In my leisure time, when leafing through a book, I stumbled upon a story: A zoologist once performed an experiment. He put some fleas into a tumbler with a glass lid on it. At first, the fleas kept jumping up and hitting the lid over and over again. An hour passed; the fleas continued to jump, but they were no longer jumping high enough to hit the lid. Three days later, the zoologist took off the lid and discovered that the fleas were still jumping, but none of them could jump out of the tumbler, for they had become accustomed to jumping just so high.
Seeing the result of the experiment, I was quite surprised: Such a small habit actually becomes the shackle of the fleas, and forever constrains them within the tumbler.
I couldn’t help but think of ourselves. In real life, we often develop habits after encountering new things, which at first might help us do things more smoothly. However, as mankind is developing and times are changing, these habits will become the obstacle to our entering the new age. As we believers in God all know, God’s work is an ongoing development; if we can’t jump out of our own thoughts and conceptions, and still hold on to Bible knowledge and doctrine, then they will become the stumbling blocks to our acceptance of God’s new work.
Recall the Jewish chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees recorded in the Old Testament: They had become accustomed to servingGod in the temple; they had become accustomed to clinging to the letters of and talking high-sounding words in the synagogues; they had become accustomed to observing religious rituals like walking barefoot into the temple at dawn, fasting and praying, washing hands before eating, and observing ; moreover, they had become accustomed to appreciating themselves and separating themselves from the unbelievers and sinners. With these habits, they were of the opinion that God could only perform work in the temple and within the scope of the Old Testament. They believed in God according to these conceptions and imaginations, which constrained them within a visible tumbler. Regardless of what new work God performed outside the temple and the Old Testament, they still stubbornly held on to their conceptions and imaginations, unwilling to change or abandon them. When God was incarnated under the name of the , He carried out the redemptive work outside of the temple in the Age of Grace, which was beyond the scope of the habits and imaginations of the Pharisees. He didn’t work in the temple or preach in the synagogues, nor did He fast; on the Sabbath, He still worked and healed people; He not only didn’t draw a demarcation with sinners, but dined with them. All these showed that the Lord Jesus didn’t perform His work within the scope of the Old Testament, but did a new stage of work of redemption beyond it. However, the Pharisees, just as the fleas in the tumbler, blindly kept their habits. They neither sought and investigated God’s new work, nor listened to God’s voice to recognize Christ and follow His footsteps, but stubbornly held on to the words of the Bible, thinking that the One who was to come in the prophecies should be called Emmanuel or the Messiah, not Jesus; so they didn’t acknowledge that the Lord Jesus is the appearance of the Messiah and the appearance of Christ. They were so foolish and stubborn that they not only refused to accept the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus, but also disseminated all kinds of rumors to deceive the Jews, and condemned the Lord Jesus, saying that He wasn’t conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, but was the son of a carpenter from Nazareth, creating this whopping great lie to conceal the fact that the Lord Jesus is God Himself in the flesh. When the Lord Jesus preached the way of repentance, and performed many miracles and signs among the disciples and common people, all He did attracted and conquered more and more people, and they began to believe in and follow Him. At that time, the Pharisees’ truth-hating and God-hating satanic nature was completely exposed. They feared that if the common people all followed the Lord Jesus, the entire Jewish faith controlled by them would collapse; then no one would obey them, and no one would offer sacrifices in their temple; and by then, their positions and meal-tickets would disappear. Therefore, they did their utmost to resist and condemn the Lord Jesus, and colluded with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, committing a heinous crime, and thus suffered the righteous punishment of God. They had too many deep-rooted notions and imaginations and clung to the old ways and rules too grievously; they just believed in God within the scope of their own habits and never exceeded it; moreover, their truth-hating nature hadn’t experienced any change. All of these caused them to resist God’s work, meet with God’s curse, and lose His salvation forever.
We should learn a lesson from the failure of the Pharisees and reflect on ourselves. Having believed in the Lord for years, we already have our own habits as well. We have been accustomed to believing in God in, claiming grace from the Lord, and enjoying His endless mercy and lovingkindness; we have become accustomed to reciting the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, listening to pastors and elders preaching the biblical knowledge and theological theory, and following the rules and observing rituals; we have become accustomed to making the brothers and sisters listen to us, living in a circle of sinning and confessing; we also have become accustomed to believing in God according to our own way. … In our belief, as long as we hold on to these habits, we will surely be able to welcome the return of the Lord.
One day, on the website of a well-known church, I read a passage in “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement” that says: “For thousands of years, the living have passed away, taking their longings and dreams with them, and no one truly knows whether they have gone to the kingdom of heaven. The dead return, and they have forgotten all the stories that once occurred, and still follow the teachings and the paths of the forefathers. And so, as the years pass and the days go by, no one knows whether our Lord Jesus, our God, truly accepts all that we do. We simply look forward to an outcome and speculate about all that will happen. Yet God has kept His silence throughout, and has never appeared to us, or spoken to us. And so we willfully judgeand disposition according to the Bible and the signs. We have become accustomed to the silence of God; we have become accustomed to measuring the rights and wrongs of our behavior using our own way of thinking; we have become accustomed to using our knowledge, conceptions, and moral ethics to replace God’s demands of us; we have become accustomed to enjoying the grace of God; we have become accustomed to God providing assistance whenever we need it; we have become accustomed to holding out our hands to God for all things, and to ordering God about; we have also become accustomed to following doctrine, not paying attention to how the Holy Spirit leads us; moreover, we have become accustomed to days in which we are our own master. We believe in a God such as this, whom we have never met. Questions such as what His disposition is like, what His possessions and being are, what His image is like, whether or not we will know Him when He comes, and so on—none of these are important. What’s important is that He is in our hearts, that we all await Him, and that we are able to imagine what He is like. We appreciate our faith, and treasure our spirituality.”
These words make our habits formed in years of belief in the Lord very clear. Have we ever considered carefully: Does God approve of these habits? How much knowledge will these habits enable us to have of God? Will they enable us to follow God’s footsteps and welcome the Lord’s return? Actually, none of us can answer these questions. With these habits, we seem to be caught in a “tumbler,” tirelessly jumping in it without stopping, just like the fleas which can’t jump out of the tumbler, and the Pharisees who couldn’t exceed the Old Testament. Viewed in this way, can we still welcome the return of the Lord Jesus? Is there any chance for us to receive the purification and salvation of the Lord, and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven and gain?
On the website of this church, I also read these words in “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God”: “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. … 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.”
Just as the moon always follows the sun, God’s work never ceases; He continuously carries out His new work. In the Age of Law, God set forth the law through Moses to guide people in living on earth, telling them how to keep the law, how to worship God, what sin was, and how to give offerings to atone for their sins, and so on. When the Lord Jesus came, He brought theof the kingdom of heaven to man, carried out the work of redemption and preached the way of repentance. Those who walked out of the law to follow the Lord’s footsteps obtained redemption from Him, while those who held to the law and didn’t accept God’s new work were left behind by God’s swift and furiously advancing work. The Lord promised that He would come again in ; only if we welcome the return of the Lord Jesus and follow His footsteps, can we keep up with the pace of the Holy Spirit’s work. From this we can see that no matter in which age, when God carries out a new work, all we need to do is abandon our own habits, notions and imaginations that define the work of God, jump out of the scope that we think is right, and proactively seek and investigate God’s newest work and word with a humble attitude; only in this way can we receive the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, recognize God’s voice, follow His footsteps, and gain His salvation and the way of eternal life. For the Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
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