The Principles of the Practice of Submitting to God (Part One)

The reason everyone is envious of Job today is because he had true faith. But have you fellowshipped before about the details of his experiences and why he was able to truly testify? What was his daily life like? How did he associate with God in his life? From his every action, how does one see that he sought the truth, that he submitted to God and accepted God’s arrangements and orchestrations? Do these things not touch on the details? (Yes.) These things touch on the details of pursuing the truth, which is something that people today lack. People only know Job’s famous saying: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). They can all recite this phrase, but they are not clear on why exactly Job was able to say it. This famous saying did not come easily to Job—it only came after a lifetime of experience. In his lifetime of experience, he saw the arrangements and orchestrations of God’s hand and the conduct of God in many things, and he saw that all his riches were given by God. One day, all those things disappeared, and he knew that God had taken them away. The conclusion Job came to was that no matter what God did, God’s name was to be blessed. So how was this conclusion reached? Doesn’t reaching this conclusion require a process? This involves the path that people today take as they pursue the truth, which is how to obtain this result, how to make these gains. These gains are not gotten in a matter of days, or even a matter of a few years; it touches on every aspect and every detail of people’s lives.

Job’s belief in God was not nominal; he was the model representative of a sincere believer. He prayed to God in all things. When he was uneasy with his children’s merrymaking, he prayed to God and entrusted them to God; he certainly frequently prayed over how to raise his livestock. He entrusted everything to the hands of God. If he had been like an unbeliever, always planning and calculating the raising of his livestock with the will of man, only relying only on his own mind and imagination and racking his brains to achieve the goals he had planned, then even if he had experienced many failures and setbacks, would he have been able to see God’s hands and His sovereignty and arrangements? (No.) If he had not often prayed to God, he would not have experienced God’s blessings; he would have often been negative and weak like an ordinary believer, and a resistant mood might have arisen in him. “People always say God exists. I believe in God, but God doesn’t bless me according to my plans! I worship God and offer sacrifices every day. If God does exist, His blessings for me should be greater than I could ever ask for or imagine. How is it that I have not yet achieved that goal? It’s hard to say whether or not God actually exists.” He would have written a question mark next to the existence of God, which is a negative effect. For one thing, he could not have seen the hand of God or His sovereignty and arrangements. Additionally, he would have complained against God, and he would have developed misunderstandings, antipathy, and rebellion against God. If people who believe in God go their own way, always pursuing blessings, then in the end, will they be able to say like Job: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah”? Will this kind of experiential knowledge arise in them? (No.) Certainly not. Why not? Where does this problem come from? (They do not believe in God’s sovereignty, nor seek from God; rather, they resolve things with human methods.) Why do people rack their brains using human methods to attain their own goals instead of relying on God? When they make plans, do they seek God’s will? Do they have a submissive attitude, saying, “I don’t know what God is going to do. I’ll make this plan first, this calculation, but I don’t know whether or not my plan will achieve my goal; this is just a plan. If it can achieve my goal, then it is a blessing from God. If not, then it was because of my own blindness; my plan was not in accord with God’s will.” Do they have this kind of attitude? (No.) So how do these courses of action arise? These are human imaginings and notions, human desires, humans’ unreasonable requirements of God; they arise from corrupt dispositions. This is one aspect. Additionally, do such people have a heart of submission to God? (No.) How do you see that they do not have a heart of submission to God? (They feel an absolute need to achieve the plans they make.) What disposition is this? It is arrogance and rebellion. They believe that God blesses them, but when they have their own desires and calculations, they set God to the side; this is an arrogant disposition. Are they submitting when they set God to the side? They are not, and God is not in their heart. They do not consider how God holds sovereignty over and arranges things at all, much less how He wants to do things. They do not consider these matters. What can be seen from this? They do not seek anything, nor do they submit, nor do they have a God-fearing heart. They first make their own plans, then afterward, they act and work hard according to their plans, relying on human methods, imaginings, and notions, without considering God’s will at all. When it comes to raising livestock, people at least need to know in their hearts that “man should try their best to do what they ought to and to submit to the will of God,” which is to say: “I’ll fulfill my responsibilities to feed the livestock, I won’t let them lack nutrition, or freeze, or go hungry, or get sick. The number of offspring they have next year is in God’s hands; I do not know it, I do not require it, and I will not make plans. These matters are all up to God.” If they persist in relying on human notions and imaginings to act, do they have a submissive attitude toward God? (No.) Which of these two courses of actions comes from man’s will, and which is submissive to God? (The first comes from man’s will, and is the nonbelievers’ course of action; the second course of action comes from those who sincerely believe in God and seek the truth.) They all believe in God, and they all do the same thing, but the motive, source, and goal of their actions, as well as their principles, are different. Thus, the path people are on can be seen. Is there not a difference? The essence of nonbelievers is that of the unbelievers. What is the source and goal of their actions? It is all for their own interests, with profit being at the forefront of their minds, so in their actions, they rely exclusively on their own will. Why do I say they rely on their own will? They entirely make their own plans after careful consideration. They do not act impulsively or blindly; rather, they have intents and goals. They do not consider God’s will, they act entirely on their own determination. No one else makes plans for them, nor does anyone else compel them to act this way. They themselves are determined to act according to their own plans, so they are relying on their own will. Then, according to their own plans, they rack their brains and go act, no matter the cost, in order to satisfy their own desires and achieve the goals of those plans. As they act, they also have this vague idea: “I believe in God, so He will certainly bless me.” Is this not shameful? On what basis will God bless you? How do you know God will bless you? Will God make things happen because of your determinations? Is this not an unreasonable idea? If you believe that God will certainly bless you, is that equivalent to submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? (No.) But many people mix this up. They say: “I believe that God will bless me, I believe that He will protect all I have, and I believe that He will satisfy my desire!” They think that this is a submissive attitude toward God. Is this not a mistake? Not only is it a mistake, it is also rebellion and blasphemy against God. Believing that God will bless you does not mean that you submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements—these are two different things. In saying this, you are entirely being controlled by your arrogant nature, and saying this is not in line with the truth principles.

What is the essence of the conduct that is rebellious to God about which I have just fellowshipped? Dissect the root of this matter. Is there any practice of the truth in it? Any submission? Is there a place for God in their heart? Do they have a God-fearing heart? (No.) You all say no, so to be specific, what are the ways in which these things manifest? You must compare this to yourself, and know how to dissect it. If you know how to dissect it, you will know how to judge the state within you, and you will know how to judge whether or not all you practice is in line with principles, and whether or not you are practicing the truth. First off, if people make their plans first, without seeking the truth, is there any submission here? (No.) Seeing as there is no submission, how should one practice in order to be submissive? (Seek God’s will first.) In many matters, God does not clearly show you His will, so how can you be sure that you are practicing the truth? (We must rely on prayer to God to be sure.) If you pray a few times and still do not understand God’s will, what do you do then? Do not act blindly. First, see whether acting this way is necessary or not, whether or not these actions are part of God’s arrangements, whether or not the conditions to act in this way are met, and whether or not you can achieve your plan. If you cannot, but you continue to stick to this plan, does that not mean it is an unreasonable course of action? Whether your plans and ideas are realistic or not is crucial. You think in your heart: “I will first make this plan, and if God blesses me, then perhaps I will gain even more than this!” You have a lucky mentality, and then you rely on your own will and try to stick to your guns; your ambitions and desires are great, and you are both arrogant and barbarous. People’s plans and determinations always have errors, and are not things they should practice. When people do not understand the truth or God’s will, can their plans and determinations be correct? Can they be in line with God’s will? This is not a certain thing, because there are many matters people cannot understand, which they cannot decide on; people’s determinations and plans are all human imaginings, their conjectures and judgments. Those who do not understand the truth cannot see that all things are in God’s hands, and that they are orchestrated and arranged by Him. You must see what God’s hands are doing, what His will is, and what work He is currently doing on people. If your plans and decisions go against the work God wants to do, or are the opposite of God’s will, what will the result be? Your plans are sure to fail. From this matter you must see clearly that people should not plan—planning is, of itself, a mistake. So how should people practice correctly? They should learn to take things as they come, they should not blindly act on or plan around things they cannot understand. There are many matters you cannot understand, and you do not know what problems might come up in the middle. Are these unexpected situations in people’s plans? Certainly not, so people’s plans are all just human imaginings, empty things, and impracticalities. So what should people do? For one thing, they should have a heart of submission to God, and they should not make any of their own plans; for another, they must also fulfill their responsibilities and duties, without being perfunctory. As to whether or not you can accomplish the things you plan and determine, that is in God’s hands. Maybe you only plan a little, but God gives you a lot; maybe you plan a lot, but you do not receive so much. After going through many such similar experiences, you will realize that nothing changes based on man’s will or plans. It all depends on how God has arranged and held sovereignty over matters; all things are in His hands. By constantly amassing experience in this way, people come to find that God is truly sovereign over all. If you verify the fact that God is sovereign over all in your heart, then you will have obtained the truth, which is gained by experience. At times, your plans may be pretty good, but unexpected things can happen at any moment; you cannot imagine the many unique things that might occur, which exceed your imaginings and your plans in every way. A lot of matters make you feel like you have been caught unprepared, and you are unaware of where the faults are in your plans, whether they will succeed or fail, and what people can and cannot do. Unconsciously, you feel that there are many things humans cannot predict, which are outside the bounds of their plans and imaginings. At such a time, what conclusion do you come to? (That God is sovereign over all.) In God’s sovereignty over all, there is a detail: If God does not give something to you, then no matter how you run about, toil, or struggle, it is of no use. If God blesses you, then all is going smoothly, without a hitch, and no one can obstruct you. You realize that in this matter, God has the final say, that God can very clearly see all your plans, and this matter is entirely in His hands. With this experience, your heart will unconsciously start to have a correct insight and knowledge of God’s sovereignty. What insight and knowledge? God is the One granting it to you. If God wants to take it away, then it does not matter how much you submit to God or how much you know God—if He should take it away, He will. All is in His hands, all is predestined by Him, and all is arranged by Him. You should not have your own choice. At this time, will your plans, calculations, and personal goals still hold a dominant position in your heart? No. These human plans and calculations will unconsciously lessen, and you will give up on them. How are these things replaced? For you to experience God’s sovereignty is equivalent to seeing His sovereignty. Although God does not say why He has taken these things away from you, you will nevertheless unconsciously understand. When God blesses you with one sort of thing, blessing you with many riches, He does not tell you why He does so; but in your heart, you have a feeling, and you are aware that this is a blessing from God, not something that a person can earn. One day, some things will be taken away, and you will be clearly aware in your heart that it comes from God. When you are clearly aware of all this, will you not feel that God is guiding you in every step you take, every day you live, and every year that passes? As God guides you, you will unconsciously feel that you have come face to face with Him, that you interact with Him each day, that every day, you have new knowledge, and every year, you have a great harvest. Unconsciously, your understanding of God’s sovereignty and arrangements will grow ever deeper. When you have experience on this level, does God not have a place in your heart? If God has a place in your heart, then you have a God-fearing heart, so could any other things, thoughts, or theories mislead you, confuse you, or make you leave God? It is impossible. Only if you have a true knowledge of God, if the truth has rooted itself in your heart, can God dwell in your heart forever. If the truth has not put down roots in your heart, then can God be in your heart for long? Certainly not, because your heart could distance itself from God and betray Him at any moment. If people always use their own imaginings, notions, plans, calculations, and desires to direct their lives, can they attain this knowledge of God? (No.) So, in order to achieve submission to God like Job, your path of experience and practice must be right. If there is an error in your path of practice, then no matter how great your faith or will, it is of no use; no matter how lofty your ambitions might be, it is of no use. In many of life’s affairs, people’s methods of practice are in error. From the outside, people look like they are able to suffer a lot and pay a great price, like they have high resolve, and like their hearts are full of fire; but why is it that after a number of accumulated experiences, in the end, they do not obtain experiential knowledge of God’s sovereignty and arrangements? It is because their methods of practice are in error, and their subjective awareness, their notions and imaginings, as well as their plans, always take the lead. These things take the lead, so God hides Himself from them. God’s words say, “I appear to the holy kingdom, and hide Myself from the land of filth.” What does “the land of filth” refer to? It refers to people’s various desires, plans, and determinations—even their good intentions and the intents that they think are right. These things obstruct God from doing work on you, and they are like a wall in front of your face, sealing you in completely, so you can never see or experience God’s sovereignty. If you cannot see or experience God’s sovereignty, then can you come to know His sovereignty? (No.) You can never come to know God’s sovereignty.

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