34. The Principles of Breaking Free of Satan’s Influence
Relevant Words of God:
(A Selected Chapter of God’s Word)
Escape From the Influence of Darkness, and You Will Be Gained by God
What is the influence of darkness? This so-called “influence of darkness” is the influence of Satan’s deception, corruption, binding, and controlling of people; the influence of Satan is an influence that has an aura of death. All those who live under the domain of Satan are doomed to perish.
How can you escape from the influence of darkness after gaining faith in God? Once you have sincerely prayed to God, you turn your heart to Him completely, at which point your heart is moved by God’s Spirit. You grow willing to give yourself to Him completely, and at this moment, you will have escaped from the influence of darkness. If everything man does is that which pleases God and in line with His requirements, then he is someone who lives within the words of God and under His care and protection. If people cannot practice the words of God, if they are always attempting to fool Him, acting in a perfunctory manner toward Him, and not believing in His existence—then these are all people living under the influence of darkness. Men who have not received God’s salvation are living under the domain of Satan; that is, they all live under the influence of darkness. Those who do not believe in God are living under the domain of Satan. Even those who believe in God’s existence might not necessarily be living in His light, for those who believe in Him may not actually be living within His words nor be able to submit to God. Man is limited to believing in God, and because he does not have knowledge of God, he is still living within the old rules, among dead words, with a life that is dark and uncertain, neither fully purified by God nor completely gained by Him. Therefore, while it goes without saying that those who do not believe in God are living under the influence of darkness, even those who do believe in God may still be under its influence, for they lack the work of the Holy Spirit. Those who have not received God’s grace or mercy and those who cannot see the work of the Holy Spirit are all living under the influence of darkness; and most of the time, so are people who merely enjoy the grace of God yet do not know Him. If a man believes in God yet spends most of his life living under the influence of darkness, then this man’s existence has lost its meaning—and what need is there to mention people who do not believe that God exists?
All those who cannot accept God’s work, or who accept God’s work but are unable to meet His demands, are people living under the influence of darkness. Only those who pursue the truth and are capable of meeting God’s demands will receive blessings from Him, and only they will escape from the influence of darkness. Those who have not been released, who are always controlled by certain things, and who are unable to give their hearts to God are people under Satan’s bondage who live within an aura of death. Those who are unfaithful to their own duties, who are unfaithful to God’s commission, and who fail to perform their functions at the church are people living under the influence of darkness. Those who deliberately disturb the church life, who intentionally sow discord between their brothers and sisters, or who form cliques are people who live deeper still under the influence of darkness, in Satan’s bondage. Those who have an abnormal relationship with God, who always have extravagant desires, who always want to gain an advantage, and who never seek transformation in their dispositions are people who live under the influence of darkness. Those who are always sloppy and never serious in their practice of the truth, and who do not seek to meet the will of God, seeking instead only to satisfy their own flesh, are also people who are living under the influence of darkness, shrouded by death. Those who engage in crookedness and deception when working for God, who deal with God in a perfunctory manner, who cheat God, and who always make plans for themselves are people living under the influence of darkness. All those who cannot sincerely love God, who do not pursue the truth, and who do not focus on transforming their dispositions are people living under the influence of darkness.
If you wish to be praised by God, then you must first escape from Satan’s dark influence, opening your heart to God and turning it toward Him completely. Would God praise the things you are doing now? Have you turned your heart to God? Have the things you have done been what God requires of you? Are they in line with the truth? Examine yourself at all times and concentrate on the eating and drinking of God’s words; lay out your heart before Him, love Him with sincerity, and devotedly expend yourself for God. People who do this will surely receive God’s praise.
All those who believe in God, yet do not pursue the truth, have no way of escaping from Satan’s influence. All those who do not live their lives with honesty, who behave one way in front of others but another way behind their backs, who give the appearance of humility, patience, and love though their essence is insidious, cunning, and without loyalty to God—such people are typical representatives of those who live under the influence of darkness; they are the ilk of the serpent. Those who only ever believe in God for their own benefit, who are self-righteous and haughty, who show off, and who protect their own status are people who love Satan and oppose the truth. These people resist God and belong entirely to Satan. Those who are not attentive to God’s burdens, who do not serve God wholeheartedly, who are always concerned with their own self-interests and the interests of their families, who are unable to abandon everything to expend themselves for God, and who never live by His words are people outside of His words. Such people cannot receive God’s praise.
When God created men, it was so that they could enjoy His abundance and genuinely love Him; in this way, men would live in His light. Today, as for all those who cannot love God, are not attentive to His burdens, are unable to give their hearts fully to Him, are not able to take His heart as their own, and cannot shoulder His burdens as their own—God’s light does not shine upon any such men, and they therefore are all living under the influence of darkness. They are on a path that is diametrically opposed to God’s will, and there is not a shred of truth in anything they do. They are wallowing in the mire with Satan; they are people who live under the influence of darkness. If you can often eat and drink the words of God and be attentive to His will and put His words into practice, then you belong to God, and you are a person who lives within His words. Are you willing to escape from the domain of Satan and live in the light of God? If you live within the words of God, then the Holy Spirit will have an opportunity to perform His work; if you live under Satan’s influence, then you will give the Holy Spirit no such opportunity. The work that the Holy Spirit performs on men, the light that He shines on them, and the confidence that He gives to them last for only a moment; if people are not careful and do not pay attention, then the work of the Holy Spirit will pass them by. If men live within the words of God, then the Holy Spirit will be with them and perform work on them. If men do not live within the words of God, then they live in Satan’s bonds. If men live with corrupt dispositions, then they do not have the presence or the work of the Holy Spirit. If you live within the boundaries of the words of God, and if you live in the state that God requires, then you are one who belongs to Him, and His work will be performed on you; if you are not living within the boundaries of God’s requirements, but living instead under the domain of Satan, then you are decidedly living within Satan’s corruption. Only by living within the words of God and giving your heart to Him can you meet His requirements; you must do as God says, making His utterances the foundation of your existence and the reality of your life; only then will you belong to God. If you actually practice in accordance with God’s will, He will perform work on you, and you will then live under His blessings, in the light of His countenance; you will grasp the work that the Holy Spirit performs and feel the joy of God’s presence.
To escape from the influence of darkness, you must first be loyal to God and eager at heart to pursue the truth; only then can you have a correct state. Living in a correct state is the prerequisite for escaping from the influence of darkness. Not having a correct state is not being loyal to God, and not being eager at heart to seek the truth; and escaping from the influence of darkness is out of the question. My words are the basis of man’s escape from dark influences, and people who cannot practice in accordance with My words will not be able to escape from the bonds of the influence of darkness. To live in a correct state is to live under the guidance of the words of God, to live in a state of loyalty to God, to live in a state of seeking the truth, to live in the reality of sincerely expending oneself for God’s sake, and to live in a state of genuinely loving God. Those who live in these states and within this reality will slowly transform as they enter into the depth of the truth, and they will transform as the work goes deeper; and in the end, they will certainly become people who are gained by God and who love God genuinely. Those who have escaped from the influence of darkness can gradually ascertain God’s will and gradually come to understand it, eventually becoming confidants of God. They not only harbor no notions about God and do not rebel against Him, but they also detest even more those notions and rebellion that possessed them before, and genuine love for God arises in their hearts. People who are unable to escape from the influence of darkness are all completely occupied with the flesh and full of rebellion; their hearts are filled with human notions and philosophies for living, as well as their own intentions and deliberations. What God requires is a singular love from man; what He requires is that man be occupied by His words and by a heart full of love for Him. To live within the words of God, to search within His words for that which they should seek, to love God for His words, to run for His words, to live for His words—these are the goals that man should strive to achieve. Everything must be built on God’s words; only then will man be able to meet God’s requirements. If man is not equipped with the words of God, then he is nothing but a maggot possessed by Satan! Weigh this: How much of the word of God has taken root inside of you? In which things are you living in accordance with His words? In which things have you not been living in accordance with them? If God’s words have not completely taken hold of you, then what exactly occupies your heart? In your everyday life, are you being controlled by Satan, or are you being occupied by the words of God? Are His words the foundation upon which your prayers are based? Have you come out of your negative state through the enlightenment of the words of God? To take God’s words as the foundation of your existence—this is what everyone should enter into. If His words are not present in your life, then you are living under the influence of darkness, you are rebelling against God, you are resisting Him, and you are dishonoring His name. Such people’s belief in God is pure mischief and disturbance. How much of your life has been lived in accordance with His words? How much of your life has not been lived in accordance with His words? How much of what the word of God has required of you has been fulfilled in you? How much has been lost in you? Have you looked closely at such things?
Escaping from the influence of darkness requires both the work of the Holy Spirit and man’s dedicated cooperation. Why do I say that man is not on the right track? People who are on the right track can first give their hearts to God. This is a task that takes a very long time to enter into, for humankind has always lived under the influence of darkness, and has been under Satan’s bondage for thousands of years. Therefore, this entry cannot be achieved in a mere day or two. I raised this issue today so that men can gain a grasp of their own state; once man can discern what the influence of darkness is and what it means to live in the light, then entry becomes much easier. This is because you must know what Satan’s influence is before you can escape from it; only after that will you have a way to cast it off. As for what to do thereafter, that is humans’ own business. Enter into everything from a positive aspect, and never wait passively. Only in this way can you be gained by God.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
Earliest mankind was in the hands of God, but because of Satan’s temptation and corruption, man was bound up by Satan and fell into the hands of the evil one. Thus, Satan became the object to be defeated in the work of God’s management. Because Satan took possession of man, and because man is the capital which God uses to carry out all management, if man is to be saved, then he must be snatched back from the hands of Satan, which is to say that man must be taken back after having been held captive by Satan. Thus, Satan must be defeated through changes in man’s old disposition, changes which restore man’s original sense of reason. In this way, man, who has been taken captive, can be snatched back from the hands of Satan. If man is freed from the influence and bondage of Satan, then Satan will be shamed, man will ultimately be taken back, and Satan will be defeated. And because man has been freed from the dark influence of Satan, man will become the spoils of this entire battle, and Satan will become the object to be punished once the battle has finished, after which the entire work of mankind’s salvation will have been completed.
Excerpted from “Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Man’s flesh is of Satan, it is full of rebellious dispositions, it is deplorably filthy, and it is something unclean. People covet the enjoyment of the flesh too much and there are too many manifestations of the flesh; this is why God despises man’s flesh to a certain extent. When people cast off the filthy, corrupt things of Satan, they gain God’s salvation. But if they still do not divest themselves of filth and corruption, then they are still living under the domain of Satan. People’s conniving, deceitfulness, and crookedness are all things of Satan. God’s salvation of you is to extricate you from these things of Satan. God’s work cannot be wrong; it is all done in order to save people from darkness. When you have believed to a certain point and can divest yourself of the corruption of the flesh, and are no longer shackled by this corruption, will you not have been saved? When you live under Satan’s domain you are incapable of manifesting God, you are something filthy, and cannot receive God’s inheritance. Once you have been cleansed and made perfect, you will be holy, you will be a normal person, and you will be blessed by God and delightful to God.
Excerpted from “Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Man lives amid the flesh, which means he lives in a human hell, and without God’s judgment and chastisement, man is as filthy as Satan. How could man be holy? Peter believed that chastisement and judgment by God were man’s best protection and greatest grace. Only through chastisement and judgment by God could man awaken and hate the flesh, hate Satan. God’s strict discipline frees man from the influence of Satan, frees him from his own little world, and allows him to live in the light of God’s presence. There is no better salvation than chastisement and judgment! Peter prayed, “O God! As long as You chastise and judge me, I will know that You have not left me. Even if You do not give me joy or peace, and make me live in suffering, and inflict countless chastenings on me, as long as You do not leave me, my heart will be at ease. Today, Your chastisement and judgment have become my best protection and my greatest blessing. The grace You give me protects me. The grace You bestow upon me today is a manifestation of Your righteous disposition, and is chastisement and judgment; moreover, it is a trial, and, more than that, it is a life of suffering.” Peter was able to put aside the pleasures of the flesh and seek a deeper love and greater protection, because he had gained so much grace from God’s chastisement and judgment. In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, in order that he may free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan, and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man. Man lives under the influence of Satan, and exists in the flesh; if he is not cleansed and does not receive God’s protection, then man will become ever more depraved. If he wishes to love God, then he must be cleansed and saved. Peter prayed, “God, when You treat me kindly I am delighted, and feel comfort; when You chastise me, I feel even greater comfort and joy. Although I am weak, and endure untold suffering, although there are tears and sadness, You know that this sadness is because of my disobedience, and because of my weakness. I weep because I cannot satisfy Your desires, I feel sorrow and regret because I am insufficient for Your requirements, but I am willing to attain this realm, I am willing to do all I can to satisfy You. Your chastisement has brought me protection, and has given me the best salvation; Your judgment eclipses Your tolerance and patience. Without Your chastisement and judgment, I would not enjoy Your mercy and lovingkindness. Today, I see all the more that Your love has transcended the heavens and excelled above all other things. Your love is not just mercy and lovingkindness; even more than that, it is chastisement and judgment. Your chastisement and judgment have given me so much. Without Your chastisement and judgment, not a single person would be cleansed, and not a single person would be able to experience the love of the Creator. Though I have endured hundreds of trials and tribulations, and have even come close to death, they have allowed me to truly know You and gain supreme salvation. If Your chastisement, judgment and discipline were to depart from me, then I would live in darkness, under the domain of Satan. What benefits does the flesh of man have? If Your chastisement and judgment were to leave me, it would be as if Your Spirit had forsaken me, as if You were no longer with me. If that were so, how could I go on living? If You give me sickness and take my freedom, I can continue living, but if Your chastisement and judgment were to ever leave me, I would have no way to go on living. If I were without Your chastisement and judgment, I would have lost Your love, a love that is too deep for me to put into words. Without Your love, I would live under the domain of Satan, and would be unable to see Your glorious face. How could I continue living? I could not endure such darkness, such a life. Having You with me is like seeing You, so how could I leave You? I implore You, I beg You not to take my greatest comfort from me, even if it is just a few words of reassurance. I have enjoyed Your love, and today I cannot be away from You; how could I not love You? I have shed many tears of sorrow because of Your love, yet I have always felt that a life such as this is more meaningful, more able to enrich me, more able to change me, and more able to allow me to attain the truth that should be possessed by the creatures.”
Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Man’s entire life is lived under the domain of Satan, and there is not a single person who can free themselves from the influence of Satan on their own. All live in a filthy world, in corruption and emptiness, without the slightest meaning or value; they live such carefree lives for the flesh, for lust, and for Satan. There is not the slightest value to their existence. Man is incapable of finding the truth that will free him from the influence of Satan. Even though man believes in God and reads the Bible, he does not understand how to free himself of the control of Satan’s influence. Throughout the ages, very few people have discovered this secret, very few have grasped it. As such, even though man detests Satan, and detests the flesh, he does not know how to rid himself of the ensnaring influence of Satan. Today, are you not still under the domain of Satan? You do not regret your disobedient acts, and much less do you feel that you are filthy and disobedient. After opposing God, you even have peace of mind and feel great tranquility. Is your tranquility not because you are corrupt? Does this peace of mind not come from your disobedience? Man lives in a human hell, he lives under the dark influence of Satan; across the land, ghosts live together with man, encroaching upon the flesh of man. On earth, you do not live in a beautiful paradise. The place where you are is the realm of the devil, a human hell, a netherworld. If man is not cleansed, then he is of the filth; if he is not protected and cared for by God, then he is still a captive of Satan; if he is not judged and chastised, then he will have no means of escaping the oppression of the dark influence of Satan. The corrupt disposition that you show forth and the disobedient behavior that you live out are sufficient to prove that you are still living under the domain of Satan. If your mind and thoughts have not been cleansed, and your disposition has not been judged and chastised, then your entire being is still controlled by the domain of Satan, your mind is controlled by Satan, your thoughts are manipulated by Satan, and your entire being is controlled by the hands of Satan. Do you know just how far you are, now, from the standards of Peter? Do you possess that caliber? How much do you know of the chastisement and judgment of today? How much do you possess of that which Peter came to know? If, today, you are unable to know, will you be able to achieve this knowledge in the future? Someone as lazy and cowardly as you is simply incapable of knowing chastisement and judgment. If you pursue the peace of the flesh, and the pleasures of the flesh, then you will have no means of being cleansed, and in the end you will be returned to Satan, for what you live out is Satan, and it is the flesh. As things stand today, many people do not pursue life, which means that they do not care about being cleansed, or about entering into a deeper life experience. That being so, how can they be made perfect? Those who do not pursue life have no opportunity to be made perfect, and those who do not pursue a knowledge of God, who do not pursue changes in their disposition, are incapable of escaping Satan’s dark influence. They are not serious about their knowledge of God and about their entry into changes in their disposition, just like those who believe in religion, who merely follow ceremony and attend regular services. Is that not a waste of time? If, in man’s belief in God, he is not serious about matters of life, does not pursue entry into the truth, does not pursue changes in his disposition, much less pursue a knowledge of the work of God, then he cannot be made perfect. If you wish to be made perfect, then you must understand God’s work. In particular, you must understand the significance of His chastisement and judgment, and why this work is carried out upon man. Are you able to accept? During chastisement of this kind, are you able to achieve the same experiences and knowledge as Peter? If you pursue knowledge of God and of the work of the Holy Spirit, and if you pursue changes in your disposition, then you have the opportunity to be made perfect.
… If you are someone who pursues being made perfect, then you will have borne testimony, and you will say: “In this step-by-step work of God, I have accepted God’s work of chastisement and judgment, and though I have endured great suffering, I have come to know how God makes man perfect, I have gained the work done by God, I have had the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and His chastisement has saved me. His righteous disposition has come upon me and brought me blessings and grace; it is His judgment and chastisement that has protected and purified me. If I had not been chastised and judged by God, and if the harsh words of God had not come upon me, I could not have known God, and nor could I have been saved. Today I see: As a creature, not only does one enjoy all things made by the Creator, but, more importantly, all creatures should enjoy the righteous disposition of God and His righteous judgment, because God’s disposition is worthy of man’s enjoyment. As a creature that has been corrupted by Satan, one should enjoy God’s righteous disposition. In His righteous disposition there is chastisement and judgment, and, moreover, there is great love. Although I am incapable of completely gaining God’s love today, I have had the good fortune to see it, and in this I have been blessed.” This is the path walked by those who experience being made perfect, and this is the knowledge of which they speak. Such people are the same as Peter; they have the same experiences as Peter. Such people are also those who have gained life, who possess the truth. When they experience until the very end, during God’s judgment they will surely completely rid themselves of the influence of Satan, and be gained by God.
Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh