How to Pursue the Truth (21) Part Two

Regarding the topic of letting go of careers, what is the third principle that God requires people to practice? It is staying away from various social forces. This one is a bit harder to understand, isn’t it? (Yes.) Although it might be a bit harder to understand, this is also one of the principles. It is a principle that people should faithfully observe in order to survive in this society. It is also an attitude, approach, and manner of survival that people must possess to survive in this society, and of course it may accurately be said that it is a kind of wisdom for surviving in society. Staying away from various social forces might appear on the surface to be an issue that is distant from each individual, but in fact, these various social forces are hidden around everyone. They are intangible forces, intangible entities that exist around everyone. When you choose an occupation, regardless of which social class this occupation belongs to, it is shrouded by the considerable force of the related occupation. Whether you engage in a high-end or low-end occupation, there are related groups of people within that occupation. If, within society, these groups have certain years of experience, certain qualifications, or certain social foundations, then they unquestionably form an intangible force. For example, the profession of teaching might not be considered a high-end occupation, but it isn’t low-end either. It’s somewhat higher than such occupations as farming or various kinds of manual labor, but somewhat lower than the truly high-end professions in society. Within this occupation, apart from the simple work you engage in, there are many other people flooding the industry. So, in this industry, people are differentiated by their seniority and depth of experience. The upper levels of this profession constitute a class that controls things like personnel, trends, policies, regulations, and rules; it forms a corresponding force within the profession. For instance, in the profession of teaching, who is the leader, the top boss who leads and controls the profession, and who controls your livelihood and salary? In some countries, there might be a teachers’ union; in China, it’s the education bureau and the Ministry of Education. These institutions represent the domain of forces corresponding to the teaching profession in society. Similarly, for farmers, who is their immediate superior? It might be a team leader, a village chief, or the head of a township, and now there are even agricultural management committees being introduced. Isn’t this the domain of forces corresponding to this profession? (Yes.) These different domains of forces may be said to affect and control your thoughts, your words and actions, and even your faith and the path you take in life. They don’t just control your livelihood; they control everything about you. Especially in the country of the great red dragon, unbelievers are always holding ideological seminars, reporting on their thoughts, and checking if there are any problems with their thoughts, if they include any anti-party, anti-state, or anti-human elements. Regardless of which profession you engage in, whether it’s a more traditional occupation or a more modern one, there will exist various corresponding forces present in the professional sphere around you. Some of the forces are your immediate superiors, those directly responsible for issuing your salary and living expenses. Others might be intangible forces. For example, suppose you are an inconspicuous employee in a workplace; there will be various forces at play within your professional sphere. Some cozy up to the manager and are always orbiting them—this is one kind of force. Then there is the group of a force that stays close to the CEO and dedicates themselves to handling matters for the CEO. Another group might be close to the director of the marketing department. All these various forces exist. What is the purpose of these forces? How do these forces come into existence? It’s each individual taking what they want, as well as taking sides and sucking up to those in power in order to achieve their own purposes and survive, which then leads to the formation of various forces. Some forces advocate one approach, while others advocate a different approach. Some forces might tend to do things by the book and follow workplace norms, while others might act more despicably, disregarding both the law and professional ethics. Living in an environment where these various forces intermingle, how should you choose? How should you survive? Should you draw near to the party organization, or to a manager or CEO? Should you cozy up to a director or section chief, or should you align yourself with a bureau head or factory director? (None of them.) However, in order to survive, people often abandon their dignity, their principles of conduct, and especially their boundaries for how they comport themselves. Within the complex landscape of these forces, people will unconsciously choose to take sides, to follow the tide, and to align themselves with various forces. They look for a force that will accept and protect them, or they look for a force that may be easier for them to accept, one they can control, and they draw near to or even assimilate into it. Isn’t this human instinct? (It is.) Isn’t it a type of survival skill or method? (Yes.) Whether it’s an inherent instinct or a skill for people to adapt to this society and to various groups, is this a principle of practice that one should possess for conducting themselves? (No.) Some people might say, “Even though you’re saying right now that it isn’t, when you truly find yourself in that situation, in real life you will choose to take sides and seek refuge with any force that benefits you and allows you to survive. And deep down, you might even feel that people must rely on these forces to live, that they cannot live independently, because living independently makes them vulnerable to bullying. You can’t always remain independent and aloof; you must learn to yield and stay close to various forces. You must be observant, toady up to people, and put on a show as the occasion demands. You must follow the tide, be good at flattery, gauge trends, and have a sharp intuition. You need to find out and become familiar with what your leaders like and dislike, their temperaments and personalities, their family backgrounds, what kind of things they like to hear, their ages, their birthdays, their preferred brands of suits, shoes, and leather bags, their preferred restaurants, car brands, computer and phone brands, what types of software they like installed on their computers, what kinds of entertainment they enjoy in their leisure time, whom they prefer to associate with, and what topics they discuss.” For the sake of survival, you will unconsciously and naturally draw near to them, integrate with them, be excessively accommodating and do things you’re reluctant to do, and say things you’re unwilling to say in order to satisfy your leaders and colleagues, and to make yourself maneuver with great skill and control everything at your workplace, ensuring that your life and survival are secure. Regardless of whether your actions violate ethics and the boundaries of self-conduct, or even if it means abandoning your dignity, you don’t care. But it is precisely this indifference which marks the beginning of your decline, and it is a sign that you are beyond help. Therefore, on the surface, one cannot reproach people who have no choice but to draw near to various social forces for the sake of their life and survival. However, the behaviors people exhibit, the choices they make, and the paths they choose to take, distort their humanity and character. At the same time, as people draw near or integrate into various forces, they learn continually to employ various schemes and strategies to please and satisfy these forces, to improve their own lives and make their survival conditions more favorable. The more they do this, the more energy and time they need to maintain this current state and these relationships. Therefore, within your limited time and days, every word you speak, every action you take, and every day you live through don’t just lack meaning; they are rotted through. What does it mean that they are rotten? It means that every day makes you more depraved, to the point where you neither resemble human nor ghost. Against this backdrop, you lack a tranquil heart to come before God, and of course, you also lack ample time to do your duty. You can’t possibly invest your whole body and mind into doing your duty, and at the same time you can’t possibly invest your body and mind into pursuing the truth. Thus, your prospects of salvation are bleak, your hopes dim. Because you’ve invested in various social forces, chosen to draw close to them, and opted to integrate with them and accept them, the consequences of this choice are that you must dedicate your whole body and mind to maintaining this current state, whiling your days away. You feel physically and mentally exhausted, as if you’re spending each day in the meat grinder, and yet because of your choices, you must continue like this day after day. Within that complex environment of various forces, when you become integrated with them, every word that they say, the trends contained therein, as well as forthcoming matters, the behaviors of each individual and their innermost thoughts, and especially what your immediate superiors, the highest level of these forces, are thinking—all these things are what you must appraise and gather information about in a timely manner. You can’t afford to slack off or neglect it. What they’re thinking, what actions they’re taking behind the scenes, what plans and intentions they have, even what they are planning and calculating for each individual, what they are deciding for them and the attitudes they have toward them—if you wish to know these things like the back of your hand, then you must have an understanding deep within your heart of that state of affairs. If you want to understand them deeply, you must dedicate all your energy to studying and mastering these things. You must dine with them, chat with them, call them on the phone, interact more with them at work, and even draw near to them during the holidays and keep tabs on their movements. As a result, regardless of what your days are like, whether they’re full of joy or pain, even if you had a heart to do your duty and pursue the truth, would you be able to find time to calm yourself enough to fulfill your duty with your whole body and mind? (We wouldn’t.) In this kind of condition, your belief in God and the performance of your duty would be nothing more than a kind of hobby you do in your spare time. Regardless of your requirements and desire for your faith in God, in your current condition, believing in God and doing your duty are probably only the last items on your list of desires. As for pursuing the truth and receiving salvation, you might not dare to think about them, or you might not even be able to think about them—isn’t that right? (Yes.) Therefore, for any of you, regardless of the work environment you find yourself in, if you wish to draw near to or integrate with various forces, or if you already have drawn near to and integrated with them, no matter your reasons or excuses, the ultimate consequence can only be that your hope for salvation evaporates into thin air. The most direct loss of this is that you’ll scarcely find time to read God’s words or do your duty. Of course, it’s impossible for you to keep a calm heart before God or pray sincerely to God—you will be unable to achieve even this bare minimum. Because the environment you find yourself in is overly complicated with people and events, once you’ve been assimilated into various forces, it’s akin to stepping into a quagmire—once you’re in, it’s not easy to pull yourself back out. What is meant by it’s not easy to pull yourself out? It means that once you step into the domain of various forces, you’ll find yourself unable to escape the various matters tangled up in these forces, and all kinds of disputes that arise from them. You’ll find yourself constantly entangled by different people and events, and you won’t be able to avoid them even if you try, because you’ve already become one of them. So, every event that occurs within the domain of these forces is connected to you and will involve you, unless a certain situation arises; that is, you remain indifferent here to the benefits and drawbacks as well as the disputes, and you observe everything from the perspective of a bystander. In that case, it’s possible that you will stay clear of these various disputes or any potential misfortunes. However, as soon as you integrate with these forces, as soon as you draw near to them, as soon as you wholeheartedly go participate in every event that takes place among them, you’ll undoubtedly become trapped. You won’t be able to remain an observer; you can only be a participant. And as a participant, you will fall victim to the domain of these forces.

Some people say, “No matter in which area of occupation or in which group you exist, being pushed around by others is not a big deal—what’s crucial is whether or not you can survive. If you don’t align yourself with organizations or various forces, having nobody to back you up in society or within different groups, you won’t be able to get by.” Is this really how things are? (It’s not like that.) In various social groups, the purpose behind people cozying up to different forces is to “find shade under a big tree,” to find forces that will back them up. This is people’s most basic demand. Aside from that, people wish to take advantage of these forces to rise through the ranks, to achieve their own goal of seeking benefits or power. If, in your professional sphere, you are simply making a living and are content with just having food and clothing, then you don’t need to draw near to any forces. If you do draw near to them, it means it is not only to make a living and satisfy the basic needs of food and clothing—you certainly have other intentions, either for fame or for profit. Is there anybody who says, “Besides making a living, I also want to prove myself”? Is this necessary? (It isn’t necessary.) Once you’ve earned your money, are able to secure three meals a day, and have clothes to wear, that’s enough—what’s the point of striving for pride? For whom are you striving? Is it for your country, your ancestors, your parents, or for yourself? Tell Me, is it more important to strive for pride or to be content with food and clothing? (Being content with food and clothing is more important.) Striving for pride is a disposition filled with impetuousness; whatever you do is for the sake of this pride. It’s an abstract, empty concept. The most pragmatic thing is to earn money so that you can maintain a livelihood. You should think about it like this: “No matter the situation, no matter who sides with whom, or who gets close to what level of leader or official, none of it matters. Whoever gets promoted or demoted, gets a raise, or uses whatever means to become a high-ranking official, it’s all irrelevant. I’m just working to put food on the table. Whatever any of you are striving for has nothing to do with me. In any case, I put in my eight hours a day, I get paid what I deserve, and as long as I can support myself and my family, I’m content. That’s all there is to it; this is the little I ask for.” Do what is required of your job and do it well, and receive your salary and any bonuses with a clear conscience—that is enough. Is this attitude toward survival and one’s occupation correct? (Yes.) How is it correct? (Because they live with an attitude that is in accordance with what God requires. First, it means not doing one’s job in a perfunctory manner and being able to do the work of one’s profession well. Second, it means not seeking refuge or currying favor with any forces; maintaining the needs of a normal life is sufficient. This is in line with God’s words.) Of course this is in line with God’s words. Does God require this of you in order to protect you? (Yes.) To protect you from what? (From being harmed by Satan. Otherwise, once we’re entangled in such disputes, life becomes very painful, and furthermore we won’t have much time left for believing in God and doing our duties.) This is one aspect. What, primarily, is the other aspect? When you get involved with various forces, the ultimate result is that you yourself will be ruined. It’s really not worth it! First, you won’t be able to protect yourself. Second, you will not uphold and promote justice. Third, you will collude with various forces, compounding your sins. Therefore, getting close to these forces has no benefits whatsoever. Even if you do get a raise or a promotion by cozying up to various forces, how many lies will you have to join them in telling? How many bad deeds will you have to do behind the scenes? How many people will you have to punish behind closed doors? In this society, why do all kinds of people and various industries need to have these forces? It is because this society lacks fairness and justice. People can only protect themselves by relying on various forces to take action, and can only secure their place by relying on them to speak and act. Is there fairness here? (No.) There is no fairness in this; everything is based on these forces. Whoever has the greater force gets the last say, while those with no force or a lesser force have no say. Even the creation of laws works like this: If you have considerable force, the laws you create can be enacted and enforced. If you do not have much force, none of the laws and regulations you propose make it through, and they are unable to enter national legislation. This is true in any group of people: If you have considerable force, you can fight for your own interests and maximize them; if you do not have force, your interests might be stripped away from you or seized. The purpose behind the formation of various forces is to control situations using those same forces, even overriding public opinion, the law, and human morals. They can transcend the law, morality, and humanity—they can transcend everything. The greater one’s force is, the greater their influence will be, and the more opportunity they will have to do as they please, to dictate matters. Is this fairness? (No.) There’s no fairness. Power and force represent their identity and indicate the share of benefits they can obtain. If you are in a social group and all you want is to maintain your livelihood and have food and clothing, and your pursuit is not for status or reputation, or to satisfy your own desires, then it would appear quite unnecessary for you to draw near to various forces. If you want to devote all your time to performing your duties, if you want to walk the path of pursuing the truth and ultimately attain salvation, but you also wish to cozy up to various forces, these two things contradict each other. They cannot complement each other because they are diametrically opposed, they’re as incompatible as water and oil. Drawing near to various forces won’t have any effect on assisting your belief in God or your pursuit of the truth. It won’t help you identify Satan’s hideous face more clearly, nor will it give you more say or let you believe in God without being rejected by the world and persecuted by the government. Some people live in a small village but hold grand designs in their hearts. They think, “I was born in the countryside. I’m a farmer. Although I get mistreated, I can still get by planting some grain and vegetables, and raising some chickens, cattle, and sheep. If I believe in God and pursue the truth, these conditions are quite good; I have the basic conditions I need for survival. But why do I always feel like something is missing from living and surviving in this society and among these people?” What’s missing? They don’t have a powerful backing. See how it is with people choosing a house: They always prefer one with a big mountain behind it. They consider that mountain their backing, and it makes them feel secure living there. If the house had a cliff behind it, they wouldn’t feel safe living there, as if they were going to plummet down the cliffside at any moment. Similarly, living in a village, if one doesn’t establish a relationship with someone who has a reputation and status, and pay them a visit every so often to win them over, they will always feel somewhat isolated living in that village and will constantly be at risk of getting pushed around and not being able to make ends meet. That’s why they’re always wanting to cozy up to the village chief. Is this a good idea? (No.) Especially when it comes to believing in God, in some countries where they face government persecution, some people say, “If we preach the gospel to the village chief and he doesn’t believe, but his mother, grandmother, wife, or daughter believe, won’t that be getting close to the chief? If a brother or sister of our church has a prominent position in the village or is a relative of the village chief, won’t the church have a firm footing there? Won’t it have status? Won’t our brothers and sisters who believe in God be able to eat and farm in the village without it being a problem? Not only this, but when the great red dragon or the United Front Work Department comes to investigate, there will be someone backing us up. That would be great!” You’re always wanting to be close to some organization or some group of forces to ensure that you don’t find yourself in any dangerous circumstances, to make sure that you can believe in God safely and free from persecution—how great is that! At the same time, mingling with influential people makes you feel like someone with influence, doesn’t it? It’s a wonderful thought, but does the village chief even want you to get close to him? Is the village chief someone you can take advantage of? Will the village chief allow you to exploit him? You, an ordinary person, want to get close to the organization or the village chief, and you think simply preaching the gospel will do the trick? Don’t you need to offer some decent gifts or accomplish some substantial tasks to get close to the village chief? What experience do you have? Is getting close to the village chief easy? Even getting close to his pet dog would be difficult! And giving a gift directly to the village chief wouldn’t work; you’d need to get close to his wife, his mother, his aunt, or his grandmother, starting from relatively easier targets. Why get close to the village chief’s grandmother? The village chief has a closer relationship with her, so you start with her, and through his grandmother, an elder in the family who can put in a good word for you, you gradually get closer to the village chief. This is what’s called the “indirect approach,” isn’t it? If you give a gift directly to the village chief, he might ask, “Who are you?” And you’ll reply, “I’m so-and-so from the Li family in the east part of the village.” “Which Li family? Why don’t I know them?” If he doesn’t even recognize you, will it be easy to get close to him? (No, it will not.) And if you give him a gift, what kind of gift will catch his attention? Gold bars, gold ingots—do you have any of those? Sea cucumbers—does he even want those? He’ll see whether your sea cucumbers are imported or domestic; he has plenty of those things himself. You tighten your purse strings and spend your days frugally in order to buy it, not daring to eat it—or even touch it—yourself. You give it to him and he doesn’t even glance at it. You give him a belt, and he says, “This is domestic, isn’t it?” You say, “It’s cowhide.” And he says, “Who even wears cowhide belts nowadays? Nobody wears them. People wear genuine leather belts with European brand logos or ones with diamonds embedded. Do you have those?” You say, “What do those look like? I’ve never seen them.” He says, “If you’ve never seen them, don’t bother coming here. Are you trying to give this belt to a beggar?” Can you get in the good graces of such a person? You think you’ve got a clever little plan, that you’ve got it all worked out, but he simply looks down on your gifts. He looks down on your gifts, and yet you insist on cozying up to him. Is this appropriate? Even if he does think highly of your gifts, is it appropriate to cozy up to him? (It’s not appropriate.) Just to have something to eat, just to have a powerful backer in the village, you’d be willing to do such degrading things. Don’t you find this shameful? (Yes.) Going after the chief’s grandmother, going after his wife and his sister-in-law, availing of all sorts of slapdash methods, giving gifts and trying to get close. Others tell you, “You giving these gifts is useless; it’s you yourself the chief has his eyes set on.” Would you still try to get close then? No gift you could give would be suitable. The chief won’t give them a second glance, thinking them all beneath him. Worst of all, you’d have to throw yourself into the bargain. Would you still try to get close to him? (No.) Will you still look for this kind of backer? What kind of a character is the village chief? Is he someone who lets you casually get close to him? (No.) Even if you did establish a relationship with him and got close to him, what then? Can he control your fate, or help you attain salvation? Or when it comes time to face real persecution and situations, when God allows and orchestrates these situations, can you avoid facing them? Does the village chief have the final say in this? (No.) In the grand scheme of things orchestrated by God, there isn’t any force that has the final say, let alone the village chief—no force is even worth mentioning in this regard. Therefore, being in this world, whether you are in a village, a county, a city, or any country, even down to any industry you’re engaged in within any country, all the various forces that exist cannot exercise sovereignty over your fate nor can they change your fate. No single force is the master of your fate, let alone the sovereign of your fate, nor does it frame your destiny. On the contrary, once you integrate into the various forces existing in society, that’s when calamity comes to you and your misfortune starts. The closer you get to them, the more danger you are in; the more you integrate with them, the harder it becomes to extricate yourself. Not only do these various forces not bring you any benefits, but as you integrate with them they repeatedly ravage and trample you, twisting your spirit and mind, making you lose your peace, so that you no longer believe in the existence of fairness and justice in this world. They will ruin your most beautiful desire to pursue the truth and salvation. So, to survive in this society, regardless of your social class, environment, or group, or in whatever industry you find yourself, seeking a force to rely on, to act as your own protective umbrella, is a fallacious and extreme thought and view. If you’re only trying to survive, you should stay far away from these forces. Even if these forces are just defending your legitimate human rights, that is not a reason or excuse for you to get involved with them. Regardless of the status of these various forces’ survival in society, what their advancement goals are, or the direction of their actions, in short, as someone who believes in God, as someone who pursues the truth, you should not become one of them, nor should you become an advocate within these various forces. Instead, you should distance yourself from them, steer clear of them, avoid the various disputes that entangle them, avoid the various game rules they set, and also avoid the harmful things and harmful words they require one to do and say within the scope of one’s profession or within the scope of these forces. You shouldn’t become one of them, and you certainly shouldn’t become one of their accomplices. This is God’s requirement for you within the various industries and professions where different forces exist: to stay away from and steer clear of them, to not become their sacrificial pawn, to not become their object of exploitation, and to not become their lackey or mouthpiece.

Of course, in this society, apart from one’s immediate supervisors in various industries and professions, and apart from civil organizations, there are also certain illicit social groups that people should avoid—do not get involved with these people or associate with them in any way. For example, those who practice usury. Some people lack capital for their business, and they are unable to secure a normal loan, but there’s a way for them to facilitate the flow of capital, that is, through usurious lending. Usurious lending not only involves high interest rates but also carries significant risks. Some people, in order to earn a lot of money and avoid their business going bankrupt, finally resort to this step: Usurious lending. Are those who practice usury law-abiding figures in society? (No, they’re not.) They are an illegal social organization, and they should be avoided at all times. Regardless of the situation your survival or current state of affairs brings you to, you should never consider this path, but stay far away from and avoid it. No matter what problems arise in your life and livelihood, don’t even think about them or consider taking this path. Isn’t this group of people similar to the party organization? The so-called law-abiding society and the underworld have certain similarities between them. Don’t think they can provide your livelihood with a way out or a turning point; this is wishful thinking. Once you choose to make this move, once you go down this road, you will have a worse life ahead. Of course, there’s another kind of so-called social organization we don’t want to name which you must never get close to, especially when you encounter certain special and thorny problems, when you face special environments, or when you find yourself in particularly dangerous circumstances. Don’t think about using extreme means to protect yourself, to get out of danger, and to escape difficulties. In such situations, it’s better to be trapped by them than to ever associate with those kinds of people or get involved with them in any way. Why would you do this? Is this what it is called having integrity? Is this the kind of integrity that Christians should have? (It is not the kind of integrity Christians should have.) Then what is it? (It’s just not right to get close to them.) Why isn’t it right? (Getting close to them will lead to a worse life ahead, and greater danger in the future.) Is it merely to escape future danger? Then why don’t you break out of your immediate danger first? Why can’t you get close to these forces? In the Bible, when He was tempted, how did the Lord Jesus respond to Satan? (The Lord Jesus said, “Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Matthew 4:10).) The One whom people should worship is God, and He is the only One people should serve. At the same time, the One for whom people should live is God alone. If God permits your life to be taken away, what should you do? (Submit.) You should submit to God and praise Him. The name of God should be exalted, and people should submit to God without seeking their own lives. However, if God intends for you to live, who can take your life away? No one can take it away. So, no matter what circumstances or dangers you face, even in the face of death, if there’s a force that can save you from death, then this force isn’t a proper one but belongs to Satan. What should you say? “Go away Satan! I would rather die than have any association with you!” Is this not a matter of principle? (It is.) “It is impossible for me to live because of your forces, nor shall I die because God has forsaken me. Everything is in God’s hands. I cannot possibly rely on any force and make concessions in order to keep living.” This is the principle that people should uphold. If you find yourself in a dilemma, and someone says there’s a force in society that can save you; if this force may succeed in saving you, but it would bring disgrace upon you, upon Christians, upon the church, and upon God’s house; if it would discredit God’s house, how would you respond? Would you accept or refuse? (Refuse.) You should refuse. In principle, we don’t rely on any forces to survive. So, regardless of the circumstances or the perilous situations we face, the most fundamental thing, apart from submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, is that we shouldn’t even entertain the idea of using various extreme means to escape dangerous predicaments. Once people have fulfilled the responsibilities and put forth the effort they ought to, the rest should be left to God’s orchestration. If someone said there is an illegal social organization able to save you, would you agree? (I would disagree.) Why would you disagree? Don’t you want to live? Don’t you want to escape your predicament quickly? Even when trying to escape your predicament and stay alive, you must have principles for self-comportment. You need to know what you should and should not do. You ought to be clear in your heart and not lose your principles.

Would you like to learn God’s words and rely on God to receive His blessing and solve the difficulties on your way? Click the button to contact us.

Connect with us on Messenger