What It Means to Pursue the Truth (14) Part One
We have spent some time fellowshiping and dissecting the issue of claims about moral conduct in traditional culture—do you have any real experience of this? (Previously, I only recognized that these statements about moral conduct were not the truth, but I didn’t realize how deeply they have corrupted mankind. Only through Your fellowship and dissection have I realized that the various statements about moral conduct that are instilled in people by Satan appear to be right and good in people’s eyes, but they have corrupted, paralyzed, and imprisoned people’s thoughts, causing people to deny and resist God, and leading them further and further away from Him. This is how Satan has corrupted mankind step-by-step to this day.) If I did not fellowship on these things in detail, would people be able to recognize this themselves? Could they dissect the essence of these statements on moral conduct? (People could not dissect or see through to the essence of these statements on moral conduct.) What about after prolonged experience? (People would be able to recognize the issues with some statements on moral conduct, but they would not be able to clearly dissect their essence.) People often like to treat famous sayings from traditional culture and the truth as equals and mix them together, especially when it comes to things that outwardly resemble the truth, or that appear to conform with human morality, the standards of their consciences, and human feelings. Everyone believes these things to be positive and aligned with the truth, but no one can see that they originate in Satan and that they are actually negative things. Now, is anything that Satan instills in man positive? (No.) There is nothing positive in those things at all. On the contrary, they are all negative things and satanic poisons. This is beyond doubt. So, have you come to know and dig out these negative things and satanic poisons? Is there anything left in your mind that is similar to these things from traditional culture which you consider to be correct? If there is, it is a scourge, a cancer! You should ponder on this more now, and you should carefully observe and pay attention to this in your daily life. See whether there is anything in what others say and what you hear, or in the things that make an impression on you or that you remember, or in those things that you accept into your heart and regard as valuable, that resembles what traditional culture advocates for. If there is, you must discern and dissect it, and then completely abandon it. This will be of benefit to your pursuit of the truth.
Some people bring up the phrase, “The success and failure of things is dependent on people,” while writing experiential testimony articles—you should discern whether this statement is right or wrong, whether it is a positive or negative thing, and whether it is related to the truth, to God’s requirements, and to the principles that people should possess while handling matters. Does the statement “The success and failure of things is dependent on people” hold true? Does it align with the truth? Is it something produced by the laws and regulations established by God? Does it have anything to do with the fact that God is sovereign over all things? Go ahead and share your knowledge and understanding of this statement. (I have also said this before, especially when organizing church work. If personnel are not assigned appropriately according to the principles, sometimes this makes a mess of the work. If personnel are assigned in accordance with the principles, the work can be done well. At the time, I saw people’s roles as very important and significant, which is why I quoted the phrase: “The success and failure of things is dependent on people.” Now I realize that I lacked an understanding of God’s sovereignty and omnipotence. I always focused on the role of people, and there was no place for God in my heart at all.) Who else would like to share their thoughts? (The statement “The success and failure of things is dependent on people” is not a testimony to God but a testimony to humans, as if success depends on human effort. It is a denial of God’s sovereignty and it is equivalent to testifying for Satan. If this statement is planted in people’s hearts, then over time, when they are faced with problems they will think that they just need to find the right people in order to be successful, and they will not have faith in God or rely on Him. Therefore, this is a particularly warped statement.) Your understanding of this statement is essentially that it is not correct or a positive thing, and that it is certainly not the truth. So why do you use it? If you use it, what problem does that reveal? (That we lack discernment of this statement.) What is the reason for your lack of discernment? Is it because you still believe that this statement has a correct and valid aspect to it? (Yes.) So, what is wrong with this statement? Why do you say that it is not correct or a positive thing? First, let us see if it conforms to the objective laws of things. On the surface, it appears that it is people who perform any given task. They arrange the work, they perform the work, and they follow up on it. They play a crucial role in each step, and they ultimately determine the outcomes and progress of that item of work. Outwardly, it seems that the causes, the process of things developing, and the results of it all are determined by people. But in reality, who is the one governing, orchestrating, and arranging all of this? Does it have anything to do with people? Are people passively accepting the orchestrations of fate and of their sovereign Ruler, or are they actively taking control of everything themselves? (They are passively accepting.) People are all passively accepting God’s sovereignty, orchestration, and arrangements. What role do people play here? Are they not puppets in the hands of God? (Yes.) People are like puppets being pulled by strings. The string that gets pulled determines what action they take and which expression they make. Where people go, what they say, and what they do every day—in whose hands is all of this? (In God’s hands.) It is all in God’s hands. People passively accept God’s sovereignty. Throughout this whole process, God determines what He will do, whether He will expose someone, what changes and progress He will bring about in this matter and when, what the ultimate outcome will be, and whom He will expose or cast out; He determines what lessons people will learn through this matter, what truths they will understand and what kind of knowledge they will gain of God in it, which views He will get people to reverse, and which notions He will make them let go of. Can people accomplish all these things that God does? Can they? (No, they cannot.) People cannot. They cannot accomplish these things. During the entire development of any matter, people are just passively and consciously or unconsciously doing things, but no person can foresee the causes, process, final results, and achieved outcomes of the whole matter, nor can any person control any of these things. Who foresees and controls all of this? Only God! Whether it is a significant event occurring in the universe or a small incident occurring in any corner of any planet, it is not up to people. No person can control the laws that govern everything, or the process of the progression of all things and their ultimate results. No person can foresee the future of everything or predict what is going to happen, let alone control the ultimate result of all things. Only God, who is sovereign over all things, controls and rules all of this. The only effect that people can have is playing different roles that can be positive or negative, within environments, both big and small, and alongside various types of people, events, and things that are ruled, orchestrated, and arranged by God. This is the effect that people have and the role they play. When something is not successful, or when the results do not appear to be as good as expected, and the outcome is not one that people desire to see, when the outcome even brings them great sadness and sorrow, these are also things that people have no sovereignty over, they cannot be foreseen by people, and they certainly cannot be controlled by them. If the final outcome of something is very good, if it has a very positive and active impact, if it is greatly edifying for people, and it has a profound influence on them, then it is from God. If something does not achieve its desired outcome, if the outcome is not very good or optimistic, and if it appears to have some negative effects on people instead of positive and active ones, the entire process of that matter is also orchestrated and arranged by God. It is not controlled by any person. Let us not talk about distant things; let us talk about what can be observed in the church, such as the appearance of antichrists. From the moment an antichrist comes forward and starts to act, and is promoted to the position of a leader or a worker, and takes on important work in the church, until the point where they are revealed as an antichrist, discerned and exposed by the brothers and sisters, and ultimately cast out and rejected—throughout this whole process, many people are deceived, some even follow the antichrist, and some experience losses to their life entry due to the antichrist’s influence, and so on. Although all of this originates from Satan’s disturbances and it is the work of Satan’s servants, does that mean that God does not see the occurrence and development of all these things? Does God not know what the consequences of the appearance of an antichrist will be? Does God not know the impact that an antichrist will have on the church and on the brothers and sisters? Is all of this simply the result of a failure caused by people? When faced with the emergence of negative things like these, people often think, “Oh no, Satan took advantage of a blind spot there, this was Satan disturbing things.” The implication is, “Why wasn’t God keeping an eye on things? Doesn’t God scrutinize all things? Isn’t God omnipresent? Isn’t God omnipotent? Where was God’s authority and power?” Doubts arise in people’s hearts. What is the source of these doubts? Because the outcome of the event is negative, undesirable, and not what people want to see, and even less does it align with their notions and imaginings, this deals a blow to their sacred faith in God. People cannot understand it, and they think: “If God is sovereign over all things and controls everything, then why would something like an antichrist deceiving people happen right before our eyes? Why would such an undesirable thing happen in the church, and among brothers and sisters?” Doubts arise in people’s hearts, and their faith that “God is all-powerful and omnipresent” is challenged. When people’s faith in God is challenged, if you ask them, “Who is to blame for you developing notions about God?” they will say, “Satan is to blame.” But since Satan cannot be seen by man, to whom should this responsibility ultimately fall? It should fall on the antichrist or on the antichrist’s group. People will say that those who were deceived by the antichrist and whose lives suffered losses deserved to be misled by the antichrist. In the end, what statement does people’s understanding of the whole matter come down to? “The success and failure of things is dependent on people.” That is the conclusion they reach. Where do they place God in this? They do not understand that God is sovereign over everything, so they attribute everything that happens instead to the hollow theory that “The success and failure of things is dependent on people.”
When people see some relatively good and positive things happen around them, such as when the Holy Spirit does powerful work, and everyone has a great deal of faith, when people stand firm even in the midst of persecution and adversity, without anyone becoming a Judas, and when the possessions of God’s house and the lives of the brothers and sisters do not suffer any losses, people say, “This is God’s protection. This success was not caused by people; it is undoubtedly the work of God.” Suppose that the things that people see happening around them are undesirable, for example, the church faces suppression and arrest by the great red dragon, and the church possessions are seized by Satan. Say that the lives of the brothers and sisters suffer losses, and God’s chosen people are scattered everywhere, displaced and unable to return home. Suppose that the church life is destroyed, and the church members can no longer live the same church life as before. Imagine that they can no longer live joyful, happy lives of peaceful coexistence with their brothers and sisters, gathering together to eat and drink, and fulfilling their duties, and some evil people and nonbelievers begin to spread notions to deceive others, causing them to lose faith in God and fall into negativity and weakness. At such a time, people can’t help but complain. They dare not complain against God, so they complain like this: “So-and-so is an evil person, so-and-so is Satan, so-and-so is a devil. If it weren’t for them being careless at gatherings and getting arrested, we wouldn’t have ended up in this situation of being unable to return home. If it weren’t for them, we would still be living the church life happily, eating and drinking God’s words and fulfilling our duties normally. All of this is due to a certain person, a certain devil, a certain Satan, or a certain satanic regime.” Although people dare not harbor any grievances against God or attribute the responsibility of the entire situation to God, at that moment, they have developed a neither great nor insignificant, inexplicable distrust toward God. What things will emerge from these distrustful thoughts? People will say, “I have learned a lesson from this experience. From now on, I will carefully consider everything that I encounter and think twice before acting. I won’t be reckless, and I won’t easily trust anyone. I will be extra careful in all situations and I will learn to protect myself.” Do they still have God in their hearts? Do they still rely on God and have faith in Him? Some people say, “How could I not? In my heart, I still believe in God, and I still have genuine reliance on Him.” But secretly they tell themselves, “Don’t trust God’s words so easily. God always tests and refines people. God can’t be relied upon! Just look at what happened right before our eyes. Members of our church were arrested by the great red dragon. Why didn’t God protect us? Does God want to see the interests of His house harmed? Does God feel apathetic when He sees nonbelievers deceiving people? If God really sees this, why doesn’t He care? Why doesn’t He prevent or block it? Why doesn’t He enlighten us so that we can discern that the person deceiving us is an evil person and a nonbeliever, distance ourselves from them as early as possible, and avoid all of these consequences? When the nonbeliever is deceiving people, why doesn’t God protect us? Even a quick warning would suffice!” They don’t get answers to all these “whys,” and they can’t get them either. In the end, after experiencing this, the conclusion they come to is: “I’ll rely on God in matters where I should rely on Him, and I’ll rely on myself in matters where I shouldn’t rely on God. I can’t be foolish. We brothers and sisters must learn to band together for warmth and help each other. As for everything else, let God do as He pleases. We can’t control it.” If the great red dragon arrests God’s chosen people, the work of the church and the church life will be greatly obstructed and the brothers’ and sisters’ fulfillment of their duties will be greatly affected. At these times nonbelievers and antichrists will appear to disrupt and deceive, spreading heresies and fallacies, claiming that the arrests happened because the leaders and workers went against God’s will, and people will be deceived by these antichrists and evil people. When these events occur that do not conform to people’s notions and imaginings nor to human feelings, people never learn lessons from them. People never come to understand God’s sovereignty, orchestration, and disposition from these events. People never grasp God’s will or understand what lessons God wants them to learn, what edification He wants them to obtain, and what discernment He wants them to gain from these events. People don’t know any of these things, and they do not know how to experience them. Therefore, when it comes to all the things that people see occurring around them, people truly believe that the phrase “The success and failure of things is dependent on people” is accurate, and that it is more reliable and real than the fact that “God is sovereign over all things, God is omnipresent, and God scrutinizes everything.” In fact, deep down, you still believe that the phrase “The success and failure of things is dependent on people” is more real, that humans determine everything, and to say that God decides everything seems a bit vague. Why do people think it is vague? Why do people think the statement “God decides everything” is unreliable? In theory, it’s because people don’t understand the truth and don’t know God, but in reality, what is the reason? (In reality, people don’t acknowledge or believe that God is sovereign over everything.) Saying that people do not believe in or acknowledge that God is sovereign over everything is right, but there is a more specific reason, which is that the phrase “The success and failure of things is dependent on people” reveals the flawed perspective that people have when it comes to how they view good and bad things. People believe that things which bring them peace, joy, comfort, and happiness are good and that they come from God. There are some things that make people uneasy or frightened, that make people weep, suffer, or fill them with so much grief that they wish they were dead—some things even make it impossible for people to secure a normal church life and a normal environment for fulfilling their duties. These types of things are regarded as “bad things” by people. The term “bad things” has to be put in quotation marks. Can “bad things” have a good effect on people? People cannot see or feel these good effects, so, in their minds, the “everything” that God is sovereign over only includes things that bring them peace, joy, satiation, benefits, edification, and gains, and things that strengthen their faith in God. These are the things that people believe belong to God’s sovereignty over everything. By contrast, if, on the surface, some things appear to cause people’s lives to suffer, cause harm to the interests of the church, and if a few people are deceived, and some are even cast out, and if a few meet with some unfortunate events and endure some pain, people believe that these things have nothing to do with God’s sovereignty, and that they are the work of Satan. People believe that if it were the work of God, these negative things would not appear or exist, this is what people have determined. Therefore, people’s understanding of the phrase “God is sovereign over everything” is very one-sided and shallow. It is limited to human notions, it is laden with human emotions, and it doesn’t match up with the facts. Let Me give you an example. God created all kinds of insects and birds. Some people say, “I believe that all the things God created are significant, that they are all beneficial insects, and that they are all good. Bees were created by God, and all kinds of good birds were created by God. Mosquitoes always bite people and spread diseases, so mosquitoes are not good. Maybe mosquitoes were not created by God.” Isn’t this a warped understanding? In reality, all things were created by God. There is only one God, the Creator, and everything that is living and that is not living comes from God. In their notions, people only believe that various beneficial insects, birds, and other beneficial creatures come from God—as for flies, mosquitoes, bedbugs, and some carnivorous animals that are regarded by man as particularly violent, those creatures don’t seem to come from God, and even if they do, they are not good things. Is this not a human notion? In people’s ideas and notions, these things have gradually been categorized systematically: Anything that humans like or that benefits them is considered positive and created by God, while anything that humans dislike or that harms them is considered negative and not created by God, and might have been created by Satan or produced by nature. In people’s minds, they often unconsciously believe that: “Flies, mosquitoes, and bedbugs are not good things, they were not created by God. God definitely would not create things like that.” Or they think, “Lions and tigers always eat sheep and zebras, they are too cruel. They are not good things. Wolves are sinister, cunning, ferocious, violent, and cruel. Wolves are bad, but cows and sheep are good, and dogs are even better.” Whether something created by God is good or not is not measured based on human emotional needs or tastes—that is not how these things are measured. God created all kinds of animals, including zebras, deer, and various kinds of herbivores, as well as ferocious carnivores like lions, tigers, leopards, and crocodiles, which are particularly violent, including some predators that can kill their prey with a single bite. Regardless of whether these animals are good or bad in the eyes of humans, they were all created by God. Some people see lions eating zebras and think, “Oh no, that poor zebra. Lions are so ferocious for eating zebras.” When they see a wolf devouring a sheep, they ponder, “Wolves are so cruel and sly. Why did God create wolves? Sheep are so cute, kind, and gentle. Why did God not create only gentle animals? Wolves are the natural enemy of sheep, so why did God create both wolves and sheep?” They don’t understand the mystery behind this and they always harbor human notions and imaginings. When there are incidents of antichrists deceiving people in the church, some people say, “If God takes pity on this mankind, why did He create Satan? Why does He allow Satan to corrupt mankind? Since God has chosen us, why does He allow antichrists to appear in the church?” You do not understand, do you? This is God’s sovereignty. This is how God rules over all things, and only when He rules over them in this way can all things exist normally within the rules and laws that He has ordained. If God were to protect you and prevent antichrists from appearing in the church, would you know what antichrists were? Would you know what the disposition of an antichrist is like? If you were only told some words and doctrines about discerning antichrists, without actually ever meeting one, would you be able to discern antichrists? (No.) Definitely not. If antichrists and evil people were not allowed to appear, you would always be like a flower in a greenhouse: As soon as there’s an abrupt change in temperature, you would wither under the sudden cold snap, unable to withstand it. Therefore, if people want to understand the truth, they must accept and submit to all of the environments, and all of the people, events, and things that God rules over and orchestrates. “All of the people, events, and things” includes the positive and the negative, it includes things that align with your notions and imaginings, and things that do not. It includes things that you regard as positive and the negative things that you dislike, it includes things that accord with your feelings, and it includes things that do not accord with your feelings or with your tastes. You must accept all of these things. What is the purpose of accepting all of these things? It is not just to build your knowledge and increase your experience, it is to enable you to come to know God’s words more practically and concretely, to understand the truth, and to experience the veracity and accuracy of God’s words through these facts. Ultimately, you will confirm that God’s words are the truth, you will learn lessons from different people, events, and things, enabling yourself to understand more truths, to see through to many things, and to enrich yourself further. The ultimate result achieved by this is that you will be able to gain knowledge of the Creator through the emergence and development of different people, events, and things, you will come to understand His disposition and essence, and learn that He governs and orchestrates all things.