Entry Into Life 2
Daily Words of God Excerpt 406
The way that people believe in God, love God, and satisfy God is by touching the Spirit of God with their heart and thereby obtaining His satisfaction, and by using their heart to engage with God’s words and thus being moved by the Spirit of God. If you wish to achieve a normal spiritual life and establish a normal relationship with God, then you must first give your heart to Him. Only after you have quieted your heart before Him and poured your whole heart into Him will you gradually be able to develop a normal spiritual life. If in people’s belief in God, they do not give their heart to Him and if their heart is not in Him and they do not treat His burden as their own, then everything they do is an act of cheating God, an act typical of religious people, and cannot receive God’s praise. God cannot gain anything from this kind of person; this kind of person can only serve as a foil to God’s work, like a decoration in the house of God, something superfluous and useless. God does not make use of this kind of person. In such a person, not only is there no opportunity for the work of the Holy Spirit, there is not even any value in their being perfected. This type of person is, in truth, a walking corpse. Such people have nothing that can be used by the Holy Spirit, but on the contrary, all of them have been appropriated and deeply corrupted by Satan. God will weed these people out. Currently, in making use of people the Holy Spirit not only employs those parts of them that are desirable in order to get things done, He also perfects and changes their undesirable parts. If your heart can be poured into God and remain quiet before Him, then you will have the opportunity and the qualifications to be used by the Holy Spirit, to receive the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and even more, you will have the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to make good your shortcomings. When you give your heart to God, on the positive side, you can attain deeper entry and attain a higher plane of insight; on the negative side, you will have more understanding of your own faults and shortcomings, you will be more eager to seek to satisfy God’s will, and you will not be passive, but will actively enter in. Thus, you will become a correct person. Assuming your heart is able to remain quiet before God, the key to whether or not you receive praise from the Holy Spirit, and whether or not you please God, is whether you can actively enter in. When the Holy Spirit enlightens a person and makes use of them, it never makes them negative but always makes them actively progress. Even though this person has weaknesses, they can avoid basing the way they live their lives on those weaknesses. They can avoid delaying growth in their life, and continue to seek to satisfy God’s will. This is a standard. If you can attain this, it is sufficient proof that you have obtained the presence of the Holy Spirit. If a person is always negative, and if, even after receiving enlightenment and coming to know themselves, they remain negative and passive and unable to stand up and act in concert with God, then this type of person just receives the grace of God, but the Holy Spirit is not with them. When a person is negative, this means that their heart has not turned to God and their spirit has not been moved by God’s Spirit. This should be understood by all.
Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 407
It can be seen from experience that one of the most important issues is quieting one’s heart before God. This is an issue that concerns people’s spiritual life, and their growth in their lives. Only if your heart is at peace before God will your pursuit of the truth and of changes in your disposition bear fruit. Because you come before God bearing a burden, and because you always feel that you are lacking in so many ways, that there are many truths that you need to know, much reality that you need to experience, and that you should give every care to God’s will—these things are always on your mind. It is as if they are pressing down on you with a force that leaves you unable to breathe, and thus you feel heavy of heart (though you are not in a negative state). Only people such as this are qualified to accept the enlightenment of God’s words and to be moved by the Spirit of God. It is because of their burden, because they are heavy of heart, and, it can be said, because of the price they have paid and the torment they have suffered before God, that they receive His enlightenment and illumination. For God does not give anyone special treatment. He is always fair in His treatment of people, but He also does not give to people arbitrarily or unconditionally. This is one aspect of His righteous disposition. In real life, most people have yet to attain this realm. At the very least, their heart has yet to completely turn to God, and thus there has still not been any great change in their life disposition. This is because they only live in God’s grace and have yet to gain the work of the Holy Spirit. The criteria that people must meet in order to be made use of by God are as follows: Their heart turns to God, they carry the burden of the words of God, they have a heart of yearning, and they have the resolve to seek the truth. Only people such as this can gain the work of the Holy Spirit and they frequently gain enlightenment and illumination. The people God makes use of appear from the outside to be irrational and to not have normal relationships with others, though they speak with propriety, do not speak carelessly, and can always keep a quiet heart before God. This is exactly the kind of person who is sufficient to be used by the Holy Spirit. This “irrational” person God speaks of seems not to have normal relationships with others, and they do not give due regard to outward love or outward practices, but when they communicate spiritual matters they are able to open their heart and selflessly provide others with the illumination and enlightenment they have acquired from their actual experience before God. This is how they express their love for God and satisfy God’s will. When others are all slandering and ridiculing them, they are able to avoid being controlled by outside people, matters, or things, and can still be quiet before God. Such a person seems to have their own unique insights. Regardless of what other people do, their heart never leaves God. When others are chatting cheerfully and humorously, their heart still remains before God, contemplating God’s word or praying in silence to the God in their heart, seeking God’s intentions. They never attach importance to maintaining normal relationships with other people. Such a person seems to have no philosophy for living. On the outside, this person is lively, lovable, and innocent, but also possesses a sense of calmness. This is the likeness of the kind of person God makes use of. Things like the philosophy for living or “normal reason” simply do not work in this type of person; this is a type of person who has devoted their whole heart to God’s word, and seems to only have God in their heart. This is the type of person that God refers to as a person “without reason,” and it is precisely this kind of person that is used by God. The mark of a person who is being made use of by God is: No matter when or where, their heart is always before God, and no matter how dissolute others may be, how much they indulge their lust and their flesh, still the heart of this person never leaves God, and they do not follow the crowd. Only this type of person is suited for God’s use, and only this type of person is perfected by the Holy Spirit. If you are unable to attain these things, then you are not qualified to be gained by God and to be perfected by the Holy Spirit.
Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 408
If you want to have a normal relationship with God, then your heart must turn to God. With this as a foundation, you will also have a normal relationship with other people. If you do not have a normal relationship with God, then no matter what you do to maintain your relationships with other people, no matter how hard you work or how much energy you exert, it will all just pertain to a human philosophy for living. You are maintaining your position among people through a human perspective and a human philosophy so that people will praise you, but you are not following the word of God to establish normal relationships with people. If you do not focus on your relationships with people but maintain a normal relationship with God, if you are willing to give your heart to God and learn to obey Him, then naturally your relationships with all people will become normal. This way, these relationships are not established in the flesh, but on the foundation of God’s love. There are almost no fleshly interactions, but in the spirit there is fellowship, mutual love, mutual comfort, and provision for one another. This is all done on the foundation of a heart that satisfies God. These relationships are not maintained by relying on a human philosophy for living, but are formed very naturally through carrying a burden for God. It does not require man-made effort. You need only practice according to the principles of the word of God. Are you willing to be considerate of the will of God? Are you willing to be a person who is “without reason” before God? Are you willing to completely give your heart to God and to disregard your position among people? Of all the people you have contact with, with whom do you have the best relationships? With whom do you have the worst relationships? Are your relationships with people normal? Do you treat all people equally? Are your relationships with others maintained according to your philosophy for living, or are they built on the foundation of God’s love? When a person does not give their heart to God, then their spirit becomes obtuse, numb and unconscious. This kind of person will never understand God’s words and will never have a normal relationship with God; this kind of person’s disposition will never be changed. Changing one’s disposition is the process of giving one’s heart completely to God, and of receiving enlightenment and illumination from the words of God. God’s work can allow a person to actively enter in, as well as enable them to purge their negative aspects after gaining knowledge about them. When you reach the point of giving your heart to God, then you will be able to perceive every subtle movement within your spirit, and you will know every enlightenment and illumination received from God. Hold onto this, and you will gradually enter into the path of being perfected by the Holy Spirit. The quieter your heart can be before God, the more sensitive and delicate your spirit will be and the more your spirit will be able to perceive how the Holy Spirit moves it, and then your relationship with God will become ever more normal. A normal relationship between people is established on the foundation of giving their hearts to God, and not through human effort. Without God in their hearts, interpersonal relationships between people are merely relationships of the flesh. They are not normal, but rather, are an abandonment to lust. They are relationships that God detests, that He loathes. If you say that your spirit has been moved, but you always want to have fellowship with people who you like, with whomever you think highly of, and if another person is seeking but you do not like them, even hold a bias against them and will not engage with them, this is more proof that you are subject to your emotions and you do not have a normal relationship with God at all. You are attempting to deceive God and cover up your own ugliness. Even if you can share some understanding yet you carry wrong intentions, then everything you do is good only by human standards. God will not praise you—you are acting according to the flesh, not according to God’s burden. If you are able to quiet your heart in front of God and have normal interactions with all those who love God, only then are you fit for God’s use. This way, no matter how you associate with others, it will not be according to a philosophy for living, but it will be before God, living in a way that is considerate of His burden. How many people like this are there amongst you? Are your relationships with others really normal? On what foundation are they built? How many philosophies for living are there within you? Have they been cast off? If your heart cannot completely turn to God, then you are not of God—you come from Satan, and you will be returned to Satan in the end. You are not worthy of being one of God’s people. All of this requires your careful consideration.
Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 409
In believing in God, you must at least resolve the issue of having a normal relationship with God. If you do not have a normal relationship with God, then the meaning of your belief in God is lost. The establishment of a normal relationship with God is entirely achievable with a heart that is quiet in God’s presence. Having a normal relationship with God means being able not to doubt and not to deny any of His work and being able to submit to His work. It means having correct intentions in God’s presence, not making plans for yourself, and considering the interests of God’s family first in all things; it means accepting God’s scrutiny and obeying God’s arrangements. You must be able to quiet your heart in God’s presence in all that you do. Even if you do not understand God’s will, you must still fulfill your duties and responsibilities to the best of your ability. Once God’s will has been revealed to you, act on it, and it will not be too late. When your relationship with God has become normal, then you will also have normal relationships with people. Everything is built on the foundation of God’s words. Eat and drink the words of God, then put God’s requirements into practice, correct your views, and avoid doing anything to resist God or disturb the church. Do nothing that does not benefit the lives of your brothers and sisters, say nothing that is unhelpful to others, and do nothing shameful. Be just and honorable in everything you do and ensure that your every action is presentable before God. Although the flesh may sometimes be weak, you must be able to put the interests of God’s family first, without greed for personal profit, and you must be able to act righteously. If you can practice in this way, then your relationship with God will be normal.
In everything you do, you must examine whether your intentions are correct. If you are able to act according to the requirements of God, then your relationship with God is normal. This is the minimum standard. Look into your intentions, and if you find that incorrect intentions have arisen, be able to turn your back on them and act according to the words of God; thus will you become someone who is right before God, which in turn demonstrates that your relationship with God is normal, and that all that you do is for God’s sake, not your own. In all you do and all you say, be able to set your heart right and be righteous in your actions, and do not be led by your emotions, nor act according to your own will. These are principles by which believers in God must conduct themselves. Small things can reveal a person’s intentions and stature, and so, for someone to enter onto the path of being made perfect by God, they must first rectify their intentions and their relationship with God. Only when your relationship with God is normal can you be made perfect by Him; only then can God’s dealing, pruning, discipline, and refinement achieve their intended effect in you. That is to say, if human beings are able to keep God in their hearts and do not pursue personal gain or give thought to their own prospects (in a fleshly sense), but instead bear the burden of entering life, do their best to pursue the truth, and submit to God’s work—if you can do this, then the goals you pursue will be correct, and your relationship with God will become normal. Making right one’s relationship with God can be called the first step of entry into one’s spiritual journey. Although man’s fate is in God’s hands and is predestined by God, and cannot be changed by man, whether you can be made perfect by God or be gained by Him depends on whether your relationship with God is normal. There may be parts of you that are weak or disobedient—but as long as your views and your intentions are correct, and as long as your relationship with God is right and normal, then you are qualified to be made perfect by God. If you do not have the right relationship with God, and act for the sake of the flesh or your family, then regardless of how hard you work, it will be for nothing. If your relationship with God is normal, then everything else will fall into place. God looks at nothing else, but only at whether your views in your belief in God are correct: whom you believe in, for whose sake you believe, and why you believe. If you are able to see these things clearly and practice with your views well disposed, then you will make progress in your life, and you will also be guaranteed entry onto the right track. If your relationship with God is not normal, and the views of your belief in God are deviant, then all else is in vain, and no matter how hard you believe, you will receive nothing. Only after your relationship with God becomes normal will you win praise from Him when you forsake the flesh, pray, suffer, endure, submit, help your brothers and sisters, expend more of yourself for God, and so on. Whether what you do has value and significance depends on whether your intentions are right and your views correct. Nowadays, many people believe in God as if they were tilting their heads to look at a clock—their perspectives are skewed, and they must be righted with a breakthrough. If this problem is resolved, everything will be fine; if not, everything will come to nothing. Some people behave well in My presence, but behind My back, all they do is resist Me. This is a manifestation of crookedness and deceitfulness, and this type of person is a servant of Satan; they are the typical embodiment of Satan, come to test God. You are only a correct person if you are able to submit to My work and My words. As long as you are able to eat and drink the words of God; as long as everything you do is presentable before God and you behave justly and honorably in all that you do; as long as you do not do shameful things, or things that would harm the lives of others; and as long as you live in the light and do not allow yourself to be exploited by Satan, then your relationship with God is in proper order.
Excerpted from “How Is Your Relationship With God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 410
Believing in God requires you to put your intentions and views in proper order; you must have a correct understanding of, and a correct way of treating, the words of God and God’s work, all the environments that God arranges, the man for whom God testifies, and the practical God. You must not practice according to your own ideas or devise your own petty schemes. Whatever you do, you must be able to seek the truth and, in your position as a created being, submit to all of God’s work. If you wish to pursue being perfected by God and enter upon the right track of life, then your heart must always live in God’s presence. Do not be dissolute, do not follow Satan, do not allow Satan any opportunities to carry out its work, and do not let Satan make use of you. You must give yourself to God completely and let God rule over you.
Are you willing to be Satan’s servant? Are you willing to be exploited by Satan? Do you believe in God and pursue Him so that you may be perfected by Him, or so that you may become a foil for God’s work? Would you prefer a meaningful life in which you are obtained by God, or a worthless and empty life? Would you prefer to be used by God, or exploited by Satan? Would you prefer to let God’s words and truth fill you, or let sin and Satan fill you? Consider these things carefully. In your daily life, you must understand which words you say and which things you do might cause abnormality in your relationship with God, and then rectify yourself to enter into the correct manner. At all times, examine your words, your actions, your each and every move, and all your thoughts and ideas. Gain a proper understanding of your real state and enter into the manner of the Holy Spirit’s work. This is the only way to have a normal relationship with God. By assessing whether your relationship with God is normal, you will be able to correct your intentions, understand the nature and essence of man, and truly understand yourself, and, in doing so, you will be able to enter into real experiences, forsake yourself in a real way, and submit with intention. As you experience these matters concerning whether or not your relationship with God is normal, you will find opportunities to be perfected by God and become able to grasp many states of the Holy Spirit’s work. You will also be able to see through many of Satan’s tricks and penetrate its conspiracies. Only this path leads to being perfected by God. You put right your relationship with God, that you may submit to His arrangements in their entirety, and that you may enter even more deeply into real experience and receive even more of the Holy Spirit’s work. When you practice having a normal relationship with God, in most cases, success will be achieved by forsaking the flesh and through real cooperation with God. You should understand that “without a cooperative heart, it is difficult to receive the work of God; if the flesh does not suffer, there will be no blessings from God; if the spirit does not struggle, Satan will not be put to shame.” If you practice these principles and understand them thoroughly, the views of your belief in God will be put right. In your current practice, you must discard the mindset of “seeking bread to satisfy hunger”; you must discard the mindset of “everything is done by the Holy Spirit, and people are unable to intervene.” Everyone who says so thinks, “People can do whatever they want, and when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will do His work. People have no need to restrain the flesh or cooperate; all that matters is that they be moved by the Holy Spirit.” These opinions are all absurd. Under such circumstances, the Holy Spirit is unable to work. It is this kind of viewpoint that greatly hinders the work of the Holy Spirit. Often, the work of the Holy Spirit is attained through human cooperation. Those who do not cooperate and are not resolved, yet wish to achieve a change in their disposition and receive the work of the Holy Spirit and enlightenment and illumination from God, have extravagant thoughts indeed. This is called “indulging one’s self and pardoning Satan.” Such people do not have a normal relationship with God. You should find many revelations and manifestations of satanic disposition within yourself and find any practices you have that run contrary to what God now requires. Will you now be able to forsake Satan? You should attain a normal relationship with God, act in accordance with God’s intentions, and become a new person with a new life. Do not dwell on past transgressions; do not be unduly remorseful; be able to stand up and cooperate with God, and fulfill the duties that are yours to fulfill. In this way, your relationship with God will become normal.
Excerpted from “How Is Your Relationship With God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 411
If after reading this, you merely claim to accept these words, yet your heart remains unmoved, and you do not seek to make your relationship with God normal, it proves you do not attach importance to your relationship with God. It proves that your views have not yet been put right, that your intentions are not yet set on being gained by God and bringing glory to Him, but are set instead on allowing Satan’s conspiracies to prevail and achieving your own goals. Such people harbor wrong intentions and incorrect views. No matter what God says or how He says it, such people remain completely indifferent and are not in the least transformed. Their hearts feel no fear and they are unashamed. Such a person is a spiritless dolt. Read God’s every utterance and put them into practice as soon as you understand them. Perhaps there were occasions when your flesh was weak, or you were rebellious, or you resisted; regardless of how you behaved in the past, it is of little consequence, and it cannot hinder your life from maturing today. So long as you can have a normal relationship with God today, there is hope. If there is change in you every time you read God’s words, and others can tell your life has changed for the better, it shows that your relationship with God is now normal, that it has been put right. God does not treat people according to their transgressions. Once you have understood and become aware, as long as you can cease to rebel or resist, then God will still have mercy on you. When you have the understanding and the resolve to pursue being perfected by God, then your state in God’s presence will become normal. No matter what you are doing, consider the following when you are doing it: What will God think if I do this? Will it benefit my brothers and sisters? Will it be beneficial to the work in God’s house? Whether in prayer, fellowship, speech, work, or in contact with others, examine your intentions, and check if your relationship with God is normal. If you cannot discern your own intentions and thoughts, this means you lack discrimination, which proves that you understand too little of the truth. If you are able to understand clearly everything God does, and can perceive things through the lens of His words, standing on His side, then your views will have become correct. Therefore, establishing a good relationship with God is of the utmost importance to anyone who believes in God; everyone should regard it as a task of paramount importance and the biggest event in their life. Everything you do is measured by whether you have a normal relationship with God. If your relationship with God is normal and your intentions are correct, then act. To maintain a normal relationship with God, you must not be afraid of suffering losses to your personal interests; you cannot allow Satan to prevail, you cannot allow Satan to gain a purchase on you, and you cannot allow Satan to make you a laughing stock. Having such intentions is a sign that your relationship with God is normal—not for the sake of the flesh, but rather for peace of spirit, for gaining the work of the Holy Spirit, and for satisfying the will of God. To enter the right state, you must establish a good relationship with God and put right the views of your belief in God. This is so that God may gain you, and so that He may manifest the fruits of His words in you and enlighten and illuminate you even further. In this way, you will have entered into the right manner. Continue eating and drinking God’s words of today, enter into the Holy Spirit’s current manner of working, act according to God’s demands of today, do not observe old-fashioned methods of practice, do not cling to old ways of doing things, and enter into today’s manner of working as soon as possible. Thus, your relationship with God will become completely normal and you will have embarked on the right track of belief in God.
Excerpted from “How Is Your Relationship With God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 412
The more people accept the words of God, the more enlightened they are, and the more they hunger and thirst in their pursuit of knowing God. Only those who accept the words of God are capable of having richer and more profound experiences, and they are the only ones whose lives can continue to grow like sesame flowers. All who pursue life should treat this as their full-time job; they should feel that “without God, I cannot live; without God, I can accomplish nothing; without God, everything is empty.” So, too, should they have the resolution that “without the presence of the Holy Spirit, I will do nothing, and if reading the words of God has no effect then I am indifferent to doing anything.” Do not indulge yourselves. Life experiences come from the enlightenment and guidance of God, and they are the crystallization of your subjective efforts. What you should demand of yourselves is this: “When it comes to life experience, I cannot give myself a free pass.”
Sometimes, when in abnormal conditions, you lose the presence of God, and become unable to feel God when you pray. It is normal to feel afraid at such times. You should immediately start searching. If you do not, God will be apart from you, and you will be without the presence of the Holy Spirit—and, moreover, the work of the Holy Spirit—for a day, two days, even a month or two months. In these situations, you become so incredibly numb and are once more taken captive by Satan, to the point where you are capable of committing all manner of act. You covet wealth, deceive your brothers and sisters, watch movies and videos, play mahjong, and even smoke and drink without discipline. Your heart has strayed far from God, you have secretly gone your own way, and you have arbitrarily passed judgment on God’s work. In some cases, people sink so low that they feel no shame or embarrassment in committing sins of a sexual nature. This kind of person has been forsaken by the Holy Spirit; in fact, the work of the Holy Spirit has long been absent in such a person. One can only see them sink ever deeper into corruption as the hands of evil stretch out ever further. In the end, they deny the existence of this way, and are taken captive by Satan as they sin. If you discover that you only have the presence of the Holy Spirit, yet lack the work of the Holy Spirit, it is already a dangerous situation to be in. When you cannot even feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, then you are on the verge of death. If you do not repent, then you will have completely returned to Satan, and you shall be among those who are eliminated. So, when you discover that you are in a state where there is only the presence of the Holy Spirit (you do not sin, you hold yourself in check, and you do nothing in blatant resistance to God) but you lack the work of the Holy Spirit (you do not feel moved when you pray, you gain no obvious enlightenment or illumination when you eat and drink the words of God, you are indifferent about eating and drinking the words of God, there is never any growth in your life, and you have long been bereft of great illumination)—at such times, you must be more cautious. You must not indulge yourself, you must not give free rein to your own character any further. The presence of the Holy Spirit may disappear at any time. This is why such a situation is so dangerous. If you find yourself in this kind of state, try to turn things around as soon as you can. First, you should say a prayer of repentance and ask that God extend His mercy upon you once more. Pray more earnestly and, quiet your heart to eat and drink more of God’s words. With this foundation, you must spend more time in prayer; redouble your efforts in singing, praying, eating and drinking God’s words, and performing your duty. When you are at your weakest, your heart is most easily possessed by Satan. When that happens, your heart is taken from God and returned to Satan, whereupon you are without the presence of the Holy Spirit. At such times, it is doubly difficult to regain the work of the Holy Spirit. It is better to seek the work of the Holy Spirit while He is still with you, which will allow God to bestow more of His enlightenment upon you and not cause Him to abandon you. Praying, singing hymns, serving your function, and eating and drinking the words of God—all of this is done so that Satan has no opportunity to do its work, and so that the Holy Spirit may work within you. If you do not regain the work of the Holy Spirit in this way, if you simply wait, then regaining the work of the Holy Spirit will not be easy when you have lost the presence of the Holy Spirit, unless the Holy Spirit has particularly moved you, or especially illuminated and enlightened you. Even so, it does not just take a day or two for your state to recover; sometimes even six months may pass without any recovery. This is all because people are too easy on themselves, are incapable of experiencing things in a normal way and are thus abandoned by the Holy Spirit. Even if you do regain the work of the Holy Spirit, the present work of God still might not be very clear to you, for you have fallen far behind in your life experience, as if you were left ten thousand miles behind. Is this not a terrible thing? I tell such people, however, that it is not too late to repent now, but that there is one condition: You must work harder, and not indulge in laziness. If other people pray five times in one day, you must pray ten times; if other people eat and drink the words of God for two hours a day, you must do so for four or six hours; and if other people listen to hymns for two hours, you must listen for half a day at the very least. Be often at peace before God and think of God’s love, until you are moved, your heart returns to God, and you no longer dare stray away from God—only then will your practice bear fruit; only then will you be able to recover your previous, normal state.
Excerpted from “How to Enter Into a Normal State” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 413
You have walked only a very small portion of the path of a believer in God, and you have yet to enter onto the right track, so you are still far from meeting God’s standard. Right now, your stature is not adequate to meet His demands. Due to your caliber and your corrupt nature, you always treat God’s work carelessly; you do not treat it seriously. This is your gravest shortcoming. There is certainly none who can ascertain the path the Holy Spirit walks; most of you do not understand it and cannot see it clearly. Moreover, most of you pay no mind to this matter, much less do you take it to heart. If you continue in this way, living in ignorance of the work of the Holy Spirit, then the path you take as a believer in God will be futile. This is because you do not do everything in your power to seek to meet God’s will and because you do not cooperate well with God. It is not that God has not worked on you, or that the Holy Spirit has not moved you. It is that you are so careless that you do not take the work of the Holy Spirit seriously. You must turn reverse this situation immediately and walk the path on which the Holy Spirit leads people. This is the main topic for today. “The path on which the Holy Spirit leads” refers to gaining enlightenment in spirit; having knowledge of God’s word; gaining clarity on the path ahead; being able to enter step by step into the truth; and coming to a greater knowledge of God. The path on which the Holy Spirit leads people is primarily a path toward a clearer understanding of God’s word, free of deviations and misconceptions, and those who walk it walk straight along it. In order to achieve this you will need to work in harmony with God, find a correct path to practice, and walk the path led by the Holy Spirit. This involves cooperation on man’s part: that is, what you must do to meet God’s requirements of you, and how you must behave to enter onto the right track of belief in God.
Stepping onto the path led by the Holy Spirit may seem complicated, but you will find it much simpler when the path of practice is clear to you. The truth is that people are capable of all that God demands of them—it is not as if He is trying to teach pigs to fly. In all situations, God seeks to resolve people’s problems and settle their concerns. All of you must understand this; do not misunderstand God. People are led according to God’s word along the path the Holy Spirit walks. As mentioned before, you must give your heart to God. This is a prerequisite for walking the path on which the Holy Spirit leads. You must do this in order to enter onto the right track. How does a person consciously do the work of giving their heart to God? In your daily lives, when you experience God’s work and pray to Him, you do it carelessly—you pray to God while you work. Can this be called giving your heart to God? You are thinking about household matters or affairs of the flesh; you are always of two minds. Can this be considered quieting your heart in the presence of God? This is because your heart is always fixated on external affairs, and is not able to return before God. If you would have your heart truly at peace before God, then you must do the work of conscious cooperation. This is to say that every one of you must have a time for your devotions, a time when you put aside people, events, and things; settle your heart and quiet yourself before God. Everyone must keep individual devotional notes, recording their knowledge of God’s word and how their spirit is moved, regardless of whether they are profound or superficial; everyone must consciously quiet their heart before God. If you can dedicate one or two hours each day to true spiritual life, then your life that day will feel enriched and your heart will be bright and clear. If you live this kind of spiritual life every day, then your heart will be able to return more into God’s possession, your spirit will become stronger and stronger, your condition will constantly improve, you will become more capable of walking the path on which the Holy Spirit leads, and God will bestow increased blessings upon you. The purpose of your spiritual life is consciously to gain the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is not to observe rules or conduct religious rituals, but truly to act in concert with God, truly to discipline your body—this is what man should do, so you should do this with the utmost effort. The better your cooperation and the more effort you commit, the more your heart will be able to return to God and the better you will be able to quiet your heart before Him. At a certain point, God will gain your heart completely. No one will be able to sway or capture your heart, and you will belong completely to God. If you walk this path, then God’s word will reveal itself to you at all times and enlighten you about everything that you do not understand—this can all be achieved through your cooperation. This is why God always says, “All who act in concert with Me, I will reward twice over.” You must see this path clearly. If you wish to walk the right path, then you must do all that you can to satisfy God. You must do all that you can to attain a spiritual life. At the start, you may not achieve great results in this pursuit, but you must not allow yourself to regress or wallow in negativity—you must keep working hard! The more you live a spiritual life, the more your heart will be occupied by the words of God, always concerned with these matters, always bearing this burden. After that, reveal your innermost truth to God through your spiritual life; tell Him what you are willing to do, what you are thinking about, your understanding and view of His word. Do not hold back anything, not even a little bit! Practice speaking the words within your heart and revealing your true feelings to God; if it is in your heart, then by all means, say it. The more you speak in this way, the more you will feel God’s loveliness, and God will tug more strongly on your heart. When this happens, you will feel that God is dearer to you than anyone else. You will never leave God’s side, no matter what. If you practice this kind of spiritual devotional on a daily basis and do not put it out of your mind, but treat it as a matter of great importance in your life, then God’s word will occupy your heart. This is what it means to be touched by the Holy Spirit. It will be as if your heart has always been possessed by God, as if that which you love is always in your heart. No one can take that away from you. When this happens, God will truly live inside you and have a place within your heart.
from “A Normal Spiritual Life Leads People Onto the Right Track” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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Faith in God necessitates a normal spiritual life, which is the foundation for experiencing God’s words and entering into reality. Does all your current practice of prayers, of drawing near to God, of hymn-singing, praise, meditation, and pondering the words of God amount to a “normal spiritual life”? None of you seems to know. A normal spiritual life is not limited to such practices as praying, singing hymns, participating in church life, and eating and drinking of God’s words. Rather, it involves living a new and vibrant spiritual life. What matters is not how you practice, but what fruit your practice bears. Most people believe that a normal spiritual life necessarily involves praying, singing hymns, eating and drinking the words of God or pondering His words, regardless of whether such practices actually have any effect or lead to true understanding. These people focus on following superficial procedures without any thought to their results; they are people who live in religious rituals, not people who live within the church, and much less are they people of the kingdom. Their prayers, hymn singing, and eating and drinking of God’s words are all just rule-following, done out of compulsion and to keep up with trends, not out of willingness nor from the heart. However much these people pray or sing, their efforts will bear no fruit, for what they practice is just the rules and rituals of religion; they are not actually practicing God’s words. They focus only on making a fuss over how they practice, and they treat God’s words as rules to follow. Such people are not putting God’s words into practice; they are just gratifying the flesh, and performing for other people to see. These religious rules and rituals are all human in origin; they do not come from God. God does not follow rules, nor is He subject to any law. Rather, He does new things every day, accomplishing practical work. Like people in the Three-Self Church, who limit themselves to practices such as attending morning services every day, offering evening prayers and prayers of gratitude before meals, and giving thanks in all things—however much they do and for however long they do it, they will not have the work of the Holy Spirit. When people live amidst rules and have their hearts fixed on methods of practice, the Holy Spirit cannot work, because their hearts are occupied by rules and human notions. Thus, God is unable to intervene and work on them, and they can only continue living under the control of laws. Such people are forever incapable of receiving God’s praise.
A normal spiritual life is a life lived before God. When praying, one can quiet one’s heart before God, and through prayer, one can seek the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, know God’s words, and understand God’s will. By eating and drinking of His words, people can gain a clearer and more thorough understanding of God’s current work. They can also gain a new path of practice, and will not cling to the old; what they practice will all be to achieve growth in life. As for prayer, it is not about speaking a few nice-sounding words or breaking down in tears before God to show how indebted you are; rather, its purpose is to train oneself in the use of the spirit, allowing one to quiet one’s heart before God, to train oneself to seek out guidance from God’s words in all matters, so that one’s heart can be drawn to a fresh new light each day, and so that one will not be passive or lazy and may set foot upon the right track of putting God’s words into practice. Most people nowadays focus on methods of practice, yet they do not do so in order to pursue the truth and achieve life growth. This is where they have gone astray. There are also some who are capable of receiving new light, but their methods of practice do not change. They bring their old religious notions with them as they look to receive God’s words of today, so what they receive is still doctrine colored by religious notions; they are not receiving today’s light simply. As a result, their practices are tainted; they are the same old practices in new packaging. However well they might practice, they are hypocrites. God leads people in doing new things every day, demanding that each day they gain new insight and understanding, and requiring that they not be old-fashioned and repetitive. If you have believed in God for many years, yet your methods of practice have not changed at all, and if you are still zealous and busy about external matters, yet do not have a quiet heart to bring before God to enjoy His words, then you will obtain nothing. When it comes to accepting God’s new work, if you do not plan differently, do not go about your practice in a new way, and do not pursue any new understanding, but instead cling to the old and receive only some limited new light, without changing the way you practice, then such people as you are in this stream in name only; in actuality, they are religious Pharisees outside the stream of the Holy Spirit.
Excerpted from “Regarding a Normal Spiritual Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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To live a normal spiritual life, one must be able to receive new light daily and pursue a true understanding of God’s words. One must see the truth clearly, find a path of practice in all matters, discover new questions through reading God’s words each day, and realize one’s own inadequacies so that one may have a longing and seeking heart that moves one’s entire being, and so that one may be quiet before God at all times, deeply afraid of falling behind. A person with such a longing, seeking heart, who is willing to continually attain entry, is on the right track of spiritual life. Those who are moved by the Holy Spirit, who desire to do better, who are willing to pursue being perfected by God, who long for a deeper understanding of God’s words, who do not pursue the supernatural but rather pay a real price, who truly care for God’s will, who actually attain entry so that their experiences are more genuine and real, who do not pursue empty words and doctrines or pursue to feel the supernatural, who do not worship any great personality—these are the ones who have entered into a normal spiritual life. Everything they do is intended to achieve further growth in life and to make them fresh and lively in spirit, and they are always able to attain entry actively. Without realizing it, they come to understand the truth and enter into reality. Those with normal spiritual lives find the liberation and freedom of spirit each day, and they can practice the words of God in a free way to His satisfaction. For these people, praying is not a formality or a procedure; each day, they are able to keep pace with the new light. For example, people train themselves to quiet their hearts before God, and their hearts can truly be quiet before God, and they can be disturbed by no one. No person, event, or thing can constrain their normal spiritual lives. Such training is intended to yield results; it is not intended to make people follow rules. This practice is not about rule-following, but is instead about promoting growth in people’s life. If you see this practice only as rules to follow, your life will never change. You may be engaged in the same practice as others, but while they are ultimately able to keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit, you are eliminated from the stream of the Holy Spirit. Are you not deceiving yourself? The purpose of these words is to allow people to quiet their hearts before God, to turn their hearts to God, so that God’s work in them may be without hindrance and may bear fruit. Only then can people be in accord with God’s will.
Excerpted from “Regarding a Normal Spiritual Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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You place no importance on prayer in your daily lives. Man neglects the matter of prayer. Prayers used to be perfunctory, with man simply going through the motions before God. No man ever offered his heart fully before God and engaged in true prayer with God. Man prayed to God only when trouble arose. In all this time, have you ever truly prayed to God? Has there ever been a time when you wept tears of pain before God? Has there been a time when you came to know yourself before Him? Have you ever had a heart-to-heart prayer with God? Prayer comes through practice: If you do not ordinarily pray at home, then you will have no way of praying in church, and if you do not normally pray in small gatherings, then you will be incapable of praying in large ones. If you do not regularly draw near to God or ruminate upon the words of God, then you will have nothing to say when it is time to pray, and even if you do pray, you will just be paying lip service; it will not be true prayer.
What is true prayer? It is telling God what is in your heart, communing with God as you grasp His will, communicating with God through His words, feeling especially close to God, sensing He is there before you, and believing you have something to say to Him. Your heart feels filled with light and you feel how lovable God is. You feel especially inspired, and listening to you brings gratification to your brothers and sisters. They will feel that the words you speak are the words within their hearts, the words they wish to say, as though your words were a substitute for their own. This is what true prayer is. After you have engaged in true prayer, your heart will be at peace and will know gratification. The strength to love God can rise up, and you will feel that there is nothing of greater value or significance in life than loving God. All this proves that your prayers have been effective. Have you ever prayed in such a way?
And what about the content of prayer? Your prayer should proceed step by step, in line with the true state of your heart and the work of the Holy Spirit; you come to commune with God in accordance with His will and with what He requires of man. When you begin the practice of prayer, first give your heart to God. Do not attempt to grasp God’s will—only try to speak the words within your heart to God. When you come before God, speak in this way: “Oh God, only today do I realize that I used to disobey You. I am truly corrupt and despicable. I have only been wasting my life. From today I will live for You. I will live a life of meaning and will satisfy Your will. May Your Spirit always work in me, continuously illuminating and enlightening me. Let me bear strong and resounding testimony before You. Let Satan see Your glory, Your testimony, and the proof of Your triumph, manifest in us.” When you pray in this way, your heart will be completely set free. Having prayed in this way, your heart will be closer to God, and if you can pray in this way often, the Holy Spirit will inevitably work in you. If you always call out to God in this way, and make your resolution before Him, a day will come when your resolution is acceptable before God, when your heart and your entire being are gained by God, and you are ultimately made perfect by Him. For you, prayer is of utmost importance. When you pray and you receive the work of the Holy Spirit, your heart will be moved by God, and strength to love God will issue forth. If you do not pray with your heart, if you do not open your heart to commune with God, then God will have no way of working in you. If, after having prayed and spoken the words of your heart, the Spirit of God has not begun His work, and you have received no inspiration, then this shows your heart lacks sincerity, your words are untrue, and still impure. If, after having prayed, you have a sense of gratification, then your prayers have been acceptable to God and the Spirit of God is working in you. As one who serves before God, you cannot be without prayer. If you truly see communion with God as something that is meaningful and valuable, then can you forsake prayer? No one can be without communion with God. Without prayer, you live in the flesh, in bondage to Satan; without true prayer, you live under the influence of darkness. I hope that you brothers and sisters are able to engage in true prayer each and every day. This is not about following the rules, but about achieving a certain result. Are you willing to forgo a little sleep and enjoyment to rise early for morning prayers and enjoy the words of God? If you pray with a pure heart and eat and drink the words of God like this, you will be more acceptable to Him. If every morning you do this, if every day you practice giving your heart to God, communicating and engaging with Him, then your knowledge of God will certainly increase, and you will be better able to grasp God’s will. You say: “O God! I am willing to fulfill my duty. Only to You do I consecrate my whole being, so that You may be glorified in us, so that You may enjoy the testimony borne by this group of us. I beg You to work in us, so that I may become able to truly love You and satisfy You and pursue You as my goal.” As you take on this burden, God will surely make you perfect. You should not pray only for your own benefit, but you should pray also in order to follow God’s will and to love Him. This is the truest kind of prayer. Are you someone who prays for the sake of following the will of God?
In the past, you did not know how to pray, and you neglected the matter of prayer. Now, you must do your best to train yourselves to pray. If you are unable to summon up the strength within you to love God, then how do you pray? You say: “Oh God, my heart is incapable of truly loving You. I want to love You, but I lack the strength. What should I do? May You open my spiritual eyes and may Your Spirit move my heart. Make it so that, as I come before You, I throw off all that is negative, cease to be constrained by any person, matter, or thing, and lay my heart completely bare before You, and make it so that I may offer my entire being before You. However You may test me, I am ready. Now, I give no consideration to my future prospects, nor am I under the yoke of death. With a heart that loves You, I desire to seek the way of life. Every matter, everything—it is all in Your hands; my fate is in Your hands and You hold my very life in Your hand. Now, I seek to love You, and regardless of whether You let me love You, regardless of how Satan interferes, I am determined to love You.” When you encounter this issue, pray like this. If you pray like this every day, the strength to love God will gradually rise up.
Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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How does one enter into true prayer?
When praying, you must have a heart that is quiet before God, and you must have a sincere heart. You are truly communing and praying with God—you must not try to wheedle God with nice-sounding words. Prayer should center upon that which God wishes to accomplish right now. Ask God to grant you greater enlightenment and illumination, bring your actual states and your troubles into His presence when you pray, including the resolution that you made before God. Prayer is not about following procedure; it is about seeking God with a sincere heart. Ask that God protect your heart, so that your heart may often be quiet before Him; that in the environment in which He has placed you, you would know yourself, despise yourself, and forsake yourself, thus allowing you to have a normal relationship with God and truly become someone who loves God.
What is the significance of prayer?
Prayer is one of the ways in which man cooperates with God, it is a means by which man calls upon God, and it is the process by which man is moved by God’s Spirit. It can be said that those without prayer are dead people who are devoid of spirit, which proves that they lack the faculty to be moved by God. Without prayer, it would be impossible to lead a normal spiritual life, much less keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit. To be without prayer is to break off one’s relationship with God, and it would be impossible to win God’s praise. As a believer in God, the more one prays, that is, the more one is moved by God, the more one will be filled with resolution and the better able one will be to receive new enlightenment from God. As a result, this kind of person can very quickly be made perfect by the Holy Spirit.
What effect is prayer meant to achieve?
People may be able to carry out the practice of prayer and to understand the significance of prayer, but for prayer to be effective is no simple matter. Prayer is not a case of just going through the motions, following procedure, or reciting the words of God. That is to say, praying is not parroting certain words and it is not imitating others. In prayer, one must reach the state where one’s heart can be given to God, laying open one’s heart so that it may be moved by God. If prayer is to be effective, then it must be based on the reading of God’s words. Only by praying from within God’s words can one receive greater enlightenment and illumination. The manifestations of a true prayer are: Having a heart that yearns for all that God asks, and moreover desires to accomplish what He demands; detesting that which God detests and then, building on this foundation, gaining some understanding of it, and having some knowledge and clarity regarding the truths God expounds. Where there is resolution, faith, knowledge, and a path of practice following prayer, only then can it be called true prayer, and only this type of prayer can be effective. Yet prayer must be built upon the enjoyment of God’s words, it must be established on the foundation of communing with God in His words, and the heart must be able to seek God and become quiet before Him. Prayer of this kind has already entered the stage of true communion with God.
Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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The most basic knowledge about prayer:
1. Do not blindly say whatever comes to mind. There must be a burden on your heart, that is, you must have an objective when you pray.
2. Prayer must contain the words of God; it must be founded upon the words of God.
3. When praying, you must not rehash outdated issues. Your prayers should relate to the current words of God, and when you pray, tell God your innermost thoughts.
4. Group prayer must revolve around a center, which is, necessarily, the present work of the Holy Spirit.
5. All people have to learn intercessory prayer. This is also a way of showing consideration for the will of God.
The individual’s life of prayer is based upon an understanding of the significance of prayer and of a basic knowledge of prayer. In daily life, pray frequently for your own shortcomings, pray to effect change in your disposition in life, and pray on the basis of your knowledge of God’s words. Each person should establish their own life of prayer, they should pray for the sake of knowing God’s words, and they should pray to seek knowledge of God’s work. Lay bare your personal circumstances before God and be real without fussing over the way you pray, and the key issue is to attain true understanding, and to gain real experience of God’s words. A person who pursues entry into the spiritual life must be able to pray in many different ways. Silent prayer, ruminating upon the words of God, coming to know the work of God—these are all examples of the purposeful work of spiritual fellowship for the sake of achieving entry into normal spiritual life, which ever improves one’s states before God and pushes one to make ever greater progress in life. In short, all that you do, whether it be eating and drinking the words of God, or praying silently, or proclaiming loudly, is in order to enable you to clearly see God’s words, His work, and that which He wishes to achieve in you. More importantly, all that you do is done in order to reach the standards that God requires and to raise your life to new heights. The minimum that God requires of man is that man be able to open his heart to Him. If man gives his true heart to God and speaks what is truly in his heart, then God is willing to work in him. What God desires is not the twisted heart of man, but a pure and honest heart. If man does not speak from his heart to God, then God will not move his heart or work in him. Therefore, the crux of prayer is to speak to God from your heart, telling Him your shortcomings or rebellious disposition, laying yourself completely open before Him; only then will God be interested in your prayers, or else He will hide His face from you. The minimum criterion for prayer is that you must be able to keep your heart quiet before God, and it must not depart from God. It may be that, during this phase, you do not gain a newer or higher insight, but you must then use prayer to maintain the status quo—you must not regress. This is the very least that you must achieve. If you cannot accomplish even this, then it proves that your spiritual life is not on the right track. As a result, you will be unable to hold on to the vision you first had, you will lose faith in God, and your resolution will subsequently dissipate. One sign of whether or not you have entered into spiritual life is to see if your prayers are on the right track. All people must enter into this reality; they must all do the work of consciously training themselves in prayer, not passively waiting, but consciously seeking to be moved by the Holy Spirit. Only then will they be people who truly seek God.
When you begin to pray, do not overreach yourself and hope to achieve everything in one fell swoop. You cannot make extravagant demands, expecting that as soon as you open your mouth you will be moved by the Holy Spirit, or that you will receive enlightenment and illumination, or that God will shower grace on you. That will not happen; God does not perform supernatural things. God grants the prayers of people in His own time, and sometimes He tests your faith to see whether you are loyal before Him. When you pray you must have faith, perseverance, and resolution. Most people, when just beginning to train, lose heart because they fail to be moved by the Holy Spirit. This will not do! You must persevere; you must focus on feeling the moving of the Holy Spirit and on seeking and exploring. Sometimes, the path of your practice is not right, and sometimes, your personal motives and notions cannot hold fast before God, and so God’s Spirit fails to move you. At other times, God looks at whether or not you are loyal. In short, in training, you should pay a higher price. If you discover you are veering off on the path of your practice, you can change the way you pray. As long as you seek with a sincere heart and long to receive, then the Holy Spirit will surely take you into this reality. Sometimes you pray with a sincere heart but do not feel as if you have been particularly moved. At times like these you must rely on faith, trusting that God watches over your prayers; you must have perseverance in your prayers.
Be an honest person; pray to God to rid you of the deception in your heart. Purify yourself through prayer at all times, be moved by the Spirit of God through prayer, and your disposition will gradually change. The true spiritual life is a life of prayer—it is a life that is moved by the Holy Spirit. The process of being moved by the Holy Spirit is the process of changing man’s disposition. A life that is not moved by the Holy Spirit is not a spiritual life, but a life of religious ritual only. Only those who are often moved by the Holy Spirit, and enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, have entered into spiritual life. Man’s disposition constantly changes as he prays. The more the Spirit of God moves him, the more proactive and obedient he becomes. So, too, will his heart gradually be purified, and his disposition gradually change. Such is the effect of true prayer.
Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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No step is more crucial to entering God’s words than quieting your heart in His presence. It is a lesson that all people are in urgent need of entering at present. The paths of entry into quieting your heart before God are as follows:
1. Withdraw your heart from external matters. Be at peace before God, and give your undivided attention to praying to God.
2. With your heart at peace before God, eat, drink, and enjoy God’s words.
3. Meditate on and contemplate God’s love and ponder God’s work in your heart.
First, begin from the aspect of prayer. Pray with undivided attention and at fixed times. No matter how pressed you are for time, how busy your work, or what befalls you, pray every day as normal, and eat and drink God’s words as normal. As long as you eat and drink God’s words, no matter what your surroundings are, you will have great enjoyment in your spirit, and you will be undisturbed by the people, events, or things around you. When you ordinarily contemplate God in your heart, what goes on outside cannot bother you. This is what it means to possess stature. Begin with prayer: Praying quietly before God is most fruitful. After that, eat and drink the words of God, seek out the light in God’s words by pondering them, find the path to practice, know God’s purpose in speaking His words, and understand them without deviation. Ordinarily, it should be normal for you to be able to draw close to God in your heart, to contemplate God’s love and to ponder the words of God, without being disturbed by external things. When your heart has achieved a certain degree of peace, you will be able to muse silently and, within yourself, to contemplate God’s love and truly draw near to Him, regardless of your surroundings, until finally you reach the point where praise wells up in your heart, and it is even better than prayer. Then you will be possessed of a certain stature. If you are able to achieve the states of being described above, it will be proof that your heart is truly at peace before God. This is the first basic lesson. Only after people are able to be at peace before God can they be touched by the Holy Spirit, and enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and only then are they able to have true communion with God, as well as to grasp God’s will and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They will then have entered onto the right track in their spiritual lives. When their training to live before God has reached a certain depth, and they are able to forsake themselves, to despise themselves, and to live in God’s words, then their hearts are truly at peace before God. Being able to despise oneself, curse oneself, and forsake oneself is the effect achieved by God’s work, and cannot be done by people on their own. Thus, the practice of quieting one’s heart before God is a lesson people should immediately enter. For some people, not only are they ordinarily unable to be at peace before God, but they cannot quiet their hearts before God even when praying. This falls too short of God’s standards! If your heart cannot be at peace before God, can you be moved by the Holy Spirit? If you are one who cannot be at peace before God, you are liable to be distracted when someone comes by, or when others are talking, and your mind can be drawn away when others are doing things, in which case you do not live in God’s presence. If your heart truly is at peace before God, you will not be disturbed by anything going on in the outside world, or occupied by any person, event, or thing. If you have entry into this, then those negative states and all negative things—human notions, philosophies for living, abnormal relationships between people, and ideas and thoughts, and so forth—will naturally disappear. Because you are always pondering God’s words, and your heart is always drawing close to God and always being occupied with the current words of God, those negative things will fall away from you without you realizing it. When new and positive things occupy you, negative old things will have no place, so do not pay attention to those negative things. You need not make an effort to control them. You should focus on being at peace before God, eat, drink, and enjoy God’s words as much as you can, sing hymns in praise of God as much as you can, and let God have a chance to work on you, because God now wants to perfect humanity personally, and He wants to gain your heart; His Spirit moves your heart and if, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you come to live in God’s presence, you will satisfy God. If you pay attention to living in God’s words and engage more in fellowship about the truth to gain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, then those religious notions and your self-righteousness and self-importance will all disappear, and you will know how to expend yourself for God, how to love God, and how to satisfy God. And without your realizing it, those things that are extraneous to God will entirely dissipate from your consciousness.
Excerpted from “On Quieting Your Heart Before God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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To ponder and pray over the words of God while eating and drinking His current words is the first step to being at peace before God. If you can truly be at peace before God, then the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit will be with you. All spiritual life is achieved by being at peace in God’s presence. In praying, you must be at peace before God, and only then can you be moved by the Holy Spirit. When you are at peace before God when you eat and drink God’s words, you can be enlightened and illuminated, and can achieve true understanding of God’s words. When, in your usual activities of meditation and fellowship and drawing close to God in your heart, you become at peace in God’s presence, you will be able to enjoy genuine closeness to God, to have genuine understanding of God’s love and His work, and to show true thoughtfulness and care toward God’s intentions. The more you are ordinarily able to be at peace before God, the more you will be illuminated and the more you will be able to understand your own corrupt disposition, what it is that you lack, what it is that you should enter, what function you should serve, and wherein your defects lie. All this is achieved by being at peace in God’s presence. If you truly attain depth in your peace before God, you will be able to grasp certain mysteries of the spirit, to grasp what God at present wishes to carry out in you, to grasp a deeper understanding of God’s words, to grasp the essence of God’s words, the substance of God’s words, the being of God’s words, and you will be able to see the path of practice more clearly and accurately. If you fail to achieve sufficient depth in becoming at peace in your spirit, you will only be a little moved by the Holy Spirit; you will feel strengthened on the inside and will feel a certain amount of enjoyment and peace, but you will not grasp anything deeper. I have said before: If people do not employ every ounce of their strength, it will be difficult for them to hear My voice or see My face. This refers to achieving depth in one’s peace before God, and not to making superficial efforts. A person who can truly be at peace in God’s presence is able to free themselves from all worldly ties, and to attain possession by God. All who are incapable of being at peace in God’s presence are assuredly dissolute and unrestrained. All who are capable of being at peace before God are those who are pious before God, and who yearn for God. Only those who are at peace before God value life, value fellowship in the spirit, thirst for God’s words, and pursue the truth. Whoever does not value being at peace before God and does not practice being at peace before God is vain and superficial, attached to the world and without life; even if they say they believe in God, they are just paying lip service. Those whom God ultimately perfects and completes are people who can be at peace in His presence. Therefore, those who are at peace before God are graced with great blessings. People who scarcely take time to eat and drink God’s words throughout the day, who are busily preoccupied with external affairs and place little value on life entry—these are all hypocrites with no prospect of future growth. It is those who can be at peace before God and who can genuinely commune with God who are God’s people.
Excerpted from “On Quieting Your Heart Before God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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To come before God to accept His words as your life, you must first be at peace before God. Only when you are at peace before God will God enlighten you and give you knowledge. The more at peace people are before God, the more they are able to receive God’s enlightenment and illumination. All this requires people to have piety and faith; only thus can they be made perfect. The fundamental lesson for entering spiritual life is being at peace in God’s presence. Only if you are at peace in God’s presence will all your spiritual training be effective. If your heart is incapable of being at peace before God, you will be unable to receive the work of the Holy Spirit. If your heart is at peace before God no matter what you are doing, then you are someone who lives in God’s presence. If your heart is at peace before God and draws close to God no matter what you are doing, this proves that you are a person who is at peace before God. If, when you are talking with others, or walking, you are able to say, “My heart is drawing close to God, and is not focused on external things, and I can be at peace before God,” then you are someone who is at peace before God. Do not engage with anything that pulls your heart toward external matters, or with people who separate your heart from God. Whatever it is that can distract your heart from being close to God, put it aside, or stay away from it. This is of greater benefit to your life. Now is precisely the time for the great work of the Holy Spirit, the time when God personally makes people perfect. If, at this moment, you cannot be at peace before God, then you are not someone who will return before the throne of God. If you pursue things other than God, there will be no way for you to be perfected by God. Those who can hear such utterances from God and yet fail to be at peace before Him today are people who do not love the truth and do not love God. If you will not offer yourself at this moment, what are you waiting for? To offer oneself is to quiet one’s heart before God. That would be a genuine offering. Whoever truly offers their heart to God now is assured of being completed by God. Nothing, no matter what it is, can disturb you; whether it is to prune you or deal with you, or whether you meet with frustration or failure, your heart should always be at peace before God. No matter how people treat you, your heart should be at peace before God. No matter what circumstances you encounter—whether you are beset by adversity, suffering, persecution, or different trials—your heart should always be at peace before God; such are the paths to being made perfect. Only when you are truly at peace before God will God’s current words become clear to you. You can then practice more correctly and without deviation the Holy Spirit’s illumination and enlightenment, grasp with greater clarity God’s intentions which will give your service a clearer direction, grasp more accurately the moving and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and be assured of living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Such are the effects achieved by truly being at peace before God. When people are not clear about God’s words, have no path to practice, fail to grasp God’s intentions, or lack the principles of practice, this is because their hearts are not at peace before God. The purpose of being at peace before God is to be earnest and pragmatic, to seek correctness and transparency in God’s words, and ultimately to arrive at understanding the truth and knowing God.
If your heart is not often at peace before God, God has no means of perfecting you. Being without resolve is tantamount to having no heart, and a person without a heart cannot be at peace before God; such a person does not know how much work God does, or how much He speaks, nor do they know how to practice. Is this not a person without a heart? Can a person without a heart be at peace before God? God has no means of perfecting people without a heart—they are no different from beasts of burden. God has spoken so clearly and transparently, yet your heart remains unmoved, and you remain incapable of being at peace before God. Are you not a dumb brute? Some people go astray in practicing being at peace in God’s presence. When it is time to cook, they do not cook, and when it is time to do chores, they do not do them, but just go on praying and meditating. Being at peace before God does not mean not cooking or doing chores, or not living one’s life; rather, it is being able to quiet one’s heart before God in all normal states, and to have a place for God in one’s heart. When you pray, you should kneel down properly before God to pray; when you do chores or prepare food, quiet your heart before God, ponder God’s words, or sing hymns. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you should have your own way to practice, you should do everything you can to draw close to God, and you should try with all your might to quiet your heart before God. When circumstances permit, pray single-mindedly; when circumstances do not permit, draw near to God in your heart while doing the task at hand. When you can eat and drink God’s words, then eat and drink His words; when you can pray, then pray; when you can contemplate God, then contemplate Him. In other words, do your utmost to train yourself for entry according to your environment. Some people can be at peace before God when nothing is the matter, but as soon as something happens, their minds wander. That is not being at peace before God. The correct way to experience is this: Under no circumstances does one’s heart depart from God, or feel disturbed by outside people, events, or things, and only then is one a person who is truly at peace before God. Some people say that, when they pray in assemblies, their hearts can be at peace before God, but in fellowship with others they are incapable of being at peace before God, and their thoughts run wild. This is not being at peace before God. Today, most people are in this state, their hearts incapable of always being at peace before God. Thus, you must put more effort into exercising yourselves in this area, enter, step-by-step, upon the right track of life experience, and embark upon the path of being perfected by God.
Excerpted from “On Quieting Your Heart Before God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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God’s work and word are meant to cause a change in your disposition; His goal is not merely to make you understand or know His work and word. That is not enough. You are a person who has the ability to comprehend, so you should have no difficulty in understanding the word of God, because most of God’s word is written in human language, and He speaks very plainly. For instance, you are perfectly capable of learning what it is that God wants you to understand and practice; this is something that a normal person who has the faculty of comprehension should be able to do. In particular, the words that God is saying in the present stage are especially clear and transparent, and God is pointing out many things that people have not considered, as well as all manner of human states. His words are all-encompassing, and as clear as the light of a full moon. So now, people understand many issues, but there is still something missing—people putting His word into practice. People must experience all aspects of the truth in detail, and explore and seek it out in greater detail, rather than simply waiting to absorb whatever is made available to them; otherwise they become little more than parasites. They know God’s word, yet do not put it into practice. This kind of person does not love the truth and will ultimately be eliminated. To be like a Peter of the 1990s, this means that each one of you should practice the word of God, have true entry in your experiences and gain even more and even greater enlightenment in your cooperation with God, which will be of ever increasing assistance to your own life. If you have read a lot of God’s word but only understand the meaning of the text and lack direct knowledge of God’s word through your practical experiences, then you will not know God’s word. As far as you are concerned, God’s word is not life, but just lifeless letters. And if you only live in observance of lifeless letters, then you cannot grasp the essence of God’s word, nor will you understand His will. Only when you experience His word in your actual experiences will the spiritual meaning of God’s word open itself to you, and it is only through experience that you can grasp the spiritual meaning of many truths and unlock the mysteries of God’s word. If you do not put it into practice, then no matter how clear His word, all that you have grasped are empty letters and doctrines, which have become religious regulations to you. Is this not what the Pharisees did? If you practice and experience God’s word, it becomes practical to you; if you do not seek to practice it, then God’s word to you is little more than the legend of the third heaven. In fact, the process of believing in God is the process of you experiencing His word as well as being gained by Him, or to put it more clearly, to believe in God is to have the knowledge and understanding of His word and to experience and live out His word; such is the reality behind your belief in God. If you believe in God and hope for eternal life without seeking to practice the word of God as something you have within you, then you are foolish. This would be like going to a feast and only looking at the food and learning the delicious things by heart without actually tasting any of it. Would such a person not be a fool?
Excerpted from “Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, and it is a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity. It is a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom, and the clearer the truth will become. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and the more strength you will have to triumph over Satan. Much of the truth that you do not understand will be made clear when you practice the word of God. Most people are satisfied to merely understand the text of God’s word and focus on equipping themselves with doctrines rather than on deepening their experience in practice, but is that not the way of the Pharisees? So how can the phrase, “The word of God is life” be real for them? A person’s life cannot grow simply by reading God’s word, but only when the word of God is put into practice. If it is your belief that to understand God’s word is all that is needed to have life and stature, then your understanding is warped. Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.” Today, after reading the word of God, you can merely say that you know God’s word, but you cannot say that you understand it. Some say that the only way to practice the truth is to understand it first, but this is only partially correct, and is certainly not entirely accurate. Before you have knowledge of a truth, you have not experienced that truth. Feeling that you understand something you hear in a sermon is not truly understanding—this is just taking possession of the literal words of the truth, and it is not the same as understanding the true meaning therein. Just having a superficial knowledge of the truth does not mean that you actually understand it or have knowledge about it; the true meaning of the truth comes from having experienced it. Therefore, only when you experience the truth can you understand it, and only then can you grasp the hidden parts of it. Deepening your experience is the only way to grasp the connotations, and to understand the essence of the truth. Therefore, you can go everywhere with the truth, but if there is no truth in you, then do not think of trying to convince even your family members, much less religious people. Without the truth you are like fluttering snowflakes, but with the truth you can be happy and free, and none can attack you. No matter how strong a theory is, it cannot overcome the truth. With the truth, the world itself can be swayed and mountains and seas moved, whereas a lack of the truth can lead to strong city walls being reduced to rubble by maggots. This is an obvious fact.
Excerpted from “Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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At the current stage, it is of vital importance to first know the truth, and then put it into practice and equip yourself further with the true meaning of the truth. You should seek to attain this. Rather than merely seeking to make others follow your words, you should cause them to follow your practice. Only in this way can you find something meaningful. No matter what befalls you, no matter whom you come across, as long as you have the truth, you will be able to stand firm. The word of God is that which brings life to man, not death. If, after reading the word of God, you do not come alive, but you are still dead, then there is something wrong with you. If after some time you have read much of God’s word and have heard many practical sermons, but you are still in a condition of death, then this is proof that you are not one who values the truth, nor are you a person who pursues the truth. If you truly sought to gain God, you would not focus on equipping yourselves with doctrines and using lofty doctrines to teach others, but would instead focus on experiencing God’s word and putting the truth into practice. Is this not what you should now be seeking to enter into?
There is limited time for God to do His work in man, so what outcome can there be if you do not cooperate with Him? Why is it that God always wants you to practice His word once you understand it? It is because God has revealed His words to you, and your next step is to actually practice them. As you practice these words, God will carry out the work of enlightenment and guidance. That is how it is to be done. The word of God allows man to blossom in life and possesses no elements which could cause man to deviate or become passive. You say you have read God’s word and practiced it, but you still have not received any work from the Holy Spirit. Your words could fool only a child. Other people may not know if your intentions are right, but do you think it possible that God would not know? How is it that others practice the word of God and receive the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, yet you practice His word and do not receive the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? Does God have emotions? If your intentions are truly right and you are cooperative, then God’s Spirit will be with you. Some people always want to plant their own flag, but why does God not let them rise up and lead the church? Some people merely fulfill their function and perform their duties, and before they know it, they have gained God’s approval. How can that be? God examines the innermost heart of man, and people who pursue the truth must do so with right intentions. People who do not have right intentions cannot stand firm. At its core, your goal is to let God’s word take effect within you. In other words, it is to have a true understanding of God’s word in your practice of it. Perhaps your ability to comprehend God’s word is poor, but when you practice the word of God, He can remedy this flaw, so not only must you know many truths, but you must also practice them. This is the greatest focus that cannot be ignored. Jesus endured many humiliations and much suffering in His thirty-three and a half years. He suffered so greatly simply because He practiced the truth, did the will of God in all things, and only cared for God’s will. This was suffering that He would not have undergone had He known the truth without practicing it. If Jesus had followed the teachings of the Jews and followed the Pharisees, then He would not have suffered. You can learn from Jesus’ deeds that the effectiveness of God’s work on man comes from man’s cooperation, and this is something you must recognize. Would Jesus have suffered as He did on the cross if He had not practiced the truth? Could He have prayed such a sorrowful prayer if He had not acted in accordance with God’s will? Therefore, you should suffer for the sake of practicing the truth; this is the kind of suffering a person should undergo.
Excerpted from “Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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In practice, keeping the commandments should be linked to putting the truth into practice. While keeping the commandments, one must practice the truth. When practicing the truth, one must not violate the principles of the commandments, nor go against the commandments; you must do whatever God requires of you. Keeping the commandments and practicing the truth are interconnected, not contradictory. The more you practice the truth, the more capable you become of keeping the essence of the commandments. The more you practice the truth, the more you will understand God’s word as expressed in the commandments. Practicing the truth and keeping the commandments are not contradictory actions—they are interconnected. In the beginning, only after man kept the commandments could he practice the truth and attain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, but this is not God’s original intention. God requires you to put your heart into worshiping Him, not merely to behave well. However, you must keep the commandments at least superficially. Gradually, through experience, after gaining a clearer understanding of God, people will stop rebelling against and resisting Him, and will no longer have any doubts about His work. This is the only way people can abide by the essence of the commandments. Therefore, merely keeping the commandments, without practicing the truth, is ineffective, and does not constitute true worship of God, for you have not yet attained real stature. Keeping the commandments without the truth only amounts to adhering rigidly to the rules. In so doing, the commandments would become your law, which would not help you grow in life. On the contrary, they would become your burden, and bind you tightly like the laws of the Old Testament, causing you to lose the Holy Spirit’s presence. Therefore, only by practicing the truth can you effectively keep the commandments, and you keep the commandments in order to practice the truth. In the process of keeping the commandments, you will put even more truths into practice, and when practicing the truth, you will gain an even deeper understanding of what the commandments actually mean. The purpose and meaning behind God’s demand that man keeps the commandments is not just to get him to follow the rules, as he may imagine; rather, it has to do with his entry into life. The extent of your growth in life dictates the degree to which you will be able to keep the commandments. Although the commandments are for man to keep, the essence of the commandments only becomes apparent through man’s life experience. Most people assume that keeping the commandments well means that they are “completely prepared, and all that remains to be done is to get caught up.” This is an extravagant sort of idea, and not in line with God’s will. Those who say such things do not wish to make progress, and they covet the flesh. It is nonsense! It is not in keeping with reality! It is not God’s will merely to practice the truth without actually keeping the commandments. Those who do this are cripples; they are as people who are missing a leg. Simply keeping the commandments as if abiding by rules, yet not possessing the truth—this is not capable of satisfying God’s will, either; like those who are missing an eye, people who do this, too, suffer from a form of disability. It can be said that if you keep the commandments well and gain a clear understanding of the practical God, then you will possess the truth; relatively speaking, you will have gained real stature. If you practice the truth that you should practice, you will also keep the commandments, and these two things do not contradict each other. Practicing the truth and keeping the commandments are two systems, both of which are integral parts of one’s life experience. One’s experience should comprise an integration, not a division, of keeping the commandments and practicing the truth. However, there are both differences and links between these two things.
Excerpted from “Keeping the Commandments and Practicing the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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The promulgation of the commandments in the new age is a testimony to the fact that all people in this stream, all those who hear God’s voice today, have entered a new age. This is a new beginning for God’s work, as well as the beginning of the last part of the work of God’s six-thousand-year management plan. The commandments of the new age symbolize that God and man have entered the realm of a new heaven and a new earth, and that God, just as Jehovah worked among the Israelites and Jesus worked among the Jews, will do more practical work, and do even more and even greater work on earth. They also symbolize that this group of people will receive more and greater commissions from God, and will be provided for, be fed, supported, cared for, and protected by Him in a practical manner, be given even more practical training by Him, and be dealt with, broken, and refined by God’s word. The significance of the commandments of the new age is quite profound. They suggest that God will really appear on earth, from where He will conquer the entire universe, revealing all of His glory in the flesh. They also suggest that the practical God is going to do more practical work on earth in order to perfect all of His chosen ones. Moreover, God will accomplish everything on earth with words, and make manifest the decree that “the incarnate God will rise to the highest and be magnified, and all peoples and all nations will kneel down to worship God, who is great.” Although the commandments of the new age are for man to keep, and though doing so is man’s duty and his obligation, the meaning they represent is rather too profound to be fully expressed in one or two words. The commandments of the new age replace the Old Testament laws and New Testament ordinances as promulgated by Jehovah and Jesus. This is a deeper lesson, not as simple a matter as people might imagine. There is an aspect of practical significance to the commandments of the new age: They serve as an interface between the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom. The commandments of the new age put an end to all of the practices and ordinances of the old age, as well as all of the practices from the age of Jesus and those before it. They bring man to the presence of the more practical God, allowing him to start being perfected by Him personally; they are the beginning of the path of perfection. Thus, you should possess a correct attitude with regard to the commandments of the new age, and neither follow them haphazardly nor despise them. The commandments of the new age place heavy emphasis on a certain point: That man shall worship the practical God Himself of today, which involves submitting to the essence of the Spirit more practically. The commandments also stress the principle by which God will judge man to be either guilty or righteous after He has manifested as the Sun of righteousness. The commandments are easier to understand than to put into practice. From this it can be seen that if God wishes to perfect man, then He must do so through His own words and guidance, and man cannot achieve perfection by way of his own innate intelligence alone. Whether man can keep the commandments of the new age or not has to do with his knowledge of the practical God. Hence, whether you can keep the commandments or not is not a question that will be resolved in a matter of mere days. This is a very profound lesson to learn.
Excerpted from “Keeping the Commandments and Practicing the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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The practice of the truth is a path by which man’s life can grow. If you do not practice the truth, then you will be left with nothing more than theory and will have no actual life. Truth is the symbol of man’s stature, and whether or not you practice the truth is related to whether or not you have real stature. If you do not practice the truth, do not act righteously, or are swayed by emotions and care for your flesh, then you are far away from keeping the commandments. This is the most profound of lessons. In every age, there are many truths that people need to enter into and understand, but also in each age, there are different commandments that accompany those truths. The truths that people practice relate to the specific age, and so do the commandments they keep. Each age has its own truths to be practiced and commandments to be kept. However, depending on the various commandments promulgated by God—that is, depending on the different ages—the goal and effect of man’s practice of the truth differ commensurately. It can be said that the commandments serve the truth, and the truth exists to maintain the commandments. If there is only truth, then there will be no changes in God’s work to speak of. However, by referring to the commandments, man can identify the extent of the trends in the Holy Spirit’s work, and man can know the age in which God works. In religion, there are many people who can practice the truths that were practiced by people in the Age of Law. However, they do not possess the commandments of the new age, nor can they keep them. They still observe the old ways and remain as primordial humans. They are not accompanied by the new methods of work and cannot see the commandments of the new age. As such, they do not have God’s work. It is as though they only have empty eggshells; if there is no chick inside, then there is no spirit. To put it more accurately, it means they have no life. Such people have not yet entered the new age and have lagged many steps behind. Therefore, having truths from older ages but not having the commandments of the new age is useless. Many of you practice the truth of today but do not keep its commandments. You will gain nothing, and the truth you practice will be worthless and meaningless and God will not praise you. Practicing the truth must be done within the parameters of the methods of the Holy Spirit’s current work; it must be done in response to the voice of the practical God today. Without doing so, everything is null, akin to attempting to draw water using a bamboo basket. This is also the practical meaning of the promulgation of the commandments of the new age. If people are to abide by the commandments, at the very least they should know the practical God who appears in the flesh, without confusion. In other words, people should grasp the principles of abiding by the commandments. Abiding by the commandments does not mean following them haphazardly or arbitrarily, but abiding by them with a basis, with an objective, and with principles. The first thing to be achieved is for your visions to be clear. If you have a thorough understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in the current time, and if you enter into today’s methods of work, then you will naturally gain a clear understanding of keeping the commandments. If the day comes when you see through to the essence of the commandments of the new age and you can keep the commandments, then you will have been perfected. This is the practical significance of practicing the truth and keeping the commandments. Whether you can practice the truth or not depends on how you perceive the essence of the commandments of the new age. The work of the Holy Spirit will continuously appear to man, and God will require more and more of man. Therefore, the truths which man actually puts into practice will grow more in number, and become greater, and the effects of keeping the commandments will become more profound. Therefore, you must at once practice the truth and keep the commandments. Nobody should neglect this matter; let the new truth and the new commandments commence simultaneously in this new age.
Excerpted from “Keeping the Commandments and Practicing the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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Many people can talk a bit about practice and they can talk about their personal impressions, but the majority of it is the illumination gained from the words of others. It does not at all include anything from their own personal practices, nor does it include what they see from their experiences. I have dissected this issue earlier; do not think that I know nothing. You are merely a paper tiger, yet you speak of conquering Satan, of bearing victorious testimonies, and of living out God’s image? This is all nonsense! Do you think that all the words spoken by God today are for you to admire? Your mouth speaks of forsaking your old self and putting truth into practice, yet your hands are carrying out other deeds and your heart is plotting other schemes—what kind of a person are you? Why are your heart and your hands not one and the same? So much preaching has become empty words; is this not heart-breaking? If you are unable to put God’s word into practice, it proves that you have not yet entered into the way that the Holy Spirit works, you have not yet had the work of the Holy Spirit in you, and you have not yet had His guidance. If you say that you are only able to understand the word of God but are unable to put it into practice, then you are a person who does not love the truth. God does not come to save this kind of person. Jesus suffered enormous agony when He was crucified in order to save the sinners, to save the poor, and to save all those humble people. His crucifixion served as a sin offering. If you cannot practice God’s word, then you should leave as soon as you can; do not linger in God’s house as a freeloader. Many people even find it difficult to stop themselves from doing things that clearly resist God. Are they not asking for death? How can they speak of entering God’s kingdom? Would they have the audacity to see God’s face? Eating food that God provides you with, doing crooked things that oppose God, being malicious, insidious, and scheming, even while God allows you to enjoy the blessings He has bestowed upon you—do you not feel them burning your hands when you receive them? Do you not feel your face turning red? Having done something in opposition to God, having carried out schemes to “go rogue,” do you not feel frightened? If you feel nothing, how can you speak of any future? There was already no future for you long ago, so what greater expectations can you still have? If you say something shameless yet feel no reproach, and your heart has no awareness, then does it not mean that you have already been abandoned by God? Speaking and acting indulgently and unrestrainedly has become your nature; how can you ever be perfected by God like this? Would you be able to walk the world over? Who would be convinced by you? Those who know your true nature would keep their distance. Is this not God’s punishment? All in all, if there is only talk and no practice, there is no growth. Though the Holy Spirit may be working on you while you speak, if you do not practice, the Holy Spirit shall stop working. If you continue to go on like this, how can there be any talk of the future or giving your entire being to God’s work? You can only speak of offering your entire being, yet you have not given your true love to God. All He receives from you is verbal devotion; He is not given your intention to practice the truth. Could this be your actual stature? If you were to continue on like this, when would you be perfected by God? Do you not feel anxious over your dark and gloomy future? Do you not feel that God has lost hope in you? Do you not know that God desires to perfect more and newer people? Could old things hold their own? You are not paying attention to God’s words today: Are you waiting for tomorrow?
Excerpted from “A Person Who Attains Salvation Is One Who Is Willing to Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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Holding up God’s words and being able to explain them unabashedly does not mean you are in possession of reality; things are not as simple as you imagine. Whether you are in possession of reality is not based on what you say; rather, it is based on what you live out. Only when God’s words become your life and your natural expression can you be said to have reality, and only then can you be counted as having gained true understanding and actual stature. You must be able to withstand examination over long periods of time, and you must be able to live out the likeness that is required by God. This must not be mere posturing; it must flow from you naturally. Only then will you truly possess reality, and only then will you have gained life. Let Me use the example of the trial of the service-doers with which everyone is familiar: Anyone can offer the loftiest theories regarding service-doers, and everyone has a decent understanding of the subject; they speak on it and each speech surpasses the last, as if it were a competition. However, if man has not undergone a major trial, then it is very difficult to say that he has good testimony to bear. In short, man’s living out is still very lacking, entirely contrary to his understanding. Therefore, it has yet to become man’s actual stature, and it is not yet man’s life. Because man’s understanding has not been brought into reality, his stature is still like a castle built on sand, teetering and on the verge of collapse. Man possesses far too little of reality; it is almost impossible to find any reality in man. There is too little reality naturally flowing from man, and all the reality they live out has been forced. This is the reason I say man possesses no reality. Although people claim their love of God never changes, this is merely what they say before they have faced any trials. When they are suddenly faced with trials one day, the things that they speak of will once again fall out of step with reality, and this will again prove that man possesses no reality. It can be said that whenever you encounter things that do not fit with your notions and that require you to put yourself aside, those things are your trials. Before God’s will is revealed, everyone goes through a rigorous test and an immense trial. Can you fathom this? When God wants to try people, He always allows them to make their choices before the actual truth has been revealed. This means that when God is subjecting man to trials, He will never tell you the truth; this is the manner in which people are exposed. This is one way that God carries out His work, to see whether you know the God of today, as well as whether you possess any reality. Are you truly free of doubts regarding God’s work? Will you be able truly to stand firm when a major trial comes upon you? Who dares to say, “I guarantee that there will be no problems”? Who dares to assert, “Others might have doubts, but I never will”? It is just as when Peter was subjected to trials: He always boasted before the truth had been revealed. This is not a personal flaw unique to Peter; this is the greatest difficulty currently facing every man. If I were to visit a few places or pay a visit to a few brothers and sisters to see what your understanding is of God’s work of today, you would certainly be able to say much about your knowledge, and you would seem not to have any doubts whatsoever. If I were to ask you, “Can you really determine that the work of today is performed by God Himself? Without any doubt?” you would certainly answer, “Without any doubt whatsoever, it is the work performed by the Spirit of God.” Once you had answered in such a way, you surely would not feel a shred of doubt, and you would even feel quite pleased, thinking you had gained a bit of reality. Those who tend to understand things in this way are people who possess less reality; the more one thinks one has gained it, the less one will be able to stand firm when faced with trials. Woe to those who are arrogant and haughty, and woe to those who have no knowledge of themselves; such people are adept at talking, yet fare the worst when putting their words into action. At the smallest sign of trouble, these people begin to have doubts, and the thought of quitting steals into their minds. They do not possess any reality; they merely have theories that are above religion, without any of the reality required now by God. I am most disgusted by those who only speak of theories without possessing any reality. They shout the loudest when carrying out their work, but as soon as they are faced with reality, they fall apart. Does this not show that these people have no reality? No matter how ferocious the wind and waves, if you can remain standing without allowing a shred of doubt to enter your mind, and can stand firm and remain free from denial, even when there is no one else left, then you will be counted as having true understanding and genuinely in possession of reality. If you turn whichever way the wind blows—if you follow the majority, and learn to parrot the speech of others—then no matter how eloquent you might be, it will not be proof that you possess reality. Therefore, I suggest that you not be premature in shouting out empty words. Do you know what God is going to do? Do not behave like another Peter, lest you bring shame upon yourself and lose the ability to hold your head high; that will not do anyone any good. Most people have no real stature. Though God has performed a great deal of work, He has not brought reality down upon people; to be more exact, He has never personally chastised anyone. Some people have been exposed by such trials, with their sinful hands reaching farther and farther out, thinking that it is easy to get the better of God, that they can do whatever they want. Since they are not able to withstand even this sort of trial, more challenging trials are out of the question for them, as is possession of reality. Are they not just trying to fool God? Possessing reality is not something that can be faked, nor is reality something that you can attain by knowing it. It depends on your actual stature, as well as whether or not you can withstand all trials. Do you understand?
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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God does not require of people the mere ability to talk about reality; that would be too easy, would it not? Why, then, does God speak of entry into life? Why does He talk about transformation? If people are capable only of empty talk about reality, then can they achieve a transformation in their disposition? The good soldiers of the kingdom are not trained to be a group of people who can only talk about reality or boast; rather, they are trained to live out God’s words at all times, to remain unyielding no matter what setbacks they face, and to live constantly in accordance with God’s words and not to return to the world. This is the reality of which God speaks; this is God’s requirement of man. Thus, do not regard the reality spoken of by God as being overly simple. Mere enlightenment from the Holy Spirit does not equal the possession of reality. Such is not the stature of man—it is the grace of God, to which man contributes nothing. Each person must endure Peter’s sufferings, and, even more, possess Peter’s glory, which they live out after they have gained the work of God. Only this can be called reality. Do not think that you possess reality just because you can talk about it; that is a fallacy. Such thoughts do not accord with God’s will and have no actual significance. Do not say such things in the future—extinguish such sayings! All those with a false understanding of God’s words are unbelievers. They do not have any real knowledge, much less any real stature; they are ignorant people who lack reality. In other words, all those who live outside of the essence of God’s words are unbelievers. Those deemed unbelievers by people are beasts in the eyes of God, and those deemed unbelievers by God are people who do not have God’s words as their life. It can therefore be said that those who do not possess the reality of God’s words and who fail to live His words out are unbelievers. God’s intention is to cause everyone to live out the reality of His words—not merely to have everyone talk about reality, but, more than that, to enable everyone to live out the reality of His words. The reality that man perceives is too superficial; it has no value and cannot fulfill God’s will. It is too lowly and not even worthy of mention. It lacks too much and falls far too short of the standards of God’s requirements. You will each be subjected to a major inspection to see who among you merely know how to talk about your understanding without being able to point out the path, as well as to discover who among you are useless pieces of trash. Remember this from now on! Do not speak of empty knowledge; only talk about the path of practice and about reality. Transition from real knowledge to real practice, and then transition from practice to real living out. Do not lecture others, and do not talk about real knowledge. If your understanding is a path, then let your words go free upon it; if it is not, then please shut your mouth and stop talking! What you say is useless. You speak of understanding in order to deceive God and make others envy you. Is that not your ambition? Are you not deliberately toying with others? Is there any value in this? If you talk about understanding after you have experienced it, you will not be seen as boasting. Otherwise, you are someone who spits out arrogant words. There are many things in your actual experience that you cannot overcome, and you cannot rebel against your own flesh; you are always doing whatever you want, never satisfying God’s will—yet you still have the gall to talk about theoretical understanding. You are shameless! You still are so bold as to speak of your understanding of God’s words. How impudent of you! Orating and boasting have become your very nature, and you have become accustomed to doing so. Whenever you wish to speak, you do so with ease, but when it comes to practicing, you indulge in ornamentation. Is this not a way to fool others? You may be able to trick men, but God cannot be deceived. Men are unaware and have no discernment, but God is serious about such matters, and He will not spare you. Your brothers and sisters might advocate for you, praising your understanding and admiring you, but if you possess no reality, the Holy Spirit will not spare you. Perhaps the practical God will not seek your faults, but God’s Spirit will ignore you, and that will be difficult enough for you to bear. Do you believe this? Talk more about the reality of practice; have you forgotten already? Talk more about practical paths; have you forgotten already? “Offer fewer lofty theories and worthless, inflated talk; it is best to begin practice starting now.” Have you forgotten these words? Do you not understand at all? Do you have no comprehension of God’s will?
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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You ought to be learning lessons that are more realistic. There is no need for that high-sounding, empty talk that people admire. When it comes to talking about knowledge, each person’s is higher than the one before, but they still have no path to practice. How many people have understood the principles of practice? How many have learned actual lessons? Who can fellowship about reality? Being able to speak of knowledge of God’s words does not mean you possess genuine stature; it only shows that you were born smart, that you’re gifted. If you cannot point out the path then the result will be nothing, and you will be useless trash! Aren’t you pretending if you cannot say anything about an actual path to practice? Aren’t you faking it if you cannot offer your own actual experiences to others, thereby giving them lessons they can learn from or a path they can follow? Aren’t you a phony? What value do you have? Such a person could only play the part of “inventor of the theory of socialism,” not “contributor to bringing about socialism.” To be without reality is to have no truth. To be without reality is to be a good-for-nothing. To be without reality is to be a walking corpse. To be without reality is to be a “Marxist-Leninist thinker,” with no reference value. I urge each of you to shut up about theory and talk about something real, something genuine and substantial; study some “modern art,” say something realistic, contribute something actual, and have some spirit of dedication. Face reality when you speak; do not indulge in unrealistic and exaggerated talk to make people feel happy or sit up and take notice of you. Where is the value in that? What point is there in getting people to treat you warmly? Be a bit “artistic” in your speech, be a bit more fair in your conduct, be a bit more reasonable in how you handle things, be a bit more practical in what you say, think of bringing benefit to God’s house with your every action, listen to your conscience when you become emotional, do not repay kindness with hate or be ungrateful to kindness, and do not be a hypocrite, lest you become a bad influence. When you eat and drink God’s words, link them more closely to reality, and when you fellowship, speak more about realistic things. Do not be condescending; this will not satisfy God. In your interactions with others, be a bit more tolerant, a bit more yielding, a bit more magnanimous, and learn from the “spirit of the prime minister.”[a] When you have bad thoughts, practice forsaking the flesh more. When you are working, speak more of realistic paths, and do not get too lofty, or else what you say will be unattainable for people. Less enjoyment, more contribution—show your selfless spirit of dedication. Be more considerate of God’s intentions, listen to your conscience more, be more mindful, and do not forget how God speaks patiently and earnestly to you every day. Read the “old almanac” more often. Pray more and fellowship more frequently. Stop being so muddled; show some sense and gain some insight. When your sinful hand reaches out, pull it back; do not let it reach so far. There is no use, and what you get from God will be nothing but curses, so be careful. Let your heart take pity on others, and do not always strike out with weapons in hand. Fellowship more about knowledge of the truth and talk more about life, maintaining a spirit of helping others. Do more and say less. Put more into practice and less into research and analysis. Let yourselves be moved more by the Holy Spirit, and give God more opportunities to perfect you. Eliminate more human elements; you still possess too many human ways of doing things, and your superficial manner of doing things and behavior is still repugnant to others: Eliminate more of these. Your psychological state is still too detestable; spend more time amending it. You still give people too much status; give more status to God, and do not be so unreasonable. The “temple” has always belonged to God, and should not be taken over by people. In short, focus more on righteousness and less on emotions. It is best to eliminate the flesh. Talk more about reality and less about knowledge; what is best is to shut up and say nothing. Speak more of the path of practice, and make less worthless boasts. It is best to start practicing right now.
Excerpted from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The spirit of the prime minister: A classic Chinese saying used to describe a person who is broad-minded and generous.
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God’s requirements of people are not all that high. If they put in even a little bit of effort, they would receive a “pass grade.” Actually, understanding, knowing, and comprehending the truth is more complicated than practicing the truth. Knowing and comprehending the truth comes after practicing the truth; these are the steps and method by which the Holy Spirit works. How can you not obey? Can you gain the work of the Holy Spirit by doing things your way? Does the Holy Spirit work at your pleasure, or based on your deficiencies according to God’s words? It is pointless if you cannot see this clearly. Why is it that most people have spent much effort reading God’s words, but merely have knowledge and cannot say anything about a real path afterward? Do you think that possessing knowledge amounts to possessing the truth? Is that not a confused point of view? You are able to speak as much knowledge as there is sand on a beach, yet none of it contains any real path. Are you not trying to fool people by doing this? Are you not making an empty show, with no substance to back it up? All such behavior is harmful to people! The higher the theory and the more it is devoid of reality, the more it is incapable of taking people into reality; the higher the theory, the more it makes you defy and oppose God. Do not treat the loftiest theories like precious treasure; they are pernicious and serve no purpose! Perhaps some people are able to talk of the loftiest theories—but these contain nothing of reality, for these people have not personally experienced them, and therefore have no path to practice. Such people are incapable of taking others onto the right track and will only lead them astray. Is this not harmful to people? At the very least, you must be able to solve people’s present troubles and allow them to achieve entry; only this counts as dedication, and only then will you be qualified to work for God. Do not always speak grandiose, fanciful words, and do not use a bunch of unsuitable practices to bind others into obeying you. Doing so will have no effect and can only increase their confusion. Carrying on like this will produce much doctrine, which will make people loathe you. Such is the shortcoming of man, and it truly is mortifying. So talk more of problems that actually exist. Do not treat other people’s experiences as your own personal property and hold them up for others to admire; you must search for your own, individual way out. This is what each person should put into practice.
If what you fellowship can give people a path to take, then that amounts to your possessing reality. No matter what you say, you must bring people into practice and give them all a path they can follow. Don’t only allow them to have knowledge; more important is having a path to take. For people to believe in God, they must walk the path led by God in His work. That is, the process of believing in God is the process of walking the path led by the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, you must have a path you can walk, no matter what, and you must set foot upon the path of being perfected by God. Do not fall too far behind, and do not concern yourself with too many things. Only if you walk the path led by God without causing interruptions can you receive the work of the Holy Spirit and possess the path of entry. Only this counts as being in line with God’s intentions and fulfilling humanity’s duty. As an individual in this stream, each person should fulfill their duty properly, do more of what people should be doing, and not act willfully. People carrying out work must make their words clear, people who follow must focus more on enduring hardship and obeying, and all must keep to their place and not step out of line. It should be clear in the heart of every person how they should practice and what function they should fulfill. Take the path led by the Holy Spirit; do not go astray or go wrong. You must see today’s work clearly. Entering into today’s means of working is what you should practice. It is the first thing you must enter. Do not waste any more words on other things. Doing the work of God’s house today is your responsibility, entering today’s work method is your duty, and practicing today’s truth is your burden.
Excerpted from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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God is a practical God: All of His work is practical, all of the words He speaks are practical, and all of the truths He expresses are practical. Everything that is not His words is vacuous, non-existent, and unsound. Today, the Holy Spirit is to guide people into the words of God. If people are to pursue entry into reality, then they must seek reality, and know reality, after which they must experience reality, and live out reality. The more that people know reality, the more they are able to discern whether the words of others are real; the more people know reality, the fewer notions they have; the more people experience reality, the more they know the deeds of the God of reality, and the easier it is for them to break free from their corrupt, satanic dispositions; the more reality people have, the more they know God and the more they detest the flesh and love the truth; and the more reality people have, the closer they come to the standards of God’s requirements. People who are gained by God are those who are possessed of reality, who know reality, and who have come to know God’s real deeds through experiencing reality. The more you cooperate with God in a practical way and discipline your body, the more you will acquire the work of the Holy Spirit, the more you will gain reality, and the more you will be enlightened by God, and thus the greater your knowledge of God’s real deeds will become. If you are able to live in the present light of the Holy Spirit, then the present path to practice will become clearer to you, and you will be more able to separate yourself from the religious notions and old practices of the past. Today reality is the focus: The more reality people have, the clearer their knowledge of the truth, and the greater their understanding of God’s will. Reality can overcome all letters and doctrines, it can overcome all theory and expertise, and the more reality people focus on, the more they truly love God, and hunger and thirst for His words. If you always focus on reality, then your philosophy for living, religious notions, and natural character will naturally be expunged following the work of God. Those who do not pursue reality, and have no knowledge of reality, are likely to pursue that which is supernatural, and they will be easily tricked. The Holy Spirit has no means of working in such people, and so they feel vacant, and that their lives have no meaning.
The Holy Spirit can only work in you when you actually train, actually search, actually pray, and are willing to suffer for the sake of searching the truth. Those who do not seek the truth have nothing but letters and doctrines, and empty theory, and those who are without the truth naturally have many notions about God. People such as this long only for God to turn their fleshly body into a spiritual body so that they might ascend to the third heaven. How foolish these people are! All who say such things have no knowledge of God, or of reality; people such as this cannot possibly cooperate with God, and can only wait passively. If people are to understand the truth, and to clearly see the truth, and if, furthermore, they are to enter the truth and put it into practice, then they must actually train, actually search, and actually hunger and thirst. When you hunger and thirst, and when you actually cooperate with God, God’s Spirit will surely touch you and work within you, which will bring you more enlightenment, and give you more knowledge of reality, and be of greater help to your life.
Excerpted from “How to Know Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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If people are to know God, they must first know that God is a practical God, and they must know God’s words, God’s practical appearance in the flesh, and God’s practical work. Only after knowing that all of God’s work is practical will you be able to actually cooperate with God, and only through this path will you be able to achieve growth in your life. All those who have no knowledge of reality have no means of experiencing God’s words, are ensnared in their notions, live in their imagination, and thus they have no knowledge of God’s words. The greater your knowledge of reality, the closer you are to God, and the more intimate you are with Him; the more you seek vagueness, abstraction and doctrine, the further you will stray from God, and so the more you will feel that experiencing God’s words is strenuous and difficult, and that you are incapable of entry. If you wish to enter the reality of God’s words, and onto the right track of your spiritual life, you must first know reality and separate yourself from vague and supernatural things, which is to say that first you must understand how the Holy Spirit actually enlightens and guides you from within. In this way, if you can truly grasp the Holy Spirit’s real work within man, then you will have entered onto the right track of being made perfect by God.
Today, everything starts from reality. God’s work is the most real, and can be touched by people; it is what people can experience, and achieve. In people there is much that is vague and supernatural, which stops them from knowing God’s present work. Thus, in their experiences they always deviate, and always feel that things are difficult, and this is all caused by their notions. People are unable to grasp the principles of the Holy Spirit’s work, they do not know reality, and so they are always negative in their path to entry. They look at God’s requirements from afar, unable to achieve them; they merely see that God’s words really are good, but cannot find the path to entry. The Holy Spirit works by this principle: Through people’s cooperation, through them actively praying, searching and coming closer to God, results can be achieved and they can be enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. It is not the case that the Holy Spirit acts unilaterally, or that man acts unilaterally. Both are indispensable, and the more that people cooperate, and the more they pursue the attainment of the standards of God’s requirements, the greater the work of the Holy Spirit. Only people’s real cooperation, added to the work of the Holy Spirit, can produce real experiences and the substantive knowledge of God’s words. Gradually, through experiencing in this way, a perfect person is ultimately produced. God does not do supernatural things; in people’s notions, God is almighty, and everything is done by God—with the result that people wait passively, do not read the words of God or pray, and merely await the touch of the Holy Spirit. Those with a correct understanding, however, believe this: God’s actions can only go as far as my cooperation, and the effect that God’s work has in me depends on how I cooperate. When God speaks, I should do all I can to seek and strive toward God’s words; this is what I should achieve.
Excerpted from “How to Know Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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How many religious practices do you observe? How many times have you rebelled against the word of God and gone your own way? How many times have you put God’s word into practice because you are truly considerate of His burdens and seek to satisfy His will? You should understand the word of God and put it into practice accordingly. Be principled in all your actions and deeds, though this does not mean abiding by rules or doing something grudgingly just for show; rather, it means practicing the truth and living by the word of God. Only practice such as this satisfies God. Any course of action that pleases God is not a rule, but the practice of truth. Some people have a penchant for drawing attention to themselves. In the presence of their brothers and sisters, they might say they are indebted to God, but behind their backs, they do not practice the truth and act entirely differently. Are these not religious Pharisees? A person who truly loves God and possesses the truth is one who is loyal to God but does not outwardly show off as such. Such a person is willing to practice the truth when situations arise, and does not speak or act in a way that goes against their conscience. This sort of person demonstrates wisdom when matters arise, and is principled in his or her deeds regardless of the circumstances. This kind of person can provide true service. There are some who often pay lip service to their indebtedness to God; they spend their days with brows locked in worry, putting on an affected air and pretending to be pitiable. How despicable! If you were to ask them, “Can you tell me about how you are indebted to God?” then they would be rendered speechless. If you are loyal to God, then do not talk outwardly about it; instead, demonstrate your love for God by way of actual practice, and pray to Him with a true heart. Those who just deal with God verbally and perfunctorily are all hypocrites! Some speak of indebtedness to God each time they pray, and begin to weep each time they pray, even without being moved by the Holy Spirit. People such as this are possessed by religious rituals and notions; they live by such rituals and notions, always believing that those actions please God and that He favors superficial godliness or sorrowful tears. What good can come of such absurd people? In order to demonstrate humility, some feign graciousness when speaking in the presence of others. Some are deliberately servile when in the presence of other people, acting like lambs without an ounce of strength. Is this a manner befitting people of the kingdom? People of the kingdom should be lively and free, innocent and open, honest and lovable, and be living in a state of freedom. They should have integrity and dignity and be able to stand witness wherever they go; such people are beloved by both God and man. Those who are novices in the faith have too many outward practices; they must first undergo a period of being dealt with and broken. People who have faith in God deep down are not outwardly distinguishable from others, but their actions and deeds are commendable. Only such people can be deemed to be living out the word of God. If you preach the gospel every day to various people in an effort to bring them to salvation, yet in the end are still living by rules and doctrines, then you cannot bring glory to God. Such people are religious figures, as well as hypocrites.
What do the superficial good deeds of humans represent? They represent the flesh, and even the best of outward practices do not represent life; they can only show your own individual temperament. The outward practices of humanity cannot fulfill the desire of God. You constantly speak of your indebtedness to God, yet you cannot supply the life of others or inspire them to love God. Do you believe that those actions of yours will satisfy God? You feel that your actions are in line with God’s will, and that they are of the spirit, but in truth, they are all absurd! You believe that what pleases you and what you are willing to do are precisely those things in which God delights. Can your likes represent God? Can a person’s character represent God? What pleases you is precisely that which God abhors, and your habits are those which God loathes and rejects. If you feel indebted, then go and pray before God; there is no need to speak of it to others. If you do not pray before God, and instead constantly draw attention to yourself in the presence of others, can this satisfy God’s will? If your actions always exist in appearance alone, then this means that you are vain in the extreme. What manner of humans are those who only carry out superficial good deeds and are devoid of reality? Such people are just hypocritical Pharisees and religious figures! If you do not shed your outward practices and are unable to make changes, then the elements of hypocrisy in you will grow even more. The greater your elements of hypocrisy, the more resistance there is toward God. In the end, such people will surely be eliminated!
Excerpted from “In Faith, One Must Focus on Reality—Engaging in Religious Ritual Is Not Faith” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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In order to restore the likeness of a normal person, that is, to achieve normal humanity, people cannot merely please God with their words. They only harm themselves in doing so, and it does not benefit their entry or transformation. Therefore, to attain transformation, people must practice little by little. They must enter slowly, seek and explore bit by bit, enter in from the positive, and live a practical life of truth; a life of a saint. Thereafter, real things, real events, and real environments allow people to have practical training. People are not required to pay any lip service; instead, they are to train in real environments. People first come to realize that they are of poor caliber, and then they eat and drink of God’s words normally, and enter into and practice normally as well; only in this way can they obtain reality, and this is how entry may occur even more rapidly. In order to transform people, there must be some practicality; they must practice with real things, real events, and real environments. Can one achieve true training by relying on church life alone? Could people enter into reality this way? No! If people are unable to enter into real life, then they are unable to transform their old lifestyle and ways of doing things. This is not entirely due to people’s laziness and high level of dependency, but rather it is because people simply do not have the capacity for living, and, moreover, they have no understanding of God’s standard of the likeness of a normal person. In the past, people were always talking, speaking, communicating—and they even became “orators”—yet none of them sought transformation in their life disposition; instead, they blindly sought profound theories. Thus, people of today must change this religious style of belief in God in their lives. They must enter into practice by focusing on one event, one thing, one person. They must do it with focus—only then can they attain results. People’s transformation begins with a change in their substance. The work must be aimed at people’s substance, their life, and at their laziness, dependency, and slavishness—only in this way can they be transformed.
Even though church life can produce results in some areas, the key is still that real life can transform people. One’s old nature cannot be transformed without real life. Let us take, for example, the work of Jesus during the Age of Grace. When Jesus abolished the previous laws and established the commandments of the new age, He spoke using actual examples from real life. As Jesus was leading His disciples through the wheat field on a Sabbath, His disciples became hungry and plucked ears of grain to eat. The Pharisees saw this and said that they were not observing the Sabbath. They also said that people were not allowed to save the calves that had fallen into a pit on the Sabbath, saying that no work might be performed during the Sabbath. Jesus cited these incidents to gradually promulgate the commandments of the new age. At the time, He used many practical matters to help people understand and transform. This is the principle by which the Holy Spirit performs His work, and it is the only way that can transform people. Without practical matters, people can only gain a theoretical and intellectual understanding—this is not an effective way to transform. So how does one acquire wisdom and insight through training? Can people acquire wisdom and insight simply from listening, reading, and advancing their knowledge? How could this be so? People must understand and experience in real life! Therefore, one must train, and one must not depart from real life. People must pay attention to different aspects and have entry in various aspects: level of education, expressiveness, the ability to see things, discernment, the ability to understand God’s words, the common sense and rules of humanity, and other things relating to humanity that people must be equipped with. After understanding has been attained, people must focus on entry, and only then can transformation be attained. If someone has attained understanding, yet they neglect practice, how can transformation occur? Presently, people understand much, but they do not live out reality; thus, they possess little substantive understanding of God’s words. You have only been marginally enlightened; you have received a little illumination from the Holy Spirit, yet you have no entry into real life—or you might not even care about entry—thus your transformation is lessened. After such a long time, people understand a lot. They are able to talk a lot about their knowledge of theories, but their external disposition remains the same, and their original caliber remains as it was, not advancing in the slightest. If this is the case, when will you finally enter in?
Excerpted from “Discussing Church Life and Real Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 437
Church life is only a kind of life where people gather to savor the words of God, and it makes up only a small sliver of one’s life. If people’s real life could also be like their church life—including a normal spiritual life, normally savoring God’s words, praying and being close to God normally, living a real life where everything is carried out in accordance with God’s will, living a real life where everything is carried out in accordance with the truth, living a real life of practicing prayer and practicing being quiet before God, of practicing the singing of hymns and dancing—then this is the only kind of life that would bring them into a life of God’s words. Most people only focus on the several hours of their church life without “caring for” their life outside those hours, as though it were of no concern to them. There are also many people who only enter into the life of the saints when eating and drinking God’s words, singing hymns, or praying, and then they revert to their old selves outside those times. Living like this cannot transform people, much less make them know God. In believing in God, if people desire transformation of their disposition, then they must not detach themselves from real life. In real life, you must know yourself, forsake yourself, practice the truth, as well as learn the principles, common sense, and rules of self-conduct in all things before you are able to achieve gradual transformation. If you only focus on the theoretical knowledge and only live among religious ceremonies without going deep into reality, without entering into real life, then you will never enter into reality, you will never know yourself, the truth, or God, and you will forever be blind and ignorant. God’s work of saving people is not to allow them to live normal human lives after a short period of time, nor is it to transform their erroneous notions and doctrines. Rather, His purpose is to change people’s old dispositions, to change the entirety of their old way of life, and to change all of their outdated ways of thinking and mental outlook. Focusing only on church life will not change people’s old life habits or change the old ways in which they have lived for a long time. No matter what, people must not become detached from real life. God asks that people live out normal humanity in real life, not just in church life; that they live out the truth in real life, not just in church life; and that they fulfill their functions in real life, not just in church life. To enter into reality, one must turn everything toward real life. If, in believing in God, people cannot come to know themselves through entry into real life, and if they cannot live out normal humanity in real life, then they will become failures. Those who disobey God are all people who cannot enter into real life. They are all people who speak of humanity, but live out the nature of demons. They are all people who speak of the truth, but live out doctrines instead. Those who cannot live out the truth in real life are those who believe in God, but are detested and rejected by Him. You have to practice your entry in real life, know your own deficiencies, disobedience, and ignorance, and know your abnormal humanity and weaknesses. That way, your knowledge will be integrated into your actual condition and difficulties. Only this kind of knowledge is real and can allow you to truly grasp your own condition and achieve dispositional transformation.
Now that the perfecting of people has formally begun, you must enter into real life. Therefore, to achieve transformation, you must start from entry into real life, and transform little by little. If you avoid normal human life and only talk about spiritual matters, then things become dry and flat; they become unrealistic, and then how could people transform? Now you are told to enter into real life to practice, in order to establish a foundation for entering into true experience. This is one aspect of what people must do. The work of the Holy Spirit is mainly to guide, while the rest depends on people’s practice and entry. Everyone may attain entry into real life through different paths, such that they can bring God into real life, and live out a real normal humanity. This is the only kind of life with meaning!
Excerpted from “Discussing Church Life and Real Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 438
Previously, it was said that having the presence of the Holy Spirit and having the work of the Holy Spirit are different. The normal state of having the presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested in having normal thoughts, normal reason, and normal humanity. A person’s character will remain as it used to be, but within them there will be peace, and externally they will have the decorum of a saint. This is how they will be when the Holy Spirit is with them. When someone has the presence of the Holy Spirit, their thinking is normal. When they are hungry they want to eat, when they are thirsty they want to drink water. … Such manifestations of normal humanity are not the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; they are people’s normal thinking and the normal state of having the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some people wrongly believe that those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit know no hunger, that they feel no tiredness, and they seem to give no thought to family, having almost completely divorced themselves from the flesh. In fact, the more the Holy Spirit is with people, the more normal they are. They know to suffer and give things up for God, expend themselves for God, and be loyal to God; moreover, they give thought to food and clothing. In other words, they have lost nothing of the normal humanity that people ought to have and are, instead, especially possessed of reason. Sometimes, they read the words of God and ponder the work of God; there is faith in their hearts and they are willing to pursue the truth. Naturally, the work of the Holy Spirit is based upon this foundation. If people are without normal thinking, then they have no reason—this is not a normal state. When people have normal thinking and the Holy Spirit is with them, they surely possess the reason of a normal person and, thus, they have a normal state. In experiencing God’s work, having the work of the Holy Spirit happens occasionally, whereas having the presence of the Holy Spirit is nearly constant. As long as people’s reason and thinking are normal, and as long as their states are normal, then the Holy Spirit is surely with them. When people’s reason and thinking are not normal, then their humanity is not normal. If, at this moment, the work of the Holy Spirit is in you, then the Holy Spirit will surely also be with you. But if the Holy Spirit is with you, it does not follow that the Holy Spirit is definitely working within you, for the Holy Spirit works at special times. Having the presence of the Holy Spirit can only maintain people’s normal existence, but the Holy Spirit only works at certain times. For example, if you are a leader or worker, when you water and provide sustenance for the church, the Holy Spirit will enlighten you to certain words that are edifying for others and can resolve some of your brothers’ and sisters’ practical problems—at such times, the Holy Spirit is working. Sometimes, when you are eating and drinking the words of God, the Holy Spirit enlightens you with certain words that are particularly relevant to your own experiences, allowing you to gain a greater knowledge of your own states; this is also the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, as I speak, you listen and are able to measure your own states against My words, and sometimes you are touched or inspired; all of this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Some people say that the Holy Spirit is working in them at all times. This is impossible. If they were to say that the Holy Spirit is always with them, that would be realistic. If they were to say that their thinking and sense are normal at all times, that would also be realistic, and would show that the Holy Spirit is with them. If they say the Holy Spirit is always working within them, that they are enlightened by God and touched by the Holy Spirit at every moment, and gain new knowledge all the time, then this is by no means normal! It is entirely supernatural! Without a shadow of a doubt, such people are evil spirits! Even when the Spirit of God comes into the flesh, there are times when He must eat and must rest—to say nothing of humans. Those who have been possessed by evil spirits seem to be without the weakness of the flesh. They are able to forsake and give up everything, they are free of the emotion, capable of enduring torment and do not feel the slightest fatigue, as if they have transcended the flesh. Is this not extremely supernatural? The work of evil spirits is supernatural—no human could achieve such things! Those who lack discernment are envious when they see such people: They say they have such vigor in their belief in God, have great faith, and never show the slightest sign of weakness! In fact, these are all manifestations of the work of an evil spirit. For, normal people inevitably have human weaknesses; this is the normal state of those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Excerpted from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 439
What does it mean to stand firm in one’s testimony? Some people say they just follow as they do now and do not concern themselves with whether they are capable of gaining life; they do not pursue life, but they do not withdraw, either. They acknowledge only that this stage of work is carried out by God. Is this not failing in their testimony? Such people do not even bear testimony of being conquered. Those who have been conquered follow regardless of all else and are able to pursue life. They not only believe in the practical God, but also know to follow all of God’s arrangements. Such are those who bear testimony. Those who do not bear testimony have never pursued life and are still following by muddling along. You may follow, but this does not mean you have been conquered, for you have no understanding of God’s work today. Certain conditions must be met in order to be conquered. Not all who follow have been conquered, for in your heart you understand nothing of why you must follow the God of today, nor do you know how you have made it to today, who has supported you up until today. Some people’s practice of faith in God is always muddle-headed and confused; thus, following does not necessarily mean you have testimony. What is exactly true testimony? The testimony spoken of here has two parts: One is testimony of having been conquered, and the other is testimony of having been made perfect (which, naturally, will be the testimony following the greater trials and the tribulations of the future). In other words, if you are able to stand firm during tribulations and trials, then you will have borne the second step of testimony. What is crucial today is the first step of testimony: being able to stand firm during every instance of the trials of chastisement and judgment. This is testimony of being conquered. That is because now is the time of conquest. (You should know that now is the time of God’s work on earth; the incarnate God’s main work on earth is conquering this group of people on earth who follow Him through judgment and chastisement.) Whether or not you are capable of bearing testimony of being conquered not only depends on whether you are able to follow to the very end, but, more importantly, on whether, as you experience each step of God’s work, you are capable of the true understanding of God’s chastisement and judgment, and on whether you truly perceive all of this work. You will not be able to slip through by merely following to the very end. You must be able to willingly surrender during every instance of chastisement and judgment, must be capable of truly understanding each step of work you experience, and must be able to attain knowledge of, and obedience to God’s disposition. This is the ultimate testimony of being conquered, which you are required to bear. Testimony of being conquered primarily refers to your knowledge of the incarnation of God. Crucially, this step of testimony is to the incarnation of God. It matters not what you do or say before the people of the world or those who wield power; what matters above all is whether you are able to obey all of the words from God’s mouth and all of His work. Therefore, this step of testimony is directed at Satan and all enemies of God—the demons and hostiles who do not believe that God will become flesh a second time and come to do even greater work, and furthermore, do not believe in the fact of God’s return to the flesh. In other words, it is directed at all the antichrists—all the enemies who do not believe in the incarnation of God.
Thinking of God and yearning for God do not prove that you have been conquered by God; this depends on whether you believe that He is the Word become flesh, whether you believe that the Word has become flesh, and whether you believe that the Spirit has become the Word, and the Word has appeared in the flesh. This is the key testimony. It matters not how you follow, nor how you expend yourself; what is crucial is whether you are able to discover from this normal humanity that the Word has become flesh and the Spirit of truth has been realized in the flesh—that all the truth, the way, and the life has come in the flesh, God’s Spirit has really arrived on earth and the Spirit has come in the flesh. Although, superficially, this appears different from the conception by the Holy Spirit, in this work you are able to see more clearly that the Spirit has already been realized in the flesh, and, moreover, that the Word has become flesh and the Word has appeared in the flesh. You are able to understand the true meaning of the words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Moreover, you must understand that the Word of today is God, and behold the Word becomes flesh. This is the best testimony you can bear. This proves that you possess true knowledge of God become flesh—you are not only able to know Him, but are also aware that the way you walk today is the way of life, and the way of truth. The stage of work which Jesus performed only fulfilled the substance of “the Word was with God”: The truth of God was with God, and the Spirit of God was with the flesh and was inseparable from that flesh. That is, the flesh of God incarnate was with the Spirit of God, which is greater proof that Jesus incarnate was the first incarnation of God. This stage of work precisely fulfills the inner meaning of “the Word becomes flesh,” lent deeper meaning to “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and allows you to firmly believe the words “In the beginning was the Word.” Which is to say, at the time of creation God was possessed of words, His words were with Him and inseparable from Him, and in the final age, He makes even clearer the power and authority of His words, and allows man to see all of His ways—to hear all of His words. Such is the work of the final age. You must come to understand these things through and through. It is not a question of knowing the flesh, but of how you understand the flesh and the Word. This is the testimony that you must bear, that which everyone must know. Because this is the work of the second incarnation—and the last time that God becomes flesh—it fully completes the significance of the incarnation, thoroughly carries out and issues forth all of God’s work in the flesh, and brings to an end the era of God’s being in the flesh. Thus, you must know the meaning of the incarnation. It matters not how much you run around, or how well you carry out other external matters; what matters is whether you are able to truly submit before God incarnate and devote your entire being to God, and obey all of the words that come from His mouth. This is what you should do, and what you should abide by.
The last step of testimony is testimony of whether or not you are able to be made perfect—which is to say, having understood all of the words spoken from the mouth of God incarnate, you come to possess knowledge of God and become certain about Him, you live out all the words from God’s mouth, and achieve the conditions God asks of you—the style of Peter and faith of Job—such that you can obey unto death, give yourself over entirely to Him, and ultimately achieve an image of a person that is up to standard, which means the image of someone who has been conquered and made perfect after experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement. This is the ultimate testimony—it is the testimony that ought to be borne by one who is ultimately made perfect. These are the two steps of testimony you should bear, and they are interrelated, each indispensable. But there is one thing you must know: The testimony I require of you today is not directed at the people of the world, nor any single individual, but at that which I ask of you. It is measured by whether you are able to satisfy Me, and whether you are able to completely meet the standards of My requirements of each one of you. This is what you should understand.
Excerpted from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 440
When you suffer a little constraint or hardship, it is good for you; if you were given an easy time of it you would be ruined, and then how could you be protected? Today, it is because you are chastised, judged, and cursed that you are given protection. It is because you have suffered much that you are protected. If not, you would have long since fallen into depravity. This is not making things difficult for you intentionally—man’s nature is hard to change, and it must be thus for their dispositions to be changed. Today, you do not even possess the conscience or sense that Paul possessed, nor do you even have his self-awareness. You always have to be pressured, and you always have to be chastised and judged in order to awaken your spirits. Chastisement and judgment are what is best for your life. And when necessary, there must also be the chastisement of the facts coming upon you; only then will you fully submit. Your natures are such that without chastisement and cursing, you would be unwilling to bow your heads, unwilling to submit. Without the facts before your eyes, there would be no effect. You are too lowly and worthless in character! Without chastisement and judgment, it would be difficult for you to be conquered, and hard for your unrighteousness and disobedience to be overcome. Your old nature is so deeply rooted. If you were placed upon the throne, you would have no idea of heaven’s height and earth’s depth, much less of where you were headed. You do not even know where you came from, so how could you know the Lord of creation? Without the timely chastisement and curses of today, your final day would have long since arrived. That is to say nothing of your fate—would not that be even more in imminent danger? Without this timely chastisement and judgment, who knows how arrogant you would grow, or how depraved you would become. This chastisement and judgment have brought you to today, and they have preserved your existence. If you were still “educated” using the same methods as those of your “father,” who knows what realm you would enter into! You have absolutely no ability to control and reflect upon yourselves. For people like you, if you just follow and obey without causing any interference or disruptions, My aims will be achieved. Should you not do better in accepting the chastisement and judgment of today? What other choices do you have?
Excerpted from “Practice (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 441
When equipping yourself for life, you must focus on eating and drinking God’s words, you must be able to talk of knowledge of God, of your views on human life, and, in particular, of your knowledge of the work done by God during the last days. Since you pursue life, you must equip yourself with these things. When you eat and drink the words of God, you must measure the reality of your own state against them. That is, when you discover your shortcomings in the course of your real experience, you must be capable of finding a path to practice, of turning your back on your incorrect motivations and notions. If you always strive for these things and pour your heart into achieving them, then you will have a path to follow, you will not feel empty, and thus you will be able to maintain a normal state. Only then will you be someone who carries a burden in your own life, who has faith. Why is it that some people, after reading God’s words, are unable to put them into practice? Is it not because they cannot grasp the most crucial things? Is it not because they do not take life seriously? The reason that they cannot grasp the crucial things and have no path to practice is that when they read God’s words, they are unable to relate their own states to them, nor can they master their own states. Some people say: “I read God’s words and relate my state to them, and I know that I am corrupt and of poor caliber, but I am incapable of satisfying God’s will.” You have only seen the very surface; there are many real things that you do not know: how to put aside the enjoyments of the flesh, how to put aside self-righteousness, how to change yourself, how to enter into these things, how to improve your caliber, and from which aspect to begin. You only grasp a few things on the surface, and all that you know is that you are indeed very corrupt. When you meet your brothers and sisters, you talk about how corrupt you are, and it seems that you know yourself and carry a great burden for your life. In fact, your corrupt disposition has not changed, which proves you have not found the path to practice. If you are leading a church, you must be able to grasp the states of the brothers and sisters and point them out. Will it do just to say: “You people are disobedient and backward!”? No, you must speak specifically of how their disobedience and backwardness are manifested. You must speak of their disobedient states, their disobedient behaviors, and their satanic dispositions, and you must speak of these things in such a way that they are utterly convinced of the truth in your words. Use facts and examples to make your points, and say exactly how they can break away from rebellious behavior, and point out the path to practice—this is how to convince people. Only those who do so are capable of leading others; only they possess the reality of truth.
Excerpted from “Practice (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 442
Bearing testimony to God is primarily a matter of speaking of your knowledge of God’s work, of how God conquers people, of how He saves people, of how He changes people; it is a matter of speaking of how He guides people to enter into the reality of truth, allowing them to be conquered, made perfect, and saved by Him. Bearing testimony means speaking of His work and all that you have experienced. Only His work can represent Him, and only His work can reveal Him publicly, in His entirety; His work bears testimony to Him. His work and utterances directly represent the Spirit; the work He does is carried out by the Spirit, and the words He speaks are spoken by the Spirit. These things are merely expressed through the incarnate flesh of God, yet, in reality, they are expressions of the Spirit. All the work He does and all the words He speaks represent His essence. If, after clothing Himself in flesh and coming among man, God did not speak or work, and then asked you to know His realness, His normality, and His omnipotence, would you be able to? Would you be able to know what the substance of the Spirit is? Would you be able to know what the attributes of His flesh are? It is only because you have experienced each step of His work that He asks you to bear testimony to Him. If you were without such experience, then He would not insist that you bear testimony. Thus, when you bear testimony to God, you are not only testifying to His exterior of normal humanity, but also to the work He does and the path He leads; you are to testify to how you have been conquered by Him and in what aspects you have been made perfect. This is the kind of testimony you should bear. If, wherever you go, you cry out: “Our God has come to work, and His work is truly practical! He has gained us without supernatural acts, without any miracles and wonders at all!” Others will ask: “What do you mean when you say He does not work miracles and wonders? How can He have conquered you without working miracles and wonders?” And you say: “He speaks, and, without a show of any wonders or miracles, He has conquered us. His work has conquered us.” Ultimately, if you are unable to say anything of substance, if you cannot talk of specifics, is this true testimony? When God incarnate conquers people, it is His divine words that do so. Humanity cannot accomplish this; it is not something any mortal can achieve, and even those of the highest caliber among normal people are incapable of this, for His divinity is higher than any created being. This is extraordinary to people; the Creator, after all, is higher than any created being. Created beings cannot be higher than the Creator; if you were higher than He, He would not be able to conquer you, and He can only conquer you because He is higher than you. He who can conquer all humankind is the Creator, and none but He can do this work. These words are “testimony”—the kind of testimony you should bear. Step by step, you have experienced chastisement, judgment, refinement, trials, setbacks, and tribulations, and you have been conquered; you have put aside the prospects of the flesh, your personal motivations, and the intimate interests of the flesh. In other words, God’s words have conquered your heart completely. Although you have not grown in your life as much as He demands, you know all these things and you are utterly convinced by what He does. Thus, this may be called testimony, testimony that is real and true. The work God has come to do, the work of judgment and chastisement, is meant to conquer man, but He is also concluding His work, ending the age, and carrying out the work of conclusion. He is ending the entire age, saving all of humankind, delivering humankind from sin for once and for all; He is fully gaining humankind, which He created. You should bear testimony to all of this. You have experienced so much of God’s work, you have seen it with your own eyes and experienced it personally; when you have reached the very end, you must not be unable to perform the function incumbent upon you. What a pity that would be! In the future, when the gospel is spread, you should be able to speak of your own knowledge, testify to all that you have gained in your heart, and spare no effort. This is what a created being should attain. What is the actual significance of this stage of God’s work? What is its effect? And how much of it is carried out in man? What should people do? When you can speak clearly of all the work God incarnate has done since coming to earth, then your testimony will be complete. When you can speak clearly of these five things: the significance of His work; its contents; its substance; the disposition it represents; and its principles, then this will prove you are capable of bearing testimony to God, that you are truly possessed of knowledge. My requirements of you are not very high, and are attainable by all those who are in true pursuit. If you are resolved to be one of God’s witnesses, you must understand what God loathes and what God loves. You have experienced much of His work; through this work, you must come to know His disposition, understand His will and His requirements of mankind, and use this knowledge to testify about Him and perform your duty. You may say only: “We know God. His judgment and chastisement are very severe. His words are very stern; they are righteous and majestic, and they are unoffendable by any man,” but do these words ultimately provide for man? What is their effect on people? Do you really know that this work of judgment and chastisement is most beneficial to you? God’s judgment and chastisement are exposing your rebelliousness and corruption, are they not? They can cleanse and expel those filthy and corrupt things inside of you, can they not? Were there no judgment and chastisement, what would become of you? Do you actually recognize the fact that Satan has corrupted you to the most profound degree? Today, you should equip yourselves with these things and know them well.
Excerpted from “Practice (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Daily Words of God Excerpt 443
Do you know what you need to be equipped with right now? One aspect of it involves visions about the work, and the other aspect is your practice. You must grasp both of these aspects. If you do not have visions in your quest to make progress in life, then you will have no foundation. If you have only paths of practice, without the slightest vision, and have no understanding whatsoever of the work of the overall management plan, then you are a good-for-nothing. You must understand the truths that involve visions, and as for the truths relating to practice, you need to find appropriate paths of practice after you have understood them; you must practice in accordance with the words, and enter in according to your conditions. Visions are the foundation, and if you pay no attention to this fact, you will not be able to follow along to the very end; experiencing in such a manner will either lead you astray or cause you to fall down and fail. There will be no way for you to succeed! People who do not have great visions as their foundations can only fail; they cannot succeed. You cannot stand firm! Do you know what believing in God involves? Do you know what following God means? Without visions, what path would you walk? In the work of today, if you have no visions, you will not at all be able to be made complete. In whom do you believe? Why do you believe in Him? Why do you follow Him? Do you see your faith as a sort of a game? Are you handling your life as a kind of a plaything? The God of today is the greatest vision. How much of Him do you know? How much of Him have you seen? Having seen the God of today, is the foundation of your belief in God solid? Do you think that you will attain salvation as long as you follow along in this muddled way? Do you think you can catch fish in muddy water? Is it that simple? How many notions regarding the words God utters today have you set aside? Do you have a vision of the God of today? Wherein does your understanding of the God of today lie? You always believe that you can obtain Him[a] just by following Him, or just by seeing Him, and that no one will be able to get rid of you. Do not assume that following God is such an easy matter. The key is that you must know Him, you must know His work, and you must have the will to endure hardship for His sake, to sacrifice your life for Him, and to be perfected by Him. This is the vision that you should have. It will not do if your thoughts are always bent on enjoying grace. Do not suppose that God is here just for people’s enjoyment, or just to bestow grace upon them. You would be wrong! If one cannot risk their life to follow Him, and if one cannot abandon every worldly possession to follow, then they will certainly not be able to keep following Him to the end! You must have visions as your foundation. If misfortune befalls you one day, what ought you to do? Would you still be able to follow Him? Do not say lightly whether you would be able to follow to the end. You had better first open wide your eyes to see just what time it is now. Though you may currently be like pillars of the temple, a time will come when all such pillars will be gnawed by worms, causing the temple to collapse, for at present, there are so many visions that you lack. You only pay attention to your own little worlds, and you do not know what the most reliable and appropriate way of seeking is. You do not heed the vision of the work of today, nor do you hold these things in your hearts. Have you considered that one day your God will put you in a most unfamiliar place? Can you imagine what would become of you one day when I might snatch everything from you? Would your energy on that day be as it is now? Would your faith reappear? In following God, you must know this greatest vision that is “God”: This is the most important issue. Also, do not assume that in parting company with worldly men to become sanctified, you will necessarily be in God’s family. These days, it is God Himself who is at work among creation; it is He who has come among the people to do His own work—not to carry out campaigns. Among you, not even a handful are able to know that today’s work is the work of the God in heaven who has become flesh. This is not about having you made into outstanding persons of talent; this is to help you to know the significance of human life, know the destination of human beings, and know God and His entirety. You should know that you are an object of creation in the hands of the Creator. What you should understand, what you should do, and how you should follow God—are these not the truths that you must comprehend? Are they not the visions that you should see?
Once people have had visions, they possess a foundation. When you practice on the basis of this foundation, it will be much easier to enter in. As such, you will have no misgivings once you have a foundation for entering in, and it will be very easy for you to enter in. This aspect of understanding visions and of knowing the work of God is crucial; you must have it in your arsenal. If you are not equipped with this aspect of the truth, and only know how to talk about paths of practice, then you will be hugely defective. I have discovered that many of you do not emphasize this aspect of the truth, and when you listen to it, you seem to only be listening to words and doctrines. One day you will lose out. There are some utterances these days that you do not quite understand and do not accept; in such cases, you should seek patiently, and the day will come when you do understand. Gradually equip yourself with more and more visions. Even if you understand only a few spiritual doctrines, that is still better than paying no attention to the visions, and is still better than understanding none at all. This is all helpful to your entry, and will clear away those doubts of yours. It is better than your being filled with notions. You will be much better off if you have these visions as a foundation. You will have no misgivings whatsoever, and will be able to enter in boldly and confidently. Why bother always following God in such a confused, doubtful manner? Is that not the same as burying your head in the sand? How nice it would be to stride into the kingdom with a strut and a swagger! Why be so full of misgivings? Are you not just putting yourself through sheer hell? Once you have gained an understanding of the work of Jehovah, of the work of Jesus, and of this stage of work, you will have a foundation. At the moment, you might imagine that to be quite simple. Some people say, “When the time comes and the Holy Spirit begins the great work, I’ll be able to talk about all these things. The fact that I don’t really understand right now is because the Holy Spirit has not enlightened me that much.” It is not so easy. It is not like if you are willing to accept the truth[b] now, then you will use it masterfully when the time comes. That is not necessarily so! You believe that you are currently very well equipped, and you would have no problem responding to those religious people and the greatest theorists, and even refuting them. Would you really be able to do so? What understanding can you speak of, with only that superficial experience of yours? Becoming equipped with the truth, fighting the battle of truth, and giving testimony to God’s name are not what you think—that as long as God is at work, all will be accomplished. By then, you might be stumped by some question, and then you will be dumbstruck. The key is whether or not you have a clear understanding of this stage of work, and how much about it you actually know. If you cannot overcome the enemy forces or defeat the forces of religion, will you not then be worthless? You have experienced the work of today, seen it with your own eyes, and heard it with your own ears, but, if in the end, you are unable to bear witness, then will you still have the gall to go on living? Whom would you be able to face? Do not imagine now that it will be that simple. The work of the future will not be as simple as you imagine it to be; fighting the war of truth is not that easy, not that straightforward. Right now, you need to be equipped; if you are not equipped with the truth, then when the time comes and the Holy Spirit does not work in a supernatural manner, you will be at a loss.
Excerpted from “You Must Understand the Work—Do Not Follow in Confusion!” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text does not contain the word “Him.”
b. The original text does not contain the phrase “the truth.”