What It Means to Pursue the Truth (2) (Part One)
In our last gathering, we fellowshiped about what it means to pursue the truth. Let us begin with a review: What does it mean to pursue the truth? Do you have an answer to this question? Did you ponder on it after our previous fellowship? After we finish fellowshiping on certain topics, you will need to ponder on them, and then experience and go through them practically in your real lives. Only then will you be able to gain true knowledge; only then will you be able to truly understand and appreciate those topics you have been pondering on; only then will you be able to offer true experience and knowledge. Is that not so? (It is.) So, did you ponder on the question? What does it mean to pursue the truth? What elements are involved in the pursuit of the truth? What are the main things that it entails? Have you summarized these things? (Last time, God began by fellowshiping about the various mistaken ideas, views, and attitudes that man has regarding the pursuit of the truth, then God fellowshiped in detail on the five steps of pursuing the truth.) There were essentially two major parts to our last fellowship: some negative states or mistaken views that many people have in relation to the pursuit of the truth, man’s misunderstandings about pursuing the truth, as well as the excuses and justifications that people give for not pursuing the truth—that was the first major part. The second was fellowship about how to pursue the truth, which consisted of five steps. Although there were only two parts, we touched on lots of details and specifics within each of them. I revealed some of man’s fallacious knowledge and comprehension about the pursuit of the truth, and I also exposed several difficulties that man has in pursuing the truth, as well as some excuses, justifications, and pretexts that those who are sick of the truth give for not pursuing it. The negative, passive attitudes and cognitions that people display when it comes to the pursuit of the truth correspond with the lifestyles and pursuits that they hold to in their real lives, as well as the attitudes that they harbor toward the truth—they all relate to people’s specific behaviors and specific outpourings. Then, based on man’s various behaviors, I offered a few specific methods and steps of practice regarding the path of pursuing the truth. Is all that clear to you? (Yes.) Is it, really? Why do you not say something, then? It seems that it is still not so clear to you; there is more that we need to fellowship on.
The greatest matter in believing in God is the pursuit of the truth. What does it mean to pursue the truth? When it comes to the matter of pursuing the truth, all of people’s manifestations reveal many of their troubles and difficulties, and people possess all kinds of justifications and excuses for not pursuing the truth—the barriers are just so large. Because of people’s various difficulties, they seem extremely hard-pressed and discomfited when it comes to pursuing the truth, and they think that it is very difficult. In fact, the question itself—“What does it mean to pursue the truth?”—is an easy one to answer, so why is it that people cannot pursue the truth? What is the reason? Everyone boasts that they have a conscience and sense, that they truly believe in God, that they can fulfill their duty, that they are willing to suffer and ready to pay a price. How is it that, with these good behaviors as their foundation, they are unable to embark on the path of pursuing the truth? They have such good humanity, integrity, and a great reputation; they have their will, aspirations, and wishes about their pursuit; they have their subjective exertions, their will to endure hardships, and an attitude of paying a price; they have their active, positive, upward-looking attitude of yearning to accept the truth. With these things as their foundation, how is it that they do not qualify as pursuing the truth? Why is it that they cannot achieve the pursuit of the truth? Where is the root of the problem? (Man doesn’t love the truth and is sick of it by nature.) That is an accurate answer. The most fundamental reason is that people have corrupt dispositions. Man’s corrupt disposition is of Satan, and anything that is of Satan is antagonistic toward God and the truth. Therefore, asking people to pursue the truth is equivalent to requiring them to forsake their inherent life and attributes, and their inherent mode of pursuit and outlook on life. Letting go of these mistaken things, forsaking their fleshly preferences, and instead pursuing and practicing the words of God and the truth, which their flesh does not like, which they do not possess, and which they disdain, detest, and reject—this is what they find difficult. Asking you to pursue the truth is equivalent to asking you to let go of your inherent life. Is that not the same as having you lay down your life? (It is.) It is you laying down your own life. Do people willingly lay down their lives for things? (No.) In the depths of their hearts, they say, “I will not”—a hundred times, a thousand times, ten thousand times: “I will not.” No matter what, it is hard for people to let go of the inherent, satanic things that they possess. This is a fact, one that you have deeply and truly experienced. From the depths of their hearts, people are unwilling to forsake the flesh; or to forsake their lives, whose nature and essence are of Satan; or to forsake their inherent, satanic attributes or their satanic nature, in order to pursue the truth. So, for those with satanic natures, who live by satanic dispositions, loving and pursuing the truth runs contrary to their will, and they are reluctant to do it. What is the root of this? It is that the attributes within man are of Satan, and they are intrinsically antagonistic toward God. So, after people have heard and understood the truth, only those who love the truth, who are willing to strive up toward it and pay a price, who have this will, aspiration, and wish, are able to put the truth into practice as soon as they understand it. Only they are capable of living by the truth and living out its reality. There are many people who are willing to practice the truth, but they are obstructed by their satanic natures and dispositions; they are unable to practice the truth, even though they may wish to. The fact is that in real life, practicing the truth is a very difficult thing to do. It is one thing to ask you to let go of your favorite clothes and jewelry, or the things you enjoy, or the job and career that you like, or your strengths and hobbies, or any such thing. You could forsake any of these; they are easy to let go of. But to have you forsake your flesh and your satanic disposition, to come to practice the truth and submit to God—that is much more difficult. To describe it using an inexact phrase, it would be like forcing a duck onto a perch, or having a bull climb a tree—these things are far too taxing for them. Now, it would be easy to get a feline up a tree; that is natural for them. But it would be quite impossible to get one to eat hay instead of meat. If you asked a person to suffer a bit, to pay a bit of a price, and to live humbly for the rest of their life, that is something that anyone who has the will to do so can achieve. In fact, no physical difficulty poses a big problem for someone who truly believes in God and yearns for the truth. Not indulging in fleshly comforts, for instance; or reducing the amount they sleep each day; or living rough for ten years straight; or making do with very poor food, clothes, housing, and transportation—such hardships and prices can be taken on by anyone, so long as they have the will to do so, and are willing to pursue the truth, and have a bit of self-restraint. But if you ask someone to forsake the flesh and Satan, to act entirely in accordance with God’s requirements and based in His words, to practice according to the truth and thus achieve submission to God, any person would find that hard. That is where man’s difficulties lie. So, in pursuing the truth, it is not as if people can just make a resolution and give it a go, or practice restraint and follow the rules, and then be able to put the truth into practice and possess the truth. Pursuing the truth is the hardest and most difficult thing for corrupt mankind to do. Where does the root of this problem originate? (It originates from Satan’s disposition.) That is right. Satan’s disposition is man’s greatest challenge. One may have poor caliber, or a bad temper and personality, they may not have any strengths, talents, or gifts to speak of—none of these things will pose a big challenge to them. Ultimately, the problem originates in man’s corrupt disposition. A corrupt disposition keeps people’s hands and feet, their minds and ideas, their thoughts, their way of thinking, and the depths of their souls in the death grip of its control, such that every inch on the road of pursuing the truth is hard for them to walk. One might believe in God for three or five years without gaining anything; there are even some people who have believed for ten, twenty, or thirty years, and have only gained a smattering of things from it. And some of them have gained nothing at all—how impoverished and pitiful those empty-handed people are! They have believed in God for thirty years but remain impoverished and blind, with nothing to show for it. When they fall into negativity, they do not know how to emerge from it; when they fall into misunderstandings about God, they do not know how to dispel them; when adversity befalls them, they do not know how to face it, nor do they know how to resolve that kind of difficulty. Can problems be solved by using mere subjective willpower to restrain oneself or by relying on one’s patience to persevere endlessly? People may plod through situations step by step until they have passed, but their corrupt dispositions still remain. They have not been resolved. No matter how many times they have experienced negativity, or misunderstandings about God, or had notions about God, or failed, and fallen, and been weak, to this very day they are still unable to offer the least bit of experiential testimony, nor do they have a single thing to say about their knowledge, experience, or exposure to. Their hearts are empty; the depths of their souls are empty. They have no experiential understanding of the truth, and they have no true knowledge of God’s words, and they are even further from having knowledge of His work and His disposition. Are they not impoverished, blind, and pitiful? (They are.) If someone does not pursue the truth, then no matter how many years they believe in God, it is pointless. Why, then, would a person let themselves get to this point? Wherein lies the cause? Here too, the problem originates in man’s corrupt disposition. This is the objective cause.
We have already made it clear what the objective cause for people not pursuing the truth is. We will now speak a bit about the subjective cause. The subjective cause is that though people may have learned that they have a corrupt disposition from God’s work and all of His words, or from their real lives, they never hold themselves against God’s words and the truth for comparison, they never gain knowledge of and forsake their corrupt dispositions, and they never practice according to God’s words. It is that though people may exert and expend a great deal upon the road of belief in God, though they may work very hard, suffer greatly, and pay many prices upon it, these are all just external behaviors. They do not prove that one has embarked on the path of pursuing the truth. The people who have suffered the most are those who began to follow God in the early days, who took on their duties when they were around twenty years old. These people are now about fifty years old, and still unmarried. You could say that they have devoted their youths to their faith in God, and let go of family and marriage. Is that a great price? (Yes.) They gave up their youths and offered up their whole lives, and what comes of it? The price that they paid was great, but what they gain in the end is not equal to or in line with their expenditure. What is the problem here? Based on the attitude and resolve with which they pay a price, and the duration, amount, and degree of their expenditure, it would seem as though they should understand the truth and be able to practice it. You would think that they should have testimony and hearts of reverence for God; that they should have knowledge of God; that they should already have set off on the path of fearing God and shunning evil; that they should have already entered into the reality of the truth. But in fact, that is just an inference—these two things have only a logical relationship, it does not line up with the facts or with what these people live out. What is the problem here? Should we not subject it to investigation and discussion? Is this not a problem that merits deep thought? (It is.) Among those who have accepted this stage of God’s work for two or three years, there is no shortage of people with experience and testimony. They testify to how God’s words have changed them and made them become honest people; they testify to how God’s words have allowed them to understand the truth on the road of pursuing it; they testify to how God’s words have resolved their corrupt dispositions, their arrogance and deceitfulness, their rebelliousness, their longing for status, their ambitions and desires, and so on. These people are capable of having experience and testimony after just two or three years of believing in God; they have a deep experiential understanding of God’s words, and they can feel the trueness of His words. Why, then, have some people believed in God for twenty or thirty years and paid so many prices, suffered so much, and run about so much, but the depths of their hearts and their spiritual worlds remain empty and hollow? Lots of people who are in this kind of condition often feel lost. They always say, “I’m so lost.” I say, “You have believed in God for twenty or thirty years now. How are you still lost? It is plain to see that you have gained nothing.” To this day, some people are still negative and weak. They say, “I’ve believed in God for so many years, and what have I gained?” Often, when they are negative and weak, or when they are deprived of their status and benefits, or when their vanity goes unsatisfied, they blame God and regret having believed in Him for so many years. They regret having believed His words in the first place, they regret having resolutely let go of their job, of marriage and family, of their chance to go to college, in order to follow God. Some of them even think of leaving the church. They are so filled with regrets about their faith now—why did they even bother with it in the first place? They have believed in God for twenty or thirty years, they have heard so many truths and they have experienced so much of God’s work, yet the depths of their hearts are still empty, and they often sink into conditions of chaos, confusion, regret, reluctance, and even uncertainty about their futures—what causes this? Are such people deserving of pity? (No.) Whenever I see these people, whenever I hear news of them and learn of their recent goings-on, I get a premonition about them. A thought comes to Me about them. How is it that their condition and their inner worlds seem so familiar to Me? They remain even now in God’s house, performing duties—what is it that they are relying on? Is it a mindset of salvation by grace? Is it a mindset that if one follows God to the end, this will inevitably lead to salvation? Or is it a mentality based on luck and chance? It is none of these. What is it, then? It is just like what Paul said: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7–8). To analyze this passage and to put it simply, these words have a transactional quality to them, there is an attitude, idea, and plan to make a deal within them, and they come from a place of desire and ambition. What fact do you see in these words? What do people pursue in their belief in God? (A crown and blessings.) Yes. They pursue blessings and a good destination. And what would they trade for that good destination and blessings? What would they exchange for those? (Their toil and labor, their sacrifices and expenditures, their suffering and price-paying.) To use Paul’s words, they have fought their fights, they have run their courses. They believe that they have done everything they were supposed to, and that they should therefore gain the good destination and blessings that God has prepared for mankind. They think that it goes without saying that this is what God should do—what He must do—and if He did not, He would not be God. Obviously, there is no obedience toward God in this, no attitude of pursuing the truth, no attitude or plan to fulfill the duty of a created being. It is just a wish to trade a few things that they are able to do for the blessings that God has promised mankind. So, the people we were just talking about often feel that there is a void in their inner worlds and that they have nothing to rely on in the depths of their hearts, yet they go on as they always have, paying such prices and suffering so, persisting in fighting their fights and running their courses. What do they rely on? It is those quotes of Paul’s that they cling to and blindly believe in that prop up their “faith.” They rely on their ambitions and desire to be rewarded and crowned. They rely on their dreams of using a transactional exchange to receive great blessings. They do not rely on the understanding of God’s work or the experience and knowledge gained by pursuing the truth while expending themselves for God. That is not what they rely on.
Looking at what we have just fellowshiped on, one can see that though there are many practical challenges on the path of pursuing the truth, as well as the fetters and constraints of corrupt dispositions, and a great many difficulties and obstacles, one should believe that as long as one has true faith, then by relying on the guidance of God’s words and the work of the Holy Spirit, they will be wholly able to embark on the path of pursuing the truth. Peter is a precedent for this. In their faith in God, many people focus solely on working for God, they are satisfied with merely suffering and paying a price, but they do not pursue the truth at all. As a result, they lack true knowledge of God’s work after believing in Him for ten years, twenty years, thirty years, and they cannot speak about any experience or knowledge of the truth or God’s words. During gatherings, when they try to talk a little about their experiential testimony, they have nothing to say; whether they will be saved or not is a complete unknown to them. What is the problem here? This is how people who do not pursue the truth are. No matter how many years they have been believers, they are incapable of understanding the truth, much less practicing it. How could someone who does not accept the truth at all enter into its reality? There are some who cannot see through to this problem. They believe that if people who parrot the words and phrases of doctrines practice the truth, they can enter into its reality too. Is this correct? People who parrot the words and phrases of doctrines are inherently incapable of understanding the truth—so how could they practice it? What they practice appears to not violate the truth, and to be good deeds and good behaviors, but how could those good deeds and good behaviors be called the reality of the truth? People who do not understand the truth do not know what the reality of the truth is; they consider people’s good deeds and good behaviors to be the practice of the truth. This is absurd, is it not? How is this any different from the thoughts and views of religious people? And how can such problems of fallacious comprehension be resolved? People must first understand the will of God from His words, they should know what understanding the truth is, and what practicing the truth is, in order to be able to look at others and discern them for what they really are, and to be able to tell whether or not they possess the reality of the truth. God’s work and salvation of man is meant to make people understand and practice the truth; only then will people be able to shed their corrupt dispositions, act according to the principles, and enter into the reality of the truth. If you do not pursue the truth, and are merely satisfied with expending, suffering, and paying a price for God as per your own notions and imaginings, will everything you do represent your practice of the truth and submission to God? Will it prove that you have changed your life disposition? Will it represent that you possess true knowledge of God? No. And so what will everything you do represent? It can only represent your own personal preferences, comprehension, and wishful thinking. It will purely be things that you like to do, that you are willing to do; everything you do merely satisfies your own desires, will, and ideals. Clearly, that is not pursuing the truth. None of your actions or behaviors have anything to do with the truth, or with God’s requirements. All of your actions and behaviors are for yourself; you are only working, fighting, and running about for the sake of your own ideals, reputation, and status—this makes you no different from Paul, who toiled and worked all his life solely in order to be rewarded, crowned, and to enter the kingdom of heaven—this shows that you are clearly walking the path of Paul. Some say, “I toil and work willingly. I haven’t tried to strike a deal with God.” It does not matter one way or the other whether or not you have tried to strike a deal with God, whether or not you have in your mind or attitude an explicit intent to strike a deal with God—whether or not you have such a plan and goal—you are trying to exchange your toil and work, your hardships, and the prices you have paid for the rewards and crown of the kingdom of heaven. The essence of this problem is that you are trying to make a bargain with God—it is just that you are not aware that you are doing so. Regardless, as long as someone undergoes hardships and pays prices in order to gain blessings, the essence of their pursuit is the same as Paul’s. In what way are they the same? They are both attempts to trade one’s good behaviors—their labor, the hardships they go through, the prices they pay, and so on—for God’s blessings, for the blessings He promises mankind. Are these things not in essence the same? (They are.) They are the same in essence; there is no real difference. If you do not wish to walk the path of Paul, but that of Peter, and you wish to gain God’s approval, how should you practice? There is no doubt: You must learn to pursue the truth. You must be able to accept the truth, as well as God’s judgment and chastisement, and being pruned and dealt with; you must focus on knowing yourself, and bringing about a change in your disposition, and seek to practice loving God. That is what it means to walk the path of pursuing the truth and to set off on the path of Peter. To walk the path of Peter, you must first understand what God requires of man and what path it is that God has pointed out to man. You must be able to discern the path of belief in God that leads to salvation from the path that leads to perdition and destruction. You need to truly reflect on why it is that you were able to walk the path of Paul, and ascertain just what disposition it is that commands you to walk that path. You should discern the most prominent and obvious things that are in your corrupt dispositions, such as arrogance, or deceitfulness, or evil. Beginning with these corrupt dispositions, reflect, analyze, and gain knowledge of yourself. If you can achieve true self-knowledge and hatred of yourself, it will be easy for you to shed your corrupt dispositions, and it will be easy for you to put the truth into practice. So, how is this to be practiced, specifically? Let us fellowship simply about this, using the example of an arrogant disposition. In your daily life, when speaking, conducting yourself and handling matters, performing your duty, fellowshiping with others, and so on, whatever the matter at hand is, or where you are, or what the circumstances are, you must focus at all times on examining what kind of arrogant disposition you have poured forth. You must excavate all the outpourings, thoughts, and ideas that come from your arrogant disposition that you are aware of and can perceive, as well as your intents and goals—in particular, always wanting to lecture others from on high; not obeying anyone; seeing yourself as better than others; not accepting what others say, no matter how right they may be; making others accept and submit to what you say, even when you are wrong; having a constant tendency toward leading others; being uncompliant and offering justifications when leaders and workers prune and deal with you, condemning them as false; always condemning others and elevating yourself; always thinking that you are better than everyone else; always wishing to be a renowned, eminent person; always loving to show off, so that others regard you highly and worship you…. Through the practice of reflecting on and analyzing these outpourings of corruption, you can come to know how ugly your arrogant disposition is, and you can loathe and abhor yourself, and hate your arrogant disposition even more. You will thus be willing to reflect on whether or not you have poured forth an arrogant disposition in all matters. One part of this is reflecting on what arrogant and self-righteous dispositions pour forth in your speech—what boastful, arrogant, senseless things you say. The other part is reflecting on what absurd, senseless things you do while acting according to your notions, imaginings, ambitions, and desires. Only this kind of self-reflection can yield self-knowledge. Once you have gained true knowledge of yourself, you should seek the paths and principles of practice for being an honest person in God’s words, and then practice, perform your duty, and approach and interact with others according to the paths and principles indicated in God’s words. When you have practiced in this way for a while, perhaps a month or two, you will feel a brightness of heart about it, and you will have gained something from it and gotten a taste of success. You will feel that you have a path for becoming an honest, sensible person, and you will feel much more grounded. Though you will not yet be able to speak of a particularly deep knowledge of the truth, you will have gained some perceptual knowledge of it, as well as a path of practice. Though you will not be able to express it clearly in words, you will have some discernment of the harm that an arrogant disposition does to people and how it distorts their humanity. For instance, arrogant, conceited people often say boastful, wild things, and tell lies to trick others; they speak high-sounding words, shout slogans, and spout lofty harangues. Are these not various manifestations of an arrogant disposition? Is it not quite senseless to pour forth these arrogant dispositions? If you are able to truly understand that you must have lost your normal human reason to pour forth such arrogant dispositions, and that living within an arrogant disposition means that you are living out devilishness rather than humanity, then you will have truly recognized that a corrupt disposition is a satanic disposition, and you will be able to hate Satan and corrupt dispositions from your heart. With six months or a year of such experience, you will be capable of true self-knowledge, and if you pour forth an arrogant disposition again, you will immediately be aware of it, and you will be able to forsake and renounce it. You will have begun to change, and you will be able to gradually cast off your arrogant disposition, and get along normally with others. You will be able to speak honestly and from the heart; you will no longer tell lies or say arrogant things. Will you not then possess a little reason and some likeness of an honest person? Will you not have gained that entry? This is when you will begin to gain something. When you practice being honest in this way, you will be able to seek the truth and reflect on yourself no matter what sort of arrogant disposition you pour forth, and after experiencing being an honest person in this way for some time, you will unconsciously and gradually come to understand the truths and relevant words of God about being an honest person. And when you use those truths to dissect your arrogant disposition, in the depths of your heart there will be the enlightenment and illumination of God’s words, and your heart will begin to feel brighter. You will see clearly the corruption that an arrogant disposition brings to people and the ugliness that it makes them live out, and you will be able to discern each of the corrupt states that people find themselves in when they pour forth an arrogant disposition. With more analysis, you will see Satan’s ugliness all the more clearly, and you will hate Satan even more. It will thus be easy for you to cast off your arrogant disposition. When your knowledge reaches this extent, the relevant words of God and truth will be transparently comprehensible to you, and you will know that all God requires of man is that which people of normal humanity ought to possess and live out. With that, practicing the truth will no longer feel hard to you. Instead, you will believe that practicing the truth is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, that it is how man should live. At that point, your practice of God’s words and the truth will be entirely spontaneous, positive, and proactive, and at the same time you will love the truth even more. The number of positive things in your heart will increase, and true knowledge of God will gradually arise there. That is what it means to genuinely understand the truth. You will have a correct view and perspective on all matters, and this true knowledge and these correct views will gradually take root in your heart. That is what it means to have entered the reality of the truth—it is something that no one can deprive you of or rob you of. After you have accumulated these positive things bit by bit, you will feel greatly enriched in the depths of your heart. You will no longer feel that there is no point in believing in God, and the hollow feeling in your heart will be gone. When you have felt how wonderful it is to understand the truth and seen the light of human life, true faith will arise in you. And when you have the faith to experience God’s work, and see how real and practical pursuing the truth and achieving salvation are, you will positively and proactively practice and experience God’s words. You will fellowship about your true experience and knowledge, thus bearing witness to God and helping more people to know the power of God’s words and the benefits that the truth brings to man. You will then have more faith to practice the truth and perform your duty well—and with that, you will have truly submitted to God. When you speak about your true experiential testimony, your heart will grow ever brighter. You will feel that you have more of a path to practice the truth, and at the same time, you will see that you have so many deficiencies, that there are so many truths you should practice. Such experiential testimony is not only beneficial and edifying for others—you, too, will feel that you have gained something in your pursuit of the truth, and that you have truly received God’s blessings. When someone experiences God’s work in this way until they are capable of testifying for Him, not only can it lead more people to know their corrupt dispositions, to cast off the fetters, constraints, and affliction of those dispositions, and enable them to emerge from Satan’s power—it can also give that person more and more faith to walk the path of pursuing the truth and being made perfect. Does such experience not become true testimony? That is what true testimony is. Would a person capable of giving such testimony for God feel that believing in Him is boring, or pointless, or hollow? Absolutely not. When a person can testify for God and when they have true knowledge of Him, the depths of their heart are filled with peace and joy, and they feel enriched and incredibly grounded. When one lives in such a condition and realm, it is natural that they would not compel themselves to suffer, to pay a price, to be restrained. They would not just compel themselves to discipline their body and forsake the flesh. What they would do more of is positively gain knowledge of their corrupt dispositions. They would also pursue knowledge of God’s disposition, of what God has and is, and understand what one should do in order to submit to God and satisfy Him. They would thereby grasp God’s will amid His words, and find the principles of practicing the truth, rather than dwelling on the fleeting feelings within them. For instance, not being able to restrain themselves when things occur, being bad-tempered, being in a bad mood, having gotten angry again that day, having done something poorly or less than ideally again that day, or any such trivial matter. So long as these things do not impede your practice of the truth, there is no need to worry about them. You should stay focused on resolving your corrupt dispositions and seeking how to practice in a way that satisfies God and accords with His will. Practice the truth like this, and you will make fast life progress, and you will have set off on the path of pursuing the truth and being made perfect. Your heart will no longer be hollow; you will have true faith in God, and you will be ever more interested in God’s words and the truth, and cherish them ever more. You will come to understand more and more of God’s will and His requirements. When one arrives at this level, they have wholly entered into God’s words and the reality of the truth.
What many people are practicing and entering into now is not the reality of the truth, but they enter into a kind of condition, in which they display external good behaviors, and they are willing to pay a price, and ready to suffer, and ready to expend everything. The depths of their hearts, however, remain empty, and they have nothing to support them in their inner worlds. Why do they have no support? Because they lack a path when anything befalls them; they rely on wishful thinking, and they do not have the principles for practicing the truth. When a corrupt disposition pours forth from them, they can only practice self-restraint, they are not able to seek the truth to resolve it. Lucky for people, that old flesh of theirs has an instinctive ability: It can suffer. There is a saying among the unbelievers that goes, “There’s no suffering that can’t be endured, just blessings that can’t be enjoyed.” Man’s flesh has an inborn, instinctive ability: It cannot enjoy too many blessings, but it is able to suffer anything, and endure it, and restrain itself. Is this a good thing? Is it a strength or a flaw, a deficiency? Is that saying of theirs the truth? (No.) It is not, and if something is not the truth, it is nonsense. That saying is just empty words, it cannot resolve any of your problems, nor can it resolve your practical difficulties. To put it accurately, it cannot resolve your corrupt dispositions. So, there is no use in saying it. Though you may have some knowledge of it, be aware of it, and have experienced it deeply, still it has no use. The unbelievers have other sayings, too, like, “I’m not afraid of dying, so why be afraid of living?” and “When winter’s already here, how far off can spring be?” These are pretty grand statements, no? Quite inspirational and philosophical, are they not? The unbelievers call these sayings “chicken soup for the soul.” Do you like these kinds of sayings? (No.) Why not? Some may say, “We just don’t like them. They’re what unbelievers say; we like the words of God.” Which part of God’s words do you like, then? Which phrase do you take to be the truth? Which phrase have you experienced, practiced and entered, and gained? It is useless, just disliking these unbelievers’ sayings; you may not like them, but you cannot clearly discern their essence. Are these sayings right? (No.) Right or not, the words of unbelievers have nothing to do with the truth. Even if people regard them as good and right, they are not in accordance with the truth, and they cannot rise to the level of the truth. All of them are in violation of the truth and in enmity to it. Unbelievers do not accept the truth, so there is no need to argue with them about what is right and wrong. All we can do is treat their words as muddled nonsense, and be done with them. What does “nonsense” mean? It means words that are not at all edifying or valuable to people, to their lives, to the paths that they walk, or to their salvation. All such talk is nonsense; it can also be called empty words. It has nothing to do with man’s life and death or the paths that they walk, and is nonsense that can serve no positive function at all. People hear such a phrase and live their lives as they would, as they always have; such a phrase will not change any facts, because it is not the truth. The truth alone is edifying to man; it is of immeasurable value. Why do I say this? Because the truth can change people’s fates, and their thoughts and views, and their inner worlds. Most importantly, the truth can dispel man’s corrupt dispositions; it can change a person’s attributes, turning their satanic attributes into the attributes of the truth—it can take a person who lives by their corrupt dispositions and turn them into one who lives by the truth and God’s words. When a person lives out the reality of the truth, with God’s words as their basis, is their life not thus changed? When one’s life changes it means that their thoughts and views have changed; it means that their outlook, attitudes, and views on people and things have changed; it means that their stance and views regarding events and things are different from before. Those sayings from the unbelievers are all empty words and nonsense. They cannot resolve any problems. The one that I just said—“There’s no suffering that can’t be endured, just blessings that can’t be enjoyed”—is that not nonsense and empty words? (It is.) You can suffer—so what? You do not suffer in order to gain the truth; you suffer in order to enjoy prestige and status. Your suffering has no value or significance at all. Look at the facts: You have suffered so much and paid so great a price, yet you still do not know yourself, and you cannot even get a grasp on the thoughts and ideas that arise from your corrupt disposition, nor can you resolve them. Do you think that you can enter into life, then? Does your suffering have value? It has no value at all. Some people’s suffering has value. The suffering that people undergo in order to gain the truth, for instance, has value: When one has gained the truth, they can edify and supply others. Many people suffer and pay a price in order to spread the gospel, helping to expand the work of the church and God’s house, and spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. From this, we can see that whoever suffers and pays a price in order to gain the truth and satisfy God will gain something from it. These people will meet with God’s approval. But there are some who do not pursue the truth, and though they may expend of themselves and suffer for God, and receive His kindness, that kindness is no more than God’s pity and tolerance and a reflection of the favor He shows man, as well as the grace that He extends to man. What sort of grace? A few material blessings—no more than that. Is that what you want? Is that your ultimate goal in believing in God? I think not. Since the day you came to believe in God, have you only wished for His kindness, His protection, and a few of the material blessings that He bestows? Are those the things that you want? Are they what you pursue in your belief? (No.) Can these things resolve the issue of your salvation? (No.) It seems that you are thinking quite clearly. You understand what is crucial and what is important. You are not confused. You know what carries weight and what does not. Whether you can set off on the path of pursuing the truth, however, remains to be seen.