5. The Difference Between Following God and Following People

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. Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God. Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps

Some people do not rejoice in the truth, much less judgment. Instead, they rejoice in power and riches; such people are called power seekers. They search only for those denominations in the world with influence, and they search only for pastors and teachers that come from seminaries. Though they have accepted the way of truth, they are only half-believing; they are incapable of giving all of their hearts and minds, their mouths speak of expending themselves for God, but their eyes are focused on the great pastors and teachers, and they do not spare Christ a second glance. Their hearts are fixated upon fame, fortune, and glory. They think it out of the question that such a meager person could be capable of conquering so many, that one so unremarkable could perfect man. They think it out of the question 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 people would laugh themselves silly. 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; more than not believing, they are simply preposterous beasts. For they value only status, prestige, and power, and they esteem only large groups and denominations. They have not the slightest regard 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 adore the loveliness or wisdom of Christ, but those libertines who wallow in the filth of the world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but you admire those corpses that hunt for offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but you gladly throw yourself into the arms of those reckless antichrists, though they only supply you with flesh, words, and control. Even now, your heart still turns toward them, toward their reputation, toward their status, toward their influence. And yet you continue to hold an attitude whereby you find the work of Christ hard to swallow and you are unwilling to accept it. This is why I say that you lack the faith to acknowledge Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is only because you had no other option. A series of lofty images are forever towering in your heart; 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.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Are You a True Believer in God?

Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:

Following God means to obey God in everything, to submit to all arrangements of God, to act according to God’s words, and to accept everything that comes from God. Those who believe in God should follow God, but the majority of people follow people without knowing it. This is a both absurd and lamentable thing. Strictly speaking, people will believe in whomever they follow. Though some people nominally believe in God, there is no God in their hearts. What their hearts worship is the person who is leading them. When people only obey the leader, even to the point of refusing God’s arrangement, this is precisely a manifestation of believing in God but following people. Before obtaining truth, people believe in this muddleheaded way, and even do not know what following God is at all. They don’t know how to distinguish between what is following God, and what is following people. Whoever talks the best talk, whoever talks the loftiest, they call them daddy or call them mommy. To them, whoever has milk is their mother, and whoever has power is their own father. This is how pitiful people can be. It can be said that most people have this situation to varying degrees.

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.

And what does it mean to follow people? It means that a person follows the one whom he worships. In his heart, God does not have much status; he simply wears the sign of being a believer in God. All that he does is imitate people and follow their example. Especially on major affairs, he lets people make the decisions, and lets people dictate his fate. He himself does not seek God’s wishes, and he does not apply discernment to what people say. As long as what they say seems reasonable, regardless of whether what they say conforms to truth, he accepts it all and obeys it. This is the behavior of a follower of men. His faith in God is unprincipled, and there is no truth in his handling of affairs. He complies with whomever speaks reasonably. If his idol takes a wrong path, he will follow to the end. If God condemns his idol, he will have a notion about God, holding tightly to his idol. His reason is that he should obey whomever is in charge of him. A high official is no match for a hands-on manager. This is simply the logic of a fool. Those who follow man really are this bewildered. People who follow men have no place for God in their heart and have no truth, and they are idolatrous, have been misled by other people and are not true believers in God. Only followers of God truly believe in God.

—The Fellowship from the Above

Many people believe in God but do not know what it means to obey God, and think that listening to their leaders in all things is the same as obeying God. Such a view is totally absurd, because the source of their obedience is wrong. They consider listening to their leaders to be obeying God. To believe in God according to this view is to believe in God in name only; in reality, these people believe in people. …

When we believe in God, God should hold a leading position in our hearts, we should surrender control to God in all matters, we should search for God’s intentions in everything, our actions should be in accordance with God’s words, and in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and we should obey all that comes from God. If you listen to people, then this proves that God has no place in your heart, that only people have a place in your heart. Nothing is more important for people than to pursue the truth and understand God’s will. If you do not focus on seeking God’s intentions and grasping God’s will, then yours is not true obedience. No matter how right their words sound, if you always listen to people, then in substance you are obeying people—which is not at all the same as obeying God. In fact, if those who believe in God are able to understand God’s intentions directly from His words, if they can find their own path to practice in His words, and they commune the truth, and understand the truth, in His words, after which they put it into practice, and if at the key moment, they can pray more, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and obey the intentions of the Holy Spirit, this is truly obeying God. Those who obey God search for the path in God’s words, their problems are resolved in God’s words, and they act amid the guidance of the Holy Spirit; this is truly obeying God. Those who listen to their leaders in everything are sure to have strayed far from God in their hearts. What’s more, they are not at peace before God, they are not those who live before God and seek the truth, they have no relationship with God, and the principle behind their actions is to listen to whoever says the right things, and as long as their leader says something, they will obey. Such practice is ridiculous. They have neither the truth nor the ability to differentiate, and can only establish what is right or wrong according to their conceptions or brains, so how can they know whether it conforms to the truth? If they believe in God according to such a view, then in their whole life they will not understand the truth or come to know God. Such a form of belief can be said to be believing in their own brain and walking their own path, and they bear no relation to the practical God.

—The Fellowship from the Above

Previous: 4. Differentiation Between the True and False Ways, and Between True and False Churches

Next: 6. Differentiation Between True and False Leaders, and Between True and False Shepherds

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