Dear Brothers and Sisters of Spiritual Q&A,
Recently, there’s something I’m not clear on. I have communicated about it with many brothers and sisters, but finally, I didn’t get a positive result. Just when I didn’t know what to do next, a sister recommended your website. She said that while she was surfing online, she saw that your fellowship and answers were very enlightening and contained an insightful view about thein reply to questions from brothers and sisters, and that her questions were also resolved through your website. So, I hope that my questions will also be resolved here.
A few days ago, while we were studying the Bible, we saw thesaid: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). My understanding of this verse is: Not everyone can enter the heavenly kingdom, but those who are able to serve and sacrifice, work hard for the Lord can enter. Most brothers and sisters agree with my view. However, some brothers and sisters have a different acceptance; they think those who are able to sacrifice and spend for the Lord may not be able to gain the Lord’s approval. They took the Pharisees as an example and said: The Pharisees labored for the Lord, but later on they joined hands with the Roman government to crucify the Lord, and were punished and cursed in the end. After hearing their words, I felt what they said made sense, but I also felt my knowledge may not be wrong because over these years the pastors and elders all said like this, and we did as they told us. So, I am very confused: What on earth does doing the will of heavenly Father refer to? Is working hard doing the will of God? How can we do the will of God? I feel it is very important to resolve these questions, because it directly concerns whether we can be raptured into the heavenly kingdom. If we have a wrong understanding, not only will we walk the wrong path and ruin ourselves, but we will bring brothers and sisters onto the wrong path. When the time comes, it will be too late to regret. Therefore, I want to seek out an understanding of the truth in this aspect as soon as possible. Please communicate and answer these questions as quickly as possible. Thank you.
Dear Sister Xuehua,
We have read the post you forwarded. From it, we can see you are willing to seek the truth. Your questions are very important. The Lord Jesus’ words are all the truth, and all have their inner meaning. If we are just satisfied to understand the literal meaning of the words, but don’t know what the words are getting at, it will be easy for us to take our own way. For example, if something we have done is obviously not in accordance withand is against God’s requirements, yet we still wrongly believe that practicing like that is precisely doing the will of God and is obeying and satisfying God, and as a result, we are cursed and punished without knowing the reason. In that case, it will be too foolish and pathetic! So, the most pressing matter is seeking and understanding the truth of this aspect as soon as possible. We also have a very limited understanding of , so we can only communicate some of our experiences and knowledge, hoping to bring you some help and benefit. May God lead our following communication!
The Lord Jesus said: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). As for this verse, most brothers and sisters believe that as long as we dedicate our entire beings to God’s work, bear hardships, and work hard for the Lord, then it is satisfying God. For this, some choose to offer more and do more good things to prepare good deeds; some choose to spread themore to save more souls; some even choose to serve God for their lifetime, never to marry; and so on. We pay a great price and are never tired of doing so. In truth, these practices only mean we have outward good behaviors, and only represent that we have a true heart of ; yet they don’t represent our doing the will of God. That’s because doing the will of God mainly refers to following the way of God. As we all know, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees in the Age of Law served God in the temple all year round, and traveled over sea and land to spread God’s law; they also suffered many hardships, and their spirit of suffering and sacrificing and outward godliness made us feel ashamed. If we measure the Pharisees according to man’s conceptions and imaginations, they should be approved by God and can be called those who do the will of God. But the Lord Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. … Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Mat 23:15, 27). Through the words that the Lord Jesus condemned and cursed the Pharisees, it is not difficult to see: Though the Pharisees suffered and spent and had external good behaviors, they didn’t obey God’s word or keep God’s commandments. When they exalted the Bible and spread the laws, they brought people under their names; they outwardly preached the laws, but secretly devoured widows’ possessions; their hard working completely wasn’t for loving and satisfying God, and all that they did was for their position and fame and benefit. At that age, the Lord Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, which shocked the entire Israel, and He was beloved and supported by the people; many people went to hear the gospel; how could the Pharisees who served the Lord all years not recognize that the Lord Jesus’ word is the voice of God? The Lord Jesus’ word has authority and power, and obviously is from God. Those who truly believed in God would surely welcome the Lord Jesus’ coming. However, what did those Pharisees do? When they saw many Jewish people accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus, they not only didn’t seek and investigate the true way, but joined hands with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, in order to protect their position and livelihood. They hated the truth so much and were in enmity to God; how can we say that they were those who did the will of God? From this, it can be seen that we cannot judge whether we are doing the will of God simply according to our external good behaviors; the key is to see whether we are practicing God’s word and following God’s way, and that whether the intention and starting point of our doing things is to care for God’s heart and satisfy God. If our sacrifice and spending as well as hard work is not for practicing God’s word or following God’s way, and if our intention of working is just for satisfying our own selfish desires, and is trying to make a deal with God, then it is not doing the will of God.
Then, how should we do the will of God? We all know God’s will is God’s word; God’s will and demands are all in God’s word and are expressed by God’s word. So through reading God’s word, we can know God’s demand on us, and if we do and practice according to God’s word, then we are doing the will of God. For instance, the Lord Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 18:3). “I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Mat 18:22). And so on. These words all contain what God demands from us. As long as we carefully ponder over the Lord’s words, we can know God’s demand and will in them, and we can know these words are all God’s requirements that we should live them out rather than just being done with knowing them. Doing the will of God is strictly practicing according to God’s word. Let’s see what the Lord’s greatest demand on us is. The Bible records that the Lord Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat 22:37–39). “If a man love me, he will keep my words…. He that loves me not keeps not my sayings” (John 14:23–24). “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” (Jhn 8:31). From the Lord’s words, we can see the Lord’s greatest demand on us in the Age of Grace is: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mat 22:37). Then how should we love God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul? How should we do the will of God? I read some words in a book, feeling pretty good. Let’s read together: “Jesus was able to complete God’s commission—the work of all mankind’s redemption—because He gave every care to God’s will, without His personal plans and considerations. So, too, was He the intimate of God—God Himself, something which you all understand very well. (Actually, He was the God Himself who was testified to by God; I mention this here to use the fact of Jesus to illustrate the issue.) He was able to place God’s management plan at the very center, and always prayed to the heavenly Father and sought the will of the heavenly Father. … He lived for thirty-three years, throughout which He always did His utmost to fulfill God’s will according to God’s work at the time, never considering His own personal gain or loss, and always thinking of the will of God the Father” (“How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will”). In these words, we know: The Lord Jesus could obey the will of the heavenly Father because He had a heart of loving God. He performed His ministry completely for caring for God’s will; He had no personal plans or requirements, and didn’t consider His own future and destination, only for satisfying God’s will. From this, we can see: People who truly do the will of God can perform their duties with a heart of loving God, practice God’s word and keep God’s commandments; they don’t have their personal intentions and purposes, nor pursue their personal fame and benefit and status, nor make deals and demands, or extravagant desires toward God. No matter what work God does, what environments God creates for them, or what sufferings and trials God allows to come upon them, they can obey God’s orchestration and arrangement, only living for lifting up and testifying God, fulfilling God’s commission, and carrying out God’s will. Just like Peter, he offered his whole life to God. Whatever things came upon him in life, he could seek God’s will, live by God’s word, betray his flesh and practice the truth to satisfy God, and strictly do his duty and shepherd churches according to the Lord’s demand. During his working and spending, he could care for God’s will; no matter what tribulations and refinements he suffered, he was willing to obey God’s orchestration and arrangement; even if he faced death, he could also be willing to be crucified upside down to satisfy God. Peter was a person who truly loved the Lord and was commended by God, and he set us an example. Another example was Job. He could fear God and shun evil. No matter whether God gave or took away, he didn’t have complaint or deal, but could completely submit to the orchestration and arrangement of God, and praise God’s holy name, so Job was a perfect man in the eyes of God. In addition, Abraham was also an example. When God required that he should offer up his only son Isaac as a burnt offering to give him back to God, though he was in great pain, he could obey God’s word and be willing to offer up his son, without reasoning or any complaint. What Abraham did is not for pleasing God and gaining His blessings, but for obeying God and satisfying God’s will. They were all those who did the will of God. No matter what God did and orchestrated, they could completely obey and stand beautiful and resounding testimonies for God. This is precisely doing the will of God. So, doing the will of God has nothing to do with the outward piousness and suffering, the key is to see, while we are sacrificing and doing things, whether we are practicing God’s word, whether we do by the heart of loving God, whether we have our own intentions and impurities, and whether we can put aside our intentions and desires.
Not before long after I believed in God, I was elected to be the responsible person of the churches. I thanked God for His exaltation and grace from my heart, and was determined to do my duty well to satisfy God. Later on, I heard the churches were nurturing talent, and then I eagerly wanted to do a good job, thinking that if the upper-level leaders see my working ability, maybe they will promote me and let me do greater work. With such an ambition and desire, I energetically bustled myself among the churches. If anyhad problems, I would rush around to resolve them; if any church was not fruitful, I would immediately find leaders and co-workers to communicate. I dared not relax for a single moment. In the daytime, I fellowshiped God’s will with brothers and sisters to solve their difficulties and problems; in the evening, I wrote letters to churches to learn about circumstances. Once I found a problem on the spot, I would resolve it at once, never delay. Every day I worked till the latter part of night, without feeling tired. So I thought: I work hard like this, there must be good results in churches’ work. But I had never expected that when the church leaders reported their works by the end of the month, the works of the churches I was in charge of not only didn’t progress in the work, but slipped down. Seeing such a result, I was very negative, dark, and painful, thinking that I must be finished this time, and that my duty also came to the end, just waiting for being replaced. Having no choice, I came before God to pray and seek God’s will. Later, I saw God’s words: “At a superficial glance, human beings seemed to be constantly bustling about as they expended themselves and worked for God, whereas they were in fact calculating, in the secret recesses of their inmost hearts, the next step they should take to win blessings or reign as kings. One could say that, as the human heart was enjoying God, it was at the same time scheming against God. Humanity in this condition meets with God’s deepest abhorrence and detestation; God’s disposition does not tolerate any human being deceiving or using Him.” “So I am telling you now in all seriousness: I do not care how meritorious your hard work is, how impressive your qualifications, how closely you follow Me, how renowned you are, or how improved your attitude; so long as you have not done what I have demanded, you will never be able to win My praise. Write off all those ideas and calculations of yours as early as possible, and start treating My demands seriously. Otherwise, I will turn all people into ashes in order to bring an end to My work, and at best turn My years of work and suffering into nothing, for I cannot bring My enemies and people reeking of evil on the model of Satan into My kingdom, into the next age.” From God’s severe words, I came to know: When I did my duty, I was just busy with work outwardly. I didn’t practice the truth and betray my own ambition and desire, and my intention wasn’t to satisfy God, but to take the opportunity of doing my duty to achieve my purpose of standing out. To put it plainly, I wanted to be promoted to be a senior leader. Wasn’t this essence the same as that of the Archangel who wants to be God’s equal and scramble for position with God? Didn’t I walk the path of antichrists? If I always worked and did my duty with my own intention, and took the advantage of doing the duty to fight for status, and even if I endured more hardship, paid more price and finally got a high position among people, this was absolutely not doing the will of God, but was resisting God. I would be a hypocritical Pharisee and would be punished and cursed by God. I also saw God’s words: “Now I’ll tell you a simple practice: First set aside your own intent, set aside your own interests, set aside your selfish desires. After you have done this for a while, your condition within you will be transformed without your awareness of it.” From God’s words, I knew that what God demands from us is letting us be creatures on earth, whose duties before God is to obey God’s orchestration and arrangement, and to care for God’s will by doing our duties well with all our heart and all our strength. Only by doing so, can we obtain the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and gain God’s commendation. After knowing God’s will, I came before God and prayed to repent, “Oh, God, thank You for Your revelation; now I understand that my intention of doing my duty is not for caring for Your will. I am willing to repent to You, betray my own ambition and desire, and honestly do my duty as a creature. God, please look upon my heart.” After that, I consciously betrayed my wrong intention and desire, and accepted the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. While I was doing my duty, I pondered over how to lift up and testify God before brothers and sisters. When I had incorrect thoughts, I would seek God’s will and requirement, and then betray my own intention. Through a period of cooperation, the churches had a good result in every work, which made me see: Only dropping our own incorrect intentions and doing according to God’s word and requirements is after God’s will, and only by doing so, can we obtain God’s blessings and guidance. As creatures, when we practice the truth, we shouldn’t have deals, hypocrisies, or impurities, but rather, all that we should do is to satisfy God and live out a meaningful life. This is right and proper, and this is the principle of practicing the truth as well as the assurance of entering the heavenly kingdom.
Sister Xuehua, I have no idea whether the above fellowship can bring you some help or benefit. If you still have any questions, please write to us to fellowship anytime. Thank God for leading our fellowship. All the glory be to the one true God! May God be with you! Amen.