32. The Principles of Overcoming Satan’s Temptations
Relevant Words of God:
In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. … When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony. Though they may seem unimportant from the outside, when these things happen they show whether or not you love God. If you do, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony to Him, and if you have not put the love of Him into practice, this shows you are not someone who puts the truth into practice, that you are without the truth, and without life, that you are chaff! Everything that happens to people happens when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Though nothing major is happening to you at the moment and you do not bear great testimony, every detail of your daily life is a matter of testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony. Although you have no insight and your caliber is poor, through God’s perfection of you, you are able to satisfy Him and be mindful of His will, showing others what great work He has done in people of the poorest caliber. When people come to know God and become overcomers before Satan, loyal to God to a great extent, then none has more backbone than this group of people, and this is the greatest testimony. Although you are incapable of doing great work, you are able to satisfy God. Others cannot put aside their notions, but you can; others cannot bear testimony to God during their actual experiences, but you can use your actual stature and actions to repay God’s love and bear resounding testimony to Him. Only this counts as actually loving God. If you are incapable of this, then you do not bear testimony among your family members, among your brothers and sisters, or before the people of the world. If you cannot bear testimony before Satan, Satan will laugh at you, it will treat you as a joke, as a plaything, it will often make a fool of you and drive you insane. In the future, great trials may befall you—but today, if you love God with a true heart, and if, regardless of how great the trials ahead, irrespective of what happens to you, you are able to stand firm in your testimony and are able to satisfy God, then your heart will be comforted, and you will be unafraid no matter how great the trials you encounter in the future. You cannot see what will happen in the future; you can only satisfy God in today’s circumstances. You are incapable of doing any great work and should focus on satisfying God by experiencing His words in real life, and bear strong and resounding testimony that brings shame upon Satan. Although your flesh will remain unsatisfied and will have suffered, you will have satisfied God and brought shame upon Satan. If you always practice in this way, God will open up a path before you. When, one day, a great trial comes, others will fall down, but you will still be able to stand firm: Because of the price you have paid, God will protect you so you can stand firm and not fall down. If, ordinarily, you are able to put the truth into practice and satisfy God with a heart that truly loves Him, then God will surely protect you during future trials. Though you are foolish and of little stature and poor caliber, God will not discriminate against you. It depends on whether your intentions are right. Today, you are able to satisfy God, in which you are attentive to the smallest detail, you satisfy God in all things, you have a heart that truly loves God, you give your true heart to God, and although there are some things that you cannot understand, you can come before God to rectify your intentions and seek God’s will, and you do everything needed to satisfy God. Perhaps your brothers and sisters will abandon you, but your heart will be satisfying God, and you will not covet the pleasures of the flesh. If you always practice in this way, you will be protected when great trials come upon you.
Excerpted from “Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Everything that God does is necessary and possessed of extraordinary significance, for all that He does in man concerns His management and the salvation of mankind. Naturally, the work that God did in Job is no different, even though Job was perfect and upright in the eyes of God. In other words, regardless of what God does or the means by which He does it, regardless of the cost, regardless of His objective, the purpose of His actions does not change. His purpose is to work God’s words into man, as well as God’s requirements and will for man; in other words, it is to work into man all that God believes to be positive in accordance with His steps, enabling man to understand God’s heart and comprehend God’s substance, and allowing man to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, thus allowing man to attain fear of God and shunning of evil—all of this is one aspect of God’s purpose in all He does. The other aspect is that, because Satan is the foil and service object in God’s work, man is often given to Satan; this is the means God uses to allow people to see in Satan’s temptations and attacks the wickedness, ugliness, and contemptibility of Satan, thus causing people to hate Satan and be able to know and recognize that which is negative. This process allows them to gradually free themselves from Satan’s control and accusations, interference, and attacks—until, thanks to God’s words, their knowledge and obedience of God, and their faith in God and fear of Him, they triumph over the attacks and accusations of Satan; only then will they have been completely delivered from the domain of Satan. People’s deliverance means that Satan has been defeated, it means that they are no longer the food in Satan’s mouth—instead of swallowing them, Satan has relinquished them. This is because such people are upright, because they have faith, obedience, and fear toward God, and because they completely break with Satan. They bring shame upon Satan, they make a coward of Satan, and they utterly defeat Satan. Their conviction in following God, and obedience to and fear of God defeat Satan, and make Satan completely give them up. Only people such as this have truly been gained by God, and it is this which is God’s ultimate objective in saving man. If they wish to be saved, and wish to be completely gained by God, then all those who follow God must face temptations and attacks both great and small from Satan. Those who emerge from these temptations and attacks and are able to fully defeat Satan are those who have been saved by God. This is to say, those who have been saved unto God are those who have undergone God’s trials, and who have been tempted and attacked by Satan an untold number of times. Those who have been saved unto God understand God’s will and requirements, and are able to acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and they do not forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil amid Satan’s temptations. Those who are saved unto God possess honesty, they are kindhearted, they differentiate between love and hate, they have a sense of justice and are rational, and they are able to care for God and treasure all that is of God. Such people are not bound, spied upon, accused, or abused by Satan; they are completely free, they have been completely liberated and released. Job was just such a man of freedom, and this is precisely the significance of why God had handed him over to Satan.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
During the work of God’s abiding provision and support of man, He tells the entirety of His will and requirements to man, and shows His deeds, disposition, and what He has and is to man. The objective is to equip man with stature, and to allow man to gain various truths from God while following Him—truths that are the weapons given to man by God with which to fight Satan. Thus equipped, man must face God’s tests. God has many means and avenues for testing man, but every one of them requires the “cooperation” of God’s enemy: Satan. This is to say, having given man the weapons with which to do battle with Satan, God hands man over to Satan and allows Satan to “test” man’s stature. If man can break out from Satan’s battle formations, if he can escape Satan’s encirclement and still live, then man will have passed the test. But if man fails to leave Satan’s battle formations, and submits to Satan, then he will not have passed the test. Whatever aspect of man God examines, the criteria for His examination are whether or not man stands firm in his testimony when attacked by Satan, and whether or not he has forsaken God and surrendered and submitted to Satan while ensnared by Satan. It may be said that whether or not man can be saved depends on whether he can overcome and defeat Satan, and whether or not he can gain freedom depends on whether he is able to lift up, on his own, the weapons given to him by God to overcome Satan’s bondage, making Satan completely abandon hope and leave him alone. If Satan abandons hope and relinquishes someone, this means that Satan will never again try to take this person from God, will never again accuse and interfere with this person, will never again wantonly torture or attack them; only someone such as this will truly have been gained by God. This is the entire process by which God gains people.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
On earth, all manner of evil spirits are forever on the prowl for a place to rest, and are endlessly searching for human corpses that can be consumed. My people! You must remain within My care and protection. Never be dissolute! Never behave recklessly! You should offer up your loyalty in My house, and only with loyalty can you mount a countercharge against the devil’s trickery. Under no circumstances should you behave as you did in the past, doing one thing in front of Me and another behind My back; if you act this way, then you are already beyond redemption. Have I not uttered more than enough words such as these? It is precisely because humanity’s old nature is incorrigible that I have had to give people repeated reminders. Do not get bored! All that I say is for the sake of ensuring your destiny! A foul and filthy place is precisely what Satan needs; the more hopelessly irredeemable and the more dissolute you are, refusing to submit to restraint, then the more those unclean spirits will avail themselves of any opportunity to infiltrate you. If you have gotten to this point, then your loyalty will be nothing but idle chatter, without any reality to it whatsoever, and the unclean spirits will gulp down your resolution and transform it into disobedience and satanic plots to be used to disrupt My work. From there, you could be smitten by Me at any time. No one understands the gravity of this situation; people all simply turn a deaf ear to what they hear, and are not the least bit cautious. I remember not what was done in the past; are you actually still waiting for Me to be lenient toward you by “forgetting” once more? Though humans have opposed Me, I will not hold it against them, for they are too small of stature, and so I have not made overly high demands of them. All I require is that they not be dissolute, and that they submit to restraint. Surely it is not beyond your capacity to meet this one stipulation, is it?
Excerpted from “Chapter 10” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Your many experiences of failure, of weakness, your times of negativity, can all be said to be God’s trials. This is because everything comes from God, and all things and events are in His hands. Whether you fail or whether you are weak and you stumble, it all rests on God and is within His grasp. From God’s perspective, this is a trial of you, and if you cannot recognize that, it will become temptation. There are two kinds of states that people should recognize: One comes from the Holy Spirit, and the likely source of the other is Satan. One is a state in which the Holy Spirit illuminates you and allows you to know yourself, to detest and feel regret about yourself and to be able to have genuine love for God, to set your heart on satisfying Him. The other is a state in which you know yourself, but you are negative and weak. It could be said that this state is God’s refinement, and also that it is Satan’s temptation. If you recognize that this is God’s salvation of you and if you feel that you are now deeply in His debt, and if from now on you try to repay Him and no longer fall into such depravity, if you put your effort into eating and drinking His words, and if you always consider yourself to be lacking, and have a heart of longing, then this is God’s trial. After the suffering has ended and you are once again moving forward, God will still lead, illuminate, enlighten, and nourish you. But if you do not recognize it and you are negative, simply abandoning yourself to despair, if you think in this way, then Satan’s temptation will have come upon you. When Job underwent trials, God and Satan were betting with each other, and God allowed Satan to afflict Job. Even though it was God testing Job, it was actually Satan that came upon him. For Satan, it was tempting Job, but Job was on God’s side. If that had not been the case, then Job would have fallen into temptation. As soon as people fall into temptation, they fall into danger. Undergoing refinement can be said to be a trial from God, but if you are not in a good state, it can be said to be temptation from Satan. If you are not clear about the vision, Satan will accuse you and obscure you in the aspect of vision. Before you know it, you will fall into temptation.
Excerpted from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If people fall under the influence of Satan, then they have no love for God within them, and their previous visions, love, and resolution have disappeared. People used to feel that they were supposed to suffer for God, but today they think to do so is shameful, and they have no shortage of complaints. This is the work of Satan, a sign that man has fallen under the domain of Satan. If you encounter this state you must pray, and turn it around as soon as you can—this will protect you against Satan’s attacks. It is during bitter refinement that man can most easily fall under the influence of Satan, so how should you love God during such refinement? You should summon your will, laying your heart before God and devoting the last of your time to Him. No matter how God refines you, you should be able to put the truth into practice to satisfy God’s will and you should take it upon yourself to seek God and seek communion. At times like these, the more passive you are, the more negative you will become and the easier it will be for you to regress. When it is necessary for you to serve your function, although you do not serve it well, you do all you can, and do so using nothing more than your love of God; regardless of what others say—whether they say you have done well, or that you have done badly—your intentions are correct, and you are not self-righteous, for you are acting in behalf of God. When others misinterpret you, you are able to pray to God and say: “O God! I do not ask that others tolerate me or treat me well, nor that they understand or approve of me. I only ask that I may be able to love You in my heart, that I may be at ease in my heart, and that my conscience may be clear. I do not ask that others commend me, or hold me in high regard; I only seek to satisfy You from my heart; I serve my role by doing all that I can, and although I am foolish, stupid, of poor caliber and blind, I know that You are lovely, and I am willing to devote all I have to You.” As soon as you pray in this way, your love for God emerges, and you feel much more relieved in your heart. This is what is meant by practicing the love of God. As you experience, you will fail twice and succeed once, or else fail five times and succeed twice, and as you experience in this way, only amid failure will you be able to see the loveliness of God and discover what is lacking within you. When you next encounter such situations, you should caution yourself, temper your steps, and pray more often. You will gradually develop the ability to triumph in such situations. When that happens, your prayers have been effective. When you see you have been successful this time, you will be gratified inside, and when you pray you will be able to feel God, and that the presence of the Holy Spirit has not left you—only then will you know how God works within you. Practicing in this way will give you a path to experiencing. If you do not put the truth into practice, then you will be without the presence of the Holy Spirit within you. But if you put the truth into practice when you encounter things as they are, then, though you hurt inside, the Holy Spirit will be with you afterward, you will be able to feel the presence of God when you pray, you will have the strength to practice the words of God, and during communion with your brothers and sisters there will be nothing weighing on your conscience and you will feel at peace, and in this way, you will be able to bring to light what you have done. Regardless of what others say, you will be able to have a normal relationship with God, you will not be constrained by others, you will rise above everything—and in this, you will demonstrate that your practice of God’s words has been effective.
Excerpted from “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Job’s faith, obedience, and his testimony to overcoming Satan have been a source of huge help and encouragement to people. In Job, they see hope for their own salvation, and see that through faith, and obedience to and fear of God, it is entirely possible to defeat Satan, to prevail over Satan. They see that as long as they acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and as long as they possess the determination and faith not to forsake God after having lost everything, then they can bring shame and defeat upon Satan, and they see that they need only possess the determination and perseverance to stand firm in their testimony—even if it means losing their lives—for Satan to be cowed and beat a hasty retreat. Job’s testimony is a warning to later generations, and this warning tells them that if they do not defeat Satan, then they will never be able to rid themselves of the accusations and interference of Satan, nor will they ever be able to escape the abuse and attacks of Satan. Job’s testimony has enlightened later generations. This enlightenment teaches people that only if they are perfect and upright will they be able to fear God and shun evil; it teaches them that only if they fear God and shun evil can they bear strong and resounding testimony to God; only if they bear strong and resounding testimony to God can they never be controlled by Satan and live under the guidance and protection of God—only then will they have been truly saved. Job’s personality and his life’s pursuit should be emulated by everyone who pursues salvation. That which he lived out during his whole life and his conduct during his trials is a precious treasure to all those who pursue the way of fearing God and shunning evil.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter was faithful to Me for many years, yet he never grumbled nor had any complaint; even Job was not his equal, and, throughout the ages, the saints have all fallen far short of Peter. He not only sought to know Me, but also came to know Me during a time when Satan was enacting its deceitful schemes. This led Peter to serve Me for many years, always in line with My will, and for this reason, he was never exploited by Satan. Peter drew lessons from the faith of Job, yet also clearly perceived Job’s shortcomings. Although Job had been of great faith, he lacked knowledge of matters in the spiritual realm, so he said many words that did not correspond to reality; this shows that Job’s knowledge was shallow and incapable of perfection. Therefore, Peter focused always on gaining a sense of the spirit, and always paid attention to observing the dynamics of the spiritual realm. As a result, he not only was able to ascertain something of My wishes, but also had a modicum of knowledge of the deceitful schemes of Satan. Because of this, his knowledge of Me grew to be greater than anyone else’s throughout the ages.
From Peter’s experience, it is not hard to see that if humans wish to know Me, they must focus on giving careful consideration within their spirits. I do not ask that you “dedicate” a certain amount to Me externally; this is of secondary concern. If you do not know Me, then all the faith, love, and loyalty of which you speak are but illusions; they are froth, and you are sure to become someone who makes great boasts before Me but does not know himself. As such, you will once more be ensnared by Satan and unable to extricate yourself; you will become a son of perdition and an object of destruction. However, if you are cold and uncaring toward My words, then you undoubtedly oppose Me. This is fact, and you would do well to look through the gate of the spiritual realm at the many and varied spirits that have been chastised by Me. Which of them, faced with My words, was not passive, uncaring, and unaccepting? Which of them was not cynical about My words? Which of them did not try to find fault with My words? Which of them did not use My words as “defensive weapons” with which to “protect” themselves? They did not use the contents of My words as a way to know Me, but merely as toys to play with. In this, were they not resisting Me directly? Who are My words? Who is My Spirit? I have asked you such questions so many times, yet have you ever gotten any higher and clear insights about them? Have you ever truly experienced them? I remind you once again: If you do not know My words, nor accept them, nor put them into practice, then you will inevitably become objects of My chastisement! You will surely become victims of Satan!
Excerpted from “Chapter 8” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh