4. What it is to have gained life and what it is to have no life
Relevant Words of God:
When people understand the truth, and live with it as their life, what life does this refer to? It refers to their ability to base how they live on God’s words; it means they have real knowledge of God’s words and a genuine understanding of the truth. When people possess this new life within them, the way they live is established upon a foundation of God’s word the truth, and they are living within the realm of the truth. People’s life is all about coming to know and experience the truth, and with this as its foundation, not surpassing that scope; this is the life that is being referred to when speaking of gaining the truth life. For you to live with the truth as your life, it is not the case that the life of truth is inside you, nor is it the case that if you possess the truth as your life, you become the truth, and your internal life becomes the life of truth; less still can it be said that you are the truth life. Ultimately, your life is still the life of a human. It is just that a human can live by God’s words, possess knowledge of the truth, and understand it to an in-depth degree; this understanding cannot be taken away from you. You experience and understand these things fully, feeling that they are so good and precious, and you come to accept them as the basis for your life; moreover, you live in reliance on these things, and no one can change that: This, then, is your life. That is, your life only contains these things—understanding, experience, and insights of the truth—and no matter what you do, you will base the way you live on them, and you will not go beyond this scope or past these borders; this is precisely the sort of life you will have. The ultimate objective of God’s work is for people to have this kind of life.
—“Do You Know What the Truth Really Is?” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Holding up God’s words and being able to explain them unabashedly does not mean you are in possession of reality; things are not as simple as you imagine. Whether you are in possession of reality is not based on what you say; rather, it is based on what you live out. Only when God’s words become your life and your natural expression can you be said to have reality, and only then can you be counted as having gained true understanding and actual stature. You must be able to withstand examination over long periods of time, and you must be able to live out the likeness that is required by God. This must not be mere posturing; it must flow from you naturally. Only then will you truly possess reality, and only then will you have gained life. Let Me use the example of the trial of the service-doers with which everyone is familiar: Anyone can offer the loftiest theories regarding service-doers, and everyone has a decent understanding of the subject; they speak on it and each speech surpasses the last, as if it were a competition. However, if man has not undergone a major trial, then it is very difficult to say that he has good testimony to bear. In short, man’s living out is still very lacking, entirely contrary to his understanding. Therefore, it has yet to become man’s actual stature, and it is not yet man’s life. Because man’s understanding has not been brought into reality, his stature is still like a castle built on sand, teetering and on the verge of collapse. Man possesses far too little of reality; it is almost impossible to find any reality in man. There is too little reality naturally flowing from man, and all the reality they live out has been forced. This is the reason I say man possesses no reality. Although people claim their love of God never changes, this is merely what they say before they have faced any trials. When they are suddenly faced with trials one day, the things that they speak of will once again fall out of step with reality, and this will again prove that man possesses no reality. It can be said that whenever you encounter things that do not fit with your notions and that require you to put yourself aside, those things are your trials. Before God’s will is revealed, everyone goes through a rigorous test and an immense trial. Can you fathom this? When God wants to try people, He always allows them to make their choices before the actual truth has been revealed. This means that when God is subjecting man to trials, He will never tell you the truth; this is the manner in which people are exposed. This is one way that God carries out His work, to see whether you know the God of today, as well as whether you possess any reality.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality
Man experiences God’s work, comes to know himself, purges away his corrupt disposition, and seeks growth in life, all for the sake of knowing God. If you only seek to know yourself and to deal with your own corrupt disposition, but have no knowledge of what work God does upon man, of how great His salvation is, or of how you experience God’s work and witness His deeds, then this experience of yours is fatuous. If you think that one’s life has attained maturity just because one is able to put the truth into practice and to endure, this means that you have still not grasped the true meaning of life or God’s purpose in perfecting man. One day, when you are in the religious churches, among members of the Repentance Church or of the Life Church, you will come across many devout people, whose prayers contain “visions” and who, in their pursuit of life, feel touched and are guided by words. Furthermore, they are able in many matters to endure and to forsake themselves, and not to be led by the flesh. At that time, you will not be able to tell the difference: You will believe that everything they do is right, is the natural expression of life, and that it is a great pity that the name that they believe in is wrong. Are not such views foolish? Why is it said that many people have no life? Because they do not know God, and thus it is said that they have no God in their hearts, and have no life. If your belief in God has reached a point where you are capable of thoroughly knowing the deeds of God, the reality of God, and every stage of God’s work, then you are possessed of the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God
What manifestations do people who lack the truth life exhibit? Without the truth, they will naturally be subject to the constraints and bonds of their satanic nature; they will naturally reveal a disposition that is arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, reckless and willful, and liable to decide and act alone. Such people will lie and cheat, be deceitful and treacherous, and be prone to feeling suspicious of others, and to attacking and judging others; they will always assess others through the lens of their prejudices and motives. Such people will always rely on their own preferences in both word and deed, and when encountering setbacks or failures, they will become negative. At times they will be supremely arrogant, and at times they will fall into such negativity that they practically burrow a hole into the ground. These people go to extremes, and are never normal. When they are not baring their fangs, they are putting on puppy dog eyes. This is the sort of state you are currently in: You are willing to suffer and pay a price; your resolution and determination are complete—but you do not yet possess truth reality. How do people who possess truth reality to serve as their lives express themselves? I will tell you a few major indications. When people possess truth reality, on the one hand, they have understood some of the truth; on the other, they have begun to exhibit some changes in disposition. Changes in disposition have a characteristic, which is being able to submit to what is right and in line with the truth. No matter who gives you suggestions—whether they are young or old, whether you get along well, and whether the relationship between you is good or bad—as long as they say something that is correct and in line with the truth, and also is beneficial to the work of God’s house, then you can listen, adopt it, and accept it, and not be impacted by any other factors. This is the first aspect of that characteristic. First of all, you can accept the truth, as well as things that are correct and in line with the truth. Another aspect is being able to seek the truth whenever you encounter a problem. You must not only be able to accept the truth; you must also be able to seek it. For example, if you encounter a new problem that no one can fathom, then you can seek the truth and see what you should do or practice to bring the matter in line with the truth principles and meet God’s requirements. Yet another aspect is gaining the ability to be considerate of God’s will. How should you be considerate of His will? This depends on what duty you are performing and what requirements He has of it. You must grasp this principle: Carry out your duty according to God’s requirements, and fulfill it to His satisfaction. You must also understand God’s will and what the desired result of your duty is, and you must be able to act with responsibility and faithfulness. All of these are ways to be considerate of God’s will. If you do not know how to be considerate of God’s will in the thing that you are currently doing, then you must do some seeking in order to accomplish that and to satisfy Him. If you can put these three principles into practice, measure how well you are actually living by them, and find a path of practice, then you will be handling matters in a principled manner. Regardless of what you might encounter, and no matter what problems you might have to deal with, you must always search for the right principles to practice by, what details these each include, and how they should be practiced so that you will not be violating the principles. Once you have a clear understanding of these things, you will naturally be able to practice the truth.
—“Only by Putting the Truth Into Practice Can One Cast off the Shackles of a Corrupt Disposition” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
When the truth becomes your life, then if someone blasphemes against God, has no reverence for God, is slipshod in their duty, causes interruptions or disturbs the work of the church, and when you see this happen, you are then able to discern it and expose it when necessary, and approach it in accordance with the truth principle. If the truth has not become your life, and you still live within your satanic disposition, then when you encounter wicked people and devils who cause interruptions and disturbances to the work of God’s house, you will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear; you will brush them aside, without reproach from your conscience. You will even think that someone causing disturbances to the work of God’s house has nothing to do with you. No matter how great the loss to God’s work and the interests of His house, you will feel no reproach from your conscience, which means that you will be someone who lives by their satanic disposition. Satan controls you and causes you to live as something neither quite human nor quite demon. You eat what is God’s, drink what is God’s, and enjoy all that comes from Him, yet, when the work of God’s house suffers any loss, you think it has nothing to do with you, and, when you see it happen, you even “bend your elbow outward,”[a] and do not take God’s side, nor do you uphold God’s work or the interests of God’s house. This means Satan has power over you, does it not? Do such people live as human beings? Clearly, they are demons, not humans! However, when the truth holds sway in your heart and has become your life, then, when you see something passive, negative, or evil arising, the reaction in your heart is entirely different. First, you feel reproach and a sense of uneasiness, followed immediately by this feeling: “I can’t just remain idle and turn a blind eye. I must stand up and speak, I must stand up and take responsibility.” You can then stand up and put a stop to these evil deeds, exposing them, striving to safeguard the interests of God’s house and prevent God’s work from being disturbed. Not only will you have this courage and resolve, and will you be capable of understanding the matter completely, but you will also fulfill the responsibility you should bear for God’s work and for the interests of His house, and your duty will thereby be fulfilled. If you could consider performing your duty as your responsibility and obligation and as God’s commission, something that must be done well in order to face God as well as your conscience, would you not thus be living out conscience, reason, integrity, and dignity? Your deeds and behavior would be the “fearing God and shunning evil” of which He speaks. You would be performing the essence of these words and living out their reality. When the truth becomes a person’s life, they are then able to live out this reality. But if you have not yet entered into this reality, then, when you evince deceit, deception, or disguise, or when you see wicked people in action or evil forces disturbing and interrupting God’s work, you do not feel a thing, and perceive nothing. Even when these things happen under your very nose, you are still able to laugh, and can still eat and sleep with an easy conscience, and you feel not the slightest bit of self-reproach. Out of these two lives you can live out, which do you choose? Which life has a true human likeness, with which you live out the reality of positive things, and which life is an evil, devilish one? The answer is self-evident. When the truth has not become people’s reality or lives, then what they live out is quite pitiful and sad, and they are not in charge of their own lives. To be unable to practice the truth, though they want to; to be unable to love God, though they wish to; and to lack the strength to expend themselves for God, though they yearn to do so—this is the pity and the sorrow of corrupted human beings. To resolve this problem, one must accept and pursue the truth; they must welcome the truth into their heart in order to have a new life. For those who cannot accept the truth, no matter what they do or think, no matter how good their actions seem on the surface, those actions are pretense and trickery, and they are hypocrisy. So, if one does not pursue the truth, they cannot gain life. That is how great the difference is between these two sorts of life.
—“Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
If one can satisfy God while fulfilling one’s duty, is principled in one’s words and actions, and can enter truth reality in every aspect of the truth, then one is a person who is perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God have been completely effective for such people, that God’s words have become their life, they have obtained the truth, and they are able to live in accordance with God’s words. After this, the nature of their flesh—that is, the very foundation of their original existence—will shake apart and collapse. After people possess God’s words as their life, they will become new people. If the words of God become their life, if the vision of God’s work, His requirements of humanity, His revelations to humans, and the standards for a true life that God requires them to meet become their life, if they live according to these words and truths, then they are perfected by the words of God. Such people are reborn, and have become new people through God’s words. This is the path by which Peter pursued the truth; it was the path of being perfected, perfected by God’s words, and gaining life from the words of God. The truth expressed by God became his life, and only then did he become a person who obtained the truth.
—“How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
If people have a genuine understanding of God’s disposition, and can give heartfelt praise to His holiness and righteousness, then it means they truly know Him and possess the truth; only then do they live in the light. Only once a person’s view of the world and of life changes does one undergo a fundamental transformation. When one has a life goal and comports oneself according to the truth, when one submits absolutely to God and lives by His words, when one feels peaceful and illuminated to the depths of one’s soul, when one’s heart is free of darkness, and when one can live entirely free and unrestrained in God’s presence, only then does one lead a genuine human life, and only then has one become a person who possesses the truth. In addition, all the truths in your possession have come from God’s words and from God Himself. The Ruler of the entire universe and all things—God Most High—approves of you as a real person living a true human life. What could be more meaningful than God’s approval? This is what it means to be in possession of the truth.
—“How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
People often speak of letting God be their life, but their experience has not yet come to that point. You are merely saying that God is your life, that He guides you every day, that you eat and drink His words each day, and that you pray to Him each day, so He has become your life. The knowledge of those who say this is quite superficial. In many people there is no foundation; God’s words have been planted within them, but they have yet to sprout, much less have they borne any fruit. Today, to what extent have you experienced? Only now, after God has forced you to come this far, do you feel that you cannot leave God. One day, when your experience has reached a certain point, if God were to make you leave, you would not be able to. You will always feel that you cannot be without God inside you; you can be without a husband, wife, or children, without a family, without a mother or father, without the enjoyments of the flesh, but you cannot be without God. Being without God would be like losing your life; you would not be able to live without God. When you have experienced to this point, you will have hit the mark in your faith in God, and in this way, God will have become your life, He will have become the foundation of your existence. You will never again be able to leave God. When you have experienced to this extent, you will have truly enjoyed God’s love, and when you have a close enough relationship with God, He will be your life, your love, and at that time you will pray to God and say: “O God! I cannot leave You. You are my life. I can go without everything else—but without You, I cannot go on living.” This is people’s true stature; it is the real life. Some people have been forced to come as far as they have today: They have to go on whether they want to or not, and they always feel as if they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You must experience such that God is your life, such that if God were taken away from your heart, it would be like losing your life; God must be your life, and you must be incapable of leaving Him. In this way, you will have actually experienced God, and at this time, when you love God, you will truly love God, and it will be a singular, pure love. One day, when your experiences are such that your life has reached a certain point, when you pray to God, and eat and drink the words of God, you will be unable to leave God inside, nor will you be able to forget Him even if you wanted to. God will have become your life; you can forget the world, you can forget your wife, husband, or children, but you will have trouble forgetting God—to do so would be impossible, this is your true life and your true love for God. When people’s love of God has reached a certain point, their love for nothing else is equal to their love of God; their love for God comes first. In this way you are able to give up everything else, and are willing to accept all dealing and pruning from God. When you have achieved a love of God that surpasses all else, you will live in reality and in God’s love.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light
a. “Bend one’s elbow outward” is a Chinese idiom, which means a person is helping others at the expense of people close to that person, for example parents, children, relatives or siblings.