How to Pursue the Truth (21) Part One

The topic of fellowship during this period has been quite broad. How much can you remember? How much are you able to grasp? (After God has finished fellowshipping, we can remember some of it a little bit. For other parts of it, we are able to have a slight impression due to currently experiencing similar circumstances. And for other parts, having never experienced such situations, we aren’t able to remember much.) When you encounter circumstances, do you have any impression of the things that were fellowshipped about? (A bit. When faced with similar circumstances, I can recall this aspect of the truth God fellowshipped about, a corresponding sentence or two of His words, and afterward I search for these words of God to eat and drink, and I feel like I have some direction.) Have you grasped the principles? (In this regard, I am lacking quite a bit. I still can’t quite grasp the principles; I can only just relate to God’s words, and have a bit of understanding.) Do you know what understanding the truth and having the ability to comprehend the truth primarily refers to? When someone lacks the ability to comprehend the truth, isn’t it often said that “This person doesn’t understand the truth,” or “They haven’t grasped this aspect of the truth principles”? Don’t you often say something like that? (Yes.) When it is said that someone understands the truth and has the ability to comprehend it, what does this refer to? Does it refer to understanding doctrine with respect to the truth? (No. My interpretation is that after listening to God’s fellowship, if this person has the ability to comprehend the truth, they can relate it to and acquire knowledge about themselves, and find the principles for practicing the truth.) Understanding the truth and having the ability to comprehend it primarily refers to a person being able to understand the truth principles. That is, when a certain truth is fellowshipped about, no matter what the specific details and content are, how many examples are listed, or how many matters or states are discussed—within all of this lies a truth principle. If you can understand and grasp this truth principle, then you have the ability to comprehend the truth. What does having the ability to comprehend the truth refer to? It means being able to understand the truth principles, and, when faced with matters, being able to view people and things, and comport oneself and act based on the truth principles. This is what is called having the ability to comprehend the truth. Some people, no matter how the truth is fellowshipped about with them, how many examples are given, how many states are discussed, or how specific the discussion is, still don’t know what truth is being discussed here, and they are not able to view people and things, comport themselves, and act based on the truth principles. That is, they can’t relate to it or apply it. Even though they can talk about some words and doctrines for several hours, discussing these clearly and logically, it is a pity that they are unable to apply God’s words, that they can’t apply the truth principles to addressing or handling problems. This is not understanding the truth principles or having the ability to comprehend the truth. No matter how many doctrines they talk about, it’s useless. The truth principles are the specific practice criteria for every matter and every category of thing related to the truth. Since they are specific practice criteria, they are surely God’s intentions. They are the standards that God requires of you in specific matters, and the specific path of practice you should take. These are the truth principles. They are not only God’s intentions but the standards God requires of people. Suppose you’ve grasped the truth principles, then you have the ability to comprehend the truth. If you have the ability to comprehend the truth, when faced with matters, you will practice based on the truth principles. You’ll be able to proceed in line with God’s intentions, and you’ll be able to meet God’s requirements. Conversely, if you don’t understand the truth principles—that is, if you lack the ability to comprehend the truth—then whatever you do will not be based on the truth principles or on God’s words. Your actions lack a basis and criteria, that is, you have no definite standards. Therefore, you cannot meet God’s requirements. To assess whether someone is capable of doing real work, look at whether they have the ability to comprehend the truth. If they do, they can solve real problems. If they don’t have it, no matter how much doctrine they can spew out, it’s all useless. One who likes discussing words and doctrines but doesn’t address real issues is a textbook Pharisee. No matter how many countless passages of God’s words you can memorize, it is of no use. The Pharisees could recite scriptures fluently, then they went to street corners to pray; everything they did was in order to be seen by people, to show themselves off, not to address real problems. Such people concentrate on collecting every kind of spiritual, universally praised and accepted, profound, and esoteric knowledge, doctrine, words, and slogans, and proclaim these everywhere. They even display some good behavior on the surface, misleading people with it so that they might admire and worship them. But when it comes to real issues, apart from upholding statutes and quoting some words and doctrines, they cannot address any real problems. Regarding people’s inner states or essences, and how to treat and address these matters, they fail to comprehend anything or understand any truth. They can only speak emptily about some words and doctrines. This is what is called a textbook Pharisee. The reason Pharisees can merely discuss words and doctrines, but can’t address any real issues, is because they do not understand the truth, and they cannot comprehend the essence of the issue from beginning to end. So when it comes time to address issues, they resort to speaking falsehoods and promulgating ludicrous viewpoints. They are unable to see through any person or the essence of any matter. Consequently, they are unable to resolve any issues. They lack the slightest comprehension ability. Regardless of how many sermons they’ve heard or how much doctrine they’ve discussed, they don’t understand what the truth principles or God’s intentions are. Despite being poor and pathetic, they still believe that they understand the truth and pride themselves as spiritual people. Isn’t this pitiful? (It is.) It is pitiful and nauseating. They can discuss so many words and doctrines, and even follow certain rules, yet they can’t resolve any concrete issues. They will just resort to mimicking how others might speak, saying, “Oh, something happened here. Look at how convoluted, bizarre, and unusual the development of this affair played out. Oh, that person has no conscience and reason, their humanity is bad and they have no self-awareness. Whenever something happens to them they behave recklessly.” You ask them, “Given this behavior, how would you treat or deal with this person? Based on what principles would you handle them? What is the essence of their behavior? Is this type of person an antichrist, or following an antichrist’s path? Are they a false leader, or is it simply that their humanity is bad, or their foundation of faith is shallow?” But they say, “This is hard to read.” They don’t know how to resolve it, and when faced with various matters, they only look at surface phenomena and conditions. When it specifically comes to certain individual behaviors, manifestations, words, and actions, they can only describe or enumerate them, or they may make some simple and preliminary determinations, but they can’t comprehend the essence of the issue. They don’t know how to treat or handle such people; how to fellowship about the truth in order to make them reflect, know themselves, and relate themselves to God’s words; how to help them in their life entry, or how to appropriately place these people when it comes to administration and personnel. They can only talk about various behaviors and conditions of this or that category of people. When you ask them, “Have you handled these people?” they reply, “Not yet, I’m still observing them.” This is the outcome. Doesn’t this indicate a lack of problem-solving ability? (Yes.) Doesn’t a lack of problem-solving ability indicate an inability to comprehend the truth? (Yes.) Without the ability to comprehend the truth, aren’t these people unable to understand the truth principles? It is not because they haven’t heard enough sermons that they do not understand the truth principles; it is because they lack the ability to comprehend the truth—they don’t possess that caliber. Then why can they usually speak and discourse so eloquently? Because they’ve heard a lot and experienced a lot, and they’ve committed all these doctrines to their memory, naturally they are able to discuss some words and doctrines. Especially those who’ve served as leaders or workers for several years: They’ve honed themselves through regular practice, they can discuss and talk about various words and doctrines, and they speak particularly smoothly, as if delivering speeches and essays. But this does not mean they have stature or reality, nor does it mean they understand the truth principles. You must be good at discernment and must not be misled by such people. When you see someone who is able to speak continually for a day or two during gatherings without repeating themselves, you’re so impressed by them that you’re in awe; doesn’t this show a lack of discernment? Doesn’t it show that you do not understand the truth? (Yes.) This shows that you do not understand the truth. If you understood the truth, you would be able to discern whether any of the content of their speech contained specific principles of practice to address certain states or problems. Suppose you listen carefully and find there isn’t a single sentence addressing people’s actual states or problems, that what they are saying is just a bunch of slogans, a bunch of words, a bunch of doctrines devoid of principles, specific solutions, and concrete paths of practice, and even if they speak for two or three days, it’s all hollow doctrine. And suppose it seems beneficial and fruitful at the time you hear it, but upon reflection you think, “How do I resolve this issue? They didn’t seem to address it just now,” and when you ask them again, they just spew a bunch of doctrine, which still leaves you not knowing how to proceed. Isn’t this being fooled and deceived? (Yes.) Although you still don’t know how to proceed, you still admire and look up to them: That is being fooled and deceived. Aren’t you often tricked in this way? (Yes.) Then, as leaders and workers, aren’t you often deceiving others in this way? (Yes.) Now do you have a bit more understanding of what it means to have the ability to comprehend the truth and what the truth principles are? (I understand them a bit more.) What are the truth principles? (The truth principles are certain criteria for practice when actually encountering matters; they contain God’s intentions as well as certain standards and paths that should be put into practice. If one grasps the truth principles, they have the ability to comprehend the truth.) Having the ability to comprehend the truth allows one to grasp the truth principles. This is the relationship between the two. It’s not that when you understand the truth principles, you have the ability to comprehend the truth. Rather, when you have the ability to comprehend the truth, you can understand the truth principles. Isn’t that how it works? (Yes.) So, do most of you have the ability to comprehend the truth? Can you understand the truth principles contained within all the subject matter I fellowship about each time? If you can understand them, then you possess the ability to comprehend the truth, and you have spiritual understanding. If, after listening, you only remember certain things, certain specific behaviors or ways of doing things involving certain people or categories of people discussed during fellowship, but you don’t understand what the truth principles being fellowshipped about here really are, and when facing matters you don’t know how to relate them to the specific facts fellowshipped about, or how to act based on the truth principles, then you do not have spiritual understanding. Not having spiritual understanding means to lack the ability to comprehend the truth. No matter how many sermons you hear, you don’t understand the truth principles, and when matters arise you feel bewildered; you can only see surface-level conditions, manifestations, and the like. You can’t see the essence of the problem, and you can’t find paths of practice or the way to address issues. This signifies a lack of understanding of the true principles and an inability to comprehend the truth. People like this do not have spiritual understanding. Take your time to ponder and delve into these issues, and you’ll come to conclusions. If you never ponder on these issues, if your head is muddled, then you don’t have a genuine understanding.

Let’s keep fellowshipping about the content we have been fellowshipping about continually during this time. At the previous gathering, we discussed the fourth part of letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires—the specific content of the part “careers.” Regarding the specific content included in “careers,” the correct understanding people should have about careers, or the specific paths of practice and criteria of practice God requires of people with respect to careers, we have listed four points. What are these four points? (1. Not engaging in charity; 2. Being content with food and clothing; 3. Staying away from various social forces; 4. Staying away from politics.) We have discussed two of these four points. The first point is not engaging in charity, and the second is being content with food and clothing. Doesn’t the specific wording of each of these four points constitute the concrete principles of practice for letting go of careers? (Yes.) These four specific principles of practice constitute the standards God requires of humankind with respect to letting go of careers. Of course, the standards God requires of humankind are the truth principles of letting go of careers, and they are the specific paths of practice when people face these matters; that is, by doing what you ought to do within this scope, you achieve God’s requirements, but if you go beyond this scope, you go against the principles, against the truth, and against God’s requirements. With respect to the topic of careers, we have fellowshipped about two principles of practice: The first is not engaging in charity, and the second is being content with food and clothing. Concerning the first point of not engaging in charity, we have provided certain specific examples and discussed some special situations. What issues are primarily involved in this topic? It pertains to what people should do when choosing a profession or with respect to careers. At the very least, the first point is to not engage in matters related to charity; it is enough to only be involved in careers related to one’s own life or livelihood. If there is a charitable organization where you are employed and work only because you applied to a job posting, this is not the same as you being engaged in charity—it is a special situation. You can be employed here and receive wages, but you are just a worker, nothing more than an employee receiving a salary. As for what the charitable organization engages in, whether foundations, social welfare, adopting orphaned children or animals, aiding people in disaster-stricken or impoverished areas, admitting refugees, and so on, these principal endeavors have nothing to do with you. You are not the primary person responsible, and you are not to contribute your time and energy to this charitable cause. This is a different matter altogether. You are not doing charity; you are employed by a charitable organization. Aren’t they different by nature? (Yes.) Their natures are different, and this special situation has not violated the principle. Apart from this, whether it’s a small-scale or large-scale charity, regardless of what domain the charity work is in, it has nothing to do with you. It is not something God requires you to do. You are not violating the truth by not doing it, and even if you do it, God does not commemorate it. Since you aim to pursue the truth and salvation, you shouldn’t invest your energy and time in matters that have no connection to salvation, pursuing the truth, or submitting to God, because doing charity has no value or meaning. Why does doing this have no value or meaning? Regardless of whom you save or help, it can’t change anything. It can’t alter anyone’s destiny or resolve problems with their destiny, and you helping people on occasion is not truly saving them. Consequently, in the end, such endeavors are futile and devoid of any value or meaning. For example, some people adopt wolves: They start with one or two and eventually raise hundreds or thousands. They take this as their career, investing all their savings, involving their entire family, and devoting all their energy in later years. The whole of their energy and their lives revolve around this one thing, and the final result, despite successfully saving and protecting the wolves, is that they have wasted considerable time and years on this matter. They don’t have extra time and energy to pursue the truth and do their duties. Therefore, compared to doing duties and receiving salvation, any undertaking, even if it is recognized by many people and praised by society, is not as important as people pursuing salvation, the truth, and doing their duties. It is not as meaningful or valuable as pursuing these. There is another important matter: If you are chosen by God, and you are one of His chosen people, God will absolutely never entrust you with carrying out a career in charity that may be recognized by the world or society. God will absolutely never entrust such matters to you to do. If you are one of God’s chosen people, what is God’s greatest hope for you? It is for you to do your duty as a created being, to be able to pursue the truth and return before God, and to be able to receive salvation and remain. This is what most satisfies God’s intentions, what best satisfies His intentions, rather than performing actions that people in this world or society consider significant, meaningful, or lustrous. If you are a chosen person of God, what He entrusts to you is the duty you should do, exclusively relating to God’s work and the work of the church. Anything beyond the work of the church and God’s management is not your concern. No matter what you do, even if you believe it is good and are willing to do it, it holds no value, it is not worth commemorating, and God does not commemorate it. Whether it becomes a timeless legacy, is remembered forever, or receives the praise of contemporary people, all that is unimportant. Regardless of how many people acknowledge it, that does not mean that what you do is commended by God or receives His commemoration. It does not mean that what you do is meaningful or valuable. The opinions and evaluations of this world and this society do not represent God’s evaluation of you. Therefore, when it comes to careers, you shouldn’t waste your limited time and precious energy on meaningless endeavors. Instead, focus your energy and time on your duty given to you by God, and on matters of pursuing the truth and salvation. This is what truly holds value and meaning. Living this way will make your life a valuable and meaningful one. Some people adopt thousands of dogs, and every day is centered on tending to and living for these dogs they adopted. They barely have enough time to eat and sleep, let alone wash their clothes or talk to people. The tasks they take on go beyond the scope of their abilities. They lead exhausting, pitiable lives. Isn’t this foolish? (Yes.) You are not a savior, do not try to become one. Any idea of wanting to save the world, change the world, or use your own strength to alter the current state or this world is foolish. Of course, such attempts are even more foolish, and the eventual consequences will only put you in a terrible state, make you exhausted, give you untold misery, and make you not know whether you should laugh or cry. People do not have that much energy, nor are their capacity and abilities great enough to change anything. The little energy and time you possess should be offered and spent doing your duty as a created being. More importantly of course, it should be spent and dedicated to pursuing the truth to attain salvation and submission to God. Apart from these things, any other endeavors are meaningless. A career is something that must be done as a part of a person’s physical life. It doesn’t qualify as meaningful; it’s merely necessary for physical life and survival. In order to live and survive, you must engage in an occupation; this occupation is merely a job that allows you to support yourself. Whether this occupation takes place in the lower or upper strata of society, it is simply a way to maintain a livelihood; its nobility and significance are out of the question. Furthermore, regardless of its significance, God’s requirement for humankind is this: If you wish to pursue the truth and walk the path of salvation, then the standard for choosing an occupation to maintain a livelihood is being content with food and clothing. Don’t use up excessive amounts of energy and time running around and busying yourself for your own food, clothing, shelter, and transportation—it’s enough to achieve basic necessities. When your stomach is full and your body is warm and covered; when you achieve these basic conditions for survival, you should do your duty as a created being, offer your precious energy and time to your duty, to what God has entrusted to you, and offer your heart. The most crucial point is that while doing your duty, you must also put effort into the truth, pursue the truth and walk the path of pursuing the truth—don’t just drift along. This is the principle. God doesn’t require you to exert all your strength just to survive and keep living. He doesn’t need you to live a glamorous life and glorify Him through it, nor does He require you to accomplish any great deeds in this world, perform any miracles, contribute anything to humankind, provide assistance to any number of people, or resolve the employment problems of any number of people. It’s unnecessary for you to have a grand career, to become famous worldwide, and then use these things to glorify God’s name, proclaiming to the world, “I am a Christian, I believe in Almighty God.” God only hopes that you can be an ordinary person and a common individual in this world. You don’t need to perform any miracles; you don’t need to excel in various professions or fields, or become a famous person or a great figure. You don’t need to be someone who garners people’s admiration or respect, nor do you need to have any successes or accolades in various areas. There’s certainly no need for you to make any contributions in various professions in order to glorify God. God’s requirement for you is simply to live your life well, to have basic necessities, not to go hungry, to dress warmly in winter and suitably in summer. As long as your life is normal and you have the ability to survive, that’s enough—that is God’s requirement for you. Regardless of what gifts, talents, or special abilities you have, God doesn’t wish for you to use them to gain worldly success. Instead, He wants you to apply whatever gifts or caliber you have to doing your duty, to that which He entrusts to you, and to the pursuit of the truth, ultimately attaining salvation. This is the most important thing, and God doesn’t require anything beyond that. If you live well, God won’t say you’re someone who glorifies Him. If your life is ordinary and you’re in the lower class of society, this isn’t an affront to God. If your family is relatively poor, but you meet God’s standard of being content with food and clothing, this is not an affront to Him either. As you live and survive, the goal of your pursuit is to be content with food and clothing, to have basic necessities and live normally, being able to maintain your daily meals, and covering your daily expenses—that is enough. When you’re content, God is also satisfied—this is what God asks of people. He doesn’t ask you to be some rich, famous, or lofty person, nor does He let you be a beggar. Beggars don’t do any work; all day they beg for food, look pathetic, eat people’s leftovers, dress in tattered clothes, wear clothes with patches in them or even drape a burlap sack over themselves—their quality of life is especially low. God doesn’t demand that you live like a beggar. In matters regarding physical life, God doesn’t require you to glorify Him, nor does He define certain situations as dishonoring to Him. God won’t judge a person based on whether they’re struggling or living in abundance. Instead, He evaluates you based on how you practice and whether you satisfy God’s requirements in regard to the pursuit of the truth and the principles that God requires of you. Have you understood and grasped these two principles of practice related to careers? The first principle is not engaging in charity, and the second principle is being content with food and clothing. Both of these principles are easy to understand.

In the church, there are some individuals who still firmly believe that doing charity is a good thing. They think, “Wherever there’s a need, we ought to lend a helping hand. As for me personally, I have donated clothes and some money, and I even go to disaster-stricken areas and volunteer.” How do you evaluate this matter? Should it be stopped or interfered with? (It should not be interfered with.) There are also those who say, “When I see someone begging, especially children who are hungry, I feel pity for them.” They quickly bring such people into their homes, make them some good food, and then they send them off with some clothes and nice things, and even go visit them on occasion. They are willing to perform these acts of kindness and comport themselves in this way, believing that this way of comporting oneself upholds justice, and that by doing so, they will be commemorated by God and become the most lovely people in the world. Regarding people like this, does the church stop or interfere with them? (It does not interfere.) We share the sermons that ought to be shared with them, and explain God’s intentions and the truth principles to them. If, after understanding and having a knowledge of everything, they still insist on doing things their own way, acting according to their own will, we don’t intervene. Every individual must take responsibility for their own words and actions, and people are themselves accountable for the ultimate outcome and how God labels them. Others need not bear that responsibility, they need not foot the bill. If we encounter people like this who understand everything but still insist on doing charity, we won’t correct their thoughts and viewpoints, nor will we interfere, and we certainly won’t condemn them. There are still some people who, after believing in God, pursue worldly things, riches, positions in government, or a career. Do we interfere with them? (We do not interfere.) Fellowship with them about the relevant truths so that they understand, and after you finish fellowshipping, they can choose for themselves. It’s up to them to decide what course to follow. What they choose, what they want to do, and how they do it—we do not intervene in these matters. Our responsibility is to fellowship with them about God’s intentions and the truth principles. If they understand and comprehend, you may ask them, “So, what should your next step be? When will you start spreading the gospel?” Then they say, “Wait a bit, I have a shipment of goods to bring in, I have some business and a project that I need to take over, something I can make a lot of money on once it’s complete. Let’s circle back about spreading the gospel later.” And you say, “How long should I wait?” Then they answer, “Maybe two or three years.” Well, bye-bye then. You don’t need to bother with such people anymore. This is how it can be addressed, isn’t that easy? (It is easy.) This is what’s called knowing the true way and deliberately sinning anyway. Such people will not have a sin offering. God doesn’t stop or interfere with people like this; even in that moment, He does not evaluate them in any way. He lets them choose freely. You also need to learn this principle. Regardless of how much they can understand, in short, our responsibility is to clearly convey God’s intentions to them. What they choose after that, what their next steps should be, is their own affair and their freedom. No one should interfere, and there’s no need to explain the pros and cons in order to press them. Is this an appropriate approach? (It is appropriate.) If it is appropriate, then it should be done like this. Don’t go against principles and don’t force them against their will. These are the first two principles of letting go of one’s career; these two are relatively easy to understand and readily comprehensible.

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