Chapter 55. The Ten Aspects One Must Practice and Enter Into to Be an Honest Person
The Significance of Being an Honest Person
Being an honest person is a requirement by God and is the most basic of requirements He has for everyone who believes in Him. What, then, is the significance of being an honest person? It is that one can only be able to truly live before God by being an honest person. If one is otherwise, he will deceive and fool God or even betray Him. By being an honest person one is able to live before God, to live before God in accordance with His requirements and will for His satisfaction. A person who is not honest cannot open himself up to God in an artless manner and is not able to hand himself over to Him. Only an honest person is able to truly offer himself to God and expend himself for Him. God therefore likes honest people. People who are deceitful and cheat cannot be faithful to God even if they perform their duties, and they can only be perfunctory toward and fool God in doing so. In addition, they cannot receive God’s entrustment; they can abandon their responsibilities and betray God due to their own notions and negativity even though they are performing their duties. An honest person, on the other hand, is able to be faithful to God and satisfy God in performing their duties, and so God likes honest people. If a person who comes before God to pray to and commune with Him is not honest, he would often deceive God and exaggerate in his speech. In addition, he would not be able to give his heart to God and open his heart up to Him artlessly, much less be able to accept God’s examination. Only by being an honest person is one able to truly fellowship with God, open his heart up to Him artlessly and tell Him everything that is in his heart, and able to be mindful of God’s heart’s desire, be worried about what worries God and think about what He thinks about, and fulfill his duty in accordance with God’s will. God therefore likes honest people. Corrupt mankind dare not swear an oath to God even if they believe in Him, and neither do they dare to fully place their future and destinies in His hands. Only an honest person is able to remain faithful to God as he reveres Him in his heart, and dares to take up responsibilities for whatever duty he has to fulfill. Thus, he dares to swear an oath before God and dares to make a promise to let God examine him, and he would accept punishment willingly if he fails to meet God’s requirements. God therefore likes honest people, and this is the significance of being an honest person. If a person wants to achieve being commended by God and to be able to satisfy Him, there is only one way, and that is to be an honest person. If you are not an honest person even after having believed in God for many years, whatever you do before Him would surely be below standard. The things that you do would all surely be done in a perfunctory, slipshod, deceitful or lying way. All that you do would be damning evidence of your resisting God. Therefore, only an honest person is able to meet God’s requirements and fulfill His heart’s desires. Thus, God said, “You must be an honest person.” Upon reflecting on all that we have done after we have experienced God’s work for a few years, all of us must admit that all that we have done in the past have been nothing more than those things done in a perfunctory and slipshod way and things that deceive, disobey and resist God. We have not shown faithfulness to God. Why is this so? It is because in our nature there is cunning and deceitfulness and we are so selfish that we care only about ourselves and are not able to satisfy God at all, and we even want to make use of God. Our transgressions before God in the past were committed because of our nature. It is only when God has required us to be honest people over and over again that we suddenly have a realization: “So, we have actually not been honest people in the past. We have been deceitful and selfish people, and so we have not been able to satisfy God in all that we have done.” This is a fact. Now, more than ever, we have realized that it is so important and crucial to be an honest person! We can only have the real likeness of man and live out the normal humanity by being an honest person. Only an honest person can exalt, testify about, serve and satisfy God. All that a person does would be in vain and are meaningless if he is not an honest person, and they are but corrupt deeds. If we have truly become honest people before God, it would be a fresh start for us, a new beginning. We will only be people who truly live before God and truly submit to Him when we have become honest people. Only then will we be people who truly live by the word of God and live out the likeness of a human being. If we discover one day that we are still not honest people, it means that we have not been saved and do not have the likeness of a human being, and that we are still humans corrupted by Satan. Therefore, whether we can become honest people has to do with whether we will succeed or fail in our belief in God, whether we can receive God’s salvation and what our final destiny in the future will be. The significance of being an honest person is therefore very profound, and we are now clear on this point.
What Does Being an Honest Person Have to Do With Practicing the Truth?
What does being an honest person have to do with practicing the truth? We all have had some entry in eating and drinking and experiencing God’s words in the past but have had no evident accomplishments in practicing the truth. Because we have not thoroughly understood the truth, we have made many deviations in practicing God’s words. Most people are only abiding by the rules and regulations and only know how to do so, thinking that doing so is practicing the truth. Man’s treating abiding by the rules and regulations as practicing the truth proves that he does not understand the truth, and neither does he understand the essence of God’s word, God’s will in His word and what He actually requires of man. Man thus takes God’s word and requirements as a set of rules and regulations to abide by, thinking that doing so is practicing the truth. Thus, man would remain unable to gain the truth and unable to truly live by God’s word no matter how many years he has believed in God. What is the problem that causes man not to be able to understand the truth? It is that man does not pursue the truth. Some, on the other hand, say, “I would like to understand and gain the truth, but I just can’t understand it.” What does this show? It shows that they do not know how to pursue the truth and gain it. Man’s prayers in the course of his fellowshiping with God are all for his own flesh. He asks many things of God, but has never asked God to work the truth into his heart and has never asked the Holy Spirit to enlighten and illuminate him and to reveal God’s word and the truth in his heart. Man’s pursuit is therefore not for gaining the truth but for receiving God’s grace. This way, man is destined not to have the truth or to enter into reality even after having believed in God for many years. Why is it that people are not able to understand the truth after they have listened to sermons for years? Because they have neglected the biggest issue, which is that they have not truly fellowshiped with God and are not honest people before God. This is the root and the key of the problem. That people do not have a true fellowship with God when they are before Him proves that they are too deceitful and they neither love the truth nor are willing to fellowship with God. As a result, most people simply go into religious rituals in fellowship with God. They only talk to themselves when they pray. They pray not to God but for man to hear. When you tell them to pray from their heart, they seem to understand, “I know how to pray this time. Praying means to tell God what is in our heart rather than to conduct a religious ritual.” Though they say that they understand, their practice still looks like a religious ritual. Such people pray for as long a time as religious people do. Religious people can pray for ten, twenty or even thirty minutes, and nowadays some preachers and church workers can pray for just as long. What is the problem here? Why do they still engage in religious rituals even after having listened to sermons for such a long time? What does this show? This shows that they are not honest and upright. They are not honest people and only say words that deceive God. They say that they understand God’s will and know how to live before Him and pray, but what they practice is still religious rituals. This is even more serious. Some people even compete with one another. “I will pray for fifteen minutes if you do so for ten. I will pray more eloquently than you do. I’ll see whose prayer is more eloquent.” Can these people actually understand the truth? It is hard to say, and it is troublesome. Now I have my doubts about such people. Where does this kind of person’s problem lie? Why can’t they understand the truth? Finally I am certain about this: They are not honest before God, and they are too crafty and full of deceit. As they are not honest people, they cannot gain the truth. As they are not honest people, they do not truly love the truth. This is the root of the problem. When a person who truly loves the truth prays to and fellowships with God, he speaks and expends effort in order to pursue and seek the truth. His thoughts are on seeking the truth. When a person who does not love the truth prays to God, he only speaks things for show and goes through the motions. He practices deceit and fraud to show people and seek their approval. Such people are dishonest and too deceitful. Therefore, only by being an honest person can one pursue the truth, have true fellowship with God, be enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit and receive the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the most basic. If a person has no entry into the truth and does not have the reality of God’s word after he has believed in God and listened to sermons for a few years, it shows that he is not honest and is not one who pursues and truly loves the truth. Is this not the case? It is absolutely so. … Honest people pursue the truth because they love the truth. What about dishonest people? They do not love the truth. They like doctrines. They like to explain things to people and do things for people. They like to show off. So, they focus on speaking. Isn’t this being a phony person? Isn’t this being a deceitful person? Deceitful people are concerned about their outward appearance. Just like the Pharisees, they prayed for show. They prayed in intersections so that everyone could see them pray, so that people from everywhere could see them pray. They appeared to be so devout on the outside! But what were they actually doing? They were being total cheats and total phonies. Honest people love the truth. When in the presence of God, they do not have the heart to do any other things except for pursuing the truth, trying to grasp God’s will, and having a willingness to satisfy God. They don’t harbor so many cunning plots, they do not have so many selfish and despicable ideas. They have pure hearts. In everything, they just ponder over this one thought: “How can I satisfy God? What exactly is God’s will?” If they don’t understand, they pray continuously and ponder over it continuously until they have figured it out. Aren’t people like this honest people? Therefore, honest people love the truth, so they will surely pursue the truth. In their prayers before God, they do not ask for anything besides pursuing and seeking the truth. If you ask them to not seek the truth or to not grasp God’s will in their prayers, they will feel they have nothing to say, for they feel that these are the only things that they can do before God, they feel that it is pointless and hollow to do anything else besides these things. They are not willing to do false things. Those deceitful people are not like this. They are always boasting and showing off before God, speaking of their own reasoning, telling their abilities, and showing off their achievements. In fact, everything they do is for others to see, they want others to approve them, praise them and listen to them. All those who do not pursue the truth, do not seek and try to grasp God’s will, and do not thirst for the truth before God are deceitful people, phony people, hypocritical people. Therefore, such people show no progress after having listened to sermons for a few years. Are you clear what the root of the problem is now? Some people say, “They are rather fervent in pursuing the truth.” There are some of you who say that, aren’t there? Let me ask you then: Why don’t we find any progress in them if they did? Does God practice favoritism? Is He unfair in treating people? What kind of people pursues the truth then? Is it the one who prays for a long time? No, the key lies in whether he is an honest person. An honest person may speak but a few words when he prays before God, but he speaks from his heart. A deceitful person speaks a hundred or a thousand sentences but not one sentence is from the heart. All that he speaks are falsehoods, deceits and lies, aren’t they? Now we are certain that if one is an honest person, he can surely open his heart to God and seek the truth before Him, and he is a person who pursues the truth. So only a truly honest person is one who loves the truth and pursues it and one who is willing to practice the truth. If we can neither see how someone practices the truth nor any testimony of doing so in him although he promises to do so and speaks nice words during prayers, what is the problem here? This proves that he is not one who practices the truth. … By being an honest person one is able to have true fellowship with God. Only by being an honest person is one able to truly receive the work and the leading of the Holy Spirit. If he possesses the truth, he shall be used by the Holy Spirit. Only if someone is an honest person is he one who truly loves and practices the truth. Does a deceitful person love the truth? What deceitful person do you see loves the truth? Find me one. A deceitful person does not love the truth. The truth seems to be the preserve of an honest person. A deceitful person would not be able to get possession of or obtain it even if he tried to, because his way does not conform with or match the truth. A deceitful person’s actions resist and oppose the truth, and so his actions surely contravene the truth. Let us observe some other people. Look at all those who have been a leader or worker in God’s family but who do not have the truth and the testimony of practicing the truth and are dishonest people. Do their actions not contravene the truth? Do their actions not oppose the truth? They very well do. They all contravene and oppose the truth. We often had this saying in the past, “All those who do not bear witness for God and exalt God are antichrists.” Why is this so? It is because if they do not bear witness for God and exalt God, they would surely show off themselves, work for their own status, and speak for their own status, for their own reputation and for the protection of their own interests. Is this not being hostile to God? Therefore, it is appropriate and totally fitting to say that they are antichrists. Now we can say that all deceitful people are antichrists. Even if they have not done too many things that antichrists do right now, we will eventually see clearly that the path that they are on is the path of antichrists. Can you see clearly now? Only by being an honest person can you love the truth and practice it. A deceitful person does not love the truth, much less can he practice it. This is the relationship between being an honest person and practicing the truth.
Ten Aspects of Practice of and Entry Into Being an Honest Person
Next, we will fellowship about the ten aspects of practice of and entry into being an honest person. The first aspect that one should practice and enter into in being an honest person is that he must have a conscience and reason before God and honor God as the greatest in his heart and must be able to repay God for His love. This is the first aspect that one must practice and enter into. Can one live before God if he does not have a conscience and reason before Him? He cannot. What, then, do you have to base your living before God on? On having a sincere and honest heart as well as reason. What, then, is reason? It is to know what man is, where he should stand and how he should treat God. This is the reason that man should have. Man is only able to truly live before God if he has a conscience and reason. Can the great red dragon achieve this if it is asked to live before God? No, it cannot. Why not? It has no conscience and does not care for it, that’s why. It has no reason to speak of as it does not know God or even opposes Him, and it is therefore not able to truly live before God. Some say, “Isn’t it present before God even though it is not able to truly live before Him?” It does not acknowledge the existence of God. It regards itself as the boss in its heart. The great red dragon has no God in its heart, and so it is utterly lawless. It does not live before God, because it has no God in its heart. Having God in the heart is the key. What does “having God in the heart” require one to possess? Conscience and reason. Look at the person with God in his heart. He offers genuine prayers when he prays to God. He is praying truly to God and fellowshiping sincerely with Him. His tears flow as he prays on, and he even weeps. Is that not a true heart? Ask a person who does not acknowledge the existence of God to pray to Him and you will see what pretense is. He is only pretending to pray but says in his heart that there is no God. Is that not the case? … The first aspect that is required for being an honest person: Having a conscience and reason, honoring God as the greatest in the heart and being able to repay God for His love. A person would have a heart that reveres God if he honors God as the greatest in his heart, and during his fellowship with God, he would be able to submit to God and be willing to satisfy God and repay God for His love in his heart. Would he have a heart that reveres God if he does not honor God as the greatest or have God in his heart? Definitely not. Would he be able to repay God’s love if he does not have a heart that reveres Him? He wouldn’t as well, because God is not in his heart. If a man does not have God in his heart, everything would be over, and he has nothing at all. Many people are moved to tears when they count God’s blessings. “Oh, God has treated me with such grace and has blessed me with so much!” They are rather touched, but they remain unwilling to consider God’s will afterward and are unwilling to take up His entrustment to fulfill their own duties well. They remain unable to repay God for His love. Does this kind of person have a conscience? A person without a conscience would forget about God even if God has fulfilled his petitions and prayers, and he would also forget about God when it is time to repay God for His love. Such a person has no conscience. A person without a conscience is not an honest person. He is a deceitful person with a black heart, isn’t he? How does the saying go? A “white-eyed wolf.”[a] Do you like a person without a conscience? “No, we don’t.” Nobody can befriend a person without a conscience. He would not be touched no matter how much good you do for him. He would forget about it afterward. A person without a conscience is like that, and he thus has not one bit of reason and humanity. For the first aspect, you must have a conscience and reason, honor God as the greatest in your heart and be able to repay God for His love. This is the first aspect of entry into being an honest person, and it is rather crucial. How should one enter into this aspect? You should first check yourself to see: Do you have a conscience before God? What aspects of reason should you have? Do you really honor God as the greatest in your heart? How much have you repaid God for His love? You should start to enter into and practice these now.
The second aspect of being an honest person that one must practice and enter into is that before God, he must practice opening up artlessly and offer his heart to God and he must never lie or cheat. The most important part of the second aspect is in offering one’s heart to God. Have you offered your heart to God right now? Are you truly able to open up artlessly before God? Can you bring all the things that you do before Him? Can you truly open up artlessly during your fellowship with God in all major matters and allow Him to make the decisions? Have you practiced all these? If not, can you say that such a person is one of the same mind with God? Isn’t he going against God since he is not able to give his heart to Him? Aren’t the things he says and does before God all lies and deceit since he is not able to give his heart to Him? Is such a person an honest one? Therefore, all those who do not give their hearts to God are not honest people, they are crooked ones, and they are not of one mind with Him. Thus, the second aspect of being an honest person that one must practice and enter into is that before God, he must practice opening up artlessly and give his heart to Him and he must never lie or cheat. If you do not enter into and practice this aspect, you are not an honest person. Many people are not willing to give their hearts to God and always hold back before Him. They always hold back, holding back their opinions and choices as well as their own intentions and aims, in whatever matters, no matter how they pray to God. They are not able to bring these things before God. Such people are undoubtedly never able to be of one mind with God but are in opposition against Him instead. If they are not able to be of one mind with God and give their hearts to Him, are the words they say sincere? Are their prayers from the heart? They are all lies and deceit. This is without a doubt. A person is definitely not an honest one if he is not able to practice this aspect. …
The third aspect of being an honest person that one must practice and enter into is to be able to keep the promises and oaths made before God and to carry them out, and not to be perfunctory or slipshod when performing one’s duty. This aspect is crucial as well. Have we made many promises and oaths before God in the past? “Yes, many.” Were we able to carry them out? “No.” They were not carried out. What is the problem here? On the one hand, it is not being able to keep our promises and not being trustworthy, and on the other hand, it is telling all sorts of lies to deceive and fool God. These two mistakes have been made. Everyone makes many promises and oaths before God but is not able to keep them and carry them out, and we are also perfunctory and slipshod when performing our duties. We are truly corrupt humans. All that we reveal through our words and deeds are corrupt dispositions. Is a person an honest one if he is not able to practice the third aspect? Absolutely not. He only tells lies to deceive God; he does not keep his promises, and His oaths mean nothing. Isn’t this always lying to God and making empty promises to fool Him? Such a person is dishonest, and very much so! The words that an honest person says come from his heart, and he is responsible for what he says. He is able to keep his promises and fulfill at least over half of them. Such is an honest person. … Being able to keep the promises and oaths made before God and carry them out and not being perfunctory or slipshod in performing one’s duty—is this aspect not what one who practices being an honest person should enter into? It surely is so. Thus, if you are not able to practice this aspect, are you an honest person? You are not if you are not able to practice this aspect. This is certain. How, then, should one enter into this aspect? How should one carry it out? You must come before God once again and pray to Him, saying, “I have not been able to keep the promises and oaths made before You. I said those words in a moment of enthusiasm and blind passion, and the words just came out of my mouth. I was not able to be responsible for what I said. This is a transgression, and may God forgive me and have mercy on me. I shall hereby make promises and oaths before God once again.” The words that you say must be in appropriate measure and not exaggerated. Exaggerations are useless. Just say what you can do and do not exaggerate. For example, you have not been able to find a job now, and you say, “God, I’ll stop looking for a job. I shall serve You all my life.” Do not say this as it is impractical. What if you need a job? What if you are not suitable to serve God? What do you do then? You are still not an honest person and understand too little of the truth, and your life experience is too superficial. You are not able to witness for God. What should you do? Can you not look for a job? Some things must not be spoken frivolously. Do not say what you cannot do. If you happen not to be able to do what you have said, you should say, “God, may You help me and have mercy on me. Please give me strength. I am willing to keep my promises.” You must do your best to fulfill the things that you said and be able to carry out at least over half of what you promised. Since you have made an oath, you have to be able to pay the price; if you do fail to fulfill it, you have to be able to suffer the consequences and must be willing to accept God’s punishment. Do not make the oath if you are not able to take the pain. Do not make an oath blindly. You must not be perfunctory and slipshod in fulfilling your own duty. You should at least be able to do that, shouldn’t you? Whatever the duty is, be it spreading the gospel, serving as a leader or worker, or providing hospitality, you must fulfill it with all your heart and to the best of your ability. You should expend your greatest effort to fulfill your duty and not be perfunctory or slipshod. If you do things for people in a slipshod way, they are not happy about it, and they are able to see it. If you do things for God in the same way, as God searches the innermost heart of man, He sees it more clearly. You must keep the promises and oaths you make before God and be able to carry them out, and you must fulfill your own duty without being perfunctory or slipshod. You can be said to be an honest person if you can enter into this aspect. Otherwise, you are definitely not an honest person, but one who exaggerates and tells lies to deceive God.
The fourth aspect of practice of and entry into being an honest person is that one must be trustworthy in everything that he submits to God and let Him make the decisions, and one must not be two-faced, saying one thing but doing another. You must be trustworthy in the matters that you submit to God and carry them out in accordance with His will. You cannot say that you have submitted the matter to God but think another way in your heart and do something against what you have said. You must not do anything against God’s will, for that is an expression of betrayal of Him. You must let God make the decisions for the matters that you have submitted to Him. This is being an honest person. You are not an honest person if you cannot even do this, because if you cannot carry out the matters you have entrusted to God in accordance with His requirements or cannot do them according to His requirements and His word, you are then deceiving God. You are a betrayer who does something against God. Man has Satan’s nature now and everyone can be two-faced and say one thing but do another. This is what man is good at. Man has always been deceitful in the way he does things, and so if the art of war could be used, we can say that men these days would all be experts, for everyone is crafty and deceitful, and each person is more so than the other. Do you think such a person is an honest one? Therefore, “one must be trustworthy in everything that he submits to God and let Him make the decisions, and one must not be two-faced, saying one thing but doing another,” this is what man must enter into. You are not an honest person if you do not enter into this aspect. Be trustworthy in everything that you submit to God. What, then, are the matters that you submit to God? If you submit your own future and destiny to God but pursue the world after you have done so, is that not being two-faced, saying one thing but doing another? If you have submitted yourself to God for Him to use and lead, but then you do something else and do not fulfill your duty and serve God, is that not being two-faced? Are you not going against God? This is acting in rebellion, the same as what Satan did. Since you have dedicated yourself to God, you should follow God. You should no longer follow yourself. Do not pursue the world and follow Satan any more. Do not slave or pay the price for your own future and destiny, and do not exhaust yourself for the pursuit of fame and status, any longer. Some people dedicated their children to God but dislike for them to practice their faith and pursue the truth properly. They want their children to enroll in universities and pursue the future and prestige in the world. Is that dedicating their children to God? They talk about dedicating their children to God, yet do something else on the other hand; this is deceit. Therefore, if a man is not able to carry out the fourth aspect, that is, if he is not able to be trustworthy in the matters that he has submitted to God, and he still makes his own decisions and does something else, such a person is not an honest one. If a person practices and has entered into this fourth aspect, he is an honest person. If a person fails to meet God’s requirements in his practice of and entry into it even in the end, it proves that he is not an honest person, but one who is crafty and deceives God. This aspect is also a rather crucial one of being an honest person, and so it has also to be entered into.
The fifth aspect of practice of and entry into being an honest person is that you must submit everything for God to manage and control, let Him make the decisions and not do something else in violation of God’s will. What does “everything” entail when you submit everything to Him? It includes your person, work and future, your time from then on as well as what you should do and which path you should take; all these things must be submitted to God. This is what submitting everything to Him means. The people with such requests are usually those who are especially fervent in pursuing the truth, and only those who pursue to be perfected can achieve this. Most people are not willing to submit everything to God. Some people believe in God but have strayed from the way. They go to look for a good job, pursue new knowledge somewhere, look for ways to earn money or enjoy a certain kind of lifestyle. See, they go on their own way into the world. Is that not turning their backs on God? Some people are willing to offer themselves to God and expend themselves for Him all their lives. However, they become downhearted when they encounter setbacks or pruning and dealing and are no longer willing to expend themselves for God, thinking that it is too difficult to do so, and that they are not able to follow their own desires and their hearts. They think that the path is not right and they should not have taken it, as they do not like it. Are such people honest ones before God? Since you have promised God and submitted everything to Him, you must keep your word and remain steadfast in expending yourself for Him no matter what setbacks you encounter and suffering you go through, like some people who say, “I would rather die in the house of God if I have to.” Such people make their words count, don’t you think so? Why do you encounter setbacks? Why do you encounter pruning and dealing? It is because you do not walk the straight and upright path, and you have only yourself to blame. Furthermore, because you do not walk the straight and upright path, you encounter pruning and dealing, but this is God’s love descending upon you. Why can’t you see that? You wish to dedicate yourself to God, but then wish to follow your own desires and preferences in serving God and expending yourself for Him. Would this work? No, it wouldn’t. Your way is not fit for use by God. Your words and actions do not conform to God’s will, and He would thus prune and deal with you. He would judge and chastise you. This is determined by His righteous disposition. If a person does not walk the straight and upright path and receives pruning and dealing as well as judgment and chastisement, how should he take it then? “He should thank God for it.” You have to see God’s love and salvation in it. If you do not see God’s love and always think that people are going against and finding fault with you, it proves that you do not know God and do not have spiritual understanding. Your perspective is materialistic when you look at things. You can neither see what is going on in the spiritual realm nor what the hand of God is doing. You do not have spiritual understanding. The process of expending yourself for God is also one of receiving His salvation and perfection. Thus, those who sincerely expend themselves for God in His house would be pruned and dealt with as well as judged and chastised no matter what duty they fulfill. This is certain. …
The sixth aspect that one must practice and enter into in being an honest person is that when expending himself for God, one must not speak of conditions or take it as a transaction but give to God willingly. One has true conscience and reason if he is able to enter into this aspect. Otherwise, it proves that all that he does is not for satisfying God and carrying out His will but with conditions, as a transaction and with motives. If a man’s expending himself for God is transactional and tainted with his motives, is such a person an honest one? No, he is not. He is one who deceives and resists God. Was Paul’s expending himself for God—preaching the gospel and witnessing for God—transactional? Did it come with conditions? What were his conditions? “If I fulfilled this duty and kept the faith, You must bestow the crown of righteousness upon me. It is not negotiable.” See, he had this condition and motive. In addition, under what conditions and background did he accept the commission of witnessing for Jesus? Why had he not witnessed for Jesus in the past? He had even resisted Jesus and sought to arrest Him. Was he then sincere in witnessing for Jesus later on? No, he was under compulsion because Jesus manifested Himself from heaven when Paul was on his way to Damascus. Paul saw that Jesus was the Lord; He was the Christ. Jesus then commissioned Paul to spread the gospel, and he had no choice but to witness for God. Paul accepted the commission and promised to expend himself for God only after he saw God’s manifestation. He resisted Jesus before he saw what He did. He was opposing Jesus then. He only believed in Jesus and accepted the commission after seeing what he saw. What did that show? It showed that he was under compulsion. He did not do what he did in faith and sincerity. Thus, when people these days expend themselves for God, if they do it without conditions and not as striking a deal with Him but with a willing heart, they are people with a conscience and reason. If anyone does not meet this aspect, he is not an honest person. He is deceiving God and transacting with Him. He has his own motives, and is a betrayer of God. Is it easy to achieve this aspect? It is for an honest person but not for a deceitful one. When a deceitful person sees this, he would think, “If I do it without conditions and not as striking a deal, would I not suffer a loss? No way. What if I end up gaining nothing after I have paid too huge a price? There is no security in this.” So he would hold back for himself, leave himself a way to turn around or retreat, and try to have room for maneuver. This is Satan’s scheme. When a man with Satan’s scheme within him expends himself for God, the result would be that he would be eliminated by God as he is used by Satan to test God. Once a man treats God with Satan’s scheme within him, he is finished. He would be condemned and eliminated by God. Therefore, expending oneself for God willingly without conditions and not as striking a deal with Him is what must be entered into in being an honest person. If you are not able to enter into this, you are not an honest person. This is certain.
The seventh aspect that one must practice and enter into in being an honest person is that one should not complain and never regret regardless of whether disasters, misfortunes or blessings come upon him, or what his outcome is. When doing things or expending himself for God, an honest person does not mind what his outcome will be and the prices to be paid, and he attaches no conditions at all; even if he gains nothing in the end, or even if he is to die, he will not complain. This is an honest person. People like to make friends with honest people. Why is this so? An honest person treats his friends with a conscience, unlike a deceitful person. An honest person would go through pain and suffering for his friends, and so people like to make friends with honest people. An honest person is faithful to God. He will have no complaints and will never regret no matter what his outcome will be, be it suffering misfortune or receiving blessings, and thus God likes an honest person. When a person starts to serve God, as he has quit his job and given up his career and family, he would often think at this point, “Oh, what future will I have? What will my outcome be?” He would keep thinking about this. “What would happen to me if I gained nothing in the end?” He cannot help but to think and contemplate about his own future. Sometimes through prayer he could overcome this and not think about the future. He would be willing to offer everything to God no matter what his outcome may be. Let death be the end of a life spent expending himself for God. An honest person is simple. He would think, “I will expend myself for God without caring how God will treat me. If I receive blessings, that will be God’s grace. Otherwise, it must be because I haven’t done well enough. I must have done too much evil, and I have only myself to blame. God is righteous, and I cannot complain against Him.” Such is the thinking of an honest person. What would a deceitful person think then? A deceitful person treats everything he does as a transaction. His principle is to not be on the losing end of the deal and be able to get the most out of it or take advantage of others. Therefore, he does not want to lose out but only want to gain when he expends himself for God. This is the principle behind how a deceitful person acts. So, if a person really achieves the seventh aspect, if he truly “expends himself for God and never complains or regrets regardless of whether disasters, misfortunes or blessings come upon him, or what his outcome is,” is this not an honest person? He definitely is. Is he an honest person if he is not able to achieve this aspect? Definitely not. Is it not accurate to measure whether a person is honest or not in this way? A deceitful person would never do things in which he would suffer loss. An honest person would bear the risks at critical points in the things that he does without caring about how his wife and children are. Are you able to achieve this aspect when you expend yourselves for God now? What is on your mind if you are still not able to? Do you think about whether you would have expended yourself for God in vain if you gained nothing in the end? Do you think about this? “Wouldn’t I have suffered great loss if others are blessed for expending themselves for God while I gained nothing? I’d much rather enjoy my life with my wife and kids.” Have you ever entertained such thoughts? Thus, if a person is able to practice and carry out this seventh aspect, he is definitely an honest person. This is certain. If he is not able to, he is definitely not an honest person. Some people always leave a way out for themselves when they serve God. If they see their own wives (husbands) and children suffer at home when they pay a little price in serving God, they would become negative. “Look, here I am serving God and my husband (wife) and children are suffering at home. Who takes care of them?” When they encounter such a situation, they would become negative and complain against God, “I serve God but He doesn’t care about me. What do you think I should do? Should I still expend myself for God?” Is a person who entertains such a thought an honest one? Does he have the truth? Were you the one who took care of your family? Were they not under the blessing of God? Are you capable of taking care of them? Is it not because of God’s protection that you are alive and well now? There is no telling what might have happened to your family had it not been for God’s grace. You cannot even be sure if they would still be alive now. All mankind would have been destroyed by Satan. Do you believe this? “We believe!” Why can’t he see it then? Why can’t he? Those without the truth are blind, aren’t they? They are blind and could see nothing. They could see neither how great God’s grace is nor how highly He has protected them. They could not see how greatly God has blessed them. God has led and provided for mankind and kept them alive, but they could not see it. They behave as if they were the ones who protected their family and kept it safe, that is, they were the one who brought about peace for their family. Are they not blind? Therefore, if a person is not able to achieve this aspect, he is definitely not an honest person. Man would not be able to achieve this aspect or put it into practice if he does not pursue the truth in earnest and he fails to meet God’s requirements, completely offer himself to God and expend himself for Him. This is the seventh aspect, and if one is not able to practice it, he is not an honest person. Only the one who is able to practice this seventh aspect is an honest person.
The eighth aspect that one must practice and enter into in being an honest person is that he must have the courage to accept God’s examination in all things and to swear an oath to God in critical matters, guaranteeing that he would be faithful to God and remain steadfast to such faithfulness. This is a very important aspect as well. Some people do not have the courage to accept God’s examination in the things that they do. They do not have such courage; are they not up to some trick? They do not dare to come under the light as they are up to some trick, and thus they do not have the courage to accept God’s examination. An honest person has the courage to accept God’s examination in the things that he does and swear an oath to Him in critical matters, guaranteeing that he would be faithful to God and remain steadfast to such faithfulness. Only an honest person would be able to carry out this aspect. If someone is not able to, he is not an honest person. He is far from being such a one. A person who cannot be faithful to God, who easily becomes disloyal to God and always betrays Him when he encounters major issues, is not an honest person.
The ninth aspect that one must practice and enter into in being an honest person is that one must be able to absolutely believe that God is the truth and is righteous, and must never judge or complain against God regardless of whether he understands and is able to see it or not. This aspect is also a standard for being an honest person. Only an honest person is able to believe, under any circumstances, that God is the truth and is righteous, and that He can never be wrong. He is able to believe in many matters that God cannot be wrong even if he is not able to see or understand what God is doing, and that it can never be wrong to obey God. He will surely not judge or complain against God in whatever matter, however incapable he is of understanding it thoroughly. What is the greatest weakness of corrupted man? He tries to be smart even when he does not understand anything thoroughly, and acts as if he knows when he doesn’t, and he judges and complains against God even when he is unable to discern and understand anything. Is this not the greatest weakness of corrupted man? Why do you complain against God when you are not able to discern and understand anything? Furthermore, do not pretend that you know and understand when you are not able to discern and understand anything. When you are not able to discern and understand anything, you should not complain against God, because you do not understand and cannot discern it. On what grounds do you complain against God when you do not understand and cannot discern anything? You complain against God all because you think that you understand and think that God has done wrong when you look at a certain matter, believing that God should not have done such a thing. That is why you complain against God. Man judges and complains against God when he does not understand and cannot discern anything. What does this show? It shows that man is too arrogant and full of himself! He is too irrational! Man is too bold to keep thinking of judging and belittling God. Does it not reveal what a man is whether or not he can truly believe that God is the truth and is righteous? It certainly does and very much so! Only an honest person believes that God is absolutely the truth and is absolutely righteous, and regardless of whether he is able to understand and see it clearly or not, he would never judge God, and he believes in his heart that God would never be wrong, because He is God, and He is almighty. A deceitful person likes to doubt God. He doubts man and even God in everything. What is the most distinct characteristic of a deceitful person? A deceitful person likes to doubt and believes too much in himself. He likes to doubt others. Can you now still judge God in matters that you cannot understand thoroughly? … Are you able to truly believe that God is the truth and that all that He does is the truth and is righteous when you encounter some matters that do not conform to man’s notions? This is a question that reveals much what a man is. Only an honest person is able to believe that God is never and would never be wrong in whatever matters, no matter how they fail to conform to man’s notions. It is but that man is too foolish and fails to discern anything. Man cannot access the spiritual world directly, and the truth that he understands is too little. The truth that he understands is but a drop in the ocean. He is not able to fathom even a little of God’s almightiness and wisdom, because God is too great and man is too insignificant. Thus, he remains reverent and fearful of God and obeys Him, and he does not judge God at all. If someone is able to do that, he would not judge God in any circumstances, no matter how they do not conform to man’s notions, and he would obey God with reverence and fear in his heart. Is this an honest person? He is. If a person is not able to achieve this aspect and judges and complains against God when he encounters some matters that do not conform to man’s notions, is such a person an honest one? He is not. He is a deceitful person, a particularly deceitful one. A deceitful person always doubts God and doubts His power and righteousness. He doubts whether what God does is the truth and whether His words can come true and be fulfilled. The deceitful person always doubts God. An honest person believes whatever God says, and even if he is not able to see how God’s word would come true, he believes that God’s word would be fulfilled. He believes that God’s word would never be wrong and is the truth. Why can many people offer up everything and expend themselves for God when they believe in Him? They can do so because they are honest people who believe in God. Why are some people not able to offer up their whole being and expend themselves for God even after they have believed in Him for many years? Why is this so? It is because they doubt God and do not trust in Him, and so they hold back in everything that they do and leave a path for retreat for themselves. What do people call those who are too deceitful? “The hold-backers” and “the retreaters.” They are right! What are the matters in which you have held yourselves back? What are the matters in which you have left a path for retreat for yourselves? You should reflect on yourselves. Suppose someone believes that God is the truth and is righteous and he does not doubt or judge God at all no matter what situation he encounters. Is such a person an honest one? He certainly is if he is able to achieve this aspect. If one is not able to, it shows sufficiently that he is a deceitful person instead of an honest one. Look at those who like to judge and doubt God if you do not believe so. See if such people are honest ones. Have a look at them, and it would be clear to you if they are honest or deceitful ones. …
The tenth aspect that one must practice and enter into in being an honest person is remaining a good witness of God by being faithful and obedient to Him even till death through various trials and disasters. This is the last criterion. An honest person is one who is able to remain faithful to and not leave God even in death and to obey Him even till death, thus bearing a good and resounding testimony for God, through various disasters and trials. If one complains against and doubts God, and judges and betrays Him when he encounters various trials and disasters, he is not an honest person. He is definitely a deceitful one. Therefore, it will be revealed through various trials and disasters who are honest people, who have true faith in God and who truly believe that God is the truth and is righteous. Honest people will be able to obey and remain faithful to God even till death, and be able to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Such people will be blessed by God. Deceitful people will start to complain against God and become negative and distant from Him in various disasters and trials, and they will be eventually exposed and eliminated and fall into darkness weeping and gnashing their teeth. This is the fate of deceitful people. Some people are captured by the great red dragon, and they completely deny God and betray Him as they are not able to withstand the physical torment while they are in captivity. They even serve Satan in the end—they betray the brothers and sisters and help the great red dragon to capture them. Have they not been exposed? They have, and this proves that they are not honest people but deceitful ones. Some people betray a little due to their weakness, but they do not service Satan. They still pray to God and believe in Him in their hearts. They betray a little because they are too immature in life and weak. Not serving Satan is equivalent to bearing witness for God. Those who serve Satan and have become thorough betrayers and even work for Satan are completely eliminated and totally finished. Therefore, whether a man has gained the truth and is an honest person is revealed through trials. Those who completely betray God and are used by Satan during trials are the ones who are exposed and eliminated. They are the deceitful people who are not truly pursuing the truth. In the past, there had been brothers and sisters in prison who became betrayers as they were weak. They were pricked by their conscience later on and repented in tears. They swore before God and asked Him to put them in another adverse environment so that they might have a chance to bear a good testimony for Him and to satisfy Him once. They thus prayed to God and were, in the end, able to pursue the truth and perform their duties as they had done before, and they also received the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people became betrayers because their statures were too small, and they regretted in their hearts after their betrayal and hated themselves. They even swore to let God punish and destroy them. They asked God to give them another trial so that they could stand firm through it and repay God’s love for them. Such people are also honest ones. Deceitful people choose the wrong path for themselves and betray God for a moment’s pleasure and comfort. Afterward, they feel no pain but a sense of great pity and regret that they will not be able to receive any blessings. However, they do not regret their evil deeds, and neither do they hate themselves for them. Are such people not deceitful ones? They are deceitful people who have been exposed. Therefore, the various trials will fully reveal whether a man is an honest person and whether he is one who pursues the truth.
The above are the ten aspects of practice of and entry into being an honest person. If a person has entered into all these ten aspects and has the reality in them, he is an honest person without a doubt. He is one who has been saved and perfected by God. If a person has not entered into even a little of the ten aspects and has not even a little to do with them, he is eliminated without a doubt. He is not an honest person but a deceitful one. Do our pursuit of the truth and being an honest person not appear very important now for our entry into the various aspects of the truth? It is very important, very critical. What is the relationship between being an honest person and practicing and entering into the truth? It should be clear to you now. Only by being an honest person can one pursue and enter into the truth. If anyone who experiences God’s work in His house is not one who pursues and enters into the truth, it is then destined and revealed that he is definitely not an honest person. Only an honest person is able to gain and possess the truth. A deceitful person can never gain the truth. Therefore, being an honest person is the most basic of conditions for the practice of and entry into all truths.
a. In Chinese, it means one who bites the hand that feeds him or an ungrateful, heartless villain.