e. How to differentiate the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of evil spirits

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

How does the Holy Spirit work in man? How does Satan work in man? How do evil spirits work in man? What are the manifestations? When something happens to you, does it come from the Holy Spirit, and should you obey it or reject it? In people’s actual practice, much arises from human will that people invariably believe comes from the Holy Spirit. Some things come from evil spirits, yet still people think they have come from the Holy Spirit, and sometimes the Holy Spirit guides people from within, yet people are afraid that such guidance comes from Satan and so do not dare to obey, when in reality that guidance is the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Thus, unless one practices differentiation, then there is no way to experience in one’s practical experience; without differentiation, there is no way of gaining life. How does the Holy Spirit do work? How do evil spirits do work? What comes from the will of man? And what is born of the guidance and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? If you grasp the patterns of the Holy Spirit’s work within man, then, in your daily life and during your practical experiences, you will be able to grow your knowledge and draw distinctions; you will come to know God, you will be able to understand and discern Satan; you will not be confused in your obedience or pursuit, and you will be someone whose thoughts are clear, who obeys the work of the Holy Spirit.

The work of the Holy Spirit is a form of proactive guidance and positive enlightenment. It does not allow people to be passive. It brings them solace, gives them faith and resolve, and enables them to pursue being made perfect by God. When the Holy Spirit works, people are able to enter actively; they are not passive or forced, but act at their own initiative. When the Holy Spirit works, people are glad and willing, willing to obey and happy to humble themselves. Even though they are pained and fragile inside, they have the resolve to cooperate; they suffer gladly, they are able to obey, and they are untainted by human will, untainted by the thinking of man, and certainly they are untainted by human desires and motivations. When people experience the work of the Holy Spirit, they are especially holy inside. Those who are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit live out the love of God and the love of their brothers and sisters; they delight in the things that delight God and loathe the things that God loathes. People who are touched by the work of the Holy Spirit have normal humanity, and they constantly pursue the truth and are possessed of humanity. When the Holy Spirit works within people, their condition becomes better and better, and their humanity becomes more and more normal, and though some of their cooperation may be foolish, their motivations are right, their entry is positive, they do not try to cause disruption, and there is no malevolence within them. The work of the Holy Spirit is normal and real, the Holy Spirit works in man according to the rules of the normal life of man, and He carries out enlightenment and guidance within people according to the actual pursuit of normal people. When the Holy Spirit works in people, He guides and enlightens them according to the needs of normal people. He provides for them according to their needs, and He positively guides and enlightens them according to what they lack, and according to their deficiencies. The Holy Spirit’s work is to enlighten and guide people in real life; only if they experience God’s words in their actual lives are they able to see the work of the Holy Spirit. If, in their everyday lives, people are in a positive state and have a normal spiritual life, then they are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit. In such a state, when they eat and drink the words of God, they have faith; when they pray, they are inspired; when they come up against something, they are not passive; and as things happen, they are able to see the lessons within those things that God requires them to learn. They are not passive or weak, and although they have real difficulties, they are willing to obey all the arrangements of God.

…………

What is the work that comes from Satan? In the work that comes from Satan, the visions within people are vague; people are without normal humanity, the motivations behind their actions are wrong, and although they wish to love God there are always accusations within them, and these accusations and thoughts cause constant disturbance within them, constraining the growth of their life and stopping them from coming before God in the normal condition. This is to say, as soon as the work of Satan is within people, their hearts cannot be at peace before God. Such people do not know what to do with themselves—when they see people gathering together, they want to run away, and they are unable to close their eyes when others pray. The work of evil spirits wrecks the normal relationship between man and God, and upsets people’s previous visions or their former path of life entry; in their hearts they can never draw close to God, and things always happen that cause disturbance to them and shackle them. Their hearts cannot find peace and they are left with no strength to love God and with their spirits sinking. Such are the manifestations of the work of Satan. The manifestations of the work of Satan are: being unable to stand your ground and stand witness, causing you to become someone who is at fault before God and who has no faithfulness toward God. When Satan disturbs, you lose the love and loyalty toward God within you, you are stripped of a normal relationship with God, you do not pursue the truth or the improvement of yourself; you regress and become passive, you indulge yourself, you give free rein to the spread of sin and are not hateful of sin; furthermore, the interference of Satan makes you dissolute; it causes God’s touch to disappear within you and makes you complain about God and oppose Him, leading you to question God; there is even the risk that you will abandon God. All of this comes from Satan.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan

The Holy Spirit’s work in man is especially normal; man is incapable of feeling it, and it seems to come through man himself, although it is in fact the work of the Holy Spirit. In daily life, the Holy Spirit does work both great and small in everyone, and it is just the extent of this work that varies. Some people are of good caliber, and they understand things quickly, and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit is especially great within them. Meanwhile, some people are of poor caliber, and it takes them longer to understand things, but the Holy Spirit touches them inside and they, too, are able to achieve faithfulness to God—the Holy Spirit works in all those who pursue God. When, in daily life, people do not oppose or rebel against God, do not do things that disrupt the management of God and do not disturb the work of God, then in each one of them the Spirit of God works to a greater or lesser extent; He touches them, enlightens them, gives them faith, gives them strength, and moves them to enter proactively, not being lazy or coveting the enjoyments of the flesh, willing to practice the truth, and longing for the words of God. All of this is work that comes from the Holy Spirit.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan

All of the Holy Spirit’s work is normal, and real. When you read God’s words and pray, inside you are bright and steadfast, the external world cannot disturb you; inside, you are willing to love God, are willing to engage with positive things, and you detest the evil world. This is living within God. It is not, as people say, experiencing great enjoyment—such talk is not practical. Today, everything should begin from reality. Everything God does is real, and in your experiences you should pay attention to really knowing God, and to searching for the footprints of God’s work and the means by which the Holy Spirit touches and enlightens people. If you eat and drink the words of God, and pray, and cooperate in a way that is more real, assimilating what was good from times gone by, and rejecting what was bad like Peter, if you listen with your ears and observe with your eyes, and often pray and ponder in your heart, and do all you can to cooperate with God’s work, then God will surely guide you.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How to Know Reality

When the Holy Spirit works to enlighten people, He generally gives them knowledge of God’s work, and of their true entry and true state. He also allows them to understand God’s urgent intentions and His requirements for man today, so that they have the resolve to sacrifice everything to satisfy God, love God even if they meet with persecution and adversity, and stand witness for God even if it means shedding their blood or giving their life, and do so without regret. If you have this kind of resolve, it means you have the stirrings and work of the Holy Spirit—but know that you are not possessed of such stirrings at every passing moment. Sometimes at meetings when you pray and eat and drink God’s words, you can feel extremely moved and inspired. It feels so new and fresh when others share some fellowship on their experience and understanding of God’s words, and your heart is perfectly clear and bright. This is all the work of the Holy Spirit. If you are a leader and the Holy Spirit gives you exceptional enlightenment and illumination when you go down to the church to work, gives you insight into the problems that exist within the church, allows you to know how to share fellowship on the truth to resolve them, makes you incredibly earnest, responsible and serious in your work, all of this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (1)

The way the work of the Holy Spirit helps people the most is by enlightening and illuminating them, allowing them to understand the truth and God’s will, to be able to do things according to God’s demands, and not to stray from the right path. What is the goal of the Holy Spirit’s work of enlightening people? Sometimes, its function is to guide the way; sometimes, it serves as a reminder, to make you have some sense; sometimes, it illuminates you and helps you understand the truth, and gives you a path to practice. When you have strayed onto your own path, He supports and helps you like a crutch, leading you onto the right path and guiding you. Whatever light and knowledge the Holy Spirit enlightens people with, which might vary because of people’s personal backgrounds, it does not contradict or conflict with the truth at all. If everyone were to experience in such a way as has true seeking and prayer, and genuine obedience, with the Holy Spirit continually working to enlighten and guide them, and if they are keen and subtle of thought, and able to practice and enter those things the Holy Spirit enlightens, then their stature would grow very quickly. They would then have seized the opportunity. One characteristic of the work of the Holy Spirit is that it is very fast. It is over in a flash, unlike the work of evil spirits, which is always urging and forcing people to do things, such that they cannot act in any other way. Sometimes the Holy Spirit works by giving people a feeling when they are on the verge of danger, making them feel uneasy and extremely anxious. This happens under special circumstances. Usually, whenever people draw near to God, and seek the truth, or when they read God’s words, the Holy Spirit gives them a feeling, or a subtle thought or idea. Or, He may convey to you a statement or a message. It is as if there is a voice, but as if it were voiceless, too; it is like a reminder, and you can understand what it means. If you go on to take the meaning you have understood and express it with the appropriate words, you will gain something, and it will edify others, too. If people always experience in this way, they will gradually come to understand many truths. If people always have the work of the Holy Spirit at their side, and there is always a new light leading them, then they are sure never to stray from the true way. Even if no one ever fellowships with you, and no one guides you, and you have no work arrangements, if you walk in the direction the Holy Spirit guides you to, then you are sure not to go astray.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, Gaining the Truth Is Most Crucial

While the Holy Spirit works, a corrupt disposition still exists within people; however, during the Holy Spirit’s work, it is easy for people to discover and recognize their rebelliousness, motivations, and adulterations. Only then do people feel remorse and grow willing to repent. As such, their rebellious and corrupt dispositions are gradually cast away within God’s work. The work of the Holy Spirit is especially normal; as He works in people, they still have troubles, they still weep, they still suffer, they are still weak and there is still much that is unclear to them, yet in this state they are able to stop themselves from regressing, and they can love God, and although they weep and are distressed, they are still able to praise God; the work of the Holy Spirit is especially normal, not the slightest bit supernatural. Most people believe that, as soon as the Holy Spirit begins to work, changes occur in people’s state and the things that are substantive to them are removed. Such beliefs are fallacious. When the Holy Spirit works within man, the passive things of man are still there and his stature remains the same, but he gains the illumination and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and so his state becomes more proactive, the conditions within him become normal, and he changes rapidly.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan

The work of the Holy Spirit allows people to make positive progress, whereas the work of Satan makes them become negative and retreat, rebel against God and resist Him, lose faith in Him, and become weak in performing their duty. Everything that stems from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit is quite natural; it is not forced upon you. If you submit to it, then you will have peace; if you do not, then you will afterward be rebuked. With the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, nothing you do will be disturbed with or constrained; you will be set free, there will be a path to practice in your actions, and you will not be subject to any restraints, but be able to act upon the will of God. The work of Satan causes you disturbance in many things; it makes you unwilling to pray, too lazy to eat and drink the words of God, and indisposed to live the life of the church, and it estranges you from the spiritual life. The work of the Holy Spirit does not interfere with your daily life and does not interfere with your normal spiritual life. You are unable to discern many things in the very moment they occur, yet, after a few days, your heart becomes brighter and your mind clearer. You come to have some sense about things of the spirit, and slowly you can discern whether a thought has come from God or from Satan. Some things clearly make you oppose God and rebel against God, or stop you from putting the words of God into practice; these things all come from Satan. Some things are not apparent, and you cannot tell what they are in the moment; afterward, you can see their manifestations and then exercise discernment. If you can clearly discern which things come from Satan and which are directed by the Holy Spirit, then you will not easily be led astray in your experiences.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan

In experiencing God’s work, having the work of the Holy Spirit happens occasionally, whereas having the presence of the Holy Spirit is nearly constant. As long as people’s reason and thinking are normal, and as long as their states are normal, then the Holy Spirit is surely with them. When people’s reason and thinking are not normal, then their humanity is not normal. If, at this moment, the work of the Holy Spirit is in you, then the Holy Spirit will surely also be with you. But if the Holy Spirit is with you, it does not follow that the Holy Spirit is definitely working within you, for the Holy Spirit works at special times. Having the presence of the Holy Spirit can only maintain people’s normal existence, but the Holy Spirit only works at certain times. For example, if you are a leader or worker, when you water and provide sustenance for the church, the Holy Spirit will enlighten you to certain words that are edifying for others and can resolve some of your brothers’ and sisters’ practical problems—at such times, the Holy Spirit is working. Sometimes, when you are eating and drinking the words of God, the Holy Spirit enlightens you with certain words that are particularly relevant to your own experiences, allowing you to gain a greater knowledge of your own states; this is also the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, as I speak, you listen and are able to measure your own states against My words, and sometimes you are touched or inspired; all of this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Some people say that the Holy Spirit is working in them at all times. This is impossible. If they were to say that the Holy Spirit is always with them, that would be realistic. If they were to say that their thinking and sense are normal at all times, that would also be realistic, and would show that the Holy Spirit is with them. If they say the Holy Spirit is always working within them, that they are enlightened by God and touched by the Holy Spirit at every moment, and gain new knowledge all the time, then this is by no means normal! It is entirely supernatural! Without a shadow of a doubt, such people are evil spirits! Even when the Spirit of God comes into the flesh, there are times when He must eat and must rest—to say nothing of humans. Those who have been possessed by evil spirits seem to be without the weakness of the flesh. They are able to forsake and give up everything, they are free of the emotion, capable of enduring torment and do not feel the slightest fatigue, as if they have transcended the flesh. Is this not extremely supernatural? The work of evil spirits is supernatural—no human could achieve such things! Those who lack discernment are envious when they see such people: They say they have such vigor in their belief in God, have great faith, and never show the slightest sign of weakness! In fact, these are all manifestations of the work of an evil spirit. For, normal people inevitably have human weaknesses; this is the normal state of those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (4)

God works in a gentle, delicate, loving and caring way, a way that is extraordinarily measured and proper. His way does not provoke in you intense emotional reactions such as: “God must let me do this” or “God must let me do that.” God never gives you that kind of mental or emotional intensity that makes things unbearable. Is that not so? Even when you accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement, how do you feel then? When you sense the authority and power of God, how do you feel then? Do you feel that God is divine and inviolable? Do you feel distance between yourself and God at these times? Do you feel how frightening God is? No—rather, you feel fear toward God. Is it not because of God’s work that people feel all of these things? Would they have these feelings if it were Satan who was at work? Absolutely not. …

What characterizes Satan’s work on man? You should be able to learn this through your own experiences—it is Satan’s archetypal feature, the thing it repeatedly does, the thing it tries to do with every single person. Perhaps you cannot see this feature, so you do not feel that Satan is so frightful and hateful. Does anyone know what this feature is? (It seduces, entices and tempts man.) That is correct; these are several ways in which this feature manifests. Satan also deludes, attacks and accuses man—these are all manifestations. Are there any more? (It tells lies.) Cheating and lying come most naturally to Satan. It often does these things. There’s also bossing people about, inciting them, forcing them to do things, ordering them about, and forcefully taking possession of them. Now I will describe something to you that will make your hair stand on end, but I do not do it to scare you. God works on man and cherishes man both in His attitude and in His heart. Satan, on the other hand, does not cherish man at all, and it spends all its time thinking about how to harm man. Is this not so? When it is thinking about harming man, is its state of mind one of urgency? (Yes.) So, as regards Satan’s work on man, I have two phrases that can amply describe the evil and maliciousness of Satan, that can truly allow you to know the hatefulness of Satan: In Satan’s approach to man, it always wants to forcefully occupy and possess man, each and every one, to the extent that it can gain complete control of man and harm man grievously, so that it can achieve its objective and fulfill its wild ambition. What does “forcefully occupy” mean? Is it something that happens with your consent, or without your consent? Does it happen with your knowing, or without your knowing? The answer is that it happens completely without your knowing! It happens in situations where you are unaware, perhaps without it even saying or doing anything to you, with no premise, no context—there Satan is, circling around you, surrounding you. It looks for an opportunity to exploit and then it forcefully occupies you, possesses you, achieving its objective of gaining complete control of you and of inflicting harm upon you. This is a most typical intention and behavior of Satan as it struggles to wrest mankind away from God.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IV

When people have knowledge of God, they are glad to suffer and live for God, but Satan still controls the weaknesses inside them, Satan is still able to make them suffer, evil spirits are still able to work and cause disturbance inside them, to entrance them, to make them deranged and ill at ease, and utterly disturbed. There are things in people’s thoughts and consciousness that are liable to be controlled and manipulated by Satan. Therefore, sometimes you are ill or troubled, there are times when you feel the world to be desolate, or that there is no point in living, and there are even times when you may seek death and want to kill yourself. That is to say, these pains are wielded by Satan, and they are man’s mortal weakness. Something that has been corrupted and trampled on by Satan can still be used by Satan; this is the screw that Satan turns. … When evil spirits work, there is no gap they will not exploit. They may speak within you or into your ear, or they may disturb your mind and disrupt your thoughts, numbing you to the touch of the Holy Spirit, stopping you from feeling it, and then the evil spirits will begin to disturb you, to throw your thoughts into chaos and make you lose your sense, even causing your soul to leave your body. This is the work that evil spirits do in people, and people are in great danger if they cannot tell it for what it really is.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Significance of God’s Tasting of Worldly Suffering

There are today some evil spirits that deceive man with supernatural things; that is nothing but imitation on their part, to deceive man through work that is not presently done by the Holy Spirit. Many people perform miracles and heal the sick and drive out demons; these are nothing but the work of the evil spirits, for the Holy Spirit no longer does such work in the present day, and all those who have imitated the work of the Holy Spirit from that time onward are evil spirits indeed. All the work carried out in Israel at that time was work of a supernatural nature, though the Holy Spirit does not now work in such a manner, and any such work now is the imitation and disguise of Satan and its disturbance. But you cannot say that whatsoever is supernatural comes from evil spirits—this would depend on the age of God’s work.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)

God does not repeat His work, He does not do work that is not realistic, He does not make excessive requirements of man, and He does not do work that is beyond the sense of man. All the work He does is within the scope of man’s normal sense, and does not exceed the sense of normal humanity, and His work is done according to man’s normal requirements. If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, people become ever more normal, and their humanity becomes ever more normal. People gain an increasing knowledge of their corrupt satanic disposition, and of the substance of man, and they also gain an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes more and more capable of change—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the substance of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing people before God or giving them a true understanding of God, and even causes their humanity to become ever more lowly and their sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God

Related Hymns

When the Holy Spirit Works on Man

God’s Work Does Not Repeat

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Question 2: What’s the difference between God’s work and man’s work? And what’s the essential difference between God incarnate and the people who God uses?

Almighty God says, “The work of God Himself involves the work of all of mankind, and it also represents the work of the entire era. That is to say, God’s own work represents the movement and trend of all of the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the work of the apostles follows God’s own work and does not lead the era, nor does it represent the working trend of the Holy Spirit in the entire era. They only do the work man ought to do, which does not at all involve the management work. God’s own work is the project within the management work. Man’s work is only the duty of men being used and bears no relation to the management work”

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