4. How one can come to obey God and with what principles of practice one should obey God
Relevant Words of God:
During God’s time in the flesh, the submission He requires of people does not involve refraining from making judgments or resisting, as they imagine; rather, He requires that people use His words as their principle to live by and the foundation of their survival, that they absolutely put the essence of His words into practice, and that they completely satisfy His will. One aspect of requiring people to submit to God incarnate refers to putting His words into practice, while another aspect refers to being able to submit to His normality and practicality. These must be both absolute. Those who can achieve both of these aspects are all those who harbor genuine love for God in their hearts. They are all people who have been gained by God, and they all love God as they love their own lives. God incarnate bears normal and practical humanity in His work. In this way, His exterior shell of both normal and practical humanity becomes an enormous trial for people; it becomes their greatest difficulty. However, God’s normality and practicality cannot be avoided. He tried everything to find a solution, but in the end could not rid Himself of the exterior shell of His normal humanity. This was because, after all, He is God become flesh, not the God of the Spirit in heaven. He is not the God that people cannot see, but the God wearing the shell of a member of creation. Thus, ridding Himself of the shell of His normal humanity would by no means be easy. Therefore, no matter what, He still does the work that He wants to do from the perspective of the flesh. This work is the expression of the normal and practical God, so how could it be okay for people to not submit? What on earth can people do about the actions of God? He does whatever He wants to do; whatever He is happy with is just the way it is. If people do not submit, then what other sound plans can they have? So far, only submission has been able to save people; no one has had any other bright ideas. If God wants to test people, what can they do about it? However, all of this was not thought up by God in heaven; it was thought up by God incarnate. He wants to do this, so no person can change it. God in heaven does not interfere with what God incarnate does, so is this not even more reason why people should submit to Him? Although He is both practical and normal, He is completely the God become flesh. Based on His own ideas, He does whatever He wants to. God in heaven has handed over all tasks to Him; you must submit to whatever He does. Although He has humanity and is very normal, He has deliberately arranged all of this, so how can people glare at Him with their eyes wide with disapproval? He wants to be normal, so He is normal. He wants to live within humanity, so He lives within humanity. He wants to live within divinity, so He lives within divinity. People can see it however they want, but God will always be God and humans will always be humans. His essence cannot be denied because of some minor detail, nor can He be pushed outside of the “person” of God because of one little thing. People have the freedom of human beings, and God has the dignity of God; these do not interfere with each other. Can people not give God a little freedom? Can they not tolerate God’s being a little more casual? Do not be so strict with God! Each should have tolerance for one another; would everything not then be settled? Would any estrangement still exist? If one cannot tolerate such a trivial matter, then how can they even say anything like “A prime minister’s heart is big enough to sail a boat in”? How can they be a true man? It is not God who causes difficulty for mankind, but mankind who causes difficulty for God. They are always handling things by making mountains out of molehills. They really do make something out of nothing, and it is so unnecessary! When God works within normal and practical humanity, what He does is not the work of mankind, but the work of God. However, humans do not see the essence of His work; they always just see the exterior shell of His humanity. They have not seen such great work, yet they insist on seeing His ordinary and normal humanity, and will not let go of it. How can this be called submitting before God? God in heaven has now “turned into” God on earth, and God on earth is now God in heaven. It does not matter if Their external appearances are the same, nor does it matter just how exactly They work. In the end, He who does God’s own work is God Himself. You must submit whether you want to or not—this is not a matter in which you have a choice! God must be obeyed by humans, and humans must absolutely submit to God without the slightest bit of pretense.
The group of people whom God incarnate wants to gain today are those who conform to His will. They need only submit to His work, and stop constantly concerning themselves with the ideas of God in heaven, living in vagueness, and making things difficult for God in the flesh. Those who are able to obey Him are those who absolutely listen to His words and submit to His arrangements. Such people pay no mind at all to what God in heaven might really be like or what kind of work God in heaven might currently be doing among mankind; they fully give their hearts to God on earth and they place their entire beings before Him. They never give any consideration to their own safety, nor do they ever make a fuss over the normality and practicality of God in the flesh. Those who submit to God in the flesh can be perfected by Him. Those who believe in God in heaven will gain nothing. This is because it is not God in heaven, but God on earth, who bestows promises and blessings upon people. People should not always magnify God in heaven while seeing God on earth as a mere average person; this is unfair. God in heaven is great and wonderful with marvelous wisdom, yet this does not exist at all; God on earth is very average and insignificant, and is also very normal. He does not have an extraordinary mind or perform earth-shattering acts; He simply works and speaks in a very normal and practical manner. While He does not speak through thunder or summon the wind and the rain, He truly is the incarnation of God in heaven, and He really is the God living amongst humans. People must not magnify the one whom they are able to understand and who corresponds to their own imaginations as God, while seeing the one they cannot accept and absolutely cannot imagine as being lowly. All of this comes from people’s rebelliousness; it is all the source of mankind’s resistance to God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality
Listening to the word of God and obeying God’s requirements is man’s heaven-sent vocation; what God says is no business of man. No matter what God says, what God asks of man, the identity, essence, and status of God do not change—He is always God. When you have no doubt that He is God, your only responsibility, the only thing you should do, is to listen to what He says; this is the path of practice. A creature of God should not study, analyze, explore, reject, contradict, disobey, or deny the words of God; this is abhorred by God, and not what He wishes to see in man. So just what is the path of practice? It is actually very simple: Learn to listen, listen with your heart, accept with your heart, understand and comprehend with your heart, and then go and do, carry out, and execute with your heart. What you hear and comprehend in your heart is closely connected to what you put into practice. Do not separate the two; everything—what you practice, what you obey, what you do by your own hand, everything you run around for—is connected to what you hear and comprehend in your heart, and in this, you will achieve obedience to the words of the Creator. This is the path of practice.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Three: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Obeyed God (Part Two)
People cannot change their own disposition; they must undergo the judgment and chastisement, and suffering and refinement, of God’s words, or being dealt with, disciplined, and pruned by His words. Only then can they achieve obedience and faithfulness to God, and no longer be perfunctory toward Him. It is under the refinement of God’s words that people’s dispositions change. Only through the exposure, judgment, discipline, and dealing of His words will they no longer dare to act rashly but instead will become steady and composed. The most important point is that they are able to submit to God’s current words, and to His work, even if it is not in line with human notions, they are able to put these notions aside and willingly submit.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. People Whose Dispositions Have Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words
Man’s corrupt disposition hides within their every thought and idea, within the motives behind their every action; it hides in every viewpoint man has about anything and within every opinion, understanding, viewpoint and desire they have in their approach to all God does. It is concealed within these things. And what does God do? How does God approach these things of man? He arranges environments to expose you. He will not only expose you, but He will also judge you. When you reveal your corrupt disposition, when you have thoughts and ideas that defy God, when you have states and viewpoints that contend with God, when you have states whereby you misunderstand God, or resist and oppose Him, God will rebuke you, judge you and chastise you, and He will sometimes even punish you and discipline you. What is the aim of disciplining and rebuking you? It is to make you understand that what you think are the notions of man, and that they are wrong; your motivations are born of Satan, they originate from human will, they do not represent God, they are incompatible with God, they cannot fulfill God’s intentions, they are disgusting and hateful to God, they incite His wrath, and even arouse His cursing. After realizing this, you are able to change your motivations. And how are they changed? First of all, you must submit to the way God treats you, and submit to the environments and people, matters, and things that He sets out for you; do not pick holes, do not make objective excuses, and do not shirk your responsibilities. Secondly, seek the truth that people should practice and enter when God does what He does. God asks that you understand these things. He wants you to recognize your corrupt dispositions and satanic essence, for you to be able to submit to the environments He arranges for you and, ultimately, for you to be able to practice what He requires of you in accordance with His will, and to be able to meet His will. Then you will have passed the test. Once you stop resisting and opposing, what are these soon replaced with? You are able to obey, and no longer argue. When God says, “Get you behind Me, Satan,” you reply, “If God says I am Satan, I am Satan. Though I don’t understand what I’ve done wrong, or why God says I am Satan, if He wishes me to get behind Him, I shall not hesitate. I must seek the will of God.” When God says the nature of your actions is satanic, you say, “I recognize whatever God says, I accept it all.” What attitude is this? This is obedience. Is it obedience when you are able to reluctantly accept God saying you are the devil Satan, but cannot accept it—and are incapable of obeying—when He says you are a beast? Obedience means total compliance, acceptance, not arguing and not setting terms. It means not analyzing cause and effect, regardless of objective reasons, and only concerning yourself with acceptance. When people have attained obedience such as this, they are close to true faith in God. The more God acts, the greater your sense that all is ruled by God, and then the more you will feel, “Everything God does is good, none of it is bad. I must not pick and choose, but should obey. My responsibility, my obligation, my duty—it is to obey; this is what I should do as a creature of God. If I can’t even obey God, then what am I? I am a beast, I am the devil!” Does this not show that you now have true faith? Once you have gotten to this point, you will be without taint, and so it will be easy for God to use you, and it will also be easy for you to submit to the orchestrations of God—and will it not then be easy for God to bless you? Thus, there are many lessons to be learned from obedience.
—“Only If One Is Truly Obedient Can They Have True Faith” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
The only attitude that a created being should have to its Creator is one of obedience, one of unconditional obedience. This is something that some people today may be unable to accept. This is because man’s stature is too small and they are without truth reality. If this describes your state, then you are far from being able to obey God. While man is provided for and watered by the word of God, man is in fact preparing for a single thing. It is ultimately to be able to achieve unconditional, absolute submission to God, at which point, you, this creation, will have reached the standard required. Sometimes, God deliberately does things that are at odds with your notions, which go against what you want, or which even appear to go against principles, or against human feelings, humanity, or sentiments, leaving you unable to accept them and unable to understand. Whichever way you look at it, it does not seem right, you simply cannot accept it, and you feel that what He has done is simply unreasonable. So what is God’s purpose in doing these things? It is to test you. You need not discuss the hows and whys of what God has done; all you need do is maintain your faith that He is the truth, and recognize that He is your Creator, that He is your God. This is higher than all truth, higher than all worldly wisdom, than man’s so-called morality, ethics, knowledge, education, philosophy or traditional culture, and it is even higher than affection or comradeship or so-called love between people—it is higher than absolutely anything else. If you cannot understand this, then sooner or later, when something happens to you, you are liable to rebel against God and go astray before finally repenting and recognizing how lovable God is and the significance of the work He performs on you; or, even worse, you might trip and fall because of it. It would not be frightening that God judged you, nor would it be frightening that He cursed you or chastised you—so what would be frightening? It would be frightening if He said, “I won’t save a person like you; I give up!” In that case, you would be done for. Therefore, people should not split hairs by saying, “These words—judgment and chastisement—are fine, but these ones—cursing, destruction, condemnation—wouldn’t that mean the end of me? What kind of created being could I be after that? Fine; I quit. And You can go ahead and stop being my God.” If you decide to abandon God, without having stood testimony, then He truly might decide He does not want you anymore. Have you considered this before? Regardless of how long a person has believed in God, how long the road they have traveled along, how much work they have done and how many duties they have performed, this time has all been preparing them for a single thing: for you to ultimately be able to achieve unconditional, absolute submission to God. So what does “unconditional” mean? It means ignoring your personal justifications, ignoring your objective reasoning, and not bickering over anything: You are a created being, and you are not worthy. When you bicker with God, you are in the wrong position; when you attempt to justify yourself to God, once again, you are in the wrong position; when you argue with God, when you want to ask the reason why, to figure out what is actually happening, if you cannot obey without first understanding, and will only submit once everything is clear to you, you are once again in the wrong position. When the position you are in is wrong, is your obedience to God absolute? Are you treating God as God should be treated? Do you worship Him as the Lord of all creation? No, you are not, in which case God does not recognize you. What things can enable you to achieve absolute, unconditional obedience to God? How can this be experienced? On the one hand, a bit of the conscience and sense of normal humanity is required; on the other, as you fulfill your duties, each and every aspect of the truth must be understood so that you may understand God’s will. Sometimes, man’s caliber falls short, and man does not have the strength or the energy to understand all truths. There is one thing, however: Regardless of the environment, people, events, and things that come upon you and that God has arranged, you must always have an obedient attitude and do not ask the reason why. If even this attitude is beyond you, and you are even capable of going so far as to guard against God, speculate about God, or else think to yourself, “I have to consider whether what God is doing is really righteous. They say God is love, well let’s see if there is love in what He is doing with me, and if this is actually love,” if you are always examining whether what God is doing conforms to your notions, looking at whether what God is doing is what you like, or even whether it complies with what you believe to be the truth, then your position is wrong, and this will bring you trouble and you will be liable to offend God’s disposition.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Would Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God (Part Two)
What is the practical side of an attitude of submission? It is this: You must bring yourself to accept God’s words. When your life entry is shallow, and you have not yet achieved having stature, and your knowledge of truth reality is not yet deep enough, but, even in such circumstances, you are still able to follow God and submit to Him—that is the attitude. Before you can achieve total submission, you must first adopt an attitude of submission, which is an attitude of accepting that God’s words are right, of taking God’s words as the truth and as the principles of practice, and of being able to uphold them as rules, even when you do not have a good grasp of the principles. That is a kind of attitude. Because, as of now, your disposition has not yet changed, your being able to achieve this, and to seem to God to have such an attitude and such a mentality, and to say, “I don’t care what God does and I don’t understand many truths. All I know is that what God tells me to do, I do. I don’t have a bag of tricks that’ll help me look into what God says, and that’s not what I’m supposed to do”—that is a kind of submissive mentality. There are a few people who say, “That won’t do. What if He’s wrong?” Can God be wrong? You say, “Whether what God does is right or wrong, I’m not responsible for that. I just listen, submit, accept, and follow God. That’s what a created being should do.” That is the sort of mentality with which one should submit, and only people possessed of such a mentality can gain the truth. If you do not have this mentality, but say, “I don’t let anyone pull the wool over my eyes. No one’s going to fool me. I’m too shrewd to be tricked by those words and made to submit to anything; it won’t work. Whatever comes my way, I have to look into it and analyze it. When I myself am able to accept something and understand it, that’s when I’ll submit”—is that an attitude of submission? It is not an attitude of submission; it is a lack of a submissive mentality, with no intention in one’s heart to submit. “I’ll still have to look into God. Even kings and queens get the same treatment from me. What You’re saying is useless. It’s true that I am a created being, but I’m no dummy—so don’t treat me like one.” It is over for them; they lack the conditions to accept the truth. Such people lack any sense. They are a beast! Without such sense, a person cannot achieve submission. To achieve submission, one must first be possessed of a submissive mentality.
—“Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (3)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Whatever you do, you must learn to seek and obey the truth in it. So long as you act in accordance with the truth, you are acting correctly. Even if it was a child who proposed it, or the most inconspicuous young brother or young sister, so long as what they say conforms to the truth, then what you are doing will have a good outcome, and it will conform to God’s will. The handling of a matter depends on your impulse and your principles for handling it. If your principles arise from man’s will; if they arise from human thoughts, notions, or imaginings; or if they arise from human emotions and points of view, then your handling of the matter will be wrong, because its source will be wrong. When your views are based on the principles of the truth, and you handle matters in accordance with the truth principles, then you are sure to handle the matter at hand correctly. Sometimes, other people will be unable to accept your handling of the matter at the moment, and, at such times, they may seem to have their own notions, or their hearts will be ill at ease. After a while, however, you will be proven right. Matters that conform to God’s will look better over time; the outcome of matters that do not conform to God’s will, however—matters that accord with man’s will and are man-made—grow worse over time, and will all be proven so. When you act, do not concern yourself with whose way should or should not guide you, and do not make assumptions. First of all, you should seek and pray, and then feel your way forward, and fellowship with everyone together. What is the purpose of fellowship? It enables one to do things in precise accordance with God’s will, and to act in line with God’s will. This is a somewhat grand way of putting it; let us say it enables one to handle affairs in precise accordance with the truth principles—this is somewhat more practical. If you can achieve this, that will do.
—“The Path to Resolving a Corrupt Disposition” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
When confronting real-life problems, how should you know and understand God’s authority and His sovereignty? When you are faced with these problems and do not know how to understand, handle, and experience them, what attitude should you adopt to demonstrate your intention to submit, your desire to submit, and the reality of your submission to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? First you must learn to wait; then you must learn to seek; then you must learn to submit. “Waiting” means waiting for the time of God, awaiting the people, events, and things that He has arranged for you, waiting for His will to reveal itself gradually to you. “Seeking” means observing and understanding God’s thoughtful intentions for you through the people, events, and things that He has laid out, understanding the truth through them, understanding what humans must accomplish and the ways they must adhere to, understanding what results God means to achieve in humans and what accomplishments He means to attain in them. “Submitting,” of course, refers to accepting the people, events, and things that God has orchestrated, accepting His sovereignty and, through it, coming to know how the Creator dictates man’s fate, how He supplies man with His life, how He works the truth within man. All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, and you should learn to submit. This is the attitude every person who wants to submit to God’s authority must adopt, the basic quality every person who wants to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements must possess. To hold such an attitude, to possess such a quality, you must work harder. This is the only way you can enter into the true reality.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique III
There is a fundamental principle of the Lord of creation’s treatment of created beings, which is also the highest principle. How He treats created beings is completely based on His management plan and on His requirements; He does not need to consult any single person, nor does He need to get any single person to agree with Him. Whatever He ought to do and however He ought to treat people, He does, and, no matter what He does or how He treats people, it all accords with the principles by which the Lord of creation works. As a created being, the only thing to do is submit; there should not be any other choice. What does this show? It shows that the Lord of creation will always be the Lord of creation; He has the power and the qualifications to orchestrate and rule over any created being as He pleases, and does not need a reason to do so. This is His authority. There is not one among the beings of creation who, insofar as they are created beings, has the power or is qualified to pass judgment on how the Creator should act or on whether what He does is right or wrong, nor is any created being qualified to choose whether they should be ruled over, orchestrated, or disposed of by the Lord of creation. Likewise, not a single created being has the qualifications to choose how they are ruled over and disposed of by the Lord of creation. This is the highest truth. No matter what the Lord of creation has done to His created beings, and no matter how He has done it, the humans He created should do only one thing: Seek, submit, know, and accept this fact put in place by the Lord of creation. The final result will be that the Lord of creation will have accomplished His management plan and completed His work, having caused His management plan to progress without any obstructions; meanwhile, because the created beings have accepted the Creator’s rule and arrangements, and submitted to His rule and arrangements, they will have gained the truth, understood the Creator’s will, and come to know His disposition. There is yet another principle I must tell you: No matter what the Creator does, no matter how He manifests, and no matter whether what He does is a great deed or a small one, He is still the Creator; whereas all mankind, which He created, regardless of what they have done, and regardless of how talented or favored they might be, remain created beings. As for created humanity, no matter how much grace and how many blessings they have received from the Creator, or how much mercy, lovingkindness, or benevolence, they should not believe themselves to stand apart from the masses, or think they can be on equal footing with God and that they have become highly ranked among created beings. Regardless of how many gifts God has bestowed on you, or how much grace He has given you, or how kindly He has treated you, or whether He has given you a few special talents, none of these are your assets. You are a created being, and you will thus forever be a created being. You must never think, “I am a little darling in the hands of God. He would not raise a hand to me. God’s attitude toward me will always be one of love, care, and gentle caresses, with warm whispers of comfort and encouragement.” To the contrary, in the eyes of the Creator, you are the same as all other created beings; God can use you as He wishes, and can also orchestrate you as He wishes, and He can arrange as He wishes for you to play every role among all sorts of people, events, and things. This is the knowledge people should have, and the good sense that they should possess. If one can understand and accept these words, their relationship with God will grow more normal, and they will establish a most legitimate relationship with Him; if one can understand and accept these words, they will orient their station properly, assume their place there, and uphold their duty.
—“Only by Seeking the Truth Can One Know God’s Deeds” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days