7 On How to Achieve Results in Reading God’s Word
Lu Ming Nanyang City, Henan Province
When God is incarnated in the end time, he does the work of the word, and through the word, he conquers man, perfects man, and gains man. If we want to be saved and gained by God, the most fundamental thing is to read God’s word. However, now most brothers and sisters are still unable to achieve the due results in reading God’s word, so they are slow in life entering in. Although they have believed in God for several years, they have not understood much truth, even less gained the transformation of their life disposition. Then, how can we achieve results in reading God’s word?
First, we have to know how to treat God’s word. God says: “…you should just receive my words from the standpoint of the truth, and your attitude must be single and sincere. Do not neglect any of my words or any truth I speak. Do not treat any of my words with disdain.” “I … even more hope that you all can believe every word and letter I speak…. Do not doubt….” And in The Fellowship of the Man, it says: “People should receive God’s word simply from the standpoint of the truth. Anyone who acknowledges and believes with absolute certainty that every word of God is the truth will be able to do so. Give up man’s imaginations and notions totally and have one belief only, that is, every word of God is the truth, and this is absolute and is beyond the shadow of a doubt. … Before the truth, people must have an honest and godly attitude.… When people come before God’s word, it is as if they come before God. They must have a single and sincere attitude toward God’s word.…” From the above words of God and words in The Fellowship of the Man, we can clearly see that when reading God’s word, we should at least have a godly and sober attitude, must be single and sincere in attitude, and should not be mindless and careless. Moreover, we should not read any word out of context or take one part as the whole, but should read God’s word from the angle of the truth and be certain that whatever God says is the truth and is absolutely accurate. Such are the prerequisites for achieving results in reading God’s word and receiving the revelation of the Holy Spirit. For when we come before God’s word, it is as if we come before God. If we read it with a disdainful attitude and an unconcerned mind, we are disrespecting and dishonoring God, which is loathed by God. Then how could we possibly receive God’s mercy and revelation? For example, we think that the words God has spoken in his humanity are very easy to understand since they are all words in modern Chinese, simple and understandable. We say that the words by which God discloses man’s disposition overstate the case when we fail to understand and know them. And we say that God’s words are without accuracy, self-contradictory, and unbelievable when we do not know the backgrounds of some of them and cannot understand their true meanings. For example, some say, “God says at one time that his day is close at hand, at another time that it will come in three to five years, and at still another time that it will come in seven years. You can never tell how soon it will actually come.” Others say, “God says at one time that he will cause the remaining one third who love God to be fruitful and increase in number on earth, and at another time that he will break the families of mankind, and that will be the ultimate arrangement for them. You can never tell whether mankind will actually have families in the future.” From such states and manifestations, it can be seen that we have not treated God’s word as the truth at all, having not received God’s word from the angle of the truth, but treated it with disdain and doubt and even passed judgments on it and condemned it. Such attitudes of ours toward God’s word have long been bitterly hated by God and been intolerable to God. Then, how can we receive the revelation and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? And how can we achieve results in reading God’s word? Some people have believed in God for many years and have read many of God’s words, yet they not only have not gained the knowledge of God, but on the contrary, they have had more notions and even more serious misunderstandings about God. Doesn’t all this result from their being arrogant and self-right and their not having a humble and seeking attitude? So, if we want to achieve results in reading God’s word, we should first be certain that God’s word is the truth no matter how it does not fit our notions, and we should have a sober and godly attitude before it.
Second, we have to be clear about the actual purposes of reading God’s word. In The Fellowship of the Man, it says: “…one must be clear about the actual purposes of reading God’s word. He who has the will should read God’s word in order to gain the truth, in order to be saved, in order to know his corrupt essence and gain the transformation of his life disposition, in order to perform his duty properly to repay God’s love, and in order to know God and live out a meaningful life. If one reads God’s word with such a will, he will have strength and will achieve results and reap the benefit. …” These words in The Fellowship of the Man have clearly stated that we should read God’s word in order to gain the truth and be saved by God, in order to know ourselves, gain the transformation of our disposition, and break away from satan’s influence, in order to perform our duties properly to repay God’s love, and in order to pursue to know God and live out a worthy and meaningful life. These are the right purposes of reading God’s word. Only if we are clear about the purposes of reading God’s word will we regard reading God’s word as the need of our life, and will we truly read and ponder it with our heart and not give up until we receive revelation and light and understand the truth from it. However, for what purposes do many of us read God’s word? Some leaders read God’s word in order to fellowship with the brothers and sisters and resolve their states; some members of the article-revising team read God’s word in order to resolve the problems in the articles and revise the articles well; some people who preach the gospel and some of those who care for the new believers read God’s word in order to resolve the notions of the gospel friends and the new believers; some read God’s word in order to equip themselves with the letters of God’s word and then show themselves off before others; some read God’s word in order to know some mysteries; some read God’s word in order to study the day of God; some read God’s word in order to find something fresh and satisfy their curiosity; some read God’s word in order to while away their time and fill their inner emptiness; some read God’s word in order to adjust their mental states so that they will not feel distressed and passive within; and so on. As we are in such states and read God’s word with such mentalities, how can we understand the truth and gain the truth? And how can we gain anything? All the words God speaks are not for man to feast his eyes on them, but are directed at man’s disposition and spoken according to man’s needs; all the words God speaks are not novels or stories for man to “appreciate” but are to judge man’s corruptions, chastise man’s unrighteousness, and transform man’s disobedient disposition; and God’s words are much less emergency things for man to use to “help others,” but are to save man and make man overcome satan and transcend sin, and are to make man truly know God, obey God, and worship God. So, if we want to achieve results in reading God’s word, we must right our intents, and this is very crucial.
After we have corrected our attitudes and have right goals, if we also have a proper way to eat and drink God’s word, we will be able to understand the truth. What is the proper way, then? God says: “Only if you eat and drink God’s word in a proper way can you understand the truth…. To understand the truth, you have to eat and drink in this way. Take eating and drinking a passage of the truth of loving God as an example. God’s word says: ‘Love is pure and unblemished affection; in love there is no suspicion, no barrier, and no distance; and it means to love with the heart and to care with the heart.’ Love is defined as such. This is the truth. This is what God speaks about love. Then whom should you love? Your husband, your wife, or any brother or sister? No! The love God speaks of does not mean to love man but refers to man’s love for God. This love is a true love. How to understand this truth? It means that God requires man to have no suspicion of him and keep no distance from him and be pure and unblemished toward him. Being unblemished means that you have no extravagant demands, no conditions, and no reasons toward God, and that you love no one else and nothing else can occupy your heart, which is a pure and unblemished affection. Affection means that he occupies a place in your heart and that you think of him and miss him at every moment and think about him at any time. Love means to love with the heart. To love God with the heart contains care, attention, and missing. For you to be able to love him with your heart requires a process of knowing him. Now you do not have any knowledge, but you should, with your heart, yearn for him, miss him, obey him, care for him, pray to him, call upon him, and even worry what he worries and think what he thinks. You should do all these with your heart. …you have God in your heart and think of God in your heart, and you can lay aside your husband, relatives, wife, and children, but cannot do without having God in your heart, cannot live without God, and cannot leave God. This means that you have love and that you have God in your heart. To love with the heart and care with the heart embodies quite a lot of things. This is the true love God requires man to have for him. That is, you should love with your heart, care with your heart, and think of God at every moment. You should do these with your heart but should not do them with your mouth nor do them with your behavior. You should do them primarily with your heart, letting your heart direct your conduct and letting your heart direct your actions and behavior. There is no intent, no mixture, and no suspicion in this. Such a heart is much purer. When you have suspicion in your heart, how do you suspect? You always think in your heart, ‘Is it right for God to do so? Why does God say so? If it is not reasonable for God to say so, I will not listen. If it is not righteous for God to do so, I will not obey now, and I will lay it aside for the moment.’ Having no suspicion means to believe that whatever God says is right, whatever God does is right, and with God there is no right or wrong, and man should obey and should care for God, satisfy God, and worry what God worries and think what God thinks. Whatever God does, whether it is meaningful in your eyes, whether it fits your notions in your eyes, or whether it is proper or whether it fits man’s doctrines and imaginations in your eyes, you can obey and can treat it with a heart of fearing God and of obeying God. Isn’t such practice in accordance with the truth? Isn’t it the expression of love? Isn’t it the practice of love? So, if you have not understood God’s will, God’s intention in speaking the words, what purposes and results he wants to achieve, and what he wants to accomplish and perfect in people through speaking the words, if you have not understood these, it proves that you still have not understood the truth. Do you understand why God’s words are spoken in this way, why he speaks in that tone and his every word is so earnest, and why he uses such words? If you cannot tell, it is proof that you have not understood God’s will, God’s intention, and the background of God’s speaking the words. Since you have not understood these, how can you gain the truth?” From God’s words, we see the proper way to eat and drink God’s word: When reading God’s words, we should not be content with knowing and understanding their literal meaning, but should pay attention to touching God’s will behind their literal meaning and understanding the intention and the cause of God’s speaking and the results God wants to achieve, that is, why God speaks such words, what purposes and results God wants to achieve through speaking them, what God wants to accomplish and perfect in people through speaking them, and what aspects of God’s disposition are expressed in these words. And we should also ponder what truths these words mainly explain, what are the substance and the true meaning of these truths, what states and manifestations they contain, how to practice and enter into them, and so on. For example, when we eat and drink the truths concerning preparing good deeds, we should ponder what are good deeds, how to prepare good deeds, what the significance of preparing good deeds is, why God requires us to prepare good deeds, what God’s will is, what aspects of God’s disposition are expressed in this requirement of God for people, and so on. Through seeking carefully in God’s words and pondering them repeatedly, we will gain some true knowledge of the truths concerning preparing good deeds and will understand God’s will to save people and realize that in God’s requirement there are God’s expectations and great love for people. Thus, we will have the will and the motivation to meet this requirement. At the same time, we will have ways of practice, and will understand that in good deeds there are no demands, no bargains, no conditions, and no complaints, and that they are all done willingly to satisfy God. Then, we will be willing to obey all God’s arrangements and willing to do our best in every work committed by God’s family and cast off the impurities, intents, and expectations within us, so that we can perform our duties faithfully and prepare enough good deeds. This means that we have achieved results in eating and drinking God’s word. If every time we eat and drink God’s word, we can pay attention to it and practically exercise like this, we will surely achieve results and more or less gain something real. Peter could truly know himself and know God in God’s word because in reading God’s word, he did not content himself with understanding its literal meaning, did not pay attention to understanding doctrines, but paid attention to understanding the truth and touching God’s will so as to know God’s disposition and God’s loveliness. At the same time, he also paid attention to knowing man’s corrupt disposition and man’s real lack in God’s word. He strictly related to himself every word by which God judged or disclosed man and examined himself. He also paid special attention to God’s requirements for man and in what respects man should satisfy God to be after God’s heart, and he could spend great effort on them and became fully clear about them. Besides, Peter was very serious, persevering, and resolute in pursuing the truth. He bore in mind all God’s words and often pondered them carefully, and he even pondered some of them for half a year, a year, or even several years until he fully understood their meaning. However, we fail to do these when reading God’s word. Most of the time, we read God’s word hastily or read it without understanding like reading a novel or a story, thinking that it is enough to understand its general meaning. Although sometimes we think about it or ponder it, we only think about it for a short time and if we receive no light, we give up. And sometimes after we receive some light through pondering, we think that we have understood God’s words and do not pursue further, so we achieve few results. Therefore, if we want to achieve results in reading God’s word, finding the truth, the life, God’s will, the knowledge of God, a heart of loving God, and the true human life from God’s word, we must have the will of never giving up until we understand the truth and must put more effort into reading and pondering God’s word. As long as we persistently exercise this, we will surely achieve some unexpected results.
After we have grasped the above mentioned respects, if we can also read God’s word according to our states and our actual needs, the results will be even better. In The Fellowship of the Man, it says: “The main principle of reading God’s word is to read according to your lack and needs, read according to your existing problems, and read in light of your own state. Absolutely avoid reading God’s word without relating it to reality. Apart from that, you have to establish priorities in reading God’s word. Read according to your greatest lack at present, where to start your life entering in, what is the most fundamental thing to grasp, and what is the immediate problem to be resolved. … If you cannot establish priorities but instead grasp some less important things at the moment and disregard what you are badly in need of at present, it will not be of much benefit to your growth in life. Many people fail to get crucial or essential things in reading God’s word, and they only get some simple doctrines and regulations. Those are just superficial knowledge. God’s word is so rich and so all-inclusive. Though all of it is very important, is the expression of the truth, the way, and the life, and is mankind’s lack, nevertheless, individuals’ life entering in has stages and the levels of their experiences and the needs of their life are different. So, one must select words from God’s word to read according to the needs of the level of his life entering in. No matter how rich the banquet is, no one can possibly consume a whole table of dishes and build up his constitution on one mouthful. Everyone has his present needs and present problems to be resolved; because different people have different situations and backgrounds, their needs are also different. For example, some people are not clear about the vision, so they always have no strength to believe in God, are not willing to expend for God, and have no faithfulness in performing their duties. In this case, they need to understand the truths concerning the vision. As for some leaders or workers, they do not even have the true knowledge of themselves, let alone enter into life; they only speak letters and doctrines and lecture others in working, yet they feel themselves very rich. How can they, being in such a state, lead others to enter into reality? And how can they lead others to know God? Such leaders must first resolve the problem of knowing themselves. They must know what it means to speak letters and doctrines, what it means to lecture others, what it means to truly know God, and what it means to enter into reality. Only after they resolve these problems can they do their work as a leader properly and have the service that is according to God’s heart’s desire.” Thus we can see that it is also very important to select words from God’s word to read according to our existing problems and lack. It not only can help us resolve our various wrong states and difficulties in time, but it is also of benefit to the growth of our life and our performing our duties.
The above is my little knowledge of how to achieve results in reading God’s word. I’d like to enter in together with brothers and sisters so as to fully understand the truth from God’s word and be perfected by God soon.