Chapter 78. Only Through Frequent Contemplation of the Truth Can You Have a Way Forward
If you want to do your duty well, then you must first understand the truth and put more of your heart into seeking the truth; a key point in practicing seeking the truth is that you must learn to contemplate God’s words. What is the aim of contemplating God’s words? It is to achieve an understanding of the true meaning of God’s words. And what does this mean, to understand the true meaning of God’s words? It is to seek for and to know what God means when He says these things, what His requirements are and what His will is within these words—it is understanding the reality of the truth. Once you understand the reality of the truth, you will grasp the principles of practice as well as enter into the reality of the truth. In this way, you will unconsciously be enlightened about things you did not previously understand, you will be granted new insights, and you will be enlightened on some things you see and experience so that they slowly become yours, for you to use. But if you do not put your heart into your duty and are careless, just doing things in the easiest way, then what sort of mentality is this? It is one of just going through the motions, with no loyalty toward your duty, no sense of responsibility, and no sense of mission. Every time you do your duty, you use only half your strength; you do it half-heartedly, do not put your heart into it, and just try to get it over and done without any conscientiousness. You do it in such a relaxed manner that it is like you are just playing around. Will this not lead to problems? Eventually, someone will say that when you perform your duty, you are merely going through a process. And what will God say to this? He will say that you are not trustworthy. That is, if you have been entrusted with a job and, whether it is a job of primary responsibility or one of ordinary responsibility, if you do not put your heart into it and do not live up to your responsibility, and if you do not see it as a mission God has given you or a matter with which God has entrusted you, and you do not do it as your own duty and obligation, then trouble will befall you. “Not trustworthy”—these two words will define how you go about your duty, and God will state that your character is not up to par. If a matter is entrusted to you and you take this attitude toward it and handle it in this way, then will you be entrusted to do any duties in the future? Can you be entrusted with anything important? Perhaps you could be entrusted, but it depends on how you behave. In God’s heart, however, there will always exist some distrust toward you. There will always be some distrust and some dissatisfaction in God’s mind, so is this not a problem?
When you do your duty, what you are actually doing is what you should be doing. But if you do it before God, using your heart, how does that saying go? “Worship God with heart and with honesty.” Now if you apply this saying to doing your duty, doing your duty with an attitude of honesty and with heart, don’t you think this attitude is much more proper? (Yes.) Once you have this attitude, how can you apply it in real life? You must make this saying your reality. Whenever you want to be slack and just go through the motions, whenever you want to be lazy, and whenever you allow yourself to be distracted and wish to just go have fun, you should think it through: In behaving like this, am I being untrustworthy? Is this putting my heart into doing my duty? Am I being disloyal by doing this? In doing this, am I failing to live up to the trust God has placed in me? This is how you should self-reflect. You should think, “I have not taken this matter seriously. Back then, I felt there was a problem, but I didn’t treat it as being serious; I just glossed it over carelessly. Now this problem still hasn’t been resolved. What sort of person am I?” You will have identified the problem and come to know yourself a little. Should you stop when you have a little knowledge? Are you finished once you have confessed your sins? You must repent and make a turn-around! How do you turn back? Your previous attitude toward doing your duty was wrong, your heart was wrong, your heart wasn’t in it. You always ran blindly and you were derelict in your duties. You must now rectify your attitude and must pray before God, asking God to discipline you and punish you if you still have this heart and this attitude. Now bring forth parts in which you feel you were slipshod over the past few days and see how exactly those parts can be changed, and make them right; after they have been made right, go seek again, pray, ask your brothers and sisters again, see whether or not they have any better opinions or suggestions, until everyone agrees, saying “good” and “great.” Only in this way will you get confirmation and feel that, this time, you are doing your duty in a way that is up to standard, that you are using all your strength, that all your heart is in it, that you are applying your all, using your all, using all your ability and free from any qualms. And when you come before God to account for yourself, your conscience will be clear, and you will say: “Although God grades my work at 60%, I used all my strength to do it, I put my whole heart into it, I wasn’t lazy, I didn’t shirk and I didn’t hold back.” What do you think to this? Is this not using all one’s heart, soul and strength to do one’s duty, and applying these realities to real life? Is this not living out the reality of these things? So when you live out the reality of these things, how do you feel in your heart? (Assured.) Yes, assured. By doing this, people feel they are living pretty well, that they have some human likeness, and that they are not the walking dead, right? Is it easy to do this? (In fact, it is easy.) In fact easy, but very difficult, right?
Actually, much of the time people are able to weigh up in their hearts how they do their duty. Since people are always listening to sermons, reading God’s words and fellowshiping together, they can weigh themselves up pretty well in their hearts. Much of the time people are clear in their hearts that they haven’t applied all their strength, that they are often slipshod, especially toward their duty, often doing it with one eye open and one eye closed, and if they can be slipshod to get it over with then they are slipshod. Even when they notice some fault, if the above hasn’t said anything then they don’t say a word about it, thinking, “Let it go. Why make things difficult for myself?” In this way, your inner state will unknowingly become worse and worse. You carry no burden and you have no loyalty, with the result that you never have any new insights or light when you do your work. What’s more, people don’t ordinarily focus on practicing the truth. So some people say: “Aren’t I practicing the truth by doing my duty?” You are doing a task; doing a task and practicing the truth are two separate things. Doing a task is just going through the motions with things that can be achieved externally—you look like you’re busy doing something, but what your heart is doing is not the same as how you appear externally, and all that you think in your heart and that which you desire to achieve is not the same as how you appear externally. So, often after people finish something, having expended so much energy and done many tasks, how in the end do they not understand the truth? It is a matter of heart. That is, doing things externally and what you think in your heart are two different realms. Doing things externally gives others a false impression; it seems like you’re doing your duty and practicing the truth, when actually these things are not in your heart—there is nothing in it to do with practicing the truth, being serious with the truth, and doing things according to the principles of the truth, and how you should seek, how you should ponder something when you do not understand it, there are none of these things in your heart. You appear as though you are doing your duty, as though you are living before God, when actually your heart is not. Your hands are there, you yourself are there, but your heart isn’t there—your heart is not in your duty. How can this be seen? It can be seen in your everyday lives. You often listen to sermons, fellowship together, have meetings, eat and drink the words of God, but as soon as the books are closed and you leave the meeting place, there is nothing in your hearts and you never contemplate the truth, God’s words or issues about your own life entry, or the people, matters, and things you personally encounter in your daily lives—you never ponder these things. That is, your hearts are often not before God; you just do things for the sake of doing things. Therefore, most people find it difficult to get deeper into the truth and they stay on the superficial level of letters and doctrines; once they understand some doctrines or regulations then they’re done, and it is very difficult for them to go any deeper. Because people’s hearts have not entered inside, the degree of depth to which they can go with regard to getting deeper into the truth, and the aspect of the reality of the truth, is very limited. If you don’t believe this, then I ask you: Which principles do you keep when performing your duty? Perhaps you are all able to reply, “Bearing hardships, being able to expend for God, having the will to suffer, praying often, not being lazy or slipshod when doing our duty, doing things according to principles, listening to and obeying everything the above says.” It seems as though you are all able to speak the doctrinal things that concern the truth of doing one’s duty, but how much do you comprehend, how much do you understand the things to do with the detailed practice of every single truth? You don’t understand them, do you? You don’t understand, so what does this show? Most people only grasp the surface of the truth and they don’t understand the reality of the truth, which means they don’t understand the truth. Those who don’t understand the truth can speak a little of the letters and doctrines of the truth, but does this count as having attained the truth? (No.) No, it doesn’t. So what must you pay attention to from now on? One aspect is to have a normal spiritual life, meaning these external things: prayer, meetings, eating and drinking the words of God, listening to sermons and singing hymns and praising. Besides keeping these external things, don’t delay your own duty, do your duty well. The most important point that you must understand is this: If you want to seek the truth, understand the truth and attain the truth, then you must learn to quiet yourself before God, learn to contemplate the truth and contemplate God’s words. Learn to contemplate! When you learn to contemplate, do you need to go through any formality? Are there any rules? Any time restriction? (No.) What about any restriction on place? (No.) So we can say that one can contemplate the truth anytime, anywhere, right? (Right.) Then this is much easier, and you can contemplate the truth anytime, anywhere. That is, you can utilize all that time when you’ve nothing to do and when your heads are empty to contemplate the truth, and cut down on the time you spend thinking of this or that or thinking of useless things in your hearts and use that time to contemplate the truth. In this way, won’t you no longer be wasting most of the time in a day? What do people do when they are wasting their time? They engage in chit chat, or else their heads are empty, they are in a trance, or else their hearts think of useless things, thinking of their families, thinking of the people they used to know and thinking of the shadows of how they were before, thinking of when they used to live a glorious, prosperous life, and thinking of their own futures, thinking of what course the fate of their lives will follow, and thinking how they will be when they get old, thinking “What will become of me when my hair turns grey? Will my face be wrinkled? Will my face be bigger or smaller? What if I lose some of my teeth? Will I be humpbacked? Will I be lame?” Some people will think along more spiritual lines, “Where is the future kingdom? Where exactly is hell? Can I see my classmate who is not a believer?” Is this not boredom? Empty out this time of chit chat and boredom and quiet down, become quiet before God. Why quiet yourselves before God? (To contemplate God’s words.) Contemplate God’s words, pray-read them, examine your own doings at that particular time, bring them before God and ask Him to scrutinize them, and then see whether there are any big issues that you can become aware of or recognize. And if you discover a big issue, a fatal weakness, some part of you that is rebellious, then look up the corresponding words of God and see whether it can be resolved.
What does contemplating God’s words involve? Do you know? What it involves is actually very easy to decide, and it is that spiritual terminology and those spiritual doctrines you often say, and the spiritual principles of practice that you often take to be correct. So you take these things and pray-read, “I am very clear about all these spiritual terms or sayings theoretically and doctrinally, and I understand their literal meanings, so what are they in reality? How should I practice them?” You can contemplate in this way, beginning with these things. When someone believes in God, if they do not learn to contemplate then they will find it very difficult to enter into the truth and understand the truth. When someone isn’t able to achieve a genuine understanding of the truth, are they able to enter the reality of the truth? When someone isn’t able to enter the reality of the truth, are they able to attain the truth? When someone isn’t able to attain the truth, and not able to enter the reality of the truth, are they able to satisfy God’s will? (No.) This is very difficult to achieve. For example, the oft-mentioned “fear God and shun evil.” “What is meant by ‘fear God’? If I say something wrong, is this fearing God or is it not fearing God? Is speaking this way an evil deed or a good deed? Does God remember? Does God condemn it? Which things are evil?” So you must contemplate. “My own heart, mind, intentions, ideas, views, the motivation and origination of my speech and actions, and the various dispositions I reveal—are they considered evil? Which are worthy of God’s praise? Which does God detest? Which are condemned by God?” Is this worth contemplating? “In which matters is man able to easily make big mistakes?” All these are worth contemplating, right? Do you contemplate them, ordinarily? (I very seldom contemplate and spend a lot of time with an empty head, thinking of other things.) How old are you now? You are all twenty-something, not yet 30, right? (Right.) Not yet 30. So how many years has it been since you were able to ponder problems? (Twenty-odd years.) I mean pondering real things, the real things of adults, and having a mature way of thinking. It can’t be twenty-odd years, can it? You are only twenty-something, so for it to be twenty-odd years, could you have been pondering real things at four, five or six years old? (No, back then we weren’t able to ponder real things.) Then count from when you were 17 or 18—how many years is that? (10 years.) (Seven or eight years.) Seven or eight years up to 10 years, right? How much time have you wasted in those 10 years? How much have you thought about things to do with the truth, with believing in God, with life entry, and with fearing God and shunning evil? How many times have you thought about these things? Have they left any impression on you? (God, I think that out of those 10 years, eight have gone to waste.) Eight years have gone to waste, so what were you doing for those two years? Did you do anything of significance during those two years? (I thought of significant things during those two years.) What kind of things are significant to you? Can you give any examples? (Praying to God, and bringing my condition and corruption before God and using the truth to resolve them or dissect them. Figuring it out in this way, only two years in 10 was time where I genuinely experienced some entry. Most of the time I just did things, or thought of things of the flesh or things that had nothing to do with God.) So have you obtained anything in these two years? (Yes.) When you bear fruit in contemplating God’s words or things to do with believing in God or the truth, your life entry will begin, and you will have entered into life. You cannot contemplate right now, so you have no life entry. When someone has life entry, when they can contemplate God’s words and ponder problems, when they are able to contemplate, they will have begun their entry into the truth, and will have begun to enter the reality of the truth. What did I say? (When someone has life entry, when they can contemplate God’s words and ponder problems, when they are able to contemplate, they will have begun their entry into the truth, and will have begun to enter the reality of the truth.) So have you begun now? You keep shaking your heads. That means no, right? You still can’t contemplate, and if you can’t contemplate then you have no entry.
No matter how old someone is, they wonder, “How will I support my family? How can I earn enough money to live a comfortable life?” Or they wonder, “How shall I do this housework? When will I be able to do the jobs my parents do?” What does it signify when someone begins thinking of these things? It signifies that this person has matured, that their thoughts have matured. What is it that begins when they start thinking of these problems? Is it the beginning of their life of independence? Once they begin to consider these problems—wondering how they will earn money, whether they will learn a skill or get a diploma, how they will get along in society and get along with other people, wondering what their future prospects will be like—when they begin to think about these problems, then they will have begun to mature. For people who don’t consider these things, when they don’t think this way, they still rely on their parents for food and for somewhere to live, they live relying on their parents and they cannot leave them, right? They go to their parents for money, food and clothing, they live with their parents, and if their parents aren’t attentive then they go hungry; they don’t consider any of life’s big issues such as marrying and settling down, how to live or their future prospects—they don’t consider any of these things. Can they be considered mature? (No.) But they are 40 years old, yet they still don’t consider these things. They don’t consider these things, so do they possess this kind of stature? They don’t consider these things at such an age, so do they possess this kind of stature? (No, they don’t.) And when their parents die, or when their parents kick them out, they go hungry in the outside world; are there people like this? They have no skill at life, no ability. They go out to make a living, but they can’t even make it for two days, and they are unable to survive. They aren’t even able to boil water, and need to ask someone, “How do you know when the water is boiled?” And the other person says, “You’re so dumb, you don’t even know how to boil water.” And they reply, “I’ve never done it before.” “So how have you survived all these years?” “My mom did it.” They can’t do their laundry and they can’t make instant noodles. Is this an adult? Looking at their age, they are an adult, but you can’t judge someone to be mature based on their age. Isn’t this an objective thing to say? (Yes.) This is objective. Some people are 18 or 19, and some are in their twenties when they stand on their own two feet. They start thinking of proper business, they get some proper occupation, learn a skill, and then they can live independently, support themselves and not depend on their parents all their lives; they begin to think this way. Once they begin to think this way and always think this way in their hearts, they will ponder, “What skill must I learn? Where can I find a job?” They ponder how to make money and how to be able to live an independent life, and they begin to consider which skills and abilities they will need in order to live independently. They think and think, and then they begin to take action. They begin by going to work to earn money and, while they are living their lives they learn whatever they pay attention to or need to learn; they learn something and gradually they become more and more independent, and they are gradually able to support their parents. At this point, are they not completely grown up? (Yes, they are.) What stage are you at now? Are you at the stage where you have grown into adults? (No.) So regarding your belief in God, if no one watered you now, if there were no meetings, no sermons to listen to, that is, if the above didn’t preach to you, if no one led you, if you were to get together in small groups and you had God’s words and were given some hymns, and you were sent sermons at regular intervals for you to listen to on your own, would you be capable of normal entry? Would you be able to enter the reality of the truth? (No.) You see, this is a problem, it is very troublesome, and now you are in danger! You now have this environment, and this environment is able to protect you so that you can do your duty, believe in God and have the likeness of a believer. But if you left this environment, wouldn’t the maturity of your stature be revealed? (Yes.) So when your stature is revealed, exactly how mature are you? How much reality of the truth do you possess? How much reality of the truth have you understood? When that time comes you search your entire being and find nothing at all, not a hint; isn’t that troublesome? This is a very dangerous thing! When trials befall you, you don’t know how to stand witness, don’t know how to satisfy God’s will, there is nothing in your heart, no path, no direction, and no truth has taken root and sprouted within you that can help you get through this difficult time; you don’t have this stature, and when you encounter temptation you are unable to extricate yourself and you cannot see through it. It is these two things that will see you eliminated. You understand, don’t you?
When someone goes into society now, do they encounter many temptations? Temptation is everywhere, and evil trends are filled with temptation. All manner of speech, views, ideologies, all the different lures and demonic countenances of all the different people—to you, all is temptation. If you have no truth equipped within you, if you have no real stature, if you are unable to see through these things, then to you they will all be pitfalls and temptations. On the one hand, you will be unable to see through the satanic countenances of all manner of people, you will be unable to overcome Satan and unable to claim victory over it; on the other hand, without the reality of the truth, you will be unable to withstand all manner of evil trends, evil views and absurd ideologies and interpretations. When these things come, to you they will be as a cold snap in the weather. If you get off lightly, you will catch a cold, otherwise you will suffer a cold stroke and you may die, and if things don’t go well you may stop believing in God. The satanic speech in the world of the unbelievers can muddle you up and confuse you with just a few words, so that you don’t know whether you should believe in God or not, whether it’s right to believe in God, who is right and who is wrong; you’re confused and you don’t know it, right? Maybe you feel great at the meeting today, and you go home tomorrow and watch a soap opera—a touching and romantic Korean TV series—and you cry like one with a broken heart, with runny nose and tearful eyes, and you cry for as long as the program goes on. Then when you close your eyes in bed that night, you think, “Oh no, I forgot to pray.” When you wake up in the morning you wonder, “When is that program on? I must keep watching it.” You watch it for a couple of days and your face becomes ashen, you forget God, you become immersed in the program, and you think, “When will I fall in love? A love filled with passion. It would mean my life would not have been lived in vain. I’ve got to this age and still haven’t tasted love.” You see, your views have changed after just two episodes of a soap opera. What do you think of this? Do you have any stature? (No.) What are these things? (Satan’s temptations.) You accept these things very quickly. Do you think you now have stature and can resist these evil trends? Now it is the grace of God that takes you and places you inside a greenhouse—don’t forget your own stature. You are now a flower in a greenhouse and you cannot stand to be battered by the wind and rain, right? This is temptation and people cannot stand it, they cannot see through it, and they can be taken captive by Satan anytime, anywhere; people’s statures are this immature, this pitiful. Because you don’t have the reality of the truth and don’t understand the truth, all this satanic speech, these things, are all a dose of poison to you, once inside, you cannot get rid of it. You say, “I won’t listen,” but how can you not listen? Do you live in a vacuum? Once you hear it you are unable to resist it, unable to guard against it, and you can but sink into it. You say, “I pray and I denounce it,” but as soon as you get up after your praying and denouncing, you think, “What did the characters say? Nope, I must keep watching. What will happen with that protagonist? Will he marry that girl in the end?” How does that saying go? What will become of the lovers? (The lovers will finally get married.) You say it so easily, don’t you? “I must keep watching.” You can’t resist it, can you? These things are capable of influencing your life, influencing your thoughts and influencing your behavior; they can control everything about you, your direction in life, and can even control you so that you are unable to come before God, and then you are finished, worthless. This is temptation.
You think you are now loyal to God, that you have resolution and determination, that even more you have desires and ideals. But when a trial from God befalls you, how do you approach it? You say, “I obey,” but God has set a difficult problem for you and you are unable to obey as it does not accord with your conceptions or your imagination. That which is set before you is a conundrum, it’s not a piece of cake, so what do you do? When God grants someone a reward, it tallies with their psychological needs, as well as with their conceptions and tastes, and they are able to obey. But when God strips you, what do you do? What approach do you take? Are you able to stand firm in the midst of God’s trials and the environments God arranges for you? Are you able to stand witness? Is this a problem? Do you know what God will do? You say, “I will certainly stand witness.” These words are bragging, folly, ignorant, stupid and conceited. Do you know what God will do to you? What trial will God put you through? How will God test you? You say, “I have the will to suffer and I am not afraid,” but sometimes the trial is not one that causes suffering. You say, “I’m ready, I’m not afraid. No matter what trial God puts me through, I’m ready and I’m not afraid.” Sometimes something happens unexpectedly, something you’ve never thought of before, something that you cannot prepare for. What use is preparing for something you have never thought of? There is no use. Suppose you are always in good health and you have been doing your duty for many years, so many years that God protects you, you never get sick, and you walk a smooth road. Then suddenly, one day, you go to the doctor for a checkup and say, “Ah, how have I gotten this illness?” You look at the people around you and say, “No one else has it, so how have I gotten it? Why it is me? Me, who is the most positive, who suffers the most hardships, who has believed in God for the longest time—how have I gotten it? It’s not right that I’ve got this illness. It hasn’t come from God, that can’t be right. I must go for a checkup again.” You go and get checked over and this is indeed the case, so what do you do? You think, “God is testing me.” You pray and you have faith. You pray for a time and then you say, “My illness is still not better. Oh no, God wants me dead. He wants to take my life!” Are you still able to obey? Then you weep, saying, “Oh God! I don’t want to die! I haven’t lived enough, I’m still young and not at a dying age. I don’t even have one grey hair and I haven’t even lived half my life yet. Let me live another couple of years, I still have so much strength to give.” Praying is no use and no matter how you get checked over you are still dying, so what do you do? (Face it.) Face it. Go for treatment. “I’ll die whether I go for treatment or not. What do I do now?” Often, when people have only just become aware of that God is testing them, they think, “What God does is right and good.” But when they feel it to be real, they think, “Maybe God really means for me to die and not to live. It seems that He does not mean for me to live.” So they wait to die. “I’ll die in any case. No matter how it happens, I will die, so let me die. If God wants me dead then I’ll die.” And they wait to die. Is it correct, this attitude of waiting for death? What kind of attitude is this? (A negative attitude.) Yes, a negative attitude. Isn’t there also a little obedience within this attitude? (No.) Do they wish to die? (No.) No, so why do they now wait to die? (Because there’s nothing they can do.) Yes, there is nothing anyone can do when it comes time to die, for die they must. They have no choice, so they may as well accept it, right? This “acceptance” is a kind of negative, confrontational attitude and it is not bearing witness. So some people say, “I am being made to die, so what is there to bear witness for?” God is making you die; are you not His creation? God is making you die; will you stop doing your duty? Have you done your duty? Have you done it well? (No.) So what heart must you have before you can stand the witness that a created being should bear? What heart must you have? (So long as I have one breath left, I will do my duty well.) How will you do it? (With more heart even than when I was healthy.) You didn’t apply that heart you had when you were healthy, so now that you have contracted this serious illness and will die, can you still apply this heart? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Are your words real or not? (No.) So say something real.
Come before God no matter what happens to you—this is the correct thing to do. On the one hand you must reflect, and on the other you must not delay doing your duty. Don’t just always reflect on yourself and not do your duty, saying, “I’m reflecting, I don’t have time to do my duty.” Is this the correct thing to do? No, it isn’t. No matter what trials befall you, you must regard them as God-given burdens. When you have toothache, you feel that it is very painful. So when some people contract more serious illnesses, isn’t that even more painful? When someone has pain in one tooth, or in two teeth, they suffer terribly, and some people have diseases in their internal organs that they cannot even touch and they have no way to stop the pain; so what can they do in this situation? And some people are even facing death, so what can they do? There are many times when the trials God gives to people are a burden. However heavy a burden God gives to you, you should shoulder such a heavy burden, for God understands you, and understands that you are capable of bearing these burdens. God will not give you a burden that exceeds your stature or that exceeds the maximum limit you are able to bear; the burdens He gives to you will not exceed the maximum limit that you can bear—they will certainly be burdens that you are able to bear. But no matter what kind of burden He gives you or what kind of trial, remember this: Whether or not you come to understand God’s will or obtain clear enlightenment and illumination through praying to God, whether this is God disciplining you or giving you a warning, whether or not you obtain this kind of enlightenment and illumination, don’t stop doing the work in your hand or doing your duty; keep your own duty, don’t stop, and in this way God will be satisfied and you will have stood witness. When some people are told they have contracted a serious illness and that they will soon die, they wonder, “Die? There are still so many important things yet to do. I must first take care of my own business and I will lay aside anything to do with my duty. My belief in God is so that I may be saved from death, but now it’s hard to say, and I must still die despite believing in God. So first of all, I’ll take care of my own personal matters and I’ll take care of my own personal desires that I haven’t yet fulfilled, and do the things I haven’t yet enjoyed in life. I’ll first take care of my private affairs. I won’t do my duty anymore. I’ve done my duty all these years and yet God is still allowing me to die, so I won’t do it anymore.” What kind of attitude is this? See, you’ve done your duty for so many years and you haven’t yet understood the truth; you’ve done your duty for so many years, listened to so many sermons and yet with one trial you are defeated, you fall down, you become dejected like a flat tire; with one trial, you go right back to how you were before—is this kind of person worthy of God’s care? They have not the slightest shred of loyalty. So what do we call it when someone does their duty for so many years? (Rendering service.) It’s called “rendering service,” and you become the one who puts forth their strength, something that puts forth its strength. Suppose you can achieve this in your belief in God and in your pursuit of the truth, saying, “No matter if God allows illness, or something else unwelcome, to befall me, no matter what God does, I must obey, and take my proper place as a created being. First of all, I must practice the aspect of the truth of obedience, implement it and live out the reality of obedience to God; also, I must not throw away God’s commission in me or the things God has asked me to do or the duty I should do. I must keep my duty even until my last breath.” Isn’t this bearing witness? When you have this resolution and are in this kind of state, will you still complain about God? (No.) You will no longer complain about God. What must you think then? “God gave me this breath and I must not let it be in vain; I must give it back to God in return. God has provided for us all these years and spared us much pain. God has bestowed on us so much grace and so much truth, and we understand now so much truth and so many mysteries that no one throughout the ages has ever understood; we have gained so much from God. I must repay God! Previously, my stature was immature and I didn’t understand anything, and I did things which grieved God’s heart. I may not have a chance to repay God in the future and, no matter how long I have left, I must offer up to God all the strength I have and all the things I can achieve, so that He may see that He has not provided for me, this created being, all these years in vain, but it has borne fruit. Let me be a comfort to God, let me never again be a grief to God and let me never again disappoint God.” What do you think of this? (It’s good.) Don’t think about seeking to survive or how to be rid of the illness, saying, “When will this illness get better? When I’m better, I’ll do my duty well and I will be loyal. Can I be loyal when my body is riddled with illness? Can I do the duty of a created being?” Are you able to do your duty so long as you have one breath left? Are you able to avoid shaming God, so long as you have one breath left? Are you able to not complain about God so long as you have one breath left, and not complain about Him so long as you remain clear-headed? (Yes.) It’s easy to say “yes” now, but will it be easy when such a thing really happens to you? (No.) No, it won’t be easy. Therefore, you must seek the truth, make frequent effort with the truth, and contemplate this more often: “How can I satisfy God’s will? How can I repay God’s love? How can I do the duty of a created being?” What is “a created being”? Is listening to God’s words the sole responsibility of a created being? No, it isn’t; you must also live out God’s words. Your responsibilities and obligations are: God gives you so much truth, way and life, and He gives you this much so that you can live it out, and God asks you to live it out and He asks you to bear witness for Him—this is what a created being is supposed to do. You must contemplate these things frequently; if you always contemplate them, you will go deeper into all aspects of the truth.
When someone doesn’t make effort with the truth, sooner or later they will fall and they will find it hard to stand firm, for when reality hits, when trials befall, they will not be able to resolve them with one or two sentences of letters and doctrines. Letters and doctrines cannot resolve the difficulties of reality. So, you must understand in perfect clarity all items of the truth, regularly contemplate these matters clearly, understand them all in your heart, know how things stand, and only then will you know what you should do when things happen to you. Are you able to gain these truths, however, if you don’t contemplate these things? If you don’t contemplate these things, then no matter how much you hear of them or how much you can talk about them, your understanding will only ever be a literal understanding, and will not go beyond that. These literal things more often than not will give you a wrong impression, and you will think that your belief in God has already borne fruit and that your stature is greatly matured, because you are enthusiastic and energetic—they give you this wrong impression. And yet once reality hits, you then know that these things cannot ensure smooth sailing through every single trial, nor can they guarantee smooth sailing through every single test. People are often like this when things happen to them, saying: “Oh no, something has happened, what can I do? I must hurry and look for some words of God, check myself against them, and look for any principle that fits. What does this principle fit in with?” You then come to know that you possess too little of the truth and you understand too little of the reality of the truth, right? Only when you come to use it do you know you have too little of it, and when you don’t need to use it you always think you have lots, that you are overflowing with the truth. What is it that you are overflowing with? It is just a fraction of the superficiality of words. This feeling is incorrect, and you are in danger when you think you are overflowing with the truth; it is when you think you are nothing, and you understand very little that you will know how to gain entry. When you are always thinking that you have the truth, that you are filled with it, that you’re good enough, and that you know yourself, that you have love for God and that you can do anything for God—this is a signal of danger. The more you think like this, the more it proves you understand nothing and that you are not in possession of the reality of the truth. Contemplate these words! Learn to contemplate—this is important in the life of every believer in God. You understand, right?
What have you gained from reading this fellowship? (I understand the importance of contemplating the truth, how to contemplate God’s words and which things to contemplate. God has fellowshiped in great detail.) I’ve fellowshiped in great detail, so do I need to fellowship in even more detail? Are you capable of entry, after having fellowshiped to such a level of detail? If someone can’t gain entry after having fellowshiped to this level of detail, what kind of person would they be? They would be an idiot, feeble-minded, and there would be no way to teach them any further, right? I stop short of directly telling you what to do in any given situation so that you don’t need to contemplate or seek anything. So, are you practicing in accordance with this fellowship now? (We’re practicing it right now.) Has it had any effect? How long has it been since you heard this fellowship? (One week.) One week. And have you got the knack of it after practicing these words for a week? Have you begun to practice it? (Yes.) Tell Me, if someone believes in God and takes this word “belief” as a formality, as a way of following the rules and following a process, what are they able to gain in the end? Are they able to gain anything real? (No.) So how can this word “belief” be used in reality, and how should you fulfill it in reality in order to gain the truth and satisfy God’s will? (When we eat and drink God’s words, have meetings or pray, we must be able to achieve some real results, and not just go through superficial formalities.) So then do you know what results are to be achieved in the end? (Understanding God’s will, and knowing what God likes, how He hopes people will act, and what He requires of people.) What’s the purpose of understanding? (Practice.) What is the difference between religious faith and the belief in God that you people have now? (They don’t understand God’s words, nor do they put them into practice.) The purpose of understanding the truth is to live it out, as is the purpose of practice, to make it become your life, to make what you understand and practice become your life. What do I mean by make it become your life? It is to make it become the basis and the fountainhead of your actions, your life, your existence and of how to be a person; in colloquial terms, it is to make a complete change in the way you live. What did you formerly rely on to live? Whether you had faith or not, what did you rely on to live? Did you rely on God’s words or on the truth to live? (No.) So when you lived like that, was that the manner in which a created being should behave? (No.) So what does God want? (He wants people to live relying on His words.) Is relying on God’s words to live the objective that one should have when one has a true belief in God? Living in reliance on God’s words is the manner in which a created being should behave, and someone who achieves this is genuinely a created being in the eyes of God. So, think about it, and regularly contemplate, out of all the things you say and do, the principles behind your actions, your life goals, how you conduct yourself and the way you live, which things are compatible with God, which are in accordance with God’s requirements, and which are just you living your own life and have nothing to do with God’s words and God’s requirements. Contemplate these things and you will slowly come to gain entry. If you don’t contemplate these things, if you only make effort on the surface and put your heart into superficial things, then it’s useless. If you only go through the process, follow the rules and observe rituals, then in the end you will gain nothing.
Whatever the case, what exactly is belief in God? Belief in God is actually the process whereby someone changes from a person who has been corrupted by Satan into someone who is a genuine created being in the eyes of God. So, when someone is now reliant on Satan’s disposition and nature to live, are they a created being whom God is satisfied with in His eyes? You say you believe in God, you acknowledge God, you acknowledge God’s sovereignty and acknowledge that God gives you everything, but do you live out God’s words? Do you live in accordance with God’s requirements? Do you follow the way of God? Is a created being such as you able to come before God and live together with God? Do you have a God-fearing heart? As far as what you live out and the path you walk is concerned, are you compatible with God? Have you achieved this? (No.) No, so what is the meaning of your belief in God now? Have you entered onto the right track? (No.) Your following God, your belief in and acknowledgment of God’s name and acknowledgment of God as your Creator and as your Sovereign is only a formality and a lip service. You have not, however, accepted in essence God’s sovereignty or God’s orchestrations, and you cannot be wholly compatible with God. That is, the meaning of your belief in God has not entirely been realized and has not attained its goals, and you have not entered into the essential, practical side of belief in God. Isn’t that right? Looking at it this way, is belief in God a simple thing? (No, it’s not simple.)
In your hearts, do you now feel that understanding God’s words and practicing the truth are very important? (Yes.) You know these things are important, and so you must overcome all difficulties. Overcome all difficulties, your own personal weaknesses and all the various difficulties in your surroundings. You must come more often before God to pray, defeat all difficulties and reach a point where you can practice the truth, so that God can say your belief in Him is that of someone who follows the way of God; in this way, your belief in God will be worthy of praise—your faith will be praiseworthy. Don’t get to the end saying you acknowledge God’s name, that you believe God to be the Sovereign of all things and that God is the Creator, and yet you have nothing in your life that has anything to do with the truth at all, or anything to do with God’s requirements or anything to do with the work a created being is supposed to do; won’t this end be troublesome for you? When there is nothing in your life that has anything to do with these things, can you come before God? You may say you can come before God, but would God allow you in His presence? Does God praise this kind of belief? What does it signify, that God doesn’t praise this kind of belief? It signifies that He doesn’t want such a created being as you, nor does He acknowledge you, nor does He need such a person as you. He does not acknowledge your belief, and does not praise your belief. So are you still worthy of God’s praise? It’s over for you, and hasn’t your end been determined? Am I right? (Yes.) So is this the kind of end you want? (No.) Then what kind of end do you want? (To be worthy of God’s praise.) You want God to praise you, don’t you? To be worthy of God’s praise, what must you know first of all? What must you enter first of all? You must know the things you do that God likes, and the things you do that He doesn’t like. Isn’t this so very straightforward? When you work, do things or think in a certain way, you must ponder whether or not God takes joy in it, whether it is something God takes joy in, or something He hates, and whether He sees it as something that is righteous and good, or as something evil. You must know how to differentiate between these things, and you must have this standard, this dividing line within your heart. If you do not, then everything you do will be seen as evil in the eyes of God. Does God praise the things He sees as evil, or not? (They are not praised by God.) So, if God doesn’t praise something you do, is it something you should be doing or not? (No, it’s not.) Is it a valid or an invalid action? (It’s invalid.) If it’s invalid, then what’s the point in doing it? You’re still doing evil. You now know that it is invalid, so in terms of the principles behind your actions, the principles behind everything you do, how should you act—what kind of path should you have and what kind of intention should you have—how should you act in a way that is valid? (Seek the truth and try to grasp God’s will in all things.) You all know this, right? Seek the truth and try to grasp God’s will—when you have grasped it and you know about it, are you then able to put it into practice? Once you understand it, are you then able to put it into practice? (No.) So what do you do? (Pray to God and depend on Him.) Pray to God and depend on God, and you must endure suffering, and suffer for the truth. Lay down your personal desires, intentions, wild ambitions and physical comforts—these must all be relinquished. To not relinquish these things but to still want to gain the truth—isn’t that indulging in wild fantasies? Some people want to understand the truth, gain the truth and expend for God, and yet they don’t give anything up—not their own future prospects, not physical comforts, not family reunions, not their children, not their parents, and not their own intentions, aims or desires. No matter what happens to them, they put their own personal matters first and they place the truth right at the back. Every time something happens to them, they place their selfish desires first, “I” comes first, and satisfying the interests of their flesh and their corrupt satanic dispositions takes primacy. Subordinate to this is practicing God’s words and satisfying God, and these things are placed right at the back of the line; can this be worthy of God’s praise? Acting this way, when will you be capable of entering the reality of the truth? When will you be capable of satisfying God’s will? On the surface, you look as though you are performing your duty and never resting, and yet your corrupt disposition has not been resolved in the slightest; is this what is meant by following the way of God? (No.) You all understand this, right? But when it comes time to practice the truth, you feel it very strenuous. Apply the price you pay and your suffering to your practicing of the truth; don’t apply them to things like following rules or following a process, but apply them to practicing the truth. Any amount of suffering for the sake of the truth is worth it, and God accepts and praises any suffering suffered for the sake of practicing the truth and for the sake of satisfying God’s will.
What problems are set before you? One problem is that there are many details of the truth which you do not understand, and in your hearts you have no demarcating line and you cannot discern them clearly; the other problem is that you find it difficult to put the truth you understand into practice. When you practice the truth for a time, you may feel it very difficult at first, but if the more you practice the easier it gets, the less dominant your corrupt disposition becomes, the more the truth gains the upper hand and the more your resolution to practice the truth gains the upper hand, and if the more you practice the more your condition becomes normal, and the selfish desires of the flesh, the wishes of the flesh and your personal wishes become less and less dominant, then this is normal, this is being on the right track and there is hope. There is someone who has practiced for a long time but their interests, their selfish desires, their intentions and their corrupt disposition still retain dominance, and these things command and lead every aspect and each and every detail of their life. If people like this have difficulty in practicing the truth and although they do their duty, most of what they do has nothing to do with practicing the truth, won’t they be in trouble? They will be in trouble. No matter where you are or what your environment is like, these things are not important. What is important is whether or not your inner condition and the condition in which you practice the truth are getting better and better, and whether your relationship with God is getting more and more normal. When your relationship with God becomes more and more normal, do your reason, your conscience, your humanity and the loyalty a created being should have get better and better? Do they grow more and more? That is, there are more and more of these positive things and they increasingly gain the upper hand, and in this way there is hope. When these positive things, these positive things that are required by God, are never visible in your condition, and when you do not progress with them and they do not increase in number, then your disposition has not changed one bit; people like this have not one bit of the reality of the truth, that is, they have not made the slightest entry into the reality of the truth. Not having entered means that they haven’t practiced, right? Some people say, “I practice and exert myself.” If you’re exerting yourself, then why has there been no result? It can only be said that you exert yourself and you make effort, and yet it has had no effect. What does it mean when there has been no effect? (It means I haven’t been genuinely practicing the truth.) There has been no effect, so it can be said that you haven’t been practicing the truth; having had no effect means that no matter how many times you have tried to practice the truth, the final result is that you are still allowing your corrupt disposition and Satan’s nature to defeat you and to arise within you. That is, you have not used the reality of the truth or God’s words to defeat your corrupt satanic disposition. Can this be said? (Yes.) So are you an overcomer or are you defeated? (I’m defeated.) You are defeated, not an overcomer. When you put the truth into practice, a battle commences and there is a fight inside your heart, and you are unable to relinquish your own intentions. Yet you still understand how the truth goes and you still know what God requires of you. During the battle, you relinquish the truth, you give up on it and you don’t practice the truth, in the end still satisfying your own selfish desires and still revealing your corrupt disposition. You still live out Satan’s nature and you don’t practice the truth, so what do you get in the end? What is the result? (Failure.) Failure! Once the battle is over, you will see the result. The path you walk is to live still in accordance with your corrupt satanic disposition and as your former, old self; you don’t choose to live in accordance with God’s words and your own interests take precedence; you satisfy your lusts, your selfish desires and selfish motives, and you don’t satisfy God, you don’t stand on the side of the truth, and this means you are thoroughly defeated. This is a type of outcome of a battle, isn’t it?
What is another type of outcome of a battle? You battle when something happens to you, you are distressed, you suffer and you weaken, and you face challenges even to your dignity and integrity. Your vain heart gains no satisfaction and you are confronted with being pruned and dealt with, or people will look down on you, or you will lose face, lose your dignity and lose your integrity; this is the kind of situation you are confronted with. But, within this situation, you fight and pray; when you pray, you become strong inside, your energy in seeking the truth and practicing the truth becomes greater, so great, and you come to a clear understanding of all these things and you say, “I want no self-regard, I want no status, no vanity. This time I will satisfy God. Even if others look down on me, even if others misunderstand me, this time I shall practice the truth and I shall satisfy God. I choose to satisfy God, I choose to practice the truth, so that God may praise me in this matter, so that God may take joy from it, and so that I do not grieve God’s heart.” In the end you abandon your self-regard, your vanity, your selfish motives, your own intentions and your own wild ambitions, and afterward you stand on the side of God, you stand on the side of the truth and on the side of justice. And after you practice that, in your heart you feel satisfaction, peace, joy, and you are able to perceive God’s blessings and perceive that practicing the truth is truly good, that practicing the truth enables your heart to gain satisfaction and nourishment; you feel like you are now living as a person and you have human likeness, that you are not under the control of your corrupt satanic disposition and are not its captive; in this matter you bear witness for God, and you stand witness for that which a created being is supposed to stand for, and take the position they should take. In your heart you feel ease, enjoyment and bliss, and this is another result. What do you think of this result? (It’s good.) It is, isn’t it? But is it easy to achieve this good result? There is a process to achieving this good result, a fighting process. Maybe people will fail once or twice, yet failure can be a lesson that can bring people to feel in their hearts that a life without practicing the truth, without being able to satisfy God, is a life without meaning, a life of suffering. Though you may fail once or twice, you will feel like this: You will feel that you owe God and will feel uneasy. When you encounter this kind of environment again, you will unknowingly become more and more able to defeat your corrupt satanic disposition, and you will gradually and categorically be capable of choosing to practice the truth and to satisfy God’s heart; this is a normal process, the normal process of victory, the normal process of practicing the truth and satisfying God’s will. Do you think now that practicing the truth is hard, or do you think that not practicing the truth and following your own wishes is hard? Which one is hard? (Practicing the truth is hard.) Yes, practicing the truth is hard. What about following your own wishes? Following your own wishes is easy, and it only takes a second to do; it doesn’t require any thought or to use your brain. You fight for a while and then you see that it hurts too much and that you’ve lost too much, so you’re unwilling, you don’t practice the truth, and do what you want instead. In the moment of an idea, you become a coward and you become a defeated captive of your corrupt satanic disposition. It’s that easy, and you lose your testimony and you lose God’s praise. But is it that easy to become someone who bears witness to God, someone who practices the truth and who bears witness to God? There must be a process, right? Within their thoughts, people struggle and ponder—thinking one way one minute and another way the next, leaning toward one thing one minute and another thing the next—within them a battle rages, an unceasing battle, and after the battle has raged it comes to a final conclusion: Those who love the truth practice the truth, bear witness and become overcomers; those who do not love the truth, whose own wishes are too strong and who are too lacking in humanity, those with low integrity and who are degraded, they choose their selfish desires, they choose to satisfy their own desires and they end up utterly under the control of their corrupt satanic dispositions. Which one do you choose?
When you encounter things in your everyday lives, do you defeat your corrupt satanic dispositions, or do you allow yourselves to be taken captive and controlled by them? What is your condition the majority of the time? This is the basis for seeing whether you are someone who practices the truth or someone who doesn’t practice the truth; this is the basis for measuring you. If you are able to defeat your corrupt satanic disposition and become someone who bears witness the majority of the time, then you are someone who practices the truth, someone who loves the truth. If, the majority of the time, you satisfy your own selfish desires, are unable to defeat your corrupt satanic disposition, or to stand on the side of the truth, practice the truth and satisfy God, then people like you are not people who practice the truth, and you are not in possession of the reality of the truth. Are those who are not in possession of the reality of the truth those who have not entered into life in their belief in God? This is obvious, isn’t it? So measure yourselves. Is it easy to measure yourselves? (Yes.) The line is clear, isn’t it? The line is clear. So measure yourselves: On which side do you stand most of the time? Don’t talk small matters, but the big ones. When you encounter big matters and you need to make a choice, which side do you stand on? (At first, I stood on the side of the flesh, and after some suffering and fighting for a while, finally through prayer and seeking, I was able to stand on the side of the truth and was able to forsake the flesh.) Forsaking the flesh is not an indicator of practicing the truth; what do you practice in the end? Forsaking the flesh and not acting in accordance with your own desires does not equate to you practicing the truth—this is the difference. Do you understand? (Yes.) Then what is your situation? (Sometimes I am able to forsake the flesh, but this is not really practicing the truth. It is just exercising restraint.) It looks as though this explains most of you. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) So what condition are you in now exactly? Is it not that you haven’t yet entered into the reality of the truth? This is the case. You haven’t yet entered into life in your belief in God, and if you haven’t entered into life then you are not yet in possession of the reality of the truth. This is the condition you are in, so there are many things you are not able to clearly discern. Why is that? You cannot discern clearly because you have only grasped the surface and the letter of the truth, and have not yet entered into the reality of the truth. Therefore, there are many conditions that you are yet to understand or to experience, so you cannot talk about them clearly; this is how things stand. No matter what the case, you must experience it all yourself, and once you experience it you will then know the details of it. Your feelings, your thoughts, the process you go through—they all have their own details, and these details are practical things. Without them, possessing only a superficial knowledge, then you will only be parroting the words of others. A superficial knowledge can go no further than being literal, a literal comprehension; it has not yet become your own, and this is a far cry from entering the reality of the truth. Can this be said? (Yes.) Therefore, practice in accordance with this fellowship. You must learn to contemplate, you must contemplate whilst practicing the truth, contemplate and practice, practice and contemplate, and you will gain more and more details, they will become deeper and deeper in you, and only then will you be able to truly appreciate what is meant by the reality of the truth; only when you appreciate what it is, and have experienced it, will you then possess the reality of the truth. Do you understand? (Yes.)