How to Pursue the Truth (16) Part One

What was fellowshipped on at the last gathering? (At the last gathering, God mainly fellowshipped about letting go of the conditioning of one’s family with respect to tradition, superstition, and religion. God fellowshipped in detail on some superstitious sayings such as “Dumplings for departing, noodles for returning,” and “Twitching on the left eye forecasts fortune but twitching on the right eye forecasts disaster,” as well as the effect that some traditional customs related to Chinese New Year and other holidays have on people. At the same time, God fellowshipped on the correct way for us to approach these traditional and superstitious sayings and practices, which is to believe that some events will indeed occur, while also believing that everything is in God’s hands. Regardless of what these sayings may indicate or what events may occur, we all must adopt an accepting and submissive attitude and be able to put ourselves at the mercy of God’s orchestration and arrangement.) These were the basic elements of our fellowship at the last gathering. In terms of the content relating to the traditions, superstitions, and religions that families condition into people, we fellowshipped in detail on some things that people encounter in their daily lives. Although the content of our fellowship only covered the traditions, superstitions, and religions involved in the daily lives of Chinese people that we are all familiar with, and it isn’t representative of every nation and race, the traditions, superstitions, and religions clung to by people who live in different regions and among different races are the same as these in nature—they all observe some traditions, living habits, and superstitious sayings that have been passed down from their ancestors. Regardless of whether these superstitious things are a psychological effect of people’s minds or if they are objectively real, in short, your attitude toward them should be to clearly recognize the primary thought or essence behind these superstitions. At the same time, you should not be influenced or disturbed by them. Instead, you should believe that everything about people is in the hands of God, that it is not superstitions that manipulate people, and that it certainly is not superstitions that dictate people’s fates or their everyday lives. Regardless of whether superstitions are real or not, regardless of whether they are efficacious or true, in any case, when dealing with such matters, people should have a principle that aligns with the truth. They should not be enchanted or controlled by these superstitions, and they certainly should not let them interfere with the normal goals of their pursuit or their practice of the principles. Among the topics of tradition, superstition, and religion, superstition creates the greatest interference and exerts the greatest influence on people’s lives, thoughts, and viewpoints on various matters. People generally dare not give up these superstitious sayings and definitions, and the life problems that these superstitions create are never solved. The fact that people dare not break through the shackles of these superstitious statements in their daily lives proves that they do not have enough faith in God yet. They still have not truly seen through to or accurately understood the fact of God’s sovereignty over all things and His sovereignty over the fate of mankind. Therefore, when people encounter a superstitious saying or some feelings that relate to superstition, they will be bound hand and foot. Especially when major events relating to life and death, their fortunes, or the life and death of their loved ones are involved, people are shackled by these so-called superstitious taboos and statements even more, and, to a considerable degree, they are incapable of freeing themselves. They are constantly afraid that they will break a taboo and it will come true, that some misfortune might find them, and that something bad might happen to them. When it comes to superstition, people are always unable to see through to the essence of the issue, and they are even less capable of breaking free from the shackles of all kinds of superstitious statements. Of course, they are also unable to see through to the influence that superstition has on people’s lives. From the perspective of human behavior and from people’s thoughts and views on superstitions, the consciousness and perspectives of their thoughts are still plagued by Satan to a great extent, and controlled by a kind of invisible force from outside of the material world. Therefore, while people follow God and accept His words, they are still controlled by superstitious sayings that relate to their fortunes, to life and death, and to their existences. That is to say, deep within their thoughts, they still believe that these superstitious statements are truly real. What does it mean for them to believe this? It means that people are still being controlled by the invisible claws behind these superstitions, rather than truly recognizing that their fates are ruled over and orchestrated by God’s hand. It also means that they are not perfectly happy or at ease putting their fates in God’s hands, but rather they are being involuntarily controlled by Satan. For example, the daily lives, rules of survival, notions, and so on of people who regularly do business, people who often travel, and people who used to somewhat believe in superstitious activities and sayings such as face-reading, the eight trigrams and the I Ching, the studies of yin and yang, and the like, are deeply influenced, controlled, and manipulated by these superstitions. That is to say, no matter what they do, it needs to have a theoretical basis that derives from superstition. For example, when they go out, they have to see what is said on the calendar, and whether there are any taboos. When conducting business, signing contracts, buying or selling houses, and so on, they absolutely have to consult the calendar that day. If they don’t, they feel uncertain and they don’t know what might happen. They only feel certain and have peace of mind when they act and make decisions after consulting the calendar. Furthermore, because a few bad things happen as a result of them breaking some taboos, their knowledge and belief that these superstitions are real subsequently becomes more definitive, and they become bound by these superstitions. They believe more strongly that people’s fates, fortunes, and life and death are controlled by superstitious sayings and that in the unseen, mystical world there is an invisible, big hand controlling their own fortunes and controlling their own life and death. Therefore, they fervently believe in all superstitious sayings, particularly those closely related to their lives and survival, to the extent that after believing in God, although they verbally admit and believe that people’s fates are in the hands of God, they are often involuntarily disturbed and controlled by various superstitious statements in the depths of their hearts. Some people even mix up these so-called life taboos—what conflicts with what, what is doomed to happen in one’s fate, and other such superstitious statements—with the truth principles, and abide by them. These attitudes that people harbor toward superstitions severely impact the attitudes that they hold toward the truth and God’s words in the presence of God. They also severely affect the attitudes that people hold as created beings toward the Creator, and, of course, they affect God’s attitude toward those people. This is because while people follow God, they are still willingly and involuntarily being controlled and disturbed by various thoughts and sayings that involve superstition, which were instilled in them by Satan. At the same time, it is also difficult for people to let go of these different thoughts and sayings that relate to superstition.

Among the things that families condition into people, superstitions, in fact, interfere with people to the most severe degree, and form the most profound and lasting effects on them. Therefore, when it comes to superstitions, people should investigate and come to know them one by one in their real lives, and see whether they have received any kind of conditioning or influence from their close families, extended families, or clans with regard to superstition. If they have, they should let go of these superstitions one by one, instead of clinging to them, as these things have no connection to the truth. When the practice of a traditional way of living frequently reveals itself in a person’s daily life, it can make them obediently and involuntarily come under Satan’s control. What’s more, superstitious sayings that influence people’s thoughts are even more capable of keeping people firmly controlled under the power of Satan. Therefore, besides traditions and religions, any thoughts, views, sayings, or rules related to superstition should be promptly let go of, and not clung to. With God, there are no taboos. God’s words, requirements of humanity, and will are clearly expressed in the word of God. Moreover, everything that God tells people or demands of them in His words pertains to the truth and does not contain any strange elements. God only tells people clearly and straightforwardly how to act and what principles to abide by in what matters. There aren’t any taboos and there aren’t any finicky details or sayings. What people should abide by is to act based on the truth principles according to their own actual circumstances. To practice God’s words and abide by the truth principles, you do not need to look at the date or time; there are no taboos. There’s also no need to consult a calendar, much less a horoscope, or whether it is a full moon or a new moon that day; you do not need to worry about these things. Under God’s dominion and within God’s sovereignty, people are free and liberated. Their hearts are calm, joyful, and at peace, and not filled with panic or fear, and certainly not repression. Panic, fear, and repression are just feelings that are brought about by various superstitious sayings. The truth, God’s words, God’s requirements, and the work of the Holy Spirit bring people peace and joy, freedom and liberation, relaxation and happiness. Yet, superstition brings people the exact opposite. It binds you hand and foot, preventing you from doing this or that, stopping you from eating this or that. Whatever you do is wrong and whatever you do involves a taboo, and everything must be in accordance with the sayings of the old almanac. What time it is in the lunar calendar, what can be done on which day, whether you can go out—even haircuts, bathing, changing clothes, and seeing people all involve their own taboos. In particular, weddings and funerals, moving house, going out on errands, and looking for a job depend even more on the almanac. Satan uses all kinds of superstitious and bizarre sayings to tightly bind people’s hands and feet. What is its purpose in doing so? (To control people.) To put it in modern terms, it’s making its presence felt. What does that mean? It means to let people know of its presence, to let them know that these claims about taboos that it puts forward are real, that it has the final say, that it can do these things, and that if you don’t listen it will give you something to look at. How does that allegory go? It goes: “An old lady puts on lipstick—to give you something to look at.” It means that if you don’t listen or if you violate this taboo, then you will just have to wait and see, and you will have to bear the consequences. If people do not believe in God, they are afraid of these taboos, because after all, people are of the flesh, and they cannot fight all of the various forms of devils and Satan in the spiritual realm. But now that you have returned before God, everything about you, including your thoughts and every day of your life, is under God’s control. God watches over you and protects you. You live and exist under God’s dominion, and you are not in Satan’s grasp. Therefore, you no longer need to abide by these taboos. On the contrary, if you still fear that Satan can harm you, or that bad things will happen to you if you don’t listen to Satan or believe in the taboo things spoken of in superstitions, this proves that you still believe that Satan can control your fate. At the same time, it also proves that you are willing to submit to Satan’s manipulation and are unwilling to accept God’s sovereignty. Satan does all this to let people know that it really exists. It wants to use its magical powers to control humanity, to control every living thing. The purpose of controlling these living things is to ruin them, and the purpose and final result of it ruining them is for it to devour them. Of course, the purpose of controlling them is also to make people worship it. If the devil Satan wants to make its presence felt, it needs to demonstrate some effectiveness. For example, it can turn an egg into feces. This egg is given to an evil spirit’s altar, and if you are hungry and want to eat it, and you try to snatch it from the devil, it will turn the egg into feces to let you know its power. You will become afraid of it and dare not compete with it for food. If one thing makes you afraid of it, and then another thing makes you afraid of it, over time you will begin to blindly believe in it. If you blindly believe in it for long enough, you will start to worship it from the depths of your heart. Aren’t these the goals of Satan’s actions? Satan acts precisely for these goals. Regardless of whether it is in the south or the north, and regardless of which race of humans it is, they all worship evil and unclean spirits on bended knee. Why do they worship them on bended knee? Why can those evil and unclean spirits that they worship on bended knee continuously have incense burned for them, from one generation to the next? If you say they aren’t real, then why do so many people believe in them and continue to burn incense for them, to kowtow to them, to make vows to them and then fulfill their vows, generation after generation? Isn’t it because those evil and unclean spirits have done something? If you don’t listen to the words of the evil spirits, they will make you fall ill, make things go wrong for you, cause disasters to befall you, and make your family’s cows sick and unable to plow the fields, and even cause car accidents to happen to your family. They will look for ways to trouble you, and the more they do, the more troubles you will have. You can’t refuse to comply, and, in the end, you will have no choice but to worship them on bended knee, and you will willingly bow your head to submit to them, at which point, they will be happy. From then on, you will belong to them. Look at those people in society being controlled by fox spirits or by the various figures in the spiritual realm who appear on altars. What do we call this? We call it being possessed by evil spirits and being inhabited by evil spirits. Among the common people this is called being controlled by a spirit or having one’s body taken over by something. When evil spirits start looking for bodies to take over, their targets are unwilling to let them do so, so the evil spirits interfere with and disturb them, causing accidents and trouble to come about in their families. Those who are in business are made to suffer losses and never have any customers; they are obstructed to the point that they can’t get by and making any progress is very difficult for them. In the end, they submit and agree. After they agree, the evil spirits use their physical bodies to do things, to perform some signs and wonders, to draw other people in, to treat illnesses, to read fortunes, to even help summon spirits of the dead, and so on. Aren’t evil spirits using these means to mislead, corrupt, and control people?

If believers in God hold the same views and opinions as unbelievers regarding these superstitious sayings, what is the nature of this? (It is defying and blaspheming God.) That’s right, this response is very accurate, it is a serious blasphemy against God! You follow God and say that you believe in Him, but at the same time, you are being controlled and disturbed by superstitions. You are even capable of following the thoughts instilled in people by superstitions, and even more seriously, some of you are afraid of these thoughts and facts that involve superstitions. This is the greatest blasphemy against God. Not only are you unable to bear witness for God, but you are also following Satan in resisting God’s sovereignty—this is a blasphemy against God. Do you understand? (Yes.) The essence of people believing in superstitions or following superstitions is to blaspheme against God, so shouldn’t you let go of the various kinds of conditioning that superstitions have on you? (Yes.) The simplest way to practice letting go of them is to not let yourself be disturbed by them, regardless of if those superstitions are real or not, and no matter what they are going to bring about. Even if the statements made by superstitions about a certain thing are objectively real, you should not be disturbed or controlled by them. Why? Because everything is orchestrated by God. Even if Satan can accomplish something, it is done with God’s permission. Without God’s permission, as God has said, Satan does not even dare to touch a single hair on your head. This is a fact, and it is a truth that people should believe in. Therefore, no matter which of your eyelids twitch, or if you have dreams about your teeth falling out, losing your hair, or death, or any kind of nightmare, you should believe that these things are in the hands of God, and you should not be influenced or disturbed by them. No one can change the things that God wants to accomplish, and no one can change the things that God has ordained. Things that are ordained and planned by God are facts that have already been accomplished. Regardless of whether you have a premonition or what kind of omens these devils and Satan of the spiritual realm give you, you should not be disturbed by them. Just believe that all of this is in God’s hands, and that people should submit to God’s orchestration and arrangement. The things that are about to happen or things that cannot happen are all within God’s control and within His ordination. No one can change them, and less still can anyone interfere with them. This is a fact. It is the Creator that people should worship on bended knee, not any force in the spiritual realm that can make superstitions come true or be restored. No matter how vast the magic powers that the devils and Satan possess are, no matter what miracles they can perform, or whatever things they can make come true, or what person’s premonitions and what superstitious sayings they can turn into reality, none of this means that they hold people’s fates in their hands. What people worship on bended knee and believe in should not be the devils and Satan, but the Creator. These are the things that people should understand when it comes to the topic of family conditioning involving traditions, superstitions, and religions. In short, whether it involves tradition, superstition, or religion, as long as something has nothing to do with God’s words, the truth, or God’s requirements for people, then people should abandon it and let it go. Regardless of whether it is a lifestyle or a kind of thinking, or whether it is a rule or a theory, as long as it does not involve the truth, it is something that people should discard. For example, in people’s notions, things to do with religion, such as Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, and so on, are considered to be relatively noble and sacred in comparison to superstition, tradition, or idolatry. People feel some admiration or favor for them in their notions and in the depths of their minds, but even so, people should let go of symbols, holidays, and tokens related to religion and should not overly cherish them or treat them the same as the truth, worshiping them on bended knee, or even reserving a place for them in their hearts. This should not be done. Religious symbols, religious activities, religious holidays, some iconic religious things, as well as some relatively noble sayings in religion, and so on, all fall within the scope of the topic of religion that we have spoken about. In short, the purpose of saying all this is to make you understand one fact: When it comes to things involving superstition, tradition, and religion, no matter whether they are noble or relatively strange, as long as they do not involve the truth, as long as they have nothing to do with the truth, they should all be let go of, and people should not cling to them. Of course, topics that violate the truth principles should especially be abandoned and they absolutely must not be kept. People should categorically let go of all these things that come from the conditioning and influence of their families, one by one, and not allow themselves to be affected by them. For example, when you meet some brothers and sisters at Christmastime, as soon as you see them you say, “Merry Christmas! Happy Christmas!” Is it good to say: “Merry Christmas”? (No, it’s not.) Is it appropriate to say, “Since it commemorates the day when Jesus was born, shouldn’t we take the day off and do nothing at all, and no matter how busy we are with our work and duties, shouldn’t we stop and concentrate on commemorating the most memorable day in that past period of God’s work?” (No, it is not appropriate.) Why is it not appropriate? (Because it is work that God did in the past, and it is something that has nothing to do with the truth.) Doctrinally, this is the case. In theory, you have grasped the root of this issue, but what about in reality? This is the simplest matter, and you can’t give Me an answer. God does not like it when people do such things; He detests seeing it. It’s as simple as that. During the holiday celebrations, unbelievers say, “Happy New Year! Happy Christmas!” If they greet Me, I just nod and say, “You too!” meaning “Merry Christmas to you too.” I go through the motions of this greeting, and that’s it. But I never say this when I meet brothers and sisters. Why is that? Because it is a holiday of unbelievers, a commercial holiday. In the West, almost every holiday, whether traditional or man-made, is actually related to commerce and linked to the economy. Even for some nations with long histories, their holidays are merely related to tradition and have gradually evolved into various commercial activities since the 20th century, and are excellent business opportunities for merchants. Regardless of whether these holidays are commercial or traditional, in any case, they have nothing to do with people who believe in God. No matter how enthusiastic unbelievers or even religious individuals may be about these holidays or how grand and magnificent these holidays are in whichever country or nation, they don’t have anything to do with those of us who follow God and they are not holidays that we should observe, let alone celebrate or commemorate. Let alone the traditional holidays that come from unbelievers, no matter from what race, ethnic group, or time period, they have nothing to do with us. Even anniversaries that relate to each period and each segment of the three stages of God’s work have nothing to do with us. For example, the holidays from the Age of Law have nothing to do with us, and Easter, Christmas, and so on from the Age of Grace certainly have nothing to do with us. By fellowshipping about these things, what is it that I want to make people understand? That God does not observe holidays or any regulations in the things that He does. He acts freely and liberated, without any taboos, and He never commemorates any holidays. Even if it is the beginning, the end, or a special day of God’s past work, God never commemorates it. God does not commemorate and does not pointedly make people aware of these dates, days, or times. In one respect, this tells people that God does not commemorate these days, that God does not care about these days. In another respect, it tells people that there is no need for them to commemorate or celebrate these days, that they should not keep these days. People don’t need to remember any days or times that relate to God’s work, let alone commemorate them. What do people need to do? They need to submit to God’s orchestration and accept God’s sovereignty under His guidance. They need to accept the truth and submit to the truth in their daily lives. It’s as simple as that. In this way, won’t life be easier and more pleasant for people? (Yes.) Therefore, fellowshipping on these matters actually brings liberation and freedom to every person, and not bondage. Because in one respect, these topics are objective facts and true things that people should understand, and in another respect, they also free people and allow them to let go of these things they should not adhere to. At the same time, they also let people know that these things do not represent the truth, and that there is only one way of God that people should adhere to, and that is the truth. Do you understand? (Yes.)

When it comes to the topic of family, in addition to letting go of the conditioning of one’s family, there are other aspects that people should let go of. We previously fellowshipped on the conditioning that family has on one’s thinking, and then we fellowshipped on the various sayings about life that are conditioned into people by their families. All families provide people with a stable life and room for growth. They also provide people with a sense of security, something to depend on, and a source of basic necessities during the process of their growth. In addition to the fulfillment of their emotional needs, people also get their material needs fulfilled by their families. Of course, they also receive life necessities and some general life knowledge that they need while growing up. There are many things that people get from their families, so for each individual, family is a part of life that is difficult to cut off. The benefits that family brings people are numerous, but looking at it from the perspective of the content of our fellowship, the various negative influences, and the negative life attitudes and perspectives that family brings upon people are also numerous. That is to say, while your family brings you many essential things for your physical life, providing for your basic needs, and giving you an emotional anchor and support, at the same time, it also brings you some unnecessary troubles. Of course, it is difficult for people to escape from and let go of these troubles before they understand the truth. To a certain extent, your family brings both great and small disturbances into your daily life and existence, which makes your feelings toward your family often complex and contradictory. Since your family satisfies your emotional needs while also interfering with your life on an emotional level, the term “family” evokes complex and difficult-to-articulate thoughts for most people. You feel full of nostalgia, attachment, and, of course, gratitude toward your family. But at the same time, the entanglements brought upon you by your family make you feel that it is a great source of trouble. That is to say, after a person becomes an adult, their concept, thoughts, and perspectives on their family become relatively complex. If they completely let go, abandon, or stop thinking about their family, their conscience will not be able to bear it. If they do think about their family, reminisce, and wholeheartedly throw themselves into it like when they were a child, they will feel unwilling to do so. People often experience this kind of state, this kind of thought, view, or condition when dealing with their families, and these thoughts and views or conditions also come from the conditioning of their families. This is the topic that we will fellowship on today: the burden that families bring upon people.

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