26. The Principles of Entering the Reality of God’s Words
Relevant Words of God:
God is a practical God: All of His work is practical, all of the words He speaks are practical, and all of the truths He expresses are practical. Everything that is not His words is vacuous, non-existent, and unsound. Today, the Holy Spirit is to guide people into the words of God. If people are to pursue entry into reality, then they must seek reality, and know reality, after which they must experience reality, and live out reality. The more that people know reality, the more they are able to discern whether the words of others are real; the more people know reality, the fewer notions they have; the more people experience reality, the more they know the deeds of the God of reality, and the easier it is for them to break free from their corrupt, satanic dispositions; the more reality people have, the more they know God and the more they detest the flesh and love the truth; and the more reality people have, the closer they come to the standards of God’s requirements. People who are gained by God are those who are possessed of reality, who know reality, and who have come to know God’s real deeds through experiencing reality. The more you cooperate with God in a practical way and discipline your body, the more you will acquire the work of the Holy Spirit, the more you will gain reality, and the more you will be enlightened by God, and thus the greater your knowledge of God’s real deeds will become. If you are able to live in the present light of the Holy Spirit, then the present path to practice will become clearer to you, and you will be more able to separate yourself from the religious notions and old practices of the past. Today reality is the focus: The more reality people have, the clearer their knowledge of the truth, and the greater their understanding of God’s will. Reality can overcome all letters and doctrines, it can overcome all theory and expertise, and the more reality people focus on, the more they truly love God, and hunger and thirst for His words. If you always focus on reality, then your philosophy for living, religious notions, and natural character will naturally be expunged following the work of God. Those who do not pursue reality, and have no knowledge of reality, are likely to pursue that which is supernatural, and they will be easily tricked. The Holy Spirit has no means of working in such people, and so they feel vacant, and that their lives have no meaning.
Excerpted from “How to Know Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Holding up God’s words and being able to explain them unabashedly does not mean you are in possession of reality; things are not as simple as you imagine. Whether you are in possession of reality is not based on what you say; rather, it is based on what you live out. Only when God’s words become your life and your natural expression can you be said to have reality, and only then can you be counted as having gained true understanding and actual stature. You must be able to withstand examination over long periods of time, and you must be able to live out the likeness that is required by God. This must not be mere posturing; it must flow from you naturally. Only then will you truly possess reality, and only then will you have gained life. Let Me use the example of the trial of the service-doers with which everyone is familiar: Anyone can offer the loftiest theories regarding service-doers, and everyone has a decent understanding of the subject; they speak on it and each speech surpasses the last, as if it were a competition. However, if man has not undergone a major trial, then it is very difficult to say that he has good testimony to bear. In short, man’s living out is still very lacking, entirely contrary to his understanding. Therefore, it has yet to become man’s actual stature, and it is not yet man’s life. Because man’s understanding has not been brought into reality, his stature is still like a castle built on sand, teetering and on the verge of collapse. Man possesses far too little of reality; it is almost impossible to find any reality in man. There is too little reality naturally flowing from man, and all the reality they live out has been forced. This is the reason I say man possesses no reality. Although people claim their love of God never changes, this is merely what they say before they have faced any trials. When they are suddenly faced with trials one day, the things that they speak of will once again fall out of step with reality, and this will again prove that man possesses no reality. It can be said that whenever you encounter things that do not fit with your notions and that require you to put yourself aside, those things are your trials. Before God’s will is revealed, everyone goes through a rigorous test and an immense trial. Can you fathom this? When God wants to try people, He always allows them to make their choices before the actual truth has been revealed. This means that when God is subjecting man to trials, He will never tell you the truth; this is the manner in which people are exposed. This is one way that God carries out His work, to see whether you know the God of today, as well as whether you possess any reality. Are you truly free of doubts regarding God’s work? Will you be able truly to stand firm when a major trial comes upon you? Who dares to say, “I guarantee that there will be no problems”? Who dares to assert, “Others might have doubts, but I never will”? It is just as when Peter was subjected to trials: He always boasted before the truth had been revealed. This is not a personal flaw unique to Peter; this is the greatest difficulty currently facing every man. If I were to visit a few places or pay a visit to a few brothers and sisters to see what your understanding is of God’s work of today, you would certainly be able to say much about your knowledge, and you would seem not to have any doubts whatsoever. If I were to ask you, “Can you really determine that the work of today is performed by God Himself? Without any doubt?” you would certainly answer, “Without any doubt whatsoever, it is the work performed by the Spirit of God.” Once you had answered in such a way, you surely would not feel a shred of doubt, and you would even feel quite pleased, thinking you had gained a bit of reality. Those who tend to understand things in this way are people who possess less reality; the more one thinks one has gained it, the less one will be able to stand firm when faced with trials. Woe to those who are arrogant and haughty, and woe to those who have no knowledge of themselves; such people are adept at talking, yet fare the worst when putting their words into action. At the smallest sign of trouble, these people begin to have doubts, and the thought of quitting steals into their minds. They do not possess any reality; they merely have theories that are above religion, without any of the reality required now by God. I am most disgusted by those who only speak of theories without possessing any reality. They shout the loudest when carrying out their work, but as soon as they are faced with reality, they fall apart. Does this not show that these people have no reality? No matter how ferocious the wind and waves, if you can remain standing without allowing a shred of doubt to enter your mind, and can stand firm and remain free from denial, even when there is no one else left, then you will be counted as having true understanding and genuinely in possession of reality.
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God does not require of people the mere ability to talk about reality; that would be too easy, would it not? Why, then, does God speak of entry into life? Why does He talk about transformation? If people are capable only of empty talk about reality, then can they achieve a transformation in their disposition? The good soldiers of the kingdom are not trained to be a group of people who can only talk about reality or boast; rather, they are trained to live out God’s words at all times, to remain unyielding no matter what setbacks they face, and to live constantly in accordance with God’s words and not to return to the world. This is the reality of which God speaks; this is God’s requirement of man. Thus, do not regard the reality spoken of by God as being overly simple. Mere enlightenment from the Holy Spirit does not equal the possession of reality. Such is not the stature of man—it is the grace of God, to which man contributes nothing. Each person must endure Peter’s sufferings, and, even more, possess Peter’s glory, which they live out after they have gained the work of God. Only this can be called reality. Do not think that you possess reality just because you can talk about it; that is a fallacy. Such thoughts do not accord with God’s will and have no actual significance. Do not say such things in the future—extinguish such sayings! All those with a false understanding of God’s words are unbelievers. They do not have any real knowledge, much less any real stature; they are ignorant people who lack reality. In other words, all those who live outside of the essence of God’s words are unbelievers. Those deemed unbelievers by people are beasts in the eyes of God, and those deemed unbelievers by God are people who do not have God’s words as their life. It can therefore be said that those who do not possess the reality of God’s words and who fail to live His words out are unbelievers. God’s intention is to cause everyone to live out the reality of His words—not merely to have everyone talk about reality, but, more than that, to enable everyone to live out the reality of His words. The reality that man perceives is too superficial; it has no value and cannot fulfill God’s will. It is too lowly and not even worthy of mention. It lacks too much and falls far too short of the standards of God’s requirements. You will each be subjected to a major inspection to see who among you merely know how to talk about your understanding without being able to point out the path, as well as to discover who among you are useless pieces of trash. Remember this from now on! Do not speak of empty knowledge; only talk about the path of practice and about reality. Transition from real knowledge to real practice, and then transition from practice to real living out. Do not lecture others, and do not talk about real knowledge. If your understanding is a path, then let your words go free upon it; if it is not, then please shut your mouth and stop talking! What you say is useless. You speak of understanding in order to deceive God and make others envy you. Is that not your ambition? Are you not deliberately toying with others? Is there any value in this? If you talk about understanding after you have experienced it, you will not be seen as boasting. Otherwise, you are someone who spits out arrogant words. There are many things in your actual experience that you cannot overcome, and you cannot rebel against your own flesh; you are always doing whatever you want, never satisfying God’s will—yet you still have the gall to talk about theoretical understanding. You are shameless! You still are so bold as to speak of your understanding of God’s words. How impudent of you! Orating and boasting have become your very nature, and you have become accustomed to doing so. Whenever you wish to speak, you do so with ease, but when it comes to practicing, you indulge in ornamentation. Is this not a way to fool others? You may be able to trick men, but God cannot be deceived. Men are unaware and have no discernment, but God is serious about such matters, and He will not spare you. Your brothers and sisters might advocate for you, praising your understanding and admiring you, but if you possess no reality, the Holy Spirit will not spare you. Perhaps the practical God will not seek your faults, but God’s Spirit will ignore you, and that will be difficult enough for you to bear. Do you believe this? Talk more about the reality of practice; have you forgotten already? Talk more about practical paths; have you forgotten already? “Offer fewer lofty theories and worthless, inflated talk; it is best to begin practice starting now.” Have you forgotten these words? Do you not understand at all? Do you have no comprehension of God’s will?
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People who truly expend themselves for God lay out their entire being before Him; they genuinely submit to all of His utterances, and are able to put His words into practice. They make God’s words the foundation of their existence, and they are able to search earnestly within God’s words to find out which parts to practice. Such are people who truly live before God. If what you do is beneficial for your life, and through the eating and drinking of His words you can meet your inner needs and inadequacies so that your life disposition is transformed, then this will satisfy God’s will. If you act in accordance with God’s requirements, and if you do not satisfy the flesh but instead satisfy His will, then in this you will have entered the reality of His words. When talking about entering the reality of God’s words more realistically, it means you can perform your duty and meet God’s requirements. Only these sorts of practical actions can be called entering the reality of His words. If you are able to enter this reality, then you will possess the truth. This is the beginning of entering reality; you must first undertake this training, and only then will you be able to enter even deeper realities. Consider how to keep the commandments and how to be loyal in front of God; do not constantly think about when you will be able to enter the kingdom. If your disposition does not change, then whatever you think of will be useless! To enter the reality of God’s words, you must first get to where all of your ideas and thoughts are for God—this is the barest necessity.
Excerpted from “Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
With each truth, people should seek, contemplate, and investigate what the inner meaning of that truth is, how to practice that aspect of the truth, and how to enter into it. These are things people should do. Of the various aspects of the truth one should now possess in believing in God, you understand only literal meanings, doctrine, and external appearances; you do not understand the essence of the truth, as you have not experienced it. For example: There is much truth in the realm of performing one’s duty and in the realm of loving God, and people must understand much truth if they wish to know themselves. There is also much truth that must be understood in the significance and mystery of the incarnation. How people should conduct themselves, for instance; how they should worship God; how they should obey God; what they should do to conform with God’s will; how they should serve God—all of these particulars contain much truth. How do you think about or contemplate the truth in these various aspects of the truth? There is very deep truth in each of them that people must experience. If you speak only of the words on the surface, but never go deep inside these things to contemplate and experience them, you will forever live atop the surface of words, and you will never change.
Excerpted from “Only to Pursue the Truth Is Truly to Believe in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In summary, taking Peter’s path in one’s faith means to walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly getting to know oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by walking the path of Peter will one be on the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on how, exactly, to walk Peter’s path, as well as how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside one’s own intentions, improper pursuits, and even family and all things of one’s own flesh. One must be wholeheartedly devoted; that is, one must completely devote oneself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking of God’s words, concentrate on the search for the truth and the search for God’s intentions in His words, and try to grasp God’s will in everything. This is the most fundamental and vital method of practice. This was what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one can achieve the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God primarily involves seeking the truth, seeking God’s intentions within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from God’s words. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s will, as well as achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s corrupt nature and actual shortcoming, thus meeting all aspects of God’s requirements of man in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God; this was most in line with God’s will, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this manner of practicing, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but also came to understand man’s essence, nature, and various shortcomings. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s words—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials, but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. In addition, he particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words. In whichever aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will, Peter was able to put forth great effort in these aspects and achieve full clarity; this was extremely beneficial with regard to his own entry. No matter what God spoke of, as long as those words could become his life and they belonged to the truth, Peter was able to carve them into his heart to ponder and appreciate them frequently. After hearing the words of Jesus, he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginations. In this way, Peter entered into the reality of God’s words.
Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
To be like a Peter of the 1990s, this means that each one of you should practice the word of God, have true entry in your experiences and gain even more and even greater enlightenment in your cooperation with God, which will be of ever increasing assistance to your own life. If you have read a lot of God’s word but only understand the meaning of the text and lack direct knowledge of God’s word through your practical experiences, then you will not know God’s word. As far as you are concerned, God’s word is not life, but just lifeless letters. And if you only live in observance of lifeless letters, then you cannot grasp the essence of God’s word, nor will you understand His will. Only when you experience His word in your actual experiences will the spiritual meaning of God’s word open itself to you, and it is only through experience that you can grasp the spiritual meaning of many truths and unlock the mysteries of God’s word. If you do not put it into practice, then no matter how clear His word, all that you have grasped are empty letters and doctrines, which have become religious regulations to you. Is this not what the Pharisees did? If you practice and experience God’s word, it becomes practical to you; if you do not seek to practice it, then God’s word to you is little more than the legend of the third heaven. In fact, the process of believing in God is the process of you experiencing His word as well as being gained by Him, or to put it more clearly, to believe in God is to have the knowledge and understanding of His word and to experience and live out His word; such is the reality behind your belief in God. If you believe in God and hope for eternal life without seeking to practice the word of God as something you have within you, then you are foolish. This would be like going to a feast and only looking at the food and learning the delicious things by heart without actually tasting any of it. Would such a person not be a fool?
Excerpted from “Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Whichever aspect of the reality of the truth you have heard, if you hold yourself up against it, implement these words in your own life, and incorporate them into your own practice, then you will definitely gain something, and you are bound to change. If you simply stuff these words into your belly and memorize them in your brain, then you will never change. Whilst listening to the sermons, you should ponder thusly: “What sort of state are these words referring to? What aspect of essence are they referring to? In what matters should I apply this aspect of the truth? Whenever I do something related to this aspect of the truth, am I practicing in accordance with it? And when I’m putting it into practice, is my state in keeping with these words? If not, then should I seek, fellowship, or wait?” Do you practice in this manner in your lives? If you do not, then your life is without God and without the truth. You live according to letters and doctrines or according to your own interests, confidence, and enthusiasm. Those who do not possess the truth as reality are those who have no reality, and people who do not have God’s words as their reality are people who have not entered His words. Do you understand what I am saying? It is best if you are, but regardless of what your understanding of them is, and of how much you have comprehended of what you have heard, the crucial thing is that you are able to introduce what you have grasped into your life and put it into practice. Only then will your stature be able to grow, and only then will changes occur in your disposition.
Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks
People’s pursuit of entry into life is based upon the words of God. Previously, it was said that everything is accomplished because of His words, but no one saw this fact. If you enter into experiencing the current step, all will be clear to you, and you will be building a good foundation for future trials. Whatever God says, focus only on entry into His words. When God says He will begin to chastise people, accept His chastisement. When God asks people to die, accept that trial. If you are always living within His newest utterances, God’s words will perfect you in the end. The more you enter into God’s words, the more quickly you will be perfected. Why, in fellowship after fellowship, do I ask you to know and enter into God’s words? Only when you pursue and experience in God’s words, and enter into the reality of His words, does the Holy Spirit have the opportunity to work in you. Therefore, you are all participants in every method by which God works, and whatever the degree of your suffering, in the end you will all receive a “souvenir.” In order to attain your final perfection, you must enter into all of God’s words. The Holy Spirit’s perfection of people is not unilateral; He requires people’s cooperation, He needs everyone to consciously cooperate with Him. Whatever God says, focus only on entry into His words—this will be more beneficial to your life. Everything is for the sake of achieving a change in your disposition. When you enter into God’s words, your heart will be moved by Him, and you will be capable of knowing everything that God wishes to achieve in this step of His work, and you will have the resolution to achieve it. During the time of chastisement, there were those who believed that this was a method of work, and did not believe in God’s words. As a result, they did not undergo refinement, and emerged from the time of chastisement without gaining or understanding anything. There were some who truly entered into these words without a shred of doubt, who said that the words of God are the infallible truth and that humanity should be chastised. They struggled therein for a period of time, letting go of their future and their destiny, and when they emerged, their dispositions had undergone some change, and they had gained a deeper understanding of God. Those who emerged from chastisement all felt the loveliness of God and realized that this step of work embodied God’s great love descending into them, that it was the conquest and salvation of God’s love. They also said that God’s thoughts are always good, and that everything God does in man comes from love, not hate. Those who did not believe in God’s words, who did not look to His words, did not undergo refinement during the time of chastisement, and as a result, the Holy Spirit was not with them, and they gained nothing. For those who entered the time of chastisement, although they did undergo refinement, the Holy Spirit was working hidden inside them, and their life disposition was changed as a result. Some seemed, to all outward appearances, very positive, filled with good cheer all day, but they did not enter into the state of the refinement of God’s words and so did not change at all, which was the consequence of not believing in God’s words. If you do not believe in God’s words, then the Holy Spirit will not work in you. God appears to all those who believe in His words, and those who believe in and accept His words will be able to gain His love!
Excerpted from “People Whose Dispositions Have Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In believing in God, if people desire transformation of their disposition, then they must not detach themselves from real life. In real life, you must know yourself, forsake yourself, practice the truth, as well as learn the principles, common sense, and rules of self-conduct in all things before you are able to achieve gradual transformation. If you only focus on the theoretical knowledge and only live among religious ceremonies without going deep into reality, without entering into real life, then you will never enter into reality, you will never know yourself, the truth, or God, and you will forever be blind and ignorant. God’s work of saving people is not to allow them to live normal human lives after a short period of time, nor is it to transform their erroneous notions and doctrines. Rather, His purpose is to change people’s old dispositions, to change the entirety of their old way of life, and to change all of their outdated ways of thinking and mental outlook. Focusing only on church life will not change people’s old life habits or change the old ways in which they have lived for a long time. No matter what, people must not become detached from real life. God asks that people live out normal humanity in real life, not just in church life; that they live out the truth in real life, not just in church life; and that they fulfill their functions in real life, not just in church life. To enter into reality, one must turn everything toward real life. If, in believing in God, people cannot come to know themselves through entry into real life, and if they cannot live out normal humanity in real life, then they will become failures. Those who disobey God are all people who cannot enter into real life. They are all people who speak of humanity, but live out the nature of demons. They are all people who speak of the truth, but live out doctrines instead. Those who cannot live out the truth in real life are those who believe in God, but are detested and rejected by Him. You have to practice your entry in real life, know your own deficiencies, disobedience, and ignorance, and know your abnormal humanity and weaknesses. That way, your knowledge will be integrated into your actual condition and difficulties. Only this kind of knowledge is real and can allow you to truly grasp your own condition and achieve dispositional transformation.
Excerpted from “Discussing Church Life and Real Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh