21. What is following God?
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. What God wants are people who follow His footsteps. No matter how wonderful and pure what you understood before is, God does not want it, and if you are unable to put aside such things, then they will be a tremendous obstacle to your entry in the future. All those who are able to follow the present light of the Holy Spirit are blessed. The people of ages past also followed the footsteps of God, yet they could not follow until today; this is the blessing of the people of the last days.
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 you know what following God is? Without visions, what path would you walk along? In the work of today, if you don’t have visions you will not be able to be made complete at all. In whom do you believe? Why do you believe in Him? Why do you follow Him? Do you believe as a sort of a game? Are you handling your life as a kind of a plaything? The God of today is the greatest vision. How much of Him do you know? How much of Him have you seen? Having seen the God of today, is the foundation of your belief in God secure? Do you think that as long as you follow along in this muddled way, you will attain salvation? Do you think you can catch fish in muddy water? Is it that simple? How many notions of yours about what the God of today is saying have you set down? Do you have a vision of the God of today? Where does your understanding of the God of today lie? You always believe that by following along you can obtain Him, that by seeing Him you can obtain Him,[a] and that no one will be able to shake you off. 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
Peter followed Jesus for a number of years and he saw many things in Jesus that people do not have. After following Him for a year, he was chosen as the head of the twelve disciples by Jesus. (Of course this was a matter of Jesus’ heart, and people were completely unable to see it.) Jesus’ every move acted as an exemplar for him in his life, and Jesus’ sermons were particularly engraved in his heart. He was very considerate of and dedicated to Jesus, and he never had complaints of Jesus. This is why he became Jesus’ faithful companion everywhere He went. Peter observed Jesus’ teachings, His gentle words, and what He ate, wore, His daily life, and His travels. He followed Jesus’ example in every way. He was not self-righteous, but he cast off all of his previous outdated things and followed Jesus’ example in word and deed. It was then that he felt that the heavens and earth and all things were within the hands of the Almighty, and for this reason he did not have his own choice, but he drew in everything that Jesus was to act as his exemplar. He could see from his life that Jesus was not self-righteous in what He did, nor did He brag about Himself, but instead, He moved people with love. In different situations Peter could see what Jesus was. That is why everything in Jesus became the object that Peter modeled himself after.
from “On the Life of Peter” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s desire made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s desire, then he would feel remorseful, and would look for a suitable way by which he could strive to satisfy God’s heart. In even the smallest and most inconsequential aspects of his life, still he required himself to satisfy God’s desire. He was no less exacting when it came to his old disposition, ever rigorous in his requirements of himself to progress deeper into the truth. … 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.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
Following God primarily refers to following God’s current work, submitting to and practicing God’s current words, being able to keep God’s commandments, seeking out God’s will in all matters, practicing in accordance with God’s word, and absolutely submitting to the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Finally, it refers to becoming a person who practices the truth and follows God’s will. Only this kind of person is a follower of God, one who gains God’s salvation. If in our faith we outwardly rely on and exalt the Bible while in reality our practice and experience are according to the words and teachings of the humans in the Bible instead of submitting to and practicing the word of God from the Bible, and if we do not grasp God’s intentions and instead only adhere to religious ceremonies and rules, this is following man. If we follow and practice the words of the people from the Bible as if they were the words of God, yet consider the Lord Jesus a mere figurehead, ignoring His words and doing nothing to follow His commandments, then we will surely be spurned and cursed by the Lord Jesus just as the hypocritical Pharisees were. There are many people who have faith in the Lord, yet blindly worship spiritual celebrities or pastors and elders—they revere the hypocritical Pharisees. Whatever befalls them they run to the pastors and elders to seek guidance and they do the same when it comes to investigating the true way. As a result, they are deceived and misled by the hypocritical Pharisees and religious leaders and they start down the path of resisting God—these are the consequences and ends of following man instead of God. The only way to truly follow God is to solely base our faith on following the work of the Holy Spirit, following the current words of God, following the footsteps of the Holy Spirit’s work, and giving our utmost to fulfill our duties. Especially as God does His work of judgment in the last days, the religious world has lost the Holy Spirit’s work and it has become desolate. When we are compelled to seek the true way, we must turn our attention even more to seeking the Holy Spirit’s words for the churches; we must seek out the words and utterances of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. If we do not seek out the words and work of the Holy Spirit, if we are unable to hear the voice of God, if we are unable to gain the sustenance of God’s current words, then we will instead be eliminated, cast aside during God’s work in the last days, tumbling into the darkness, weeping and gnashing our teeth. People who truly follow and submit to God will never be abandoned by Him. Those who worship religious pastors and elders are submitting to man and are followers of man. These people will ultimately be exposed by God’s work—they will be eliminated and cast aside.
Even though from our mouths we cry out that we believe in God and that we should only follow God and submit to Him, however, what happens in reality is not the same. We can see this clearly from the way that those of the Jewish faith in the Age of Grace treated the Lord Jesus in contrast to how Peter and John and others did. The Lord Jesus performed His new work, issued forth the truth, and brought the way of repentance, but most of the Jewish people at that time only listened to the teachings of the chief priests and the Pharisees. They did not accept the work and words of the Lord Jesus, and as a result they lost the salvation of the Lord Jesus. Nominally, they believed in God, but in reality they believed in the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees. However, Peter, John, Matthew, Philip, and the others saw that the words and work of the Lord Jesus held authority and power, and that they were the truth. They saw that the words and work of the Lord Jesus came from God and so they followed Him closely. They were not subject at all to the control of the Pharisees and they were the ones who truly followed and obeyed God. In the last days, the only way to truly follow and submit to God is to accept and submit to Almighty God’s judgment work, and this fulfills the prophecy found in the Book of Revelation: “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev 14:4).
from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
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.
from The Fellowship From the Above
a. The original text reads “You always believe that by following along you can obtain, that by seeing you can obtain.”