120. The Principles of Identifying One’s Nature Essence

(1) To identify someone’s nature essence, look to what they seek to gain in their pursuit, whom they worship, and the path they walk, according to their preferences;

(2) To identify a person’s nature essence, look to their consistent behavior and the aspects of disposition they often reveal, as well as whose company they keep;

(3) To identify a person’s nature essence, look to their weaknesses, their Achilles’ heel, and to what exercises the greatest control over them;

(4) To establish a person’s nature essence, look to their views on things, and to the worldviews, outlooks on life, and values they uphold.

Relevant Words of God:

Man’s nature is his life; it is a principle on which he relies to survive, and he cannot change it. Take the nature of betrayal as an example. If you can do something to betray a relative or friend, it proves that it is part of your life and a nature with which you were born. This is something nobody can deny. For example, if a person enjoys stealing from others, then this enjoyment of stealing is a part of their life, though they may steal sometimes and not steal sometimes. Whether they steal or not, it cannot prove that their stealing is just a type of behavior. Rather, it proves that their stealing is a part of their life—that is, their nature. Some will ask: Since it is their nature, then why, when they see nice things, do they sometimes not steal them? The answer is very simple. There are many reasons they do not steal. They may not steal something because it is too large to snatch from under watchful eyes, or because there is no suitable time to act, or something is too expensive, guarded too tightly, or perhaps they have no particular interest in it, or cannot see what use it may have to them, and so forth. All of these reasons are possible. But no matter what, whether they steal something or not, it cannot prove that this thought only exists as a momentary, passing flash. On the contrary, it is a part of their nature that is hard to change for the better. Such a person is not satisfied with stealing just once; such thoughts of claiming others’ possessions as their own arise whenever they encounter something nice, or a suitable situation. This is why I say the origin of this thought is not something that is simply picked up every now and then, but is in this person’s own nature.

Excerpted from “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Anyone can use their own words and actions to represent their true countenance. This true countenance is, of course, their nature. If you are someone who speaks in a tortuous way, then you have a tortuous nature. If your nature is cunning, then you act in a sly way, and you make it very easy for others to be tricked by you. If your nature is sinister, your words might be pleasant to hear, but your actions cannot conceal your sinister tricks. If your nature is lazy, then all you say is meant to shirk responsibility for your perfunctoriness and laziness, and your actions will be slow and perfunctory, and quite adept at concealing the truth. If your nature is empathetic, then your words will be reasonable, and your actions, too, will conform well with the truth. If your nature is loyal, then your words are certainly sincere and the way you act is grounded, free of anything that might make your master uneasy. If your nature is lustful or greedy for money, then your heart will often be filled by these things, and you will unwittingly commit deviant, immoral acts that people will not forget lightly and that will disgust people.

Excerpted from “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

How can you tell what a person’s essence is? You cannot tell what a person’s nature essence is when they do either nothing or when they do something trivial. These are shown in what they regularly reveal, in the motives behind their actions, in the intents behind what they do, in the desires they harbor, and in the path they walk. Even more importantly, these things are shown in how they react when they encounter an environment arranged by God, when they encounter something personally done to them by God, when they are tried and refined, or are dealt with and pruned, or else when God personally illuminates and guides them. What does all of this relate to? It relates to a person’s actions, the way they live, and the principles by which they conduct themselves. It also relates to the direction and goals of their pursuit, and the means by which they pursue. In other words, it relates to the path this person takes, how they live, what they live by, and what the basis of their existence is.

Excerpted from “How to Discern the Nature Essence of Paul” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

When it comes to knowing man’s nature, the most important thing is to see it from the perspective of man’s world view, life view, and values. Those who are of the devil all live for themselves. Their life view and maxims mainly come from Satan’s sayings, such as, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” The words spoken by those devil kings, great ones, and philosophers of the earth have become man’s very life. In particular, most of the words of Confucius, who is touted by Chinese people to be a “sage,” have become man’s life. There are also the famous proverbs of Buddhism and Taoism, and the oft-quoted classic sayings of various famous figures; these are all outlines of Satan’s philosophies and Satan’s nature. They are also the best illustrations and explanations of Satan’s nature. These poisons that have been infused into the heart of man all come from Satan; not the least bit of them comes from God. Such devilish words are also in direct opposition to God’s word. It is absolutely clear that the realities of all positive things come from God, and all those negative things that poison man come from Satan. Therefore, you can discern a person’s nature and to whom he belongs from his life view and values. Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of national governments and of the famous and great. Their devilish words have become man’s life nature. “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone, and that has become man’s life. There are other words of philosophies for living that are also like this. Satan uses each nation’s fine traditional culture to educate people, causing mankind to fall into and be engulfed by a boundless abyss of destruction, and in the end people are destroyed by God because they serve Satan and resist God. Imagine asking someone who has been active in society for decades the following question: “Given that you have lived in the world for so long and achieved so much, what are the main famous sayings that you live by?” He might say, “The most important one is, ‘Officials do not make things difficult for those who bear gifts, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.’” Are these words not representative of that person’s nature? Unscrupulously using any means to obtain position has become his nature, and being an official is what gives him life. There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives, in their conduct and behavior; they possess almost no truth at all. For example, their philosophies for living, their ways of doing things, and their maxims are all filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. Thus, all things that flow through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan. All of those officials, those who hold power, and those who are accomplished have their own paths and secrets to success. Are such secrets not perfectly representative of their nature? They have done such big things in the world, and no one can see through the schemes and intrigues that lay behind them. This shows just how insidious and venomous their nature is. Mankind has been profoundly corrupted by Satan. Satan’s venom flows through the blood of every person, and it can be seen that man’s nature is corrupt, evil, and reactionary, filled by and immersed in the philosophies of Satan—it is, in its entirety, a nature that betrays God. This is why people resist God and stand in opposition to God.

Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

Until people have experienced God’s work and gained the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates them from within. What, specifically, does that nature entail? For example, why are you selfish? Why do you protect your own position? Why do you have such strong emotions? Why do you enjoy those unrighteous things? Why do you like those evils? What is the basis for your fondness for such things? Where do these things come from? Why are you so happy to accept them? By now, you have all come to understand that the main reason behind all these things is that Satan’s poison is within you. As for what Satan’s poison is, it can be fully expressed with words. For example, if you ask some evildoers why they committed evil, they will answer, “Because it’s every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost.” This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. Satan’s logic has become people’s lives. They may do things for this purpose or that, but they are only doing it for themselves. Everyone thinks that since it is every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, people should live for their own sakes, and do everything in their power to secure a good position for the sake of food and fine clothing. “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost”—this is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. These words of Satan are precisely the poison of Satan, and when people internalize it, it becomes their nature. Satan’s nature is exposed through these words; they represent it completely. This poison becomes people’s lives as well as the foundation of their existence, and corrupted humanity has been consistently dominated by this poison for thousands of years. Everything Satan does is for itself. It wishes to surpass God, break free of Him, and wield power itself, and to possess all of God’s creations. Therefore, man’s nature is Satan’s nature. In fact, a lot of people’s mottos can represent and reflect their nature. No matter how people try to disguise themselves, in everything they do and in everything they say, they cannot hide who they are. There are some who never speak the truth and are good at pretending, but once others have interacted with them for a while, their deceitful nature and complete dishonesty are found out. In the end, others draw the following conclusion: That person never speaks a word of truth, and is deceitful. This statement represents such a person’s nature; it is the best illustration and proof of their nature essence. Their philosophy of life is to not tell anyone the truth, as well as to not trust anyone. Man’s satanic nature contains a great deal of this philosophy. Sometimes you yourself are not even aware of that, and do not understand it; nevertheless, every moment of your life is based on it. Moreover, you think that this philosophy is quite correct and reasonable, and not at all mistaken. This suffices to show that Satan’s philosophy has become people’s nature, and that they are living in complete accordance with it, without rebelling against it in the slightest. Therefore, they are constantly revealing their satanic nature, and in all aspects, they continue to live by Satan’s philosophy. Satan’s nature is humanity’s life.

Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

How do you understand human nature? Understanding your nature actually means dissecting the depths of your soul; it involves what is in your life. It is the logic of Satan and the viewpoints of Satan by which you have been living; that is, it is the life of Satan that you have been living by. Only by unearthing the deep-down parts of your soul can you understand your nature. How can these things be unearthed? They cannot be unearthed or dissected through a mere one or two events; many times, after you are finished doing something, you still have not come to an understanding. It could take three or five years before you are able to gain even a tiny bit of realization and understanding. In many situations, you must self-reflect and come to know yourself, and only when you practice digging deep will you see results. As your understanding of the truth grows more and more profound, you will gradually come to know your own nature essence through self-reflection and self-knowledge. In order to know your nature, you must accomplish a few things. First, you must have a clear understanding of what you like. This does not refer to what you like to eat or wear; rather, it means the kinds of things you enjoy, the things you envy, the things you worship, the things you seek, and the things you pay attention to in your heart, the types of people you enjoy coming into contact with, the type of things you like to do, and the types of people you idolize in your heart. For example, most people like people of great standing, people who are elegant in their speech and deportment, or like those who speak with eloquent flattery or those who put on an act. The aforementioned is about what people they like to interact with. As for the things people enjoy, these include being willing to do certain things that are easy to do, enjoying doing things that others think are good and that would cause people to sing praises and give compliments. In people’s natures, there is a common characteristic of the things they like. That is, they like people, events, and things that others are envious of due to outward appearances, they like people, events, and things that look beautiful and luxurious, and they like people, events and things that make others worship them due to appearances. These things that people are fond of are great, dazzling, gorgeous, and grand. People all worship these things. It can be seen that people do not possess any of the truth, nor do they have the likeness of genuine human beings. There is not the slightest degree of significance in worshiping these things, yet people still like them. These things that people like seem especially good to those who do not believe in God, and they are especially willing to pursue these things. … To aspire to these things is to wallow in the mire with the worldly people. This is detested by God. It lacks truth, it lacks humanity, and it is satanic. This is what it is to unearth a person’s nature from within their preferences. People’s preferences can be seen in the way they dress: Some people are willing to wear attention-grabbing, colorful clothing, or bizarre outfits. They will carry accessories no one else has carried before, and they love things that can attract the opposite sex. That they wear these clothes and accessories shows the preference they have for these things in their lives and deep within their hearts. The things they like are not dignified or decent. They are not the things of a truly genuine person. In their like of them, there is unrighteousness. Their outlook is precisely the same as that of worldly people. One cannot see the least truth in them. Therefore, what you like, what you focus on, what you worship, what you envy, and what you think about in your heart every day are all representative of your nature. It is enough to prove that your nature is fond of unrighteousness, and in serious situations, your nature is evil and incurable. You should analyze your nature in this way; that is, examine what you are fond of and what you forsake in your life. You might be good to someone for a time, but this does not prove that you are fond of them. What you are truly fond of is precisely what is in your nature; even if your bones were broken, you would still enjoy it and could never forsake it. This is not easy to change. Take finding a partner, for example. If a woman really fell in love with someone, then no one would be able to stop her. Even if her legs were broken, she would still want to be with him; she would want to marry him even if it meant she had to die. How can this be? It is because no one can change what people have deep inside of themselves. Even if a person died, his soul would still like the same things; these are the things of human nature, and they represent a person’s essence.

Excerpted from “What Should Be Known About Transforming One’s Disposition” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

What is it to know one’s own nature? How can it be known? From what aspects is it known? Furthermore, how specifically should one’s nature be viewed through the things one reveals? First of all, you can see man’s nature through his interests. For example, some people particularly love to dance, some especially love singers or movie stars, and some particularly idolize certain famous people. From these interests, we can see what the nature of these people is. For example: Some might really idolize a certain singer, even to the point where they are obsessed with the singer’s every move, every smile, and every word. They fixate on the singer, and even photograph everything the singer wears and imitate it. What does this level of idolization show about this person’s nature? It shows that such a person has only those things in his heart, and not God. All the things that this person thinks, loves, and seeks are of Satan; they occupy this person’s heart, which is given over to those things. What is the problem here? If something is loved to an extreme, then that thing can become someone’s life and occupy his heart, fully proving that the person is an idol worshiper who does not want God and instead loves the devil. We therefore can conclude that such a person’s nature is one that loves and worships the devil, does not love the truth, and does not want God. Is this not the correct way to view someone’s nature? It is completely correct. This is how man’s nature is dissected. For example, some people particularly idolize Paul. They like to go out and give speeches and do work, they like to attend gatherings and preach, and they like people listening to them, worshiping them, and revolving around them. They like to have status in the minds of others, and they appreciate it when others value the image they present. Let us analyze their nature from these behaviors: What is their nature? If they really behave like this, then it is enough to show that they are arrogant and conceited. They do not worship God at all; they seek a higher status and wish to have authority over others, to possess them, and to have status in their minds. This is the classic image of Satan. The aspects of their nature that stand out are arrogance and conceit, an unwillingness to worship God, and a desire to be worshiped by others. Such behaviors can give you a very clear view into their nature. To give another example, some people especially love to take unfair advantage at the expense of others, and these people seek to fulfill their own interests in everything. Whatever they do must benefit them, or else they will not do it. They do not bother with anything unless it gives them some advantage, and there are ulterior motives behind all their actions. They speak well of anyone who benefits them and exalt anyone who flatters them. Even when their favorites have problems, they will say those people are correct and try hard to cover for and defend them. What nature do such people have? You can completely see their nature clearly based on these behaviors, right? They strive to take unfair advantage through their actions, constantly engaging in transactional behavior in every situation, and you can be certain that their nature is one of wholeheartedly coveting profit. They are out for themselves in everything they do. They will not rise early unless it benefits them to do so; they are the most selfish of people, utterly insatiable, so their nature is demonstrated by their love of profit and lack of any love for the truth. Some men are captivated by women, always thinking about them in everything they do and chasing them wherever they go. Beautiful women are the objects of such people’s affections and hold the highest esteem in their hearts. They are willing to give their lives, and sacrifice everything, for beautiful women; women are what fill their hearts. What is the nature of these men? Their nature is to love beautiful women and to worship them, so they are lechers with an evil, greedy nature. Their actions reveal a greedy nature—these behaviors are not merely occasional transgressions, nor are such people only a little worse than ordinary people—and they have grown to be completely occupied by these things, which have become their very nature and essence. Thus, these things have become manifestations of their nature.

The ingredients of a person’s nature are constantly revealing themselves. Anything a person does, regardless of what it is, can reveal that person’s nature. People have their own motives and purposes for everything they do, and whether it be providing hospitality, preaching the gospel, or any other kind of work, they can reveal the parts of their nature without any consciousness of it, because one’s nature is his life, and people are driven by their natures for as long as they live. The nature of a person is not revealed just on occasion or by happenstance; rather, it can completely represent the person’s essence, and everything that flows from within the person’s bones and blood is representative of his nature and life. Some people love beautiful women. Others love money. Some particularly love status. Some especially value reputation and their personal image. Some particularly love or worship idols. And some people are especially arrogant and conceited, yielding to no one in their hearts and striving for stature, they like to stand out from others and have authority over them. There is a variety of different natures, and they can differ among people, but their common elements are resistance to and betrayal of God. In that way they are all identical.

Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

There are in human nature certain characteristics that all people have in common: these you must get to know. That all people are capable of betraying God is a shared characteristic, but everyone has their own particular Achilles’ heel. Some people like this, some people like that, some people hold this in esteem, and some people hold that in esteem. These are the differences in people’s natures. Some people are able to bear up under a great deal of suffering, some grow negative and begin to complain after a little suffering and have difficulty bearing up. Why is it that, faced with the same event, everyone reacts differently? It is because the things in their natures are different. The corrupt dispositions of some people are more severe in their manifestation, while those of others are more mild; however, they are essentially the same. This is a shared characteristic. The way that a person’s nature is decides what kind of person they are. Even though they have characteristics in common with others, they may not be the same kind of people. Why do I say they are not the same kind of people? Because this thing which is in their nature may not be all that obvious or that intense. For example, lust is a shared human characteristic. Everyone has it. Moreover, this area is very difficult to overcome. However, it is especially intense for some people. When faced with this issue, they are unable to overcome it, and then they can run off with other people or lead them to run off. It may be said that these people are evil in their nature. Some people are a little weak in facing this issue, or they are a little susceptible to lustful passion, but they wouldn’t do shameful things, they would be able to control themselves and shun these acts. In that case, you cannot say that these people are evil in their nature. As long as there is flesh, there will always be lustful passion. Some people indulge in their lusts and do whatever they want in wanton. But some people are not like this at all. They are able to pursue the truth and base their actions on the truth, and are able to forsake the flesh. Even though they do have lusts of the flesh, they behave differently. This is where people differ from each other. Some people covet money; when they see money and nice things, they desire to have them, and their possessive desire is exceptionally strong. The nature of these people is greedy and avaricious. When they see something, they become greedy; they even dare spend and steal the church’s money, even to the tune of tens of thousands of yuan; the more money there is, the more they dare to do it; they simply do not fear God. This is a greedy nature. Some people are pricked by their conscience if they spend 10 or 20 yuan of the church. They hurry to kneel down in God’s presence to pray, and with tears of remorse, ask God to forgive them. Everyone has weaknesses: You can’t say that this is an avaricious person—it is merely a case of a corrupt disposition showing itself. Some people love to judge others. They will say: “This guy spent a few yuan of the church’s money, but he still didn’t come to pray in God’s presence. Next time, he’ll go on to spend dozens more. This is a greedy man!” It is not right to talk like this. So long as people have corrupt dispositions, they are bound to have normal weaknesses. Some human weaknesses also constitute part of their corrupt dispositions, but there is a difference between a corrupt disposition and that kind of nature. You can’t lump it all together or arbitrarily judge people. Judging others does the greatest harm to others. If you can’t distinguish or see things clearly, then avoid making baseless assertions so as not to hurt people. It is unprincipled to speak and act without understanding the truth and it brings no benefit either to others or to oneself.

Excerpted from “One Must Understand That There Are Similarities and Differences Among People’s Natures” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

Matters of nature are not things done only in a moment of weakness but are persistent throughout life. Everything a person does carries his scent, carries the elements of his nature. Even if those elements are not apparent at times, they are present within him. For example, when a deceitful person speaks honestly in one instance, there is actually still speech within his speech and the deceitfulness is mixed in. A deceitful person will play his tricks on anybody, including his relatives—even his own children. No matter how forthright you are with him, he will play games with you. This is the true face of his nature—he is of this nature. It is difficult to change and he is like that all the time. Honest people may sometimes say something sly and deceitful, but such a person is usually relatively honest; he handles affairs directly and does not take unfair advantage of others in his dealings with them. When he speaks with others, he does not say things intentionally to test them; he can open up his heart and communicate with others, and everyone says he is quite honest. There are times when he speaks with some deceitfulness; that is simply a manifestation of a corrupt disposition and does not represent his nature, because he is not a deceitful person. When it comes to a person’s nature you must understand what are elements of that nature and what is the corrupt disposition; you must be able to distinguish clearly between the two.

Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

Understanding your own nature primarily involves understanding what kind of person you really are. The kind of person you are indicates what sort of nature you have. For example, saying that someone is such-and-such a person is most descriptive of his nature; the type of nature one possesses determines the type of person he is. A person’s nature is his life. How do you see what a person’s nature is like? You must come into contact with him more frequently, and spend more time observing what sort of person he is. Whatever sticks out about him most, and is representative of his essence and characteristics, can be said to be his nature essence. The character of one’s essence is the character of his nature. When it comes to seeing what kind of person someone really is, this is a more accurate way of looking at him. Whatever the essence of a man, such is his nature. A person’s nature determines what sort of person he is. For example, if someone’s most prominent feature is that he has a particular love for money, then his nature can be summarized in a few words: He is money-loving. If someone’s most prominent feature is having a love for women—and he is always womanizing—then this person loves evil and has an evil nature. Some people most love to eat. If you can give such a person a few drinks and some meat, or order him some other sort of good food, then he will act in your favor; this therefore shows this person to have a gluttonous nature. Every person has a fatal flaw that exerts its influence over every moment of his life, is insinuated in everything about that person, and becomes the object of everything he does. That thing ends up representing this person’s nature. His nature can be said to be the part of him that is most fatal; his fatal flaw is his nature. Some people seem to have an acceptable humanity and do not exhibit any major flaws on the surface, but their outstanding trait is fragility. They have no life goals or aspirations; they just muddle through life, falling down if someone says even just a few hurtful things and becoming negative at the drop of a hat, to the point that they no longer want to have faith. The unique characteristic of such people is fragility, and their nature is one helpless cowardice. Some people have an extremely sentimental nature; in what they say and do every day, and in all of their behavior, they exist in a world of emotion. They feel affection for this person and that person, and every day they feel obliged to pay back favors and return good feelings; in everything they do, they live in the realm of emotion. When such a person’s non-believing relative dies, he has to cry for three days. Others want to bury him, but this person does not allow it; he still has feelings for the deceased: His emotions are too acute. You could say that emotions are this person’s fatal flaw, his greatest weakness, which can completely bring him to his doom and ruin him. Overly intense emotions prevent him from putting the truth into practice, and this shows that he is without truth and acts without principle. He only shows consideration for the flesh; he is foolish and muddle-headed. His nature is one of attaching particular importance to feelings and living by emotions. Therefore, if you want to seek a change in your disposition, then you must know your nature. “Rivers and mountains change easily, but altering one’s nature is difficult.” If one’s nature is too bad, then one will never change, and God will not save that person. Do not assume that nature can be changed.

Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

Demonic people are those who do not practice the truth; their essence is one of resistance and disobedience to God, and they do not have the slightest intention of submitting to Him. Such people will all be destroyed. Whether you have truth and whether you resist God depend on your essence, not on your appearance or how you might occasionally speak or conduct yourself. Whether or not an individual will be destroyed is determined by one’s essence; it is decided according to the essence revealed by one’s behavior and one’s pursuit of the truth. Among people who are the same as each other in that they are doing work, and who do similar amounts of work, those whose human essences are good and who possess truth are the people who will be allowed to remain, while those whose human essences are evil and who disobey the visible God are those who will be objects of destruction. All of God’s work or words related to humanity’s destination will deal with people appropriately according to each individual’s essence; not the slightest error will occur, and not a single mistake will be made. It is only when people do work that human emotion or meaning enters the mix. The work God does is most appropriate; He absolutely does not bring false claims against any creature. There are currently many people who are unable to perceive humanity’s future destination and who do not believe the words I utter. All those who do not believe, as well as the ones who do not practice truth, are demons!

Excerpted from “God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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Next: 121. The Principles of Living Out Normal Humanity

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