e. What it is to follow God and what it is to follow man

God’s Words From the Bible

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

“These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4).

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing life entry 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. Today, all those who follow the present words of God are in the stream of the Holy Spirit; those who are strangers to the words of God today are outside of the stream of the Holy Spirit, and such people are not commended by God. … “Following the work of the Holy Spirit” means understanding the will of God today, being able to act in accordance with the present requirements of God, being able to obey and follow the God of today, and entering in accordance with the newest utterances of God. Only this is someone who follows the work of the Holy Spirit and is in the stream of the Holy Spirit. Such people are not only capable of receiving God’s praise and seeing God, but can also know God’s disposition from the latest work of God, and can know man’s notions and disobedience, and man’s nature and essence, from His latest work; furthermore, they are able to gradually achieve changes in their disposition during their service. Only people such as this are those who are able to gain God, and who have genuinely found the true way.

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

No matter how numerous your notions and imaginings about God’s work, and no matter how you previously acted according to your own will and rebelled against God, if you truly pursue the truth, and accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and being pruned and dealt with by them; if, in everything He orchestrates, you are able to follow the way of God, heed His words, learn to feel out His will, practice in accordance with His words and His intention, and are able to submit by means of seeking; and if you can let go of all your own will, desires, considerations, and intentions, and not be in confrontation with God, then you are following God. You may say you follow God, but if you do everything according to your own will, with your own aims and your own plans, without leaving it up to God, is God still your God, then? No, He’s not. If God is not your God, then, when you say you follow God, are these not empty words? Are such words not an attempt to fool people? You may say you follow God, but if all your actions and deeds, your outlook on life and values, and the attitude and principles with which you approach and handle matters all come from Satan—if you handle all this entirely in accordance with the laws and logic of Satan, are you then a follower of God? …

… The simplest way to describe faith in God is trusting there is a God, and, on this foundation, following Him, obeying Him, accepting His sovereignty, orchestrations, and arrangements, heeding His words, living in accordance with His words, doing everything according to His words, being a true created being, and fearing Him and shunning evil; only this is true faith in God. This is what it means to follow God. If you say you follow God, but, in your heart, you do not accept God’s words, and maintain a doubtful attitude about them, and you do not accept His sovereignty, orchestrations, and arrangements, and you always have notions and misunderstandings about what He does, and complain about it, always dissatisfied; and if you are always measuring and approaching what He does with your own notions and imaginings; and if you always have your own thoughts and understandings—this will cause trouble. That is not experiencing God’s work, and it is no way to follow Him truly. It is not faith in God.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. One Cannot Be Saved by Faith in Religion or Engaging in Religious Ceremony

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 words 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 fear. For He is far too ordinary, has far too little influence, and is far from lofty.

In any case, I say that all those who do not value the truth are nonbelievers and traitors to the truth. Such men shall never receive the approval of Christ. Have you now identified how much unbelief is within you, and how much betrayal of Christ you have? I exhort you thus: Since you have chosen the way of truth, then you should devote yourself wholeheartedly; do not be ambivalent or half-hearted. You should understand that God does not belong to the world nor any one person, but to all those who truly believe in Him, all those who worship Him, and all those who are devoted and faithful to Him.

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

No matter the level of a leader or worker, if you idolize them for understanding a bit of the truth and for having a few gifts, and believe that they possess the truth reality and can help you, and if you look up to and depend on them in all things, and through this, you try to attain salvation, then this is foolish and ignorant of you. In the end, it will all come to nothing, because your starting point is inherently wrong. No matter how many truths someone understands, they cannot stand in the stead of Christ, and no matter how gifted someone is, this does not mean they possess the truth—so anyone who idolizes, looks up to, and follows other people will ultimately all be cast out and condemned. Believers in God can only look up to and follow God. Leaders and workers, whatever their rank, are still common people. If you see them as your immediate superiors, if you feel that they are superior to you, that they are more competent than you, and that they should lead you, that they are in all ways a cut above anyone else, then you are wrong—that is a delusion. And what consequences will this delusion visit on you? It will lead you unconsciously to measure your leaders against requirements that do not conform with reality, and to be unable to treat correctly the problems and deficiencies they have; at the same time, without your knowing it, you will also be profoundly drawn to their flair, gifts, and talents, such that before you know it, you are idolizing them, and they are your God. That path, from when they start to become your role model, the object of your idolization, to when you become one of their followers, is one that will lead you unconsciously away from God. And even as you gradually move away from God, you will still believe that you are following God, that you are in His house, that you are in His presence, when actually, you will have been drawn away by minions of Satan, by antichrists. You will not even sense it. This is a very dangerous state of affairs. To solve this problem requires, in part, the ability to discern the nature essence of the antichrists, and the ability to see through to the ugly face of the antichrists’ hatred of the truth and opposition to God; so, too, does it require being familiar with the antichrists’ commonly used techniques of deceiving and ensnaring people, as well as the way they do things. The other piece is that you must pursue knowledge of God’s disposition and essence. It must be clear to you that only Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, that idolizing any person shall visit catastrophe and misfortune on you. You must trust that only Christ can save people, and you must follow and obey Christ with absolute faith. This alone is the correct path of human life. Some might say: “Well, I do have my reasons for idolizing leaders—in my heart, I naturally idolize anyone who is talented. I idolize any leader who is in line with my notions.” Why do you insist on idolizing man though you believe in God? When all is said and done, who is it who will save you? Who is it who truly loves you and protects you—can you truly not see? If you believe in God and follow God, you should heed His word, and if someone speaks and acts correctly, and it accords with the truth principles, is it not simply a matter of your submitting to the truth? Why are you so base? Why do you insist on finding someone whom you idolize to follow? Why do you like to be Satan’s slave? Why not be a servant of the truth instead? In this, it is seen whether a person has reason and dignity. You should start with yourself: Equip yourself with truths of all sorts, be able to identify the various ways in which different matters and people manifest, know what the nature is of various people’s behavior and what dispositions they pour forth, learn to distinguish the essences of various kinds of people, be clear about what kinds of people are around you, what kind of person you are, and what kind of person your leader is. Once you see all this clearly, you will be capable of approaching people in the right way, according to the truth principles: If they are brothers and sisters, you will treat them with love; if they are not brothers and sisters but evil people, antichrists, or nonbelievers, you will keep your distance and forsake them. And if they are people who possess the truth reality, though you might admire them, you will not idolize them. No one can take the place of Christ; only Christ is the practical God. Only Christ can save people, and only by following Christ can you obtain the truth and life. If you can see these things clearly, then you are possessed of stature and not likely to be deceived by the antichrists, nor do you need to fear being deceived by the antichrists.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Six

When someone believes in God and follows Him, what is most to be feared is that they depart from God’s words and the truth to engage in human operations and human enterprises. To do so is to stray onto one’s own path. Say, for example, that a church elects a leader. This leader knows only how to preach the words and doctrines, and focuses only on their own prestige and status. They do no practical work. Yet you hear them preaching the words and doctrines well, and in accord with the truth, and all they say is right, so you very much admire them and feel them to be a good leader. You heed them in all things and ultimately, you follow them, submitting to them completely. Are you not then beguiled and controlled by a false leader? And has that church not become a religious group with a false leader at its head? The members of a religious group with a false leader as its head may appear to be performing their duties, but are they truly performing their duties? Are they truly serving God? (No.) If those people are not serving God or performing their duties, do they have a relationship with God? Does a gang that has no relationship with God believe in Him? Tell Me, do followers of a false leader or people under the control of an antichrist have the work of the Holy Spirit? Certainly not. And why is it that they do not have the work of the Holy Spirit? Because they have deviated from God’s words, and they do not obey God or worship Him, but heed false shepherds and antichrists—God detests and rejects them and does no more work on them. They have deviated from God’s words and been detested and rejected by Him, and they have lost the work of the Holy Spirit. So, can they be saved by God? (No.) They cannot, and that means trouble. Therefore, however many people there are in a church performing their duties, whether they can be saved depends crucially on whether they are really following Christ or a person, on whether they are really experiencing God’s work and pursuing the truth or engaging in religious activities, in human operations and human enterprises. It depends crucially on whether they can accept and pursue the truth and on whether they can seek the truth to resolve problems when they discover them. It is these things that are most crucial. What people really pursue and what road they walk, whether they really accept the truth or abandon it, whether they submit to God or resist Him—God is constantly surveying all these things. Every church and every individual is watched by God. No matter how many people there are performing a duty or following God in a church, the moment they depart from God’s words, the moment they lose the work of the Holy Spirit, they cease to experience the work of God, and thus they—and the duty they are performing—have no connection to and no part in God’s work, in which case this church has become a religious group. Tell Me, what are the consequences once a church becomes a religious group? Wouldn’t you say these people are in great danger? They never seek the truth when faced with problems and they don’t act according to the truth principles, but are subject to the arrangements and manipulations of human beings. There are even many who, while performing their duty, never pray or seek the truth principles; they only ask others and do as others say, acting on cues from others. Whatever other people tell them to do, that’s what they do. They feel that praying to God about their problems and truth-seeking is vague and difficult, so they look for a simple, easy solution. They figure that relying on others and doing what others say is easy and most practical, and so they simply do what other people say, asking others and doing as they say in everything. As a result, even after believing for many years, when faced with a problem, they have never once come before God, praying and seeking His will and the truth, and then achieving an understanding of the truth, and acting and behaving according to God’s will—they’ve never had such an experience. Do such people really practice faith in God? I wonder: Why is it that some people, once they have entered a religious group, are so liable to go from believing in God to believing in a person, from following God to following a person? Why do they change so quickly? Why, having believed in God for so many years, would they still heed and follow a person in all things? So many years of belief, yet there has never really been a place for God in their hearts. Of all that they do, none of it ever has anything to do with God, and nothing to do with His words. Their speech, actions, life, dealings with others, handling of matters, even their performance of their duty and service of God, and all their acts and deeds, and all their behaviors, and even each thought and idea that pours forth from them—none of them have anything do with belief in God, or with His words. Is such a person a sincere believer in God? Can the number of years one has believed in God determine that person’s stature? Can it prove whether their relationship with God is normal? Absolutely not. What is crucial for seeing whether a person sincerely believes in God is looking at whether they can accept God’s words into their heart, and at whether they can live amid His words and experience His work.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only With Fear of God Can One Tread Upon the Path of Salvation

It would be best for those people who claim to follow God to open their eyes and take a good look to see exactly who they believe in: Is it really God that you believe in, or Satan? If you know that what you believe in is not God, but your own idols, then it would be best if you did not claim to be a believer. If you really do not know who you believe in, then, again, it would be best if you did not claim to be a believer. To say so would be blasphemy! No one is forcing you to believe in God. Do not say you believe in Me; I have had enough of such talk, and do not wish to hear it again, because what you believe in are the idols in your hearts and the local bullies among you. Those who shake their heads when they hear the truth, who grin when they hear talk of death, are all the spawn of Satan, and they are the ones who will be cast out. Many in the church have no discernment. When something deceptive occurs, they unexpectedly stand on the side of Satan; they even take offense at being called Satan’s lackeys. Though people might say they have no discernment, they always stand on the side without truth, they never stand on the side of the truth at the critical time, they never stand up and argue for the truth. Do they truly lack discernment? Why do they unexpectedly take the side of Satan? Why do they never say one word that is fair and reasonable in support of the truth? Has this situation genuinely arisen as a result of their momentary confusion? The less discernment people have, the less able they are to stand on the side of truth. What does this show? Does it not show that people without discernment love evil? Does it not show that they are the loyal spawn of Satan? Why is it that they are always able to stand on the side of Satan and speak its language? Their every word and deed, the expressions on their faces, are all sufficient to prove that they are not any kind of lovers of the truth; rather, they are people who detest the truth. That they can stand on the side of Satan is enough to prove that Satan really loves these petty devils who spend their lives fighting for Satan’s sake. Are all these facts not abundantly clear? If you truly are a person who loves the truth, then why have you no regard for those who practice the truth, and why do you immediately follow those who do not practice the truth at the slightest look from them? What kind of problem is this? I do not care whether you have discernment or not. I do not care how great a price you have paid. I do not care how great your forces are, and I do not care whether you are a local bully or a flag-bearing leader. If your forces are great, then that is only with the help of Satan’s strength. If your prestige is high, then that is merely because there are too many around you who do not practice the truth. If you have not been expelled, then that is because now is not the time for the work of expelling; rather, it is time for the work of casting out. There is no rush to expel you now. I am simply waiting for the day when I will punish you after you have been cast out. Whoever does not practice the truth will be cast out!

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth

Related Experiential Testimonies

A Bitter Lesson From Following Man Instead of God

Related Hymns

Man Has No True Faith in Christ

To Believe in God but Not Accept the Truth Is to Be a Nonbeliever

Recognize That Christ Is Forever the Truth

Previous: d. Whether religious pastors and elders are really established by God, and whether obeying pastors and elders is obeying and following God

Next: f. Whether those who are deceived and controlled by the Pharisees and antichrists of the religious world can be saved by God

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Question 1: It is clearly written in the Bible: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb 13:8). So the name of the Lord does not change, but you say that the name of the Lord Jesus will change in the last days. How can you explain that?

Almighty God says, “There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and substance. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His substance has altered; in other words, God will always be God, and this will never change. If you say that the work of God always stays the same, then would He be able to finish His six-thousand-year management plan? You merely know that God is forever unchanging, but do you know that God is always new and never old?"

Question 1: Almighty God’s word says, “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life.” I remembered what the Lord Jesus once said, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jhn 4:14). We already know the Lord Jesus is the source of the living water of life, and the way of everlasting life. Could it be that Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are of the same source? Are Their work and words both of the Holy Spirit? Are Their work done by the same God?

Almighty God says, “Jesus and I come from the same Spirit. Though Our fleshes have no relationship, Our Spirits are one; though what We do and the work We bear are not the same, We are alike in essence; Our fleshes take different forms, and this is because of the change in era and the need of Our work; Our ministries are not alike, so the work We bring forth and the disposition We reveal to man are also different. … Their Spirits are one.”

Question 2: Pastors and elders often read the scriptures and preach to people, pray for brothers and sisters, have love for believers and ask people to hold on to the Bible. If we say they are hypocritical Pharisees, most believers will not be able to see through or distinguish. Then please communicate to us in more detail.

Almighty God says, “If your intention is not to submit to Him but you have an ulterior motive, then what you say and do, even the prayers you say to God, your every act, will be viewed as resisting to God. Even if you speak tenderly, act with a mild manner, your actions and expressions appear appropriate to others, and you give an impression that you submit to God, yet judging from your intention and your viewpoint of belief, all you do is against God, and is evil. ”

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