21. What is following God?
Relevant Words of God:
Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing entry into life or the fulfillment of God’s will, everything should be centered around the words of God today. If what you commune and pursue are not centered around the words of God today, then you are a stranger to the words of God, and totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit. What God wants are people who follow His footsteps. No matter how wonderful and pure what you understood before is, God does not want it, and if you are unable to put aside such things, then they will be a tremendous obstacle to your entry in the future. All those who are able to follow the present light of the Holy Spirit are blessed. The people of ages past also followed the footsteps of God, yet they could not follow until today; this is the blessing of the people of the last days.
Excerpted from “Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of the Holy Spirit changes from day to day. It rises higher with each step, the revelation of tomorrow higher than today’s, climbing ever higher, step after step. Such is the work by which God perfects man. If people cannot keep pace, then they could be cast out at any time. If they do not have a heart of obedience, they will be unable to follow to the very end. The former age has passed; this is a new age. And in a new age, new work must be done. Particularly in the final age in which people are perfected, God will perform newer work, more quickly, so without obedience in their hearts, people will find it difficult to follow the footsteps of God. God does not abide by any rules, nor does He treat any stage of His work as unchanging. Instead, the work He does is ever newer and ever higher. With each stage, His work becomes more and more practical, and increasingly in line with the actual needs of man. Only after people experience such work can they attain the final transformation of their disposition. … The work done by God differs from period to period. If you are of great obedience to God’s work in one phase, but in the next phase your obedience toward His work is poor, or you are incapable of obedience, then God shall desert you. If you keep pace with God as He takes this step, then you must continue to keep pace when He ascends the next; only then will you be someone who is obedient to the Holy Spirit. Since you believe in God, you must remain constant in your obedience. You cannot simply obey when you please and disobey when you do not. This kind of obedience is not praised by God. If you cannot keep pace with the new work I fellowship, and continue to hold on to the former sayings, then how can there be progress in your life? God’s work is to supply you through His words. When you obey and accept His words, the Holy Spirit shall surely work in you. The Holy Spirit works exactly as I speak; do as I have said, and the Holy Spirit will promptly work in you.
Excerpted from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do you know what following God means? Without visions, what path would you walk? In the work of today, if you have no visions, you will not at all be able to be made complete. In whom do you believe? Why do you believe in Him? Why do you follow Him? Do you see your faith as a sort of a game? Are you handling your life as a kind of a plaything? The God of today is the greatest vision. How much of Him do you know? How much of Him have you seen? Having seen the God of today, is the foundation of your belief in God solid? Do you think that you will attain salvation as long as you follow along in this muddled way? Do you think you can catch fish in muddy water? Is it that simple? How many notions regarding the words God utters today have you set aside? Do you have a vision of the God of today? Wherein does your understanding of the God of today lie? You always believe that you can obtain Him[a] just by following Him, or just by seeing Him, and that no one will be able to get rid of you. Do not assume that following God is such an easy matter. The key is that you must know Him, you must know His work, and you must have the will to endure hardship for His sake, to sacrifice your life for Him, and to be perfected by Him. This is the vision that you should have. It will not do if your thoughts are always bent on enjoying grace. Do not suppose that God is here just for people’s enjoyment, or just to bestow grace upon them. You would be wrong! If one cannot risk their life to follow Him, and if one cannot abandon every worldly possession to follow, then they will certainly not be able to keep following Him to the end!
Excerpted from “You Must Understand the Work—Do Not Follow in Confusion!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter followed Jesus for a number of years and saw much in Him that was not in other people. After following Him for a year, Peter was chosen by Jesus from among the twelve disciples. (Of course, Jesus did not speak this aloud, and others were not aware of it at all.) In life, Peter measured himself by everything Jesus did. Most notably, the messages that Jesus preached were etched in his heart. He was utterly dedicated and loyal to Jesus, and he never spoke any grievances against Him. As a result, he became Jesus’ faithful companion everywhere He went. Peter observed Jesus’ teachings, His gentle words, what He took for His food, His clothing, His shelter, and how He traveled. He emulated Jesus in every regard. He was never self-righteous, but cast off all that was outdated, following Jesus’ example in both word and deed. It was then that Peter felt that the heavens and earth and all things were in the hands of the Almighty and that, for this reason, he was without personal choice. Peter also assimilated all that Jesus was and used it as an example. Jesus’ life shows that He was not self-righteous in what He did; instead of bragging about Himself, He moved people with love. Various things showed what Jesus was, and for this reason, Peter emulated everything about Him.
Excerpted from “On the Life of Peter” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s desire made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s desire, then he would feel remorseful, and would look for a suitable way by which he could strive to satisfy God’s heart. In even the smallest and most inconsequential aspects of his life, still he required himself to satisfy God’s desire. He was no less exacting when it came to his old disposition, ever rigorous in his requirements of himself to progress deeper into the truth. … 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 lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is 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 of God.
Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
Following God primarily refers to following God’s current work, submitting to and practicing God’s current words, being able to keep God’s commandments, seeking out God’s will in all matters, practicing in accordance with God’s word, and absolutely submitting to the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Finally, it refers to becoming a person who practices the truth and follows God’s will. Only this kind of person is a follower of God, one who gains God’s salvation. If in our faith we outwardly rely on and exalt the Bible while in reality our practice and experience are according to the words and teachings of the humans in the Bible instead of submitting to and practicing the word of God from the Bible, and if we do not grasp God’s intentions and instead only adhere to religious ceremonies and rules, this is following man. If we follow and practice the words of the people from the Bible as if they were the words of God, yet consider the Lord Jesus a mere figurehead, ignoring His words and doing nothing to follow His commandments, then we will surely be spurned and cursed by the Lord Jesus just as the hypocritical Pharisees were. There are many people who have faith in the Lord, yet blindly worship spiritual celebrities or pastors and elders—they revere the hypocritical Pharisees. Whatever befalls them they run to the pastors and elders to seek guidance and they do the same when it comes to investigating the true way. As a result, they are deceived and misled by the hypocritical Pharisees and religious leaders and they start down the path of resisting God—these are the consequences and ends of following man instead of God. The only way to truly follow God is to solely base our faith on following the work of the Holy Spirit, following the current words of God, following the footsteps of the Holy Spirit’s work, and giving our utmost to fulfill our duties. Especially as God does His work of judgment in the last days, the religious world has lost the Holy Spirit’s work and it has become desolate. When we are compelled to seek the true way, we must turn our attention even more to seeking the Holy Spirit’s words for the churches; we must seek out the words and utterances of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. If we do not seek out the words and work of the Holy Spirit, if we are unable to hear the voice of God, if we are unable to gain the sustenance of God’s current words, then we will instead be eliminated, cast aside during God’s work in the last days, tumbling into the darkness, weeping and gnashing our teeth. People who truly follow and submit to God will never be abandoned by Him. Those who worship religious pastors and elders are submitting to man and are followers of man. These people will ultimately be exposed by God’s work—they will be eliminated and cast aside.
Even though from our mouths we cry out that we believe in God and that we should only follow God and submit to Him, however, what happens in reality is not the same. We can see this clearly from the way that those of the Jewish faith in the Age of Grace treated the Lord Jesus in contrast to how Peter and John and others did. The Lord Jesus performed His new work, issued forth the truth, and brought the way of repentance, but most of the Jewish people at that time only listened to the teachings of the chief priests and the Pharisees. They did not accept the work and words of the Lord Jesus, and as a result they lost the salvation of the Lord Jesus. Nominally, they believed in God, but in reality they believed in the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees. However, Peter, John, Matthew, Philip, and the others saw that the words and work of the Lord Jesus held authority and power, and that they were the truth. They saw that the words and work of the Lord Jesus came from God and so they followed Him closely. They were not subject at all to the control of the Pharisees and they were the ones who truly followed and obeyed God. In the last days, the only way to truly follow and submit to God is to accept and submit to Almighty God’s judgment work, and this fulfills the prophecy found in the Book of Revelation: “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev 14:4).
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
What does it mean to follow God? And how do you put it into practice? Following God doesn’t just involve praying to God and praising God; what’s most important is to eat and drink the words of God and live according to the words of God, to act according to the truth, to find a path of life experience in the words of God, to accept God’s commission, to perform every one of your duties properly, and to walk the path before you as guided by the Holy Spirit. In particular, at critical junctures, when major problems befall you, there is an even greater need to search for God’s intentions, to be wary of being tricked by man’s doctrines, and to not fall under anyone’s control. “That which comes from God I obey and follow, but if it comes from the will of man I staunchly reject it; when what is preached by leaders or workers is in conflict with the arrangements of God, then I absolutely follow God and reject people. If it is in complete accord with the arrangements and will of God, then I can listen to it.” People who practice in this way are those who follow God.
Excerpted from The Fellowship From the Above