4. How should one obey God? With what principles of practice should one obey God?
Relevant Words of God:
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.
Excerpted from “People Whose Dispositions Have Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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.
Excerpted from “Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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.
Excerpted from “For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (24)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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. They say, “How can this be unconditional? God’s words always have to be reasonable, and He always has to have a reason for doing things. God always has to give people a way to survive, He always has to act reasonably and fairly, and He cannot ignore human feelings.” If you are able to utter these words, and you in fact think this way, well, 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. What might that thing be? 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 the meaning of the work that God 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 or are you not a created being in God’s mind? Are you treating God as God should be treated? 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. Do not ask the reason why—you must have this attitude. If even this attitude is beyond you, and you are perpetually ready with “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 satisfies all standards, 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.
Excerpted from “For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (9)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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. “God? 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. Does such a person possess rationality? (No.) They are a beast! Without this sort of rationality, a person cannot achieve submission. To achieve submission, one must first be possessed of a submissive mentality.
Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (3)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
A lot of times, when faced with something that happens, people do not actually know the proper principles of practice, nor do they understand the proper direction to practice. However, this involves an issue of attitude and state, and these are the most fundamental things people should possess. That is, you might not know how to do something, and have not heard anyone say how it should be done; it might be a matter that is not quite in line with your imagination or notions. It also might not be very much in accord with your taste. Deep down, you harbor a few misgivings and feel a bit upset—but what should you do about this issue? There is a most simple method of practice, and that is to start by submitting. Submission is not an external way of doing things or saying things, nor is it rhetoric. It involves a certain kind of state. Can what people say, do, and think, as well as their attitudes and what states they are in, be considered genuine submission? (When we are being pruned and dealt with, we should not try to reason our way out or justify ourselves.) This is one aspect of the state. Do not try to reason your way out, and do not justify yourself. However, when you feel terribly wronged but you do not say anything on the spot about it, and then end up talking about it privately, is this a submissive attitude? (No.) So what exactly is a submissive attitude? First of all, one must have a positive attitude; that is, do not try to analyze what is right and what is wrong, but instead just accept what has happened. People say, “You did that thing wrong.” Though you may not understand it, you can accept it and admit that you made a mistake. Acceptance is, first and foremost, a positive attitude. Additionally, there is another attitude, on the negative side, and that is to not resist in the first place. In how many different ways can this lack of resistance manifest? Do not try to reason your way out, and do not voice your objective excuses. If you say that something happened because of such-and-such reason, and that so-and-so is to blame, is this not you trying to reason your way out? Is this not resistance? Do not refuse, do not resist, and do not try to reason your way out. Even if you have your excuses, are they the truth? That is just human objective reasoning; it is not the truth. Right now, this is not about your objective excuses—why this happened or what led to it happening. Rather, it is about the fact that the nature of what happened does not conform to the truth. If your understanding reaches this level, then you will genuinely be able to accept it and then can truly stop resisting. Having this attitude to begin with is very crucial. Some people, after having been pruned and dealt with, think to themselves, “What happened is not just my fault, so how come all the responsibility has been pushed onto me? Where did everyone else go? Why doesn’t anyone around speak on my behalf? They let me bear all the responsibility on my own. It just goes to show, ‘Everyone reaps the benefits but only one person takes the blame.’ I’m so unlucky! How is it that all these bad things keep happening to me, and good things never do?” What kind of emotion is this? This is resistance. Even though, on the surface, such people have nodded their heads, admitted that they were wrong, and accepted responsibility, in their hearts they still complain: “They can deal with me if they must, but what they said was so harsh; they criticized me in front of all those people. I feel mortified. They would not even treat me like a human being! I just made a small mistake; that’s all. Why do they have to keep going on and on about it?” Such people resist, reject, stubbornly cause confrontations, are unreasonable, and make excuses. With such emotions and thoughts, one cannot possess a genuinely submissive attitude.
Excerpted from “The Five States Necessary to Be on the Right Track in One’s Faith” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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.
Excerpted from “The Path to Resolving a Corrupt Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you believe in God’s sovereignty, then you have to believe that everyday occurrences, be they good or bad, do not happen at random. It is not that someone is deliberately being hard on you or targeting you; this was all arranged by God. Why does God orchestrate all these things? It is not to reveal you for who you are or to expose you; exposing you is not the end goal. The goal is to perfect you and save you. How does God do that? He starts by making you aware of your own corrupt disposition, of your nature and essence, of your shortcomings, and of what you lack. Only by knowing these things and having a clear understanding of them can you pursue the truth and gradually cast off your corrupt disposition. This is God providing you with an opportunity. You have to know how to seize this opportunity, and you should not butt heads with God. In particular, when faced with the people, matters, and things that God arranges around you, do not constantly feel that things are not as you wish them to be; do not constantly wish to escape them or always blame and misunderstand God. If you are constantly doing those things, then you are not experiencing God’s work, and that will make it very difficult for you to enter truth reality. Whatever you encounter that you cannot fully understand, when a difficulty arises, you must learn to submit. You should begin by coming before God and praying more. That way, before you know it, a shift will occur in your internal state, and you will be able to seek the truth to resolve your problem. As such, you will be able to experience God’s work. As this happens, truth reality will be wrought within you, and this is how you will progress and undergo a transformation of the state of your life. Once you have undergone this change and possess this truth reality, you will also possess stature, and with stature comes life.
Excerpted from “To Gain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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.
Excerpted from “Only Being Truly Obedient Is a Real Belief” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and going without in his life, none of which could alter his love for God. Was this not the ultimate love for God? Was this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love for God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but you will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.
Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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.
Excerpted from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can One Know God’s Deeds” in Records of Christ’s Talks