Choosing the Right Path Is the Most Crucial Part of Belief in God
During the work of disseminating God’s gospel in the last days, only a minority of people are able to renounce their families and renounce everything to sincerely expend themselves for God. All these people have some real experiential testimony, and they all have some stature. They do not think it is a huge hardship to renounce their families and careers to perform their duties. Even if they must go ten years, or a lifetime without returning home, they are willing to do this. They do not feel that it is a hard thing to do. This is the strength given to them by the Holy Spirit. But so far as their stature goes, it cannot reach this level, because although they understand some truths, they haven’t yet entered into the truth reality, nor have they gained the truth. They just have a bit of sincerity for expending themselves for God. If a person has the resolve to pursue the truth, and the Holy Spirit gives them some grace on top of this, they feel especially gratified at that moment; they gain a kind of strength, and are able to emerge from the bonds of the secular world to expend for God—this is the grace of God. But there are certain individuals who do not attend to their proper work while performing their duties; they do not pursue the truth at all, and are moreover capable of engaging in all kinds of wrongdoing. In such cases, the Holy Spirit does not work on them. The motivations of people like this are not upright, and they are not true believers in God. Even if the Holy Spirit did a bit of work on them in the past, it is forfeited, and, without knowing it, they take a downhill path. If you are a person who has the resolve to pursue the truth, then the Holy Spirit will give you some grace for you to enjoy, and you can then move forward in your pursuit along the path that the Holy Spirit leads you down; the truth will become more and more clear to you, your resolve will become more and more firm, and it will become increasingly easy for the Holy Spirit to work upon you. When a person does not walk the right path of pursuing the truth, the Holy Spirit eventually casts them out. After being cast out, their original resolve, their original passion, and their drive to renounce and expend disappear completely. They feel regret, and they think, “If I knew there would come a day when I would be cast out, I wouldn’t have believed in God in the first place.” At this point, their regret, complaints, and negativity all come out. In reality, the Holy Spirit stopped working upon them long ago. Even though they spread the gospel, are gifted at speaking, and got some results, this was not caused by the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Rather, it was because this person had some smarts and some caliber. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit was at work in them. They are similar to service-doers—even though the Holy Spirit is not at work in them, they are still able to temporarily render some service. In any case, they have some gifts and caliber; it is just that instead of pursuing the truth, and striving to perform their duties well and return God’s love, they pursue prestige, profit, status, blessings, and a big crown. Therefore, as they walk on, their path disappears, and it becomes hard for them to take even a single step. This is what becomes of all those who do not pursue the truth.
Now, there are many people who say, “I am aware that my nature is bad. I am filled with strong affections and I am too disobedient.” But despite this, these people lack knowledge of their own nature, and they do not understand any aspects of the truth. No matter how well they speak about doctrines, seemingly understanding everything, they cannot put these things into practice. This is more than enough to prove that the Holy Spirit’s work on them has faded away. No matter what your humanity is like, or how many doctrines you understand, and no matter how much you have suffered or forsaken, as long as the Holy Spirit is not working in you, this proves that you do not love the truth. No matter how passionate you are, without the work of the Holy Spirit you will be dumbfounded. How great is the little strength that man possesses? How great is the bit of faith that man has? What use is the little knowledge that man possesses? Take for example the repression, arrest, and imprisonment of God’s believers. They have been frequently persecuted, chased, and forced to flee from place to place since they first started believing in God, and this has left an indelible mark on their minds and hearts. “If I am caught, I cannot be like Judas; I can never betray the church”—have most people not prepared themselves like this? But when they are actually caught, it is not up to them. If they do not pray to God and rely on Him, then the Holy Spirit will not work in them, and they will not be able to stand firm. It is not a moment of confusion that leads people to become like Judas. As I said before, what ultimately happens to you, and what your outcome is, primarily depends on whether you love and accept the truth. This is of the utmost importance. After that, it depends on whether the work of the Holy Spirit is always with you, and whether you understand the truth and stand firm in your testimony. These are the main things that it depends upon. Some people had a great deal of zeal when they first began performing their duties, and felt as if they had inexhaustible energy. So why is it that they begin to lose this vigor over time? Who they were in the past and who they are now seem like two completely different people—why did they change? What is the reason for this? It is because they took the wrong path, and did not enter into the correct path of belief in God. They took the path of pursuing blessings. There are some things hidden within their intentions. What things are hidden? When people believe in God, they harbor some hopes in their hearts—they hope that God’s day will arrive very soon, and that all of their suffering will come to an end, they hope that God will change form and return to Zion, and that they will then be rid of all their suffering. People all hope that one day they can return home and be reunited with their loved ones. They hope that a day will come when they will no longer be persecuted, when they can truly be free, and openly believe in God; at that time, there will be no one to restrict them, and they can live in a comfortable environment, eat well, and wear fine clothes. Do all people not have such hopes? These hopes exist deep in people’s hearts because their flesh is averse to suffering. In times of suffering, they hope for better days. Such things are not exposed without persecution and tribulation. Without persecution or tribulation, people seem to have strong faith. They appear to have a degree of stature, to understand the truth quite well, and to be full of vigor. However, when they one day meet with persecution and tribulation, their fleshly hopes, imaginings, and extravagant desires burst forth. Conflict begins to appear in their hearts, and some people start to grow negative and weak, and doubts and misunderstandings about God arise within them. People do not understand God’s will. It is not that God isn’t providing a way out or bestowing His grace upon them, and it certainly is not that God does not understand their difficulties. Rather, you being able to experience this suffering now that you are following Christ is a blessing, because it is not possible for people to achieve salvation and survive without enduring this suffering. It is ordained by God, so, it is a blessing for this suffering to befall you. You should not view it in a simplistic way; it is not a matter of making people suffer and toying with them, and that’s it. The significance of this is incredibly deep and great! To devote your entire life to expending yourself for God without seeking a partner or returning home is meaningful. If you take the right path and pursue the right things, then you will ultimately receive more than all of the saints through all the ages did, and receive even greater promises. Some people now always wonder, “Will God remember me for enduring these hardships? What if there is no one to support me when I am old? Who will care for me if I get sick? Does God care? When will this suffering come to an end? When will I finally see the light of day?” Such people always look forward to these things, hoping that God will change form and deliver them from suffering so that they can enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. They do not contemplate what the significance of following God and enduring suffering is, or why they need to endure this suffering in order to gain the truth. Their faith is truly so weak! When it comes to their faith in God, everyone has their own selfish calculations. Based on this, it is human nature to betray God. No one truly loves God, no one can truly show consideration for God’s will, or be of one heart and mind with God in expanding the gospel work. People cannot wait for God to leave earth and change form, so He can deliver them from suffering and allow them to enjoy life in the kingdom of heaven. This is what most people hope for. Many people think to themselves, “If God leaves us and the great red dragon falls, then we can take power, and we will no longer need to suffer. We will rule over all nations and peoples with an iron rod—won’t we then be seeing the light of day? At that time, God will openly appear and punish and destroy every Satan and devil, the kingdom of Christ will be realized on earth, and we will no longer have to be persecuted by Satans and devils.” Although it is not wrong to have this hope, there are some incorrect states within these people. Is constantly wishing to escape suffering and enjoy comfort showing consideration for God’s will? Does it satisfy God? Most people do not fully understand the significance of experiencing suffering.
No one intends to walk the path of following God their entire life, to pursue the truth to gain the life, to achieve knowledge of God, to be able to bear witness for Him, or to ultimately live out a life of meaning like Peter. Most people are unwilling to suffer and do not accept the truth at all, yet they wish to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven as soon as possible, and love to seek prestige, profit, and the benefits of status. This is liable to lead them astray. When they encounter pain, setbacks, or failure, they will be likely to become negative and weak, and not have a place for God in their hearts. The Holy Spirit will not work in them, and some people will even want to turn back. If a person has believed in God for many years, but does not possess the slightest truth reality, it is a very dangerous thing! What a pity it is that all their suffering, the countless sermons they listened to, and the years they spent following God, have all been in vain! It is easy for people to go downhill, and it is, indeed, difficult to walk the right path, and to choose Peter’s path. Most people have unclear thinking. They cannot clearly see which path is the right one and which is a deviation from it. No matter how many sermons they hear, and no matter how many of God’s words they read, even though they know in their hearts that the incarnate Son of man has come, they still do not fully believe in Him. They know this is the true way, but cannot embark upon it. How difficult it is to save people when they do not love the truth! You know that God’s word is the truth, yet you cannot accept it. Let’s not speak about the quality of your faith and just talk about why you have no love for the truth, and why you cannot accept the truth. You are incapable of embarking upon the true way, unwilling to pursue the truth, and unable to put the truths you understand into practice. Are you not the ilk of Satan? People like this have no goals or direction in life, they are devoid of humanity, like animals. Therefore, some people lose the work of the Holy Spirit, not because the Holy Spirit is deliberately not working in them and intentionally exposing them, but because He is not able to work in them. People are so corrupted inside and they are so hard to handle. If they do not pursue the truth or choose the right path, then how can the Holy Spirit work in them? Whenever the Holy Spirit works He always gives people a choice, He never forces anyone. But people’s thinking is too muddled. They do not love the truth or accept it at all, and they are even less willing to suffer to obtain it. Although they want to be blessed, they are not willing to put in effort or pay a price. Their selfishness is too great. They are only concerned with their immediate interests; they pursue and strive toward things that are before their eyes which they can see and enjoy, and they ignore that which they cannot see, or which they find no meaning in. This is the state that most people are in, and there is almost no room for the work of the Holy Spirit. Some say, “I have many problems that I can’t solve. If someone would fellowship with me and help me to understand the truth, I wouldn’t have problems anymore.” But can they truly solve their problems just by understanding the truth? Are they able to put the truth into practice? These are all unknowns. There are many people who have heard plenty of sermons and understood quite a lot of truths, but they are unable to put any of those truths into practice. If you ask them about their problems, they say, “I understand all of the truth, but I just can’t put it into practice. How can I solve this problem?” What is the use of believing in God if you can’t practice any of the truth? Hurry home and go on with your life. What use is it fellowshiping with you on the truth? You are unworthy of hearing the truth, and unworthy of believing in God, so you should just wait for your destruction! Because you have chosen the ugly, base, and demonic path, no matter how much of the truth is fellowshiped on with you, you will not accept it. So, you should step aside! Nothing needs to be said to such people. There are many who have said before, “I understand all of the truth, but I just can’t put it into practice.” This statement alone is enough to prove that they are a devil and entirely one of Satan’s ilk. If a person does not love the truth, then they are certainly evil. A person’s nature is completely represented by what they love, what they hope for, what they aspire to, and what they yearn for. If you do not love the truth, then you are of the devil and you shall perish. But if you love the truth, then you are predestined and chosen by God. Isn’t this obvious? The path you choose is of the utmost importance. You can calm down and contemplate this seriously; if you have strayed, it is not too late to turn back. If you have the will to put the truth into practice, this is a good thing. In addition, you need a path for how to achieve this will of yours and fulfill your wish. Firstly, you must understand the truth, know mankind’s future destination, the path mankind should take and the goals they should accomplish. In the past, it was often said that, “All things and matters are in God’s hands.” This is something that you must thoroughly experience. In everything, you must consider whether that matter is in God’s hands. If it is truly clear to you that everything is in God’s hands, then you truly have faith. If you believe in God, should you submit to Him? What is the significance of believing in God? Is the purpose of believing in God just to receive His blessings? Now you are following Christ in your belief in God, but will you be able to stay the course until the very end? How should you continue when you encounter bumps and tribulations on your path in the future? You must take key words of God as mottos to encourage yourself, so that you will not fall down, be weak or negative, blame God, veer off the path, or betray God by fleeing halfway down it. You must understand, be clear on, and thoroughly understand all of this in order to follow God to the very end.
The path of following God has its ups and downs, it can be bitter and it can be sweet. When people are happy, they are all able to say, “I am willing to expend myself for God, I will expend for Him for all of my life.” However, at some point they experience setbacks and grow negative. In their hearts, they wonder, “Where is God? I can’t continue believing anymore, this path is too difficult to walk!” Afterward, they pray and feel rebuked, thinking that they are indebted to God. They should stop acting like this after they know that they are indebted to God. However, one day things perhaps don’t go their way, and they once again grow negative and complain about God, saying, “How could God orchestrate this situation for me? Why does He always make me suffer? Can’t He spare me from suffering?” People always complain, then afterward they always say that they are indebted to God. However, they never change; when they experience a little setback or the tiniest thing doesn’t go their way, they become angry and complain. In the worst cases, some people even utter a few words of judgment and blasphemy. Later, they realize that what they said was wrong, and feel bad about it, so they hurry to perform a bit of their duties and do a few good deeds to redeem themselves. What do these manifestations tell us? That it is man’s nature to dislike the truth, or to even be sick of the truth. Man is quite evil, ugly, and lacking in common sense and reason. People believe in God as if they are making a transaction; they pray to God only when they need Him, and stray from Him when they don’t. They don’t have God in their hearts, and act however pleases them. People are all very arrogant and unbridled; they do not fear God or truly despise negative things. They lack true love for the truth and can’t differentiate between justice and injustice. They have no boundaries, no goals, and they are even more devoid of principles and moderation in everything they do. Their hearts are quite hideous, and against this background, they still look forward to how great a promise, and how many blessings they will be able to receive and obtain in the future, or how they will distinguish themselves later on, and the things they will be able to enjoy. It is only when they think about such things that they feel in their hearts, “How lovely God is! I must repay God’s love!” Why do they say that God is lovely? Where does their desire to repay God come from? Is there not an intent behind these statements? They are just saying something emotional due to a fleeting preference, and a momentary rush of joy—is this true understanding? Is this real love? Does it come from the depths of their hearts? If you truly possess such an understanding, why do you still have complaints? If you truly feel indebted to God, why do you still grumble? You feel that God is not good to you, so you ignore Him. If God does not use you, you do not want to do your duty. How much resentment you must harbor inside! Despite this, you still believe that you love God more than others do. How is this the reality of loving God? The fact that a person can pour forth such complaints proves that they still lack an understanding of their own nature. They still do not know what they are, what they are of, and what their true worth is. In fact, it is in every person’s nature to resist God and betray Him. This is something that is universal and shared by all people. No one truly loves the truth and positive things, just as no one truly hates Satan and that which is evil. There are no principles or boundaries to man’s love and hate, and even less is man’s love and hate grounded in the truth. In man’s heart, there is no distinction between justice and injustice, between black and white, much less any distinction between truths and doctrines or heresies. People cannot make these distinctions. They are unclear about what is worth loving and pursuing, what should be hated, and what should be rejected, and they are far from possessing any kind of discernment. Some people perform their duties, and when they hear the secular song, “Come Back Home More Often,” they grow homesick and aren’t in the mood to do their duties. What sort of person is this? Do they have even a shred of truth reality? Some people believe that they can do a bit of work, and that they have some qualifications. It may seem to them that they possess the truth, but in reality, they possess nothing, and they are nothing. Although you are able to preach a few doctrines to others now, one day others may have to encourage you, and your fall will be more tragic than that of any other person, and you will become even more negative than anyone else. Do you believe such a thing? Are you convinced of it? Perhaps you have not yet experienced a hard fall or grown particularly negative. You feel that you are relatively strong, and because you have not experienced such things you believe you are quite possessed of stature. Perhaps one day when you are revealed, tears will stream down your face as you cry out, “It’s over. I’m finished!” This is when you will start to go from one extreme to the other. There are many people who are full of vigor when they first come to believe in God, but when things befall them, they may suddenly lose their drive, and be unable to pick themselves up again. Do you notice any issues with people like this? No person has mastery over their own weakness and strength; the corrupt things that are hidden within people can pour forth anytime and anywhere. There is no shortage of deal-making and filth within man, such things emerge endlessly within man. Therefore, the nature of man is the nature of Satan, which is completely accurate. It is radically different from God’s essence. In the past, God said, “I can love man for eternity, and I can also hate him for eternity.” That is, God has a standard by which He measures people. He has His verdicts, and He has principles for the bases upon which He passes verdicts on things. He has His own standards and principles for what He loves and hates, who He despises, and who He blesses. People lack the truth and principles, so they are prone to going their own way. They are capricious and unable to embark upon the right path without God’s guidance.
Some people always wonder, “When will God leave the earth? When will God’s work be finished? I’m not that young anymore; how will I live when I’m old?” Does such a person have faith? What will they do if there really is no one to support them when they are old? Will they not push the blame onto God? Many believers in God have no idea what they should gain from following Him, or about what things are the most precious. Very few people are truly clear on these matters. Without the work of God incarnate, the people of China would have been annihilated long ago. Some people may not believe this, but that is because they do not see the situation clearly, as this is the fact of the matter. People also believe that: “We can still go forward without God’s leadership; it is enough that we have God’s word to guide us. We have all read the book The Word Appears in the Flesh, we have a rough idea of it in our hearts and we understand the principles. Now, we can take the wheel.” But can you really take the wheel? You cannot follow the right path—as you walk on, you will go astray, so can you enter into reality? Even now, you are still not convinced. It can be said that any person who lacks God’s leadership will go astray. The Holy Spirit worked constantly within some people in the Age of Grace, but why have most of them insisted on going their own way? It’s difficult to count exactly how many denominations there are in the whole religious world; there are many you may have no idea about, or whose names you don’t know—what is the problem here? It’s that people are too complex, and it is not easy for them to see through to the things in their nature. Today, God has spoken many words revealing man’s nature, and He requires people to see through to the things within their nature, and to see their essence clearly. This is the only way they can learn to discern others and avoid being deceived by them, or worshiping, admiring, or following them. If a person lacks an understanding of the truth, then they will not be able to see who people really are, and will be likely to be deceived and constrained by them. Therefore, believers in God must understand the truth, they must read God’s words more, and come to know man’s nature and see through to man’s essence through God’s revelations. The revelation of God’s word exposes man’s nature, it teaches people what their essence is, and lets them see through to the essence of their corruption. This is very important. Satan is a muddled thing, and the devilish words that it speaks are difficult to interpret. God asked it, “From where come you?” To which Satan replied, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7). Think carefully about its answer. Is it coming or going? Its meaning is hard to make out, which is why I say these words are muddled. Based on these words, it can be seen that Satan is muddled. When people are corrupted by Satan, they, too, become muddled. They have no moderation, no standards, and no principles in anything they do. Therefore, any person can easily go astray. Satan lured Eve by saying, “Why don’t you eat the fruit of that tree?” To which Eve replied, “God told us that we will die if we eat from that tree.” Then Satan said, “You will not necessarily die if you eat the fruit of that tree.” Within these words, there was an intention to tempt Eve. Rather than saying with certainty that she wouldn’t die if she ate the fruit from that tree, it simply said that she wouldn’t necessarily die, leading her to think, “If I won’t necessarily die, then I can eat it!” Unable to resist the temptation, she ate of the fruit. In this way, Satan achieved its goal of enticing Eve to sin. It did not take responsibility for this, for it did not force her to eat it. Within every person, there is a satanic disposition; each of their hearts contain the myriad poisons with which Satan tempts God and entices man. Sometimes, their speech is laced with the voice and tone of Satan, and an intent to tempt and entice. The ideas and thoughts of man are filled with Satan’s poisons and they emit its stench. Sometimes, the looks or actions of men carry this same stench of temptation and enticement. Some people say, “If I just follow like this, I am guaranteed to gain it. I can follow God until the very end, even if I don’t pursue the truth. I renounce things and expend myself for God sincerely. I have the strength to persevere to the very end. Even if I have transgressed a little, God will have mercy on me and won’t forsake me.” They do not even know what it is they are saying. There are so many corrupt things within people—if they do not pursue the truth, how can they change? Based on the degree of their corruption, if God does not watch over people, they may fall down and betray God at any moment. Do you believe this? Even if you compel yourself, you cannot make it to the end, because this final stage of God’s work is to create a group of overcomers. Is doing this really as easy as you think? This final transformation does not require a person to change 100 percent or even 80 percent, but at least 30 or 40 percent. At the very least, you must dig up, cleanse, and transform the things within you that resist God, which have taken root deep in the depths of your heart. Only then will you achieve salvation. Only when you have transformed by 30% to 40% as God requires, or preferably by 60% to 70%, will it be demonstrated that you have attained the truth, and that you are essentially compatible with God. You will not be liable to resist God or to offend His disposition the next time something befalls you. Only in this way can you be perfected and gain God’s approval.
Some people view the matter of believing in God in very simple terms. They think, “Believing in God means attending gatherings, praying, listening to sermons, fellowshiping, singing and praising God, and performing some duties. Isn’t that what believing in God is all about?” Right now, no matter how many years you have believed in God, you still have not fully understood the significance of faith in God. In fact, the meaning of faith in God is so profound that if a person’s experiences are too shallow, they will not be able to comprehend it. When they experience to the very end, the disposition of Satan and the satanic poisons within them must be cleansed and transformed. People must equip themselves with many truths, meet the standards God requires of man, and be able to truly obey God and worship Him. Only then do they truly attain salvation. If you are still as you were before when you were part of a religion, just reciting some words of doctrine and chanting some slogans, performing a few good behaviors and actions, and refraining from certain sinful things—at least the obvious ones—this does not represent that you have entered the right track in your belief in God. Does following rules mean that you are on the right path? Does it mean that you made the right choice? If the things within your nature do not change, then you may still resist God and offend Him in the end. This is the biggest problem. If you do not resolve this problem in your belief in God, can you be said to have truly attained salvation? What do I mean by this, exactly? I want you to understand in your hearts that faith in God cannot be separated from His word, nor can it be separated from God Himself, or the truth. You have to choose the right path and put effort into the truth and God’s word. You cannot just attain a partial or rough understanding, and that’s it. Fooling yourself will only harm you. It is no good basing your faith on your imaginings. If you believe until the end, and God is not in your heart, if you just flip quickly through His words, and cannot remember them afterward, and if God does not have a place in your heart, then you are finished. What does “faith in God cannot be separated from His word” mean? Do you understand this? Does it contradict the statement, “faith in God cannot be separated from God Himself”? How can you have God in your heart if His words are not in your heart? If you believe in God, but your heart is devoid of Him, His word, and His guidance, then you are completely finished. If you cannot handle even a small matter according to God’s requirements, then you will fall much shorter of God’s requirements in the face of a major matter of principle. Then, you will not have any testimony, which is troublesome; it proves that you possess nothing and that you have not gained any of the truth.
There are some special matters that cannot be explained in concrete detail. You will only be able to completely understand them when the Holy Spirit enlightens you one day. For now, I can only express them in a few words that may seem very ordinary or even illogical to people, and that’s all. Do you know what foreigners think of God’s chosen people in China? When they see you believing in God and following Christ in China, suffering so much persecution and tribulation, enjoying God’s word and His work, and gaining so many things, they envy you so much! Foreigners have a wish—they think to themselves: “I also want to experience God’s work. No matter what I have to suffer, I want to gain the truth too! I, too, want to grow in knowledge and stature, but unfortunately, I’m not in the right environment.” They feel that Chinese people are so blessed, but despite this, you still think they are the ones who are blessed, and envy them. Indeed, you take your good fortune for granted. God completes this group of people in the country of the great red dragon, and allows them to endure this suffering. This can be said to be God’s great exaltation! In the past, God said, “I have long ago brought My glory from Israel to the East.” Now, do you understand the meaning of this statement? How should you walk your path in the future? How should you pursue the truth? How can you receive the work of the Holy Spirit without pursuing the truth? If the Holy Spirit stops working in you, you are in a most perilous position. What does the little suffering you are experiencing right now amount to? Do you know what it will accomplish for you? Is it possible for you to pursue the truth without suffering? Can you obtain the truth in this way? Can you give true testimony? If you can understand such things, you will not feel that you are suffering. Even if your suffering increases, it will seem like nothing.