an arrogant disposition weren’t a type of rebellion. This is such a simplistic understanding! So what really is rebellion? How should people recognize it? According to what’s said in the word of God, all things that are incompatible with God are His enemy, and all things that go against God’s words are a rebellion against His words. Rebelling against His words is rebelling against Him; acting as His enemy is rebelling against Him. It seems that these two principles are not in line with human notions, but the essence of the problem truly is just that.” After reading the communion, I realized that rebelling against God was not simply betraying Him, leaving the church, or walking away from one’s duties. Rather, violating God’s will or His word, and opposing Him are also forms of rebellion. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I began to reflect on my actions. God wills us to pursue truth and change in disposition as we fulfill our duties. However, I’ve focused on work and gaining higher status within the church when fulfilling my duty. God asks that we perform our duties loyally, follow His will when facing difficulties, and forsake the flesh to practice the truth. However, I always seek the way that requires the least effort in fulfilling my duty, deceiving God with my indolence. I only care for my flesh in times of hardship, complaining of difficulty and slacking off in my duty. I have even thought of giving up entirely as a means of escaping my duties. God demands absolute loyalty and complete devotion. In the presence of God, my thoughts are often occupied by my family and relatives. God asks that we learn lessons in all things and enter into the reality of His word so that we can be made perfect by God. When I encounter unfavorable people or matters, I falter at the thought that all things are part of God’s plan and find myself constantly swaying between right and wrong. God asks that we seek truth and perfection in various situations and trials of hardship He has arranged for us. When I encounter dealing, pruning, setback, or failure, I misunderstand and blame God. I feel despair toward the road ahead, lose confidence in God, and even consider leaving the church. God asks that we be serious, practical, and effective in our spiritual lives. I, however, often go by regulations and procedures, and practice religious rituals. God asks that we exalt and testify to Him in our work and bring people before Him. However, I exalt and testify to myself, bringing others before me so that they admire and adhere to me. God asks that we use the truth to resolve our problems. I boast and speak of letters and doctrines, limit others with regulation, solve problems according to the ways of man, and suppress others with status. God asks that we strictly do our tasks according to the work arrangements. I often perform my duty based on my own intentions, doing things the way I deem fit. … Aren’t all of these actions in violation of God’s will and His word and in opposition to God? Do these actions not constitute a rebellion against God?
At this moment, I cannot help but feel a sense of dread. It turns out I unknowingly rebelled against God in all my actions while mistakenly believing that rebellion meant betraying the church, leaving the church, or abandoning one’s duties. I shamelessly thought that my stature exempted me from rebelling against God. I have been a stranger to myself, and my understanding of God’s word is simplistic and shallow. The words of God say, “God has revealed the nature and substance of man, but man understands that their way of doing things and way of speaking is flawed and defective; therefore it is a strenuous task for people to put truth into practice. People think that their mistakes are merely momentary manifestations, which are revealed carelessly, rather than being revelations of their nature” (“Understanding Nature and Putting Truth Into Practice” in Records of Christ’s Talks). “Man’s nature is their life, it is a principle that they rely on in order to survive, and they are unable to change it. Just like the nature of betrayal—if you can do something to betray a relative or friend, this proves that it is part of your life and the nature that you were born with. This is something nobody can deny” (“A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). That is undeniably true. Aren’t I precisely the type of person to make a fuss over superficial matters without clearly understanding my nature? People’s behaviors are dominated by their nature, and their disposition is a manifestation of their nature. If rebellion is encoded into human nature, then man will inevitably rebel against God. This is not a matter of being cautious. Yet, I have not been concerned with recognizing my nature. Instead, I am satisfied with keeping to some outward practices, which hinders me from pursuing the truth and changing my disposition, even though I have followed God for many years. I have constantly lived with a rebellious nature. If I continue to do so, given a conducive environment, I will inevitably be dominated by my nature, betray and abandon the church. This is a dangerous path indeed!
Oh God, thank You for showing me the truth with regard to my erroneous beliefs concerning rebellion against You. You allowed me to understand that forsaking and violating Your word are forms of rebellion, and showed me that I am always at risk of rebelling against You, betraying You, and abandoning You. From this day forth, I am willing to focus on Your word and center my efforts on pondering upon the real meaning of Your word, so as to truly understand the essence of the truth and allow myself to enter and practice the truth accurately. I shall endeavor to uphold Your word in all circumstances and correct my rebelliousness.