2. Why can man not obey God?
Relevant Words of God:
The source of man’s opposition and rebelliousness against God is his corruption by Satan. Because of Satan’s corruption, man’s conscience has grown numb; he is immoral, his thoughts are degenerate, and he has a backward mental outlook. Before he was corrupted by Satan, man naturally followed God and obeyed His words after hearing them. He was naturally of sound sense and conscience, and of normal humanity. After being corrupted by Satan, man’s original sense, conscience, and humanity grew dull and were impaired by Satan. Thus, he has lost his obedience and love toward God. Man’s sense has become aberrant, his disposition has become the same as that of an animal, and his rebelliousness toward God is ever more frequent and grievous. Yet man still neither knows nor recognizes this, and merely opposes and rebels blindly. Man’s disposition is revealed in expressions of his sense, insight, and conscience; because his sense and insight are unsound, and his conscience has grown supremely dull, thus his disposition is rebellious against God. If man’s sense and insight cannot change, then changes in his disposition are out of the question, as is conforming to God’s will. If man’s sense is unsound, then he cannot serve God and is unfit for use by God. “Normal sense” refers to obeying and being faithful to God, to yearning for God, to being absolute toward God, and to having a conscience toward God. It refers to being of one heart and mind toward God, and not deliberately opposing God. Having an aberrant sense is not like this. Since man was corrupted by Satan, he has come up with notions about God, and he has had no loyalty to God or yearning for Him, to say nothing of a conscience toward God. Man deliberately opposes God and passes judgments on Him, and, furthermore, hurls invective at Him behind His back. Man passes judgment on God behind His back, with clear knowledge that He is God; man has no intention of obeying God, and merely makes blind demands and requests of Him. Such people—people who have aberrant sense—are incapable of knowing their own despicable behavior or of regretting their rebelliousness. If people are capable of knowing themselves, then they have regained a little of their sense; the more rebellious against God people who cannot yet know themselves are, the less are they sound of sense.
Excerpted from “To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you are unable to accept the new light from God, and cannot understand all that God does today and you do not seek it, or else you doubt it, pass judgment on it, or scrutinize and analyze it, then you have no mind to obey God. If, when the light of the here and now appears, you still treasure the light of yesterday and oppose God’s new work, then you are nothing more than an absurd one—you are one of those who deliberately oppose God. The key to obeying God is appreciating the new light, and being able to accept it and put it into practice. This alone is true obedience. Those who lack the will to yearn for God are incapable of intentionally submitting to Him, and can only oppose God as a result of their satisfaction with the status quo. That man cannot obey God is because he is possessed by what came before. The things that came before have given people all manner of notions and imaginings about God, and these have become the image of God in their minds. Thus, what they believe in are their own notions, and the standards of their own imagination. If you measure the God who does actual work today against the God of your own imagination, then your faith comes from Satan, and is tainted by your own preferences—God does not want this kind of faith. Regardless of how lofty their credentials, and regardless of their dedication—even if they have devoted a lifetime of efforts to His work, and have martyred themselves—God does not approve of anyone with faith such as this. He merely bestows upon them a little grace and allows them to enjoy it for a time. People such as this are incapable of putting the truth into practice. The Holy Spirit does not work within them, and God will eliminate each of them in turn. Young and old alike, those who do not obey God in their faith and have the wrong intentions are those who oppose and interrupt, and such people will unquestionably be eliminated by God.
Excerpted from “In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In measuring whether or not people can obey God, the key thing to look at is whether they desire anything extravagant from God, and whether or not they have ulterior motives. If people are always making demands of God, it proves that they are not obedient to Him. Whatever happens to you, if you cannot receive it from God, cannot seek the truth, are always speaking from your own subjective reasoning and always feeling that only you are right, and are even still capable of doubting God, then you will be in trouble. Such people are the most arrogant and rebellious to God. People who always make demands of God can never truly obey Him. If you make demands of God, this proves that you are making a deal with God, that you are choosing your own thoughts, and acting according to your own thoughts. In this, you betray God, and are without obedience. To make demands of God is senseless; if you truly believe that He is God, then you will not dare to make demands of Him, nor will you be qualified to make demands of Him, whether they be reasonable or not. If you have true faith, and believe that He is God, then you will have no choice but to worship and obey Him. People today not only have a choice, but even demand that God act in accordance with their own thoughts. They choose their own thoughts and ask that God act according to them, and they do not require themselves to act according to God’s thoughts. Thus, there is no true faith within them, nor is there any essence to their faith. When you are able to make fewer demands of God, your true faith and your obedience will grow, and your sense of reason will also become comparatively normal. It is often the case that the more inclined to reason people are, and the more justification they give, the harder they are to deal with. Not only do they have many demands, but they also take a mile when given an inch. When satisfied in one area, they then make demands in another, they have to be satisfied in all areas, and if they are not, they start complaining, and write themselves off as hopeless. Later they feel indebted and regretful, and they weep bitter tears, and want to die. What is the use in that? Can this solve the problem? And so, before something happens, you must dissect your own nature—what things are within it, what you like, and what you wish to achieve with your demands. Some people, believing they possess some caliber and gifts, always want to be leaders, and to rise above others, and so they demand God use them. And if God does not use them, they say: “God, why don’t You favor me? Make great use of me, I guarantee I will expend myself for You.” Are such motivations right? It is a good thing to expend for God, but their willingness to expend for God takes second place; in their hearts, what they like is status—that is what they focus on. If you are truly able to obey, then you will follow Him with one heart and mind regardless of whether He uses you or not, and will be able to expend for Him regardless of whether or not you have any status. Only then will you possess sense and be someone who obeys God.
Excerpted from “People Make Too Many Demands of God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God. Even though, externally, some people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him. People who are arrogant and conceited, especially those who are so arrogant as to have lost their sense, cannot submit to God in their belief in Him, and even exalt and bear testimony for themselves. Such people resist God the most. If people wish to get to where they revere God, then they must first resolve their arrogant dispositions. The more thoroughly you resolve your arrogant disposition, the more reverence you will have for God, and only then can you submit to Him and be able to obtain the truth and know Him.
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
How do especially opinionated people generally act? They first decide, first formulate projects and plans, and even use some human methods to meticulously plan and strategize, and do preliminary tasks. What do they think, and what is their state? They have an absolute plan and objective. So in terms of revering God and submitting to God, what state are they in? When people become too opinionated, they forget God, and forget their submission to God. Once the incident has passed or they have hit a wall, or they have not succeeded in what they were trying to do, only then do they realize that they did not submit to God and did not pray to God. This shows that God is not in their hearts, and that they always just do what they want to do. Thus, regardless of whether you are doing the work of God’s house, fulfilling your duty, or handling external affairs, or taking care of your private affairs in life, you must maintain in your heart the principles of action. There is a state you must possess. What state is this? “No matter what happens, before it happens, I must think in my heart, ‘I must pray. I should submit to God and His rule. Everything is orchestrated by God. When something happens, I should seek God’s intention. I must have this attitude; I cannot be making my own plans.’” As people experience things this way for a long period of time, they unconsciously start to see God’s rule in many things. If you always have your own projects, plans, hopes, selfish motives, and desires, then, without even knowing it, you will not be able to see what God does. What will happen most of the time is that God will be hidden from you. Don’t you like doing these things? Don’t you have plans? You have a brain, education, and knowledge; you are capable and you have means, you can do things yourself, you are fine by yourself, you do not need God. This is why God says, “Go ahead and do it yourself. Whether you succeed or not is your responsibility; I do not need to bother with you anymore.” When people are never able to experience God’s rule, never able to see God’s hand, never able to sense the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment or illumination, nor feel God’s guidance, what happens to them after a long period of time? All manner of aftermath effects befall them. What effects? When people act this way over a long period of time, a kind of inertia takes form. Whenever they encounter something, they first think of a way to handle it themselves; their first thoughts are of their own objectives, intentions, plans, and whether or not it will benefit them. They habitually and directly embark upon that path. “If it can benefit me, I’ll do it; if it cannot, then I won’t.” They think and act in this way. Over time, how does God treat such people? God pays no heed to them; He sets them aside.
Excerpted from “The Principles of Practice Concerning Submission to God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Submission is the most difficult lesson to learn. When something is in line with your notions, you accept it and submit to it; you feel pretty good, thinking that it is very in line with your taste when it is to your advantage. Once you begin submitting, everything starts to go smoothly for you; deep down, you feel steadfast, peaceful, blameless, happy, and joyful. However, being submissive when things do not conform to your notions is as hard to swallow for you as gulping down sand; it is upsetting, distressing, and painful. You have your reasons, but you cannot voice them, and you have to hold in your emotions. You feel completely wronged, but have no one to tell about it. “So what should I do? What He said is right. His position is higher than mine. So how can I not listen? I might as well accept it. I need to be more careful next time and not stick my neck out anymore. Nothing good comes from sticking your neck out. Whoever takes a step forward gets dealt with. I won’t move forward again; I’ll just let things proceed naturally, and keep as low a profile as possible. Submitting is not easy. It’s so hard! The flame of my enthusiasm has been doused by a bucket of cold water. You can’t blame me for this; I started out all innocent and open, but then I kept being dealt with. I don’t want to be this sort of person anymore; conducting myself like that is exhausting. I will just take a step back from now on, and not reveal to anyone how I feel internally anymore or tell anyone who asks; I’ll just hold it all in.” What sort of an attitude is this? This is just going from one extreme to the other. What is the ultimate goal of making a person learn how to be submissive? No matter how much injustice you have suffered, how much sweat and effort you have put in, or how much your reputation, vanity, and honor have been damaged, these things are, in fact, secondary; the most important thing is to turn your state around. What state? Whether people are in a state whereby they make mistakes or in a state whereby they do not make mistakes, they usually harbor a kind of hardness and rebelliousness in the depths of their hearts. Moreover, a sort of human logical thinking exists within them that says, “As long as my actions and intentions are right, You should not deal with me, and it is okay for me not to submit.” They do not mention whether what they have done conforms to the truth or what consequences it leads to. They believe, “As long as I have a good heart and don’t have malicious intentions, You should accept me.” This is human reasoning, is it not? This is human reasoning, and there is no submission. You regard your own reasoning as the truth and treat the truth as superfluous. You think that only that which accords with your own reasoning is the truth, and that anything at odds with your own reasoning is not the truth. Anyone who thinks this way is most absurd, arrogant, and self-righteous. What kind of states can lessons in submission help people to resolve? To achieve submission, do they need a certain level of rationality? Regardless of whether we have done right or wrong in a matter, as long as God is dissatisfied, we should listen to God and use God’s words as the standard. This would be rational, right? This is the sense that human beings should possess; it is the first thing they should equip themselves with. We should not take into account how much we have suffered, what our intentions and purposes were, or what our reasons were at the time. Since God is not satisfied and we have not met God’s requirements, and given that God is the truth, we must listen to God and not try to reason with Him or argue. If you possess such rationality, you will be able to submit; that is, if, regardless of your circumstances, you neither rebel against God nor reject His requirements of you, and if you do not analyze whether His requirements are right or wrong, then your human state of hardness and rebelliousness and your propensity to reason your way out will be resolved. Do these states not exist within everyone? These states often emerge in people, and they think, “As long as my way accords with logical thinking, Your way should not be right, so it’s reasonable and fair for me to not obey You.” This is a common state for people, but if you are equipped with this sort of rationality, you will be able to effectively resolve this kind of state in part.
Excerpted from “The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Since you believe in God, you must put faith in all of the words of God and in all of His work. Which is to say, since you believe in God, you must obey Him. If you are unable to do this, then it does not matter whether you believe in God or not. If you have believed in God for many years, and yet have never obeyed Him, and do not accept the entirety of His words, and instead ask that God submit to you and act according to your notions, then you are the most rebellious of all, you are a nonbeliever. How could such people be able to obey the work and words of God that do not conform to the notions of man? Most rebellious of all are those who intentionally defy and resist God. They are the enemies of God, the antichrists. Theirs is always an attitude of hostility toward the new work of God; they never have the slightest inclination to submit, nor have they ever gladly submitted or humbled themselves. They exalt themselves before others and never submit to anyone. Before God, they consider themselves the best at preaching the word, and the most skillful in working on others. Never do they discard the “treasures” in their possession, but treat them as family heirlooms for worship, for preaching about to others, and they use them to lecture those fools who idolize them. There are indeed a certain number of people like this in the church. It can be said that they are “indomitable heroes,” generation after generation sojourning in the house of God. They take preaching the word (doctrine) to be their highest duty. Year after year, generation after generation, they go about vigorously enforcing their “sacred and inviolable” duty. None dare touch them; not a single person dares openly reproach them. They become “kings” in the house of God, running rampant as they tyrannize others from age to age. This pack of demons seeks to join hands and demolish My work; how can I allow these living devils to exist before My eyes? Even those who are only half obedient cannot carry on until the end, much less these tyrants without the slightest obedience in their hearts!
Excerpted from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh