How to Pursue the Truth (19) Part One

Do you usually relate the hymns you listen to with your own states and experiences? Do you listen to and ponder attentively certain words and subject matter which relate to your experiences and understanding, or which you are able to attain? (Sometimes, God, when going through certain things, I’ll relate the hymns I hear to my own situation, while at other times I am just going through the motions.) Much of the time, you’re just going through the motions, aren’t you? If 95 percent of the time that you’re listening to hymns you’re just going through the motions, does such listening have any significance? What is the purpose of listening to hymns? At the very least, it allows people to calm down, to withdraw their hearts from various complicated matters and thoughts, and to be quiet before God, coming before God’s words to carefully listen to and ponder over every sentence and paragraph. Are you now too busy with tasks that you lack the time to listen and the energy to ponder, or do you simply not know how to pray-read God’s words, ponder the truth, and quiet yourselves before God? You just go about busily doing your duty every day; even though it may be tough and tiring, you believe that every day is full, and you don’t feel empty or spiritually helpless. You feel that the day has not been wasted; it has value. Living aimlessly every day is called muddling along. Isn’t that right? (Yes.) Tell Me, if things continue like this, in another three, five, eight, or ten years, will you have anything significant to show for it? (No.) If you don’t meet with any special incidents or any special circumstances arranged by God, if there is no personal guidance and leadership from the Above, to give you gatherings and fellowship, and to dissect the essence of various people, events, and things, taking you by the hand and teaching you, then a lot of the time you are actually wasting each day, your progress is slow, and you gain virtually nothing in your life entry. So, whenever something happens, your ability to discern does not increase, your experience and understanding of the truth do not progress, and you also fail to experience and progress in your faith in and submission to God. When faced with something the next time, you still don’t know how to handle it according to the truth principles. In the process of doing your duty and experiencing various things, you still cannot actively seek principles and practice according to the truth principles. This is wasting time. What are the ultimate consequences that wasting time leads to? Your time and energy are wasted, and the cost of your painstaking efforts is in vain. The path you have walked all these years is characterized as Paul’s path. If you have been a leader or worker for many years but your life entry is shallow, your stature is small, and you do not understand any truth principles, then you are ill-suited for the role and unable to complete a task independently. Leaders and workers are unsuitable for their roles, and the ordinary brothers and sisters cannot live the church life independently, cannot eat and drink God’s words independently, do not know how to experience God’s work, and have no life entry. If no one supervises or guides them, they could go astray; if leaders and workers are not supervised or directed in their work, they could deviate, establish an independent kingdom, be misled by antichrists, and even follow antichrists without realizing it, still thinking that they are expending themselves for God. Isn’t this pitiful? (It is.) Your current situation is exactly like this: both poor and pitiful. When faced with situations, you are helpless and have no way to go. When it comes to actual problems and the actual content of work, you don’t know how to act or what to do; everything is tangled and you have no clue how to work them out. You feel quite happy with being so busy every day, physically you are exhausted, and mentally you feel a lot of pressure, but the results of your work are not that good. The principles of every truth and the paths of practice have all been clearly made known to you through the work arrangements of God’s house, but you have no path in your work, you can’t find the principles, you get into a muddle when faced with situations, not knowing how to act, and all your work is a mess. Is this not a pitiful condition? (Yes.) This is indeed a pitiful condition.

Some people say, “I’ve believed in God for over ten years; I’m a seasoned believer.” Some say, “I’ve believed in God for twenty years.” Others say, “What’s twenty years of belief? I’ve believed in God for over thirty years.” You have believed in God for quite a few years, and some of you have even served as leaders or workers for many years and have a good amount of experience. But how’s your life entry going? How well can you grasp truth principles? You’ve served as a leader or worker for many years and gained some experience in your work, but when faced with all kinds of tasks, people, and things, will you base your practice on truth principles? Will you uphold God’s name? Will you protect the interests of God’s house? Will you safeguard God’s work? Can you stand firm in your testimony? When faced with disruptions and disturbances to the church’s work brought about by antichrists and evil people, will you have the confidence and strength to fight against them? Can you protect God’s chosen people and uphold the work of God’s house, defending the interests of God’s house and His name from being disgraced? Can you do this? From what I see, you cannot do it, nor have you done it. Every day you’re quite busy—what have you been busy with? All these years you’ve sacrificed your family and career, endured suffering, paid the price, and invested a lot of effort, but you’ve gained little. Some leaders and workers have even faced similar events, people, and circumstances many times, yet they continue to make the same mistakes, leaving the same transgressions in their wake. Doesn’t this show a lack of growth in their lives? Doesn’t it mean they haven’t gained the truth? (Yes.) Doesn’t this show that they’re still being controlled by Satan under its dark power and haven’t attained salvation? (Yes.) When all kinds of different events arise and unfold around you in the church at different times, you’re powerless to do anything. Particularly when faced with antichrists and evil people causing disruptions and disturbances in the church’s work, you don’t know how to handle it. You just let things slide, or at best, you become angry and prune those causing the disturbance, but the problem remains unresolved, and you have no alternative plan of action. Some even think, “I gave it all my strength and all my heart—didn’t God say we should give both these things? I’ve given my all; if there are still no results, it’s not my fault. People are just so bad: Even when you fellowship about the truth with them, they don’t listen.” You say you gave all your strength and all your heart, but the work didn’t achieve any results. You didn’t uphold the church’s work or protect the interests of God’s house, and you let evil people take control of the church. You allowed Satan to run rampant and shame God’s name, while you watched from the side lines, unable to do anything, incapable of handling anything even with the authority you had. You couldn’t stand firm in your testimony to God, yet you think you understood the truth and gave all your heart and strength. Is this what it means to be a good steward? (No, it isn’t.) When all kinds of evil people and disbelievers come out and play various roles as devils and Satans, going against work arrangements and doing something entirely different, lying and deceiving God’s house; when they disturb and disrupt God’s work, doing things that bring shame to the name of God and tarnish God’s house, the church, you do nothing but get angry when you see it, yet you can’t stand up to uphold justice, expose the evil people, uphold the church’s work, address and handle these evil people, and keep them from disturbing the church’s work and tarnishing God’s house, the church. By not doing these things, you have failed to bear witness. Some people say, “I don’t dare do these things, I’m afraid that if I handle too many people, I might anger them, and if they gang up on me to punish me and remove me from office, what will I do?” Tell Me, are they cowardly and timid, do they not have the truth and cannot distinguish people or see through Satan’s disturbance, or are they disloyal in their performance of duty, just trying to protect themselves? What is the real issue here? Have you ever thought about this? If you are naturally timid, fragile, cowardly, and fearful; yet, after so many years of believing in God, based on an understanding of certain truths, you develop genuine faith in God, won’t you be able to overcome some of your human weakness, timidity, and fragility, and no longer be afraid of evil people? (Yes.) Then what is the root of your inability to handle and address evil people? Is it that your humanity is inherently cowardly, timid, and fearful? This is neither the root cause nor the essence of the problem. The essence of the problem is that people are not loyal to God; they protect themselves, their personal safety, their reputation, their status, and their way out. Their disloyalty is manifested in how they always protect themselves, retreating like a turtle into its shell whenever they face anything, and waiting until it passes before sticking their heads back out again. No matter what they meet with, they are always walking on eggshells, have a lot of anxiety, worry, and apprehension, and are unable to stand and defend the work of the church. What is the problem here? Isn’t it a lack of faith? You have no real faith in God, you do not believe that God is sovereign over all things, and you do not believe that your life, your everything is in God’s hands. You do not believe what God says, “Without God’s permission, Satan does not dare to move a single hair on your body.” You rely on your own eyes and judge the facts, you judge things based on your own calculations, always protecting yourself. You do not believe that a person’s fate is in God’s hands; you are afraid of Satan, afraid of evil forces and evil people. Is this not a lack of genuine faith in God? (Yes.) Why is there no real faith in God? Is it because people’s experiences are too shallow and they cannot see through these things, or is it because they understand too little of the truth? What is the reason? Does it have something to do with people’s corrupt dispositions? Is it because people are too cunning? (Yes.) No matter how many things they experience, no matter how many facts are placed in front of them, they don’t believe that this is the work of God, or that a person’s fate is in God’s hands. This is one aspect. Another mortal issue is that people care too much about themselves. They are not willing to pay any price or make any sacrifice for God, for His work, for the interests of God’s house, for His name, or for His glory. They are not willing to do anything that involves even the slightest danger. People care too much about themselves! Because of their fear of death, of humiliation, of being trapped by evil people, and of falling into any kind of predicament, people go to great lengths to preserve their own flesh, striving not to let themselves enter any dangerous situations. In one respect, this behavior shows that people are all too cunning, while in another, it reveals their self-preservation and selfishness. You are unwilling to give yourself over to God, and when you say you are willing to expend yourself for God, it’s nothing more than a desire. When it comes to actually coming forward and bearing witness to God, fighting against Satan, and facing danger, death, and various difficulties and hardships, you are no longer willing. Your little desire crumbles, and you do everything possible to protect yourself first, afterward doing some superficial work that you have to do, work that can be arranged on down the line. A person’s mind is still more agile than that of a machine: They know how to adapt, they know when they encounter situations which actions contribute to their self-interests and which do not, and they are quick to apply every method at their disposal. Consequently, whenever you face certain things, your slight trust in God is unable to stand firm. You act cunningly with God, engage in tactics against Him, and play tricks, and this reveals your lack of genuine faith in God. You think God is untrustworthy, that He may not be able to protect you or ensure your safety, and that God might even let you die. You feel that God is unreliable, and that only by relying on yourself can you be sure. What happens in the end? No matter what circumstances or matters you face, you approach them using these methods, tactics, and strategies, and you are unable to stand firm in your testimony to God. No matter the circumstances, you are unable to be a qualified leader or worker, unable to exhibit the qualities or actions of a steward, and unable to display full loyalty, thus losing your testimony. Regardless of how many matters you face, you are unable to rely on your faith in God to execute loyalty and your responsibility. Consequently, the final result is that you gain nothing. In every circumstance that God has orchestrated for you, and when you have battled against Satan, your choice has always been to withdraw and escape. You haven’t followed the trajectory God has indicated or set for you to experience. So, in the midst of this battle, you miss out on the truth, understanding, and experiences you should have gained. Every time you find yourself in circumstances orchestrated by God, you go through them in the same manner, and end them all the same way. In the end, the doctrine and lessons you take away are the same. You do not have any genuine understanding, you have merely absorbed a few experiences and lessons, such as: “I shouldn’t do this in the future. When I meet with similar situations I should be cautious about that, I should remind myself of this, I should be careful with that type of person, avoid this type, and be on my guard against that type.” That’s all. What is it that you’ve gained? Is it savviness and insight, or experience and lessons? If what you gain has nothing to do with the truth, then you have gained nothing, nothing that you really ought to have gained. Thus, in circumstances orchestrated by God, you have disappointed Him; you didn’t obtain what He intended for you, so you have surely let God down. In this trial or circumstance orchestrated by God, you didn’t obtain the truth He wanted you to have. Your God-fearing heart hasn’t grown, the truths you should understand remain unclear, you still lack understanding in the areas where you need understanding about yourself, the lessons you should have absorbed haven’t been acquired, and the truth principles you ought to follow have eluded you. At the same time, your faith in God hasn’t grown either; it remains where it first started. You are marching in place. So, what has increased? Perhaps you now understand some doctrines you didn’t know before, or you’ve seen the ugly side of a certain type of person that you previously didn’t understand. But the smallest iota related to the truth remains to you unseen, uncomprehended, unrecognized, and unexperienced. As you continue in your work or in the performance of duty, you still don’t understand or know the principles you should follow. This is very disappointing to God. At the very least, in this particular circumstance you haven’t increased the loyalty to God or the faith that should have inherently been increasing within you. You haven’t achieved either of the two, which is just pitiful! Some might say, “You claim I haven’t gained anything, but that’s not correct. At the very least, I’ve gained self-knowledge and an understanding of people, events, and things around me. I have a clearer understanding of humanity and myself.” Does understanding these things count as genuine progress? Even if you don’t believe in God, when you live to the age of forty or fifty you will be more or less familiar with these things. People with a little caliber or average caliber can achieve this; they can have an understanding of themselves, of the advantages and disadvantages, the strengths and weaknesses of their humanity, as well as what they are good at and what they are not. By the time they reach their forties or fifties, they should more or less have an understanding of the humanity of the various types of people they frequently interact with. They should know which types of people are suitable to interact with and which are not, which are suitable to associate with and which are not, which they should keep at a distance and which they should get close to—they are more or less able to understand all these things. If someone is muddleheaded, their caliber is too poor, they are an idiot, or they are mentally challenged, then they do not have this understanding. If you’ve believed in God for many years, heard so much truth, and experienced so many different circumstances, and your only gain is in the realm of people’s humanity, in discerning people or understanding some simple matters, can this be considered a genuine gain? (No, it cannot.) So, what is a genuine gain? It is related to your stature. If you gain something, then you progress, and you grow in stature; if you don’t truly gain anything, your stature doesn’t grow. So, what does this gain refer to? At the very least, it is related to the truth; more specifically, to truth principles. When you understand, can follow, and can practice the truth principles that should be followed while handling various matters and people, and these become your principles and standards for self-comportment, then this is a genuine gain. When these truth principles become the principles and criteria you ought to follow for self-comportment, they become a part of your life. When this aspect of the truth is wrought into you, it becomes your life, and that’s when your life grows. If you have yet to grasp the truth principles related to these kinds of matters, and you still don’t know how to handle them when you encounter them, then in this regard, you haven’t gained the truth. Clearly, this aspect of the truth is not your life, and your life has not grown. Being skilled at speaking is useless—it’s all doctrine anyway. Can you measure this? (Yes, I can.) Have you made progress during this time? (No, I haven’t.) You’ve merely used your human will and intellect to summarize some experiences, like saying, “This time I learned what types of things I will no longer say or do, what things I will do more or less of, and what I definitely will not do.” Is this a sign of growth in your life? (No, it isn’t.) This is a sign that you seriously lack spiritual understanding. All you can do is summarize rules, words, and slogans, which have nothing to do with the truth. Isn’t that what you’re doing? (Yes.) Every time you experience something, after every significant event, you admonish yourself, saying, “Gosh, in the future I should do it like this or like that.” But the next time a similar situation arises, it still ends in failure, and you get frustrated, saying, “Why am I like this?” You get angry with yourself, thinking you failed to meet your own expectations. Is this useful? It’s not that you failed to meet your own expectations, or that you’re foolish, or that the circumstances God orchestrated are wrong, and it’s certainly not that God is treating people unfairly. It’s because you’re not pursuing or seeking the truth, you’re not acting in accordance with God’s words, and you’re not listening to God’s words. You are always bringing human will into it; you are your own master, and you do not let God’s words take charge. You’d rather listen to other people than to God’s words. Is this not the case? (Yes, it is.) Do you think that by accumulating some experiences and lessons from a single event or in a particular circumstance, you have made progress? If you have genuinely made progress, when God tests you next time, you will be able to defend God’s name, protect the interests and the work of God’s house, ensure that all the work runs smoothly, and that it does not suffer any disturbance or obstruction. You will ensure that God’s name remains untarnished and unblemished, that the growth of your brothers’ and sisters’ lives suffers no losses, and that God’s offerings will be protected. This means you have made progress, you are suitable for use, and you possess life entry. Right now, you’re still not there yet; though your brains are small, they are filled with a lot of things, and you are not simple. Although you may have the sincerity to expend yourself for God and a desire to let go of and abandon everything for Him, yet when faced with matters, you are unable to rebel against your various cravings, intentions, and plans. The more God’s house and God’s work encounter various difficulties, the more you shrink back, the more invisible you become, and the less likely you are to stand up and take charge of that work, to safeguard the interests of God’s house and the work of God. So, what happened to your sincerity to expend yourself for God? Why is that little bit of sincerity so fragile and vulnerable? What happened to your little bit of willingness to offer everything and abandon all of it for God? Why is it unable to stand firm? What makes it so vulnerable? What does this confirm? It confirms that you lack real stature, that your stature is pitifully small, and a little demon can easily confound you: With just a little bit of interruption, you would turn to follow this little demon. Even if you have some stature, it is limited to your experience with certain superficial matters unrelated to your own interests, and you are still barely able to protect the interests of God’s house and do a few small things that you feel you can achieve and are within the purview of your abilities. When it truly comes to standing firm in your testimony, when the church faces a large crackdown and the disturbances of evil people and antichrists, where are you? What are you doing? What are you thinking? This clearly illustrates the problem, doesn’t it? If an antichrist, while performing their duty, deceives those above and below them and acts recklessly, disrupting and disturbing the church’s work, squandering offerings, and misleading brothers and sisters into following them, and not only do you fail to discern them, curb their efforts, or report them, but you even accompany and help the antichrist achieve the results they wish for in doing all these things, then tell Me, what effect is there in your little resolve to truly expend yourself for God? Isn’t this your true stature? When antichrists, evil people, and all kinds of disbelievers come to disturb and destroy the work of God’s house, especially when they tarnish the church and disgrace God’s name, what are you doing? Have you stood up to speak out in defense of the work of God’s house? Have you stood up to curb their efforts or restrict them? Not only have you failed to stand up and stop them, you accompanied the antichrists in doing evil, aiding and abetting them, and acting as their tools and henchmen. Moreover, when someone writes a letter to inform about a problem with antichrists, you pigeonhole the letter and choose not to handle it. So, at this crucial moment, have your resolve and desire to abandon everything in order to sincerely expend yourself for God had any effect at all? If they have had no effect, then it is quite obvious that this so-called desire and resolve are not your true stature, they are not what you’ve gained from believing in God so many years. They cannot replace the truth; they are neither the truth nor life entry. They are not emblematic of a person having life, they are merely a kind of wishful thinking, a longing and a yearning that people have for something beautiful—they have nothing to do with the truth. Therefore, you have to wake up and see your true stature clearly. Don’t think that just because you have a little caliber, and have abandoned many things like education, career, family, marriage, and the prospects of the flesh, your stature is somehow great. Some people have even been leaders or workers ever since they laid a foundation in their initial faith in God. Over the years, they have accumulated certain experiences and lessons, and can preach a few words and doctrines. Because of this, they feel their stature is greater than others, that they have life entry, and are pillars and columns within God’s house and the ones whom God is perfecting. This is incorrect. Don’t think of yourselves as good—you are still far from it! You aren’t even able to discern antichrists; you have no real stature. Although you’ve been serving as leaders or workers for many years, there still isn’t an area where you can be suitable, you’re unable to do much real work, and you can only be used reluctantly. You are not a person of great talent. If any of you have a spirit of working hard and enduring hardship, at most you are a workhorse. You are not suitable. Some people become leaders or workers simply because they are enthusiastic, because they have an educational foundation and possess a certain caliber. Moreover, some churches are unable to find the ideal person to be in charge, so these people are promoted as exceptions to the rule and become subjects of training. Among these individuals, some have gradually been replaced and eliminated during the process of various types of people being exposed. Although some who have continued following till now still remain, they still cannot discern anything. They have only been able to remain because they have not done anything evil. Furthermore, it is completely due to work arrangements coming from the Above, along with direct guidance, oversight, inquiry, follow-up, monitoring, and pruning, that they are able to do some work—this does not mean they are suitable individuals. It’s because you often worship others, follow them, go astray, do wrong things, and are sent into tailspins of confusion by certain heresies and fallacies, losing your sense of direction and not knowing in whom you truly believe by the end. This is your actual stature. If I were to say that you have absolutely no life entry, that would be unfair to you. I can only say that the range of your experiences is too limited. You only have some entry after being pruned and seriously disciplined, but when it comes to things involving significant principles, especially when facing antichrists, false leaders misleading people and causing disturbances, you have nothing to show for yourselves, and you lack any testimony. In terms of life experiences and life entry, your experiences are too shallow, and you lack a genuine understanding of God. You still have nothing to show in this respect. When it comes to actual church work, you do not know how to fellowship about the truth and resolve problems; here you also have nothing to show. In these aspects, you have nothing to show for yourselves. So, you are not suitable for the roles of leader and worker. However, as ordinary believers, most of you have a little bit of life entry, though it is very slight and falls short of the truth reality. Whether you can withstand tests is yet to be observed. Only when major trials, significant temptations, or serious and direct chastisement and judgment from God actually arise, can they test whether you have a genuine stature and truth reality, whether you can stand firm in your testimony, what the answers on your test paper will be, and whether you meet God’s requirements—that’s when your true stature will be revealed. For now, saying that you have stature is still premature. Regarding the role of leader and worker, you don’t have any real stature. When you face matters, you become confused, and when confronted with disturbances from evil people or antichrists, you are defeated. You can’t complete any important tasks independently; you always need someone to oversee, guide, and cooperate with you to get the job done. In other words, you can’t steer the ship. Whether you play the lead role or a supporting one, you can’t take it on by yourselves or complete a task independently; you are hopelessly unable to finish a task well without oversight and concern from the Above. If, in the end, a review of your work shows that you’ve done well in all aspects, that you’ve put your heart into every part of your work, that you’ve done everything well and handled it all properly and in accordance with truth principles, and that you’ve worked based on a clear understanding of the truth and seeking truth principles, so that you are able to resolve issues and do your work well, then you are suitable. However, up to this point, judging by everything you’ve experienced, you are not suitable. The key issue with your suitability is that you can’t complete your assigned tasks independently—this is one aspect. In another, if there is no oversight from the Above, you might lead people astray or cause them to abandon the right path. You cannot lead them before God or bring brothers and sisters in the church into the truth reality or onto the right track of faith in God, so that all God’s chosen people can perform their duty. You can’t achieve any of this. If there is a period of time without inquiry from the Above, there are always many deviations and flaws within the scope of work you are responsible for, as well as problems of every shape and size; and if the Above does not correct, oversee, or personally handle them, who knows how far these deviations will go or when they will stop. This is your true stature. That is why I’m saying you are quite unsuitable. Do you want to hear this? Doesn’t hearing this make you feel negative? (God, it feels quite uncomfortable in our hearts, but what God is fellowshipping about is indeed a fact. We don’t have the slightest bit of stature or truth reality. When antichrists appear, we won’t be able to discern them.) I have to point these things out to you; otherwise, you’ll feel wronged and mistreated all the time. You don’t understand the truth; you only know how to talk about some words and doctrines. During gatherings, you usually don’t even prepare a draft to speak doctrine anymore, and you no longer suffer from stage fright, and so you think you have stature. If you have stature then why aren’t you suitable? Why can’t you fellowship about the truth and address issues? You only know how to talk about words and doctrines to make your brothers and sisters approve of you. This doesn’t satisfy God, and it doesn’t make you suitable. Your ability to talk about these words and doctrines cannot resolve any actual problems. God arranges a small situation that exposes you, and it becomes clear how small your stature is, that you don’t understand the truth at all, and that you can’t see through anything; and it exposes that you are poor, pitiful, blind, and ignorant. Isn’t this the case? (Yes.) If you can accept these things, that’s good; if you can’t, take your time and think over them. Consider what I’m saying: Does it make sense, is it based on reality? Does it apply to you? Even if it does apply to you, don’t become negative. Being negative won’t help you resolve any problems. As a believer in God, if you want to perform your duty and be a leader or worker, then you can’t quit when you encounter setbacks and failures. You must get back up and continue moving forward. You need to focus on equipping yourself with certain aspects of the truth in areas where you are lacking or deficient, and where you have serious problems. Being negative or freezing up won’t resolve anything. When faced with matters, stop bringing up words and doctrines as well as different kinds of objective reasoning—these won’t help. When God tests you, and you say, “At that time, my health wasn’t very good, I was young, and my surroundings weren’t very peaceful,” will He listen to this? God will ask, “Did you hear the truth when it was fellowshipped about with you?” If you say, “Yes, I did hear it,” He will ask, “Do you have the work arrangements that were passed down?” Then you’ll say, “Yes, I have them,” and He’ll keep going: “Then why didn’t you follow them? Why did you fail so miserably? Why couldn’t you stand firm in your testimony?” Any objective reason you emphasize does not hold water. God isn’t interested in your excuses or reasoning. He doesn’t look at how much doctrine you are able to speak or how good you are at defending yourself. What God wants is your true stature and for your life to grow. No matter when, no matter what level of leader you become, or how high your status, never forget who you are and what you are before God. No matter how much doctrine you are able to speak, no matter how practiced you are in speaking doctrine, no matter what you have done or what contributions you have made to God’s house, none of these show that you possess real stature, nor are they signs of having life. When you enter into truth reality, grasp truth principles, stand firm in your testimony when faced with matters, are able to complete tasks independently, and are suitable for use, then you will have real stature. Alright, let’s conclude this discussion here and move on to the main topic of our fellowship.

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