120. The Principles of Identifying One’s Nature and Essence

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

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

Relevant Words of God:

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 substance is? You cannot tell what a person’s nature and substance are 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 and Substance of Paul” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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 and 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. Are you clear on this? What types of things are included in the things you like? They are the things you usually pay attention to, the things you worship, 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. … 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 Christ’s Talks

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 looking at these interests, what is the nature of these people? 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.

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

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 substance and characteristics, can be said to be his nature and 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.

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

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, “Everyone 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 lies and nonsense 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 lies and nonsense have become man’s life and nature. “Everyone 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 strike gift-givers, 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 Christ’s Talks

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 are your emotions so strong? Why do you like those unrighteous things? Why do you like those evils? What is the basis for your liking such things? Where do these things come from? Why are you so happy to accept them? By now, you all have come to understand that the main reason behind all these things is that they contain Satan’s poison. As for what Satan’s poison is, it can be fully expressed with words. For example, if you ask some evildoers why they act that way, they will answer, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. The logic of Satan has become people’s lives. They may do things for this purpose or that, but they are only doing it for themselves. People all think that since it is every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, they should live for their own sakes, doing everything in their power to secure a good position and what food and clothing they need. “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. This statement is precisely Satan’s poison, and when internalized by people, it becomes their nature. Satan’s nature is exposed through these words; they completely represent it. 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 the things that God has created. Therefore, man’s nature is Satan’s nature. Actually, 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 their nature. 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 their utter dishonesty will be found out. In the end, others will come to a certain conclusion: These people never speak a word of truth, and are deceitful people. This statement speaks to their nature; it is the best illustration and evidence of their nature and essence. Their philosophy for living is to not tell anyone the truth, and also to not believe anyone. Man’s satanic nature contains a great deal of philosophy. Sometimes you yourself are not even aware of that and do not understand it, yet every moment of your life is based on it. Moreover, you think that this philosophy is quite correct, reasonable, and not mistaken. This is sufficient to illustrate that Satan’s philosophy has become the nature of people, and they are living in complete accordance with Satan’s philosophy, and do not rebel against it in the slightest. Therefore, they are constantly revealing a satanic nature, and in all regards, they constantly live by satanic philosophy. Satan’s nature is man’s life.

Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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 yourselves. 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: 122. The Principles of Being an Honest Person

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