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.
from “Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of the Holy Spirit changes from day to day, rising higher with each step; the revelation of tomorrow is even higher than today’s, step by step climbing ever higher. Such is the work by which God perfects man. If man cannot keep pace, then he may be left behind at any time. If man does not have an obedient heart, then he cannot follow to the 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 man will be perfected, God will perform new work ever more quickly. Therefore, without obedience in his heart, man 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. Rather, the work He does is ever newer and ever higher. His work becomes more and more practical with each step, more and more in line with the actual needs of man. Only after man experiences this kind of work can he attain the final transformation of his disposition. … All those of a disobedient nature who willfully oppose shall be left behind by this stage of God’s swift and furiously advancing work; only those who willingly obey and who gladly humble themselves can progress to the end of the road. In this kind of work, all of you should learn how to submit and how to put aside your notions. You should be cautious in every step you take. If you are careless, you will surely become one who is spurned by the Holy Spirit, one who disrupts God in His work. Prior to undergoing this stage of work, man’s rules and laws of old were so innumerable that he got carried away, and as a result, he became conceited and forgot himself. These are all obstacles that keep man from accepting the new work of God; they become opponents to man’s coming to know God. If a man has neither obedience in his heart nor a yearning for the truth, then he will be in danger. If you submit only to work and words that are simple, and are incapable of accepting any of a deeper intensity, then you are one who keeps to old ways and cannot keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit. The work done by God differs from period to period. If you show great obedience in one phase, yet in the next phase show less or none at all, then God shall desert you. If you keep pace with God as He ascends this step, then you must continue to keep pace when He ascends the next. Only then are you one 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 does not meet with God’s approval. 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, then the Holy Spirit shall surely work in you. The Holy Spirit works exactly in the way I speak. Do as I have said, and the Holy Spirit will promptly work in you. I release a new light for you to see and bring you into the light of the present time. When you walk into this light, the Holy Spirit will immediately work in you. There are some who may be recalcitrant, saying, “I simply will not carry out what you say.” Then I tell you that you have now come to the end of the road, you are dried up, and have no more life. Therefore, in experiencing the transformation of your disposition, it is most crucial to keep pace with the present light.
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 is? Without visions, what path would you walk along? In the work of today, if you don’t have visions you will not be able to be made complete at all. In whom do you believe? Why do you believe in Him? Why do you follow Him? Do you believe 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 secure? Do you think that as long as you follow along in this muddled way, you will attain salvation? Do you think you can catch fish in muddy water? Is it that simple? How many notions of yours about what the God of today is saying have you set down? Do you have a vision of the God of today? Where does your understanding of the God of today lie? You always believe that by following along you can obtain Him, that by seeing Him you can obtain Him,[a] and that no one will be able to shake you off. Do not think that following God is so easy. The key is that you must know Him, you must know His work, and you must have the will to endure hardship for Him, have the will to sacrifice your life for Him, and have the will to be perfected by Him. This is the vision that you should have. It will not do if you are always thinking of enjoying grace! Do not suppose that God is there just for people’s enjoyment, and to bestow grace upon people. You thought wrong! If one cannot risk their life to follow, if one cannot abandon every worldly possession to follow, then they will absolutely not be able to follow to the finish!
from “You Must Understand the Work; Don’t Follow Confusedly!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter followed Jesus for a number of years and he saw many things in Jesus that people do not have. After following Him for a year, he was chosen as the head of the twelve disciples by Jesus. (Of course this was a matter of Jesus’ heart, and people were completely unable to see it.) Jesus’ every move acted as an exemplar for him in his life, and Jesus’ sermons were particularly engraved in his heart. He was very considerate of and dedicated to Jesus, and he never had complaints of Jesus. This is why he became Jesus’ faithful companion everywhere He went. Peter observed Jesus’ teachings, His gentle words, and what He ate, wore, His daily life, and His travels. He followed Jesus’ example in every way. He was not self-righteous, but he cast off all of his previous outdated things and followed Jesus’ example in word and deed. It was then that he felt that the heavens and earth and all things were within the hands of the Almighty, and for this reason he did not have his own choice, but he drew in everything that Jesus was to act as his exemplar. He could see from his life that Jesus was not self-righteous in what He did, nor did He brag about Himself, but instead, He moved people with love. In different situations Peter could see what Jesus was. That is why everything in Jesus became the object that Peter modeled himself after.
from “On the Life of Peter” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
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 intentions 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 by doing these things can someone be said to follow God and be someone who gains God’s salvation. If we outwardly base our faith on the Bible and exalt the Bible, but in reality we practice and experience everything according to the words and teachings of man in the Bible instead of submitting to and practicing the word of God from the Bible. Also, we do not grasp God’s intentions and instead only adhere to religious ceremonies and rules, this is following man, not God. If we follow and practice the words of people from the Bible as if those were the words of God, yet consider the Lord Jesus a mere figurehead and ignore the words of the Lord Jesus and do nothing to follow His commandments, then we will surely be spurned and cursed by the Lord Jesus, which is just like what happened with the hypocritical Pharisees. There are many people who have faith in the Lord, yet they also maintain blind faith in spiritual celebrities or pastors and elders and they worship 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 studying the true way. The result is they are deceived and misled by the hypocritical Pharisees and religious leaders and they start down the path toward 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 put even more focus on seeking the Holy Spirit’s words toward the churches and 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 what God’s current words provide for us, then we will instead be eliminated during God’s work in the last days and cast aside into the darkness of grief and sorrow. 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 have become followers of man. These people will be revealed by God’s work in the last days and they shall 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 faithful at that time only listened to the teachings of the chief priests and the Pharisees and they did not accept the work and words of the Lord Jesus, and in the end 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 others saw the authority and power that the words and work of the Lord Jesus carried 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 submit to Almighty God’s judgment work, for this fulfills the prophecy found in the Book of Revelation: “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Rev 14:4). Currently, leaders in the religious world are playing the role of the Jewish Pharisees and make every effort to exalt the words of man in the Bible, yet they betray the words of the Lord Jesus. What is even more absurd is that they exploit the Bible by citing quotes out of context to place condemnation on the work God does in the last days and they do this to deceive, bind, and control believers. For example, the Lord Jesus clearly stated that only “he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet among the leaders in the religious world, they say that all one needs to do in his faith is to work hard and he may then enter the kingdom of heaven, and that the kingdom of heaven is something to be forcefully seized. The Lord Jesus required us: “You shall worship the Lord your God,” yet some so-called spiritual celebrities lead believers to seek out how to become God or to seek out becoming a king and wielding power over all nations and all peoples, which is thoroughly preposterous. Leaders in the religious world nominally do work for the Lord and preach sermons, but in reality they are just spreading the teachings of man and they are promoting their own ideas as the truth and they let us abide by those ideas. They are just like the hypocritical Pharisees and they are blindly trying to lead the way. They are resisting Christ and they claim to stand as equals with Christ; they are antichrists and they are working to create separate, independent kingdoms. Once we the faithful begin following the leaders and celebrities of the religious world, we begin going our own path and deviating from the Lord’s way; this is a very serious instance of resisting and betraying God. If we do not repent, we will surely be cast aside and eliminated by God.
from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
Following God means to obey God in everything, to submit to all arrangements of God, to handle affairs according to God’s words, and to accept everything that comes from God. Those who believe in God should follow God, but the majority of people, in their belief in God, follow people without knowing it. This is a both absurd and lamentable thing. Strictly speaking, people will believe in whomever they follow. Though some people nominally believe in God, there is no God in their hearts. What their hearts worship is the person who is leading them. When people obey the leader, even to the point of refusing God’s arrangement, this is precisely a manifestation of following people. Before obtaining truth, people believe in this muddleheaded way, and even do not know what following God is at all. They don’t know how to distinguish between what is following God, and what is following people. Whoever talks the best talk, whoever talks the loftiest, they call them daddy or call them mommy. To them, whoever has milk is their mother, and whoever has power is their own father. This is how pitiful people can be. It can be said that most people have this situation to varying degrees.
What does it mean to follow God? How should one practice it? Following God is not only praying to God, and praising God. The main thing is to eat and drink God’s word and to live by God’s word, to handle affairs according to truth, and to find a path of life experience in God’s word. It is also necessary to accept God’s entrustment, and to perform to the utmost all of one’s duties, and to walk the path ahead following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Especially when meeting major issues at turns in the course of events, it is more necessary to seek God’s wishes, and to be on guard against confusion from all human doctrines, not being controlled by people in the slightest. “I obey and follow what comes out of God. If it comes from the will of man, I resolutely refuse. When the leader or the worker brings something that conflicts with God’s arrangement, I most definitely submit to God and refuse man. If it is completely in accord with God’s arrangement and God’s wishes, I can obey.” This kind of action defines a person who follows God.
from the fellowship from the above
People who truly seek the truth will seek it and perform their duties all the same, no matter how God treats them, no matter what kind of trials they go through, no matter what kind of situations they are in, no matter what kind of disasters they go through. This is what it means to follow God. Only these kinds of people truly bear witness, only these kinds of people are able to prove that they follow God. … People who follow God do not look up to any man, they do not worship idols, they do not worship any person. They only believe that Christ is the truth. They only believe that the word of Christ is the truth. They do not worship or look up to any person. This is what it means to follow God. People who follow God only focus on the word of God, they only focus on the work of God, they only focus on the work of the Holy Spirit, and they are able to forsake everything else. This is what it means to be a true follower of God. People who follow God only perform their duties in order to satisfy God, not to win others’ favor. They only perform their duties in order to pay back God’s love, in order to comfort the heart of God, not to gain any sort of status or fame, nor to trade. This is what it means to be a follower of God.
from “What Is Genuinely Following God” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)
a. The original text reads “You always believe that by following along you can obtain, that by seeing you can obtain.”