5. Faith in God Should Not Only Be for Seeking Peace and Blessings
Relevant Words of God:
What is it that man has gained since he first began believing in God? What have you come to know about God? How much have you changed because of your belief in God? Today, you all know that man’s belief in God is not solely for the salvation of the soul and the well-being of the flesh, nor is it to enrich his life through loving God, and so on. As it stands, if you love God for the sake of the well-being of the flesh or momentary pleasure, then even if, in the end, your love for God reaches its peak and you ask for nothing more, this love that you seek is still an adulterated love and not pleasing to God. Those who use love for God to enrich their dull existence and fill a void in their hearts are the kind of people who are greedy for a life of ease, not those who truly seek to love God. Love of this kind is forced, it is the pursuit of mental gratification, and God has no need of it. What kind of love, then, is yours? For what do you love God? How much true love for God is there within you right now? The love of the great majority of you is of the aforementioned kind. Such love can only maintain the status quo; it cannot achieve immutability, nor can it take root in man. This kind of love is only like a flower that blooms and withers without bearing fruit. In other words, after you have loved God once in such a way, if there is no one to lead you on the path ahead, then you will collapse. If you can only love God in the time of loving God but afterward your life disposition remains unchanged, then you will remain unable to escape from the shroud of the influence of darkness, you will remain unable to break free from Satan’s bonds and its trickery. No one such as this can be fully gained by God; in the end, their spirit, soul, and body will still belong to Satan. There can be no doubt about this. All those who cannot be fully gained by God will return to their original place, that is, back to Satan, and they will go down to the lake of fire and brimstone to accept the next step of punishment from God. Those gained by God are those who forsake Satan and escape from its domain. They are officially numbered among the people of the kingdom. This is how the people of the kingdom come to be.
from “What Viewpoint Believers Ought to Hold” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today, to believe in the practical God, you must set foot on the right track. If you believe in God, you should not only seek blessings, but to love God and know God. Through His enlightenment, through your own individual seeking, you can eat and drink His word, develop a real understanding of God, and have a real love of God that comes from your inmost heart. In other words, when your love for God is most genuine, and no one can destroy or stand in the way of your love for Him, at this time you are on the right track in your belief in God. This proves that you belong to God, for your heart is already in God’s possession and nothing else can then take possession of you. Through your experience, through the price you have paid, and through the work of God, you are able to develop an unbidden love for God—and when you do, you will become free from the influence of Satan and will come to live in the light of God’s word. Only when you have broken free from the influence of darkness can you be said to have gained God. In your belief in God, you must try to seek this goal. This is the duty of each of you. None of you should be satisfied with the current state of affairs. You cannot be of two minds toward the work of God, nor can you regard it lightly. You should think of God in all respects and at all times, and do all things for His sake. And whenever you speak or act, you should place the interests of the house of God first. Only thus can you be after God’s heart.
from “You Ought to Live for the Truth Since You Believe in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Someone who serves God should not only know how to suffer for Him; more than that, they should understand that the purpose of believing in God is to pursue a love of God. God makes use of you not just to refine you or for the sake of making you suffer, but rather He makes use of you so that you may know His actions, know the true significance of human life, and in particular, so that you may know that serving God is not an easy task. Experiencing God’s work is not about enjoying grace, but rather about suffering for your love of Him. Since you enjoy God’s grace, you must also enjoy His chastisement; you must experience all of this. You can experience God’s enlightenment in you, and you can also experience how He deals with you and judges you. In this way, your experience will be comprehensive. God has carried out His work of judgment and chastisement upon you. God’s word has dealt with you, but not only that; it has also enlightened and illuminated you. When you are negative and weak, God worries for you. All of this work is to let you know that everything about man is within God’s orchestrations. You may think that believing in God is about suffering, or doing all manner of things for Him; you might think that the purpose of believing in God is so that your flesh may be at peace, or so that everything in your life runs smoothly, or so that you may be comfortable and at ease in all things. However, none of these are purposes that people should attach to their belief in God. If you believe for these purposes, then your perspective is incorrect, and it is simply impossible for you to be perfected. God’s actions, God’s righteous disposition, His wisdom, His words, and His wondrousness and unfathomableness are all things people ought to understand. Having this understanding, you should use it to rid your heart of all personal demands, hopes, and notions. Only by eliminating these things can you meet the conditions demanded by God, and it is only by doing this that you can have life and satisfy God. The purpose of believing in God is to satisfy Him and to live out the disposition He requires, so that His actions and glory may be manifested through this group of unworthy people. This is the correct perspective for believing in God, and this is also the goal that you should seek. You should have the right viewpoint about believing in God and you should seek to obtain God’s words. You need to eat and drink God’s words and you must be able to live out the truth, and in particular you must be able to see His practical deeds, His wonderful deeds throughout the entire universe, as well as the practical work He does in the flesh. People can, through their practical experiences, appreciate just how God does His work on them and what His will is toward them. The purpose of all of this is to eliminate people’s corrupt satanic disposition. Having cast out all the uncleanliness and unrighteousness inside you, and having cast off your wrong intentions, and having developed true faith in God—only with true faith can you truly love God. You can only genuinely love God on the foundation of your belief in Him. Can you achieve love for God without believing in Him? Since you believe in God, you cannot be muddle-headed about it. Some people become full of vigor as soon as they see that faith in God will bring them blessings, but then lose all energy as soon as they see that they have to suffer refinements. Is that believing in God? Ultimately, you must achieve complete and utter obedience before God in your faith. You believe in God but still have demands of Him, have many religious notions you cannot put down, personal interests you cannot let go of, and still you seek blessings of the flesh and want God to rescue your flesh, to save your soul—these are all behaviors of people who have the wrong perspective. Even though people with religious beliefs have faith in God, they do not seek to change their dispositions and do not pursue knowledge of God, but rather seek only the interests of their flesh. Many among you have faiths that belong in the category of religious convictions; this is not true faith in God. To believe in God, people must possess a heart that is prepared to suffer for Him and the will to give themselves up. Unless people meet these two conditions, their faith in God is not valid, and they will not be able to achieve change in their disposition. Only people who genuinely pursue the truth, seek knowledge of God, and pursue life are those who truly believe in God.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Now do you understand what belief in God is? Does belief in God mean beholding signs and wonders? Does it mean ascending to heaven? Believing in God is not easy in the slightest. Those religious practices should be purged; pursuing the healing of the sick and the casting out of demons, focusing on signs and wonders, coveting more of God’s grace, peace and joy, pursuing the prospects and comforts of the flesh—these are religious practices, and such religious practices are a vague kind of belief. What is real belief in God today? It is the acceptance of God’s word as the reality of your life and the knowing of God from His word in order to achieve a true love of Him. To be clear: Belief in God is so that you may obey God, love God, and perform the duty that should be performed by a creature of God. This is the aim of believing in God. You must achieve a knowledge of the loveliness of God, of how worthy God is of reverence, of how, in His creatures, God does the work of salvation and making them perfect—these are the bare essentials of your belief in God. Belief in God is principally the switch from a life of the flesh to a life of loving God; from living within corruption to living within the life of God’s words; it is coming out from under the domain of Satan and living under the care and protection of God; it is being able to achieve obedience to God and not obedience to the flesh; it is allowing God to gain your entire heart, allowing God to make you perfect, and freeing yourself from the corrupt satanic disposition. Belief in God is principally so that the power and glory of God may be manifested in you, so that you may do God’s will, and accomplish God’s plan, and be able to bear testimony to God before Satan. Belief in God should not revolve around the desire to behold signs and wonders, nor should it be for the sake of your personal flesh. It should be about the pursuit of knowing God, and being able to obey God, and, like Peter, obeying Him until one’s death. These are the main aims of believing in God. One eats and drinks the word of God in order to know God and satisfy Him. Eating and drinking the word of God gives you a greater knowledge of God, only after which can you obey Him. Only with knowledge of God can you love Him, and this is the goal man should have in his belief in God. If, in your belief in God, you are always trying to behold signs and wonders, then the viewpoint of this belief in God is wrong. Belief in God is principally the acceptance of the word of God as the reality of life. The aim of God is only attained by putting into practice the words of God from His mouth and carrying them out within yourself. In believing in God, man should strive to be made perfect by God, to be able to submit to God, and for complete obedience to God. If you can obey God without complaint, be mindful of God’s desires, achieve the stature of Peter, and possess the style of Peter spoken of by God, then that will be when you have achieved success in belief in God, and it will signify that you have been gained by God.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You hope that your faith in God will not entail any challenges or tribulations, or the slightest hardship. You always pursue those things that are worthless, and you attach no value to life, instead putting your own extravagant thoughts before the truth. You are so worthless! You live like a pig—what difference is there between you, and pigs and dogs? Are those who do not pursue the truth, and instead love the flesh, not all beasts? Are those dead ones without spirits not all walking corpses? How many words have been spoken among you? Has only a little work been done among you? How much have I provided among you? So why have you not gained it? What do you have to complain of? Is it not the case that you have gained nothing because you are too in love with the flesh? And is it not because your thoughts are too extravagant? Is it not because you are too stupid? If you are incapable of gaining these blessings, can you blame God for not saving you? What you pursue is to be able to gain peace after believing in God, for your children to be free from illness, for your husband to have a good job, for your son to find a good wife, for your daughter to find a decent husband, for your oxen and horses to plow the land well, for a year of good weather for your crops. This is what you seek. Your pursuit is only to live in comfort, for no accidents to befall your family, for the winds to pass you by, for your face to be untouched by grit, for your family’s crops to not be flooded, for you to be unaffected by any disaster, to live in God’s embrace, to live in a cozy nest. A coward such as you, who always pursues the flesh—do you have a heart, do you have a spirit? Are you not a beast? I give you the true way without asking for anything in return, yet you do not pursue. Are you one of those who believe in God? I bestow real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Are you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit.
from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Just how much do you love God today? And just how much do you know of all that God has done in you? These are the things you should learn. When God arrives on earth, all that He has done in man and allowed man to see is so that man will love Him and truly know Him. That man is able to suffer for God and has been able to come this far is, in one regard, because of God’s love, and in another regard, because of God’s salvation; moreover, it is because of the judgment and the work of chastisement that God has carried out in man. If you are without the judgment, chastisement, and trials of God, and if God has not made you suffer, then, in all honesty you do not truly love God. The greater God’s work in man, and the greater man’s suffering, the more apparent it is just how meaningful God’s work is, and the more that man’s heart is able to truly love God. How do you learn how to love God? Without torment and refinement, without painful trials—and if, furthermore, all that God gave man were grace, love, and mercy—would you be able to reach a point of truly loving God? On one hand, during God’s trials man comes to know his deficiencies and to see that he is insignificant, contemptible, and lowly, that he has nothing and is nothing; on the other hand, during His trials God creates different environments for man that make man more able to experience the loveliness of God. Although the pain is great, and sometimes insurmountable—even reaching the level of crushing grief—having experienced it, man sees how lovely God’s work in him is, and only upon this foundation is there born in man true love for God. Today man sees that with the grace, love, and mercy of God alone, he is incapable of truly knowing himself, and much less is he able to know the substance of man. Only through both the refinement and judgment of God, and during the process of refinement itself, can man know his deficiencies, and know that he has nothing. Thus, man’s love of God is built upon the foundation of the refinement and judgment of God. If you only enjoy the grace of God, having a peaceful family life or material blessings, then you have not gained God, and your belief in God cannot be considered successful. God has already carried out one stage of the work of grace in the flesh, and has already bestowed material blessings upon man, but man cannot be made perfect with grace, love, and mercy alone. In man’s experiences, he encounters some of God’s love and sees the love and mercy of God, yet having experienced for a period of time, he sees that God’s grace and His love and mercy are incapable of making man perfect, incapable of revealing that which is corrupt within man, and incapable of ridding man of his corrupt disposition, or making perfect his love and faith. God’s work of grace was the work of one period, and man cannot rely on enjoying the grace of God in order to know God.
from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Many who follow God are only concerned with how to gain blessings or stave off disaster. As soon as God’s work and management are mentioned, they fall silent and lose all interest. They think that understanding such tedious issues will not help their lives to grow or provide any benefit. Consequently, although they have heard about God’s management, they pay it little heed. They do not see it as something precious to be accepted, much less do they receive it as part of their lives. Such people only have one simple aim in following God, and that aim is to receive blessings. Such people cannot be bothered to pay heed to anything else that does not directly involve this aim. To them, there is no goal more legitimate than believing in God to receive blessings—it is the very value of their faith. If something does not contribute to this aim, they remain completely unmoved by it. This is the case with most people who believe in God today. Their aim and intention seem legitimate, because as they believe in God, they also expend for God, dedicate themselves to God, and perform their duty. They give up their youth, forsake family and career, and even spend years away from home busying themselves. For the sake of their ultimate goal, they change their own interests, their outlook on life, and even the direction they seek; yet they cannot change the aim of their belief in God. They run about for the management of their own ideals; no matter how far the road is, and no matter how many hardships and obstacles there are along the way, they remain persistent and unafraid of death. What power compels them to continue dedicating themselves in this way? Is it their conscience? Is it their great and noble character? Is it their determination to battle the forces of evil to the very end? Is it their faith to bear witness to God without seeking reward? Is it their loyalty in being willing to give up everything to achieve God’s will? Or is it their spirit of devotion to always forgo extravagant personal demands? For someone who has never understood the work of God’s management to still give so much is, quite simply, a miracle! For the moment, let us not discuss how much these people have given. Their behavior, however, is highly worthy of our analysis. Apart from the benefits that are so closely associated with them, could there be any other reasons why people who never understand God would give so much for Him? In this, we discover a previously unidentified problem: Man’s relationship with God is merely one of naked self-interest. It is a relationship between a receiver and a giver of blessings. To put it plainly, it is akin to the relationship between employee and employer. The employee works only to receive the rewards bestowed by the employer. There is no affection in such a relationship, only transaction. There is no loving or being loved, only charity and mercy. There is no understanding, only suppressed indignation and deception. There is no intimacy, only an uncrossable chasm. Now that things have gotten to this point, who can reverse such a course? And how many people are capable of truly understanding how dire this relationship has become? I believe that when people immerse themselves in the joy of being blessed, none can imagine how embarrassing and unsightly such a relationship with God is.
The saddest thing about mankind’s belief in God is that man conducts his own management amidst the work of God and yet pays no heed to God’s management. Man’s biggest failure lies in how, at the same time as seeking to submit to God and worship Him, man is constructing his own ideal destination and plotting how to receive the greatest blessing and the best destination. Even if one understands how pitiable, detestable, and pathetic they are, how many can readily abandon their ideals and hopes? And who are able to halt their own steps and stop from thinking only of themselves? God needs those who will cooperate closely with Him to complete His management. He needs those who will submit to Him by devoting their entire mind and body to the work of His management. He does not need people who hold out their hands to beg from Him every day, much less those who give a little and then wait to be rewarded. God despises those who make a paltry contribution and then rest on their laurels. He hates those cold-blooded people who resent the work of His management and only want to talk about going to heaven and gaining blessings. He has an even greater loathing for those who take advantage of the opportunity presented by the work He does in saving mankind. That’s because these people have never cared about what God wishes to achieve and acquire through the work of His management. They are only concerned with how they can use the opportunity provided by the work of God to gain blessings. They care not about God’s heart, being wholly preoccupied with their own prospects and fate. Those who resent the work of God’s management and lack even the slightest interest in how God saves mankind and His will are only doing what pleases themselves in a way that is detached from the work of God’s management. Their behavior is neither remembered nor approved of by God—much less is it favorably looked upon by God.
from “Man Can Only Be Saved Amidst God’s Management” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What should you pursue now? Whether or not you are capable of bearing witness for God’s work, whether or not you are able to become a testimony and a manifestation of God, and whether or not you are fit to be used by Him—these are the things you should seek. How much work has God really done in you? How much have you seen, how much have you touched? How much have you experienced, and tasted? Regardless of whether God has tested you, dealt with you, or disciplined you, His actions and His work have been carried out on you. But as a believer in God and as someone who is willing to pursue being perfected by Him, are you able to bear witness for God’s work on the basis of your practical experience? Can you live out God’s word through your practical experience? Are you able to provide for others through your own practical experience, and expend your whole life to bear witness for God’s work? To bear witness to God’s work, you must rely on your experience, knowledge, and the price you have paid. Only thus can you satisfy His will. Are you someone who bears witness to God’s work? Do you have this aspiration? If you are able to bear witness to His name, and even more, to His work, and if you can live out the image that He requires of His people, then you are a witness for God. How do you actually bear witness for God? You do it by seeking and longing to live out God’s word, and, by bearing witness with your words, allowing people to know His work and to see His actions. If you truly seek all of this, then God will perfect you. If all you seek is to be perfected by God and be blessed in the very end, then the perspective of your faith in God is not pure. You should be pursuing how to see God’s deeds in real life, how to satisfy Him when He reveals His will to you, and seeking how you ought to bear witness to His wondrousness and wisdom, and how to bear witness for how He disciplines and deals with you. All of these are things you should now be pondering. If your love for God is solely so that you can share in God’s glory after He perfects you, then it is still inadequate and cannot meet God’s requirements. You need to be able to bear witness to God’s work, satisfy His demands, and experience the work He has done on people in a practical way. Whether pain, tears, or sadness, you must experience all of these things in your practice. They are meant to perfect you as one who bears witness for God. What is it, exactly, that now compels you to suffer and seek perfection? Is your present suffering truly for the sake of loving God and bearing witness for Him? Or is it for the sake of blessings of the flesh, for your future prospects and fate? All of your intentions, motivations, and the goals that you pursue must be rectified and cannot be guided by your own will.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh