Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God
Just how much do you love God today? And just how much do you know of all that God has done in you? These are the things you should learn. When God arrives on earth, all that He has done in man and allowed man to see are so that man will love Him and truly know Him. That man is able to suffer for God and has been able to come this far is, in one regard, because of the love of God, and in another regard, is because of God’s salvation; moreover, it is because of the work of judgment and chastisement that God has carried out in man. If you are without the judgment, chastisement, and trials of God, and if God has not made you suffer, then, to be honest, you do not truly love God. The greater God’s work in man, and the greater man’s suffering, the more it is able to show just how meaningful God’s work is, and the more that man’s heart is able to truly love God. How do you learn how to love God? Without torment and refinement, without painful trials—and if, furthermore, all that God gave man were grace, love, and mercy—would you be able to attain the true love of God? On one hand, during God’s trials man comes to know his deficiencies, and sees that he is insignificant, contemptible, and lowly, that he has nothing, and is nothing; on the other hand, during His trials God creates different environments for man that make man more able to experience the loveliness of God. Although the pain is great, and sometimes insurmountable—and it even reaches the level of crushing grief—having experienced it, man sees how lovely is God’s work in him, and only upon this foundation is there born in man the true love of God. Today man sees that with the grace, love, and mercy of God alone, he is incapable of truly knowing himself, much less is he able to know the essence of man. Only through both the refinement and judgment of God, only during such refinement can man know his deficiencies, and know that he has nothing. Thus, man’s love of God is built upon the foundation of the refinement and judgment of God. If you only enjoy the grace of God, with a peaceful family life or material blessings, then you have not gained God, and your belief in God has failed. God has already carried out one stage of the work of grace in the flesh, and has already bestowed material blessings upon man—but man cannot be made perfect with grace, love, and mercy alone. In man’s experiences he encounters some of God’s love, and sees the love and mercy of God, yet having experienced for a period of time, he sees that God’s grace and His love and mercy are incapable of making man perfect, and incapable of revealing that which is corrupt within man, nor are they able to rid man of his corrupt disposition, or make perfect his love and faith. God’s work of grace was the work of one period, and man cannot rely on enjoying the grace of God in order to know God.
Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say, “If God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect?” Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God. The flesh of man is of sin, and of Satan, it is disobedient, and the object of God’s chastisement—and so, to allow man to know himself, the words of God’s judgment must befall him and there must be employed every kind of refinement; only then can God’s work be effective.
From the words spoken by God it can be seen that He has already condemned the flesh of man. Are these words, then, the words of curse? The words spoken by God reveal man’s true colors, and through such revelation he is judged, and when he sees that he is unable to satisfy God’s will, inside he feels grief and remorse, he feels that he is so indebted to God, and insufficient for God’s will. There are times when the Holy Spirit disciplines you from within, and this discipline comes from God’s judgment; there are times when God reproaches you and hides His face from you, when He pays you no heed, and does not work within you, soundlessly chastising you in order to refine you. God’s work in man is primarily in order to make plain His righteous disposition. What testimony does man ultimately bear to God? He testifies that God is the righteous God, that His disposition is righteousness, wrath, chastisement, and judgment; man testifies to the righteous disposition of God. God uses His judgment to make man perfect, He has been loving man, and saving man—but how much is contained within His love? There is judgment, majesty, wrath, and curse. Though God cursed man in the past, He did not completely cast man into the bottomless pit, but used that means to refine man’s faith; He did not put man to death, but acted in order to make man perfect. The essence of the flesh is that which is of Satan—God said it exactly right—but the facts carried out by God are not completed according to His words. He curses you so that you might love Him, and so that you might know the essence of the flesh; He chastises you in order that you might be awakened, to allow you to know the deficiencies within you, and to know man’s utter unworthiness. Thus, God’s curses, His judgment, and His majesty and wrath—they are all in order to make man perfect. All that God does today, and the righteous disposition that He makes plain within you—it is all in order to make man perfect, and such is the love of God.
In man’s traditional conceptions, God’s love is His grace, mercy, and sympathy for the weakness of man. Although these things are also the love of God, they are too one-sided, and are not the primary means by which God makes man perfect. When some people have just begun to believe in God, it is because of illness. This illness is God’s grace for you; without it, you would not believe in God, and if you did not believe in God then you wouldn’t have come this far—and thus even this grace is the love of God. In the time of belief in Jesus, people did much that was unbeloved by God because they did not understand the truth, yet God has love and mercy, and He has brought man this far, and although man understands nothing, still God allows man to follow Him, and, furthermore, has led man to today. Is this not the love of God? That which is manifested in God’s disposition is the love of God—this is absolutely right! When the building of the church reached its peak, God did the step of work of the service-doers and cast man into the bottomless pit. The words of the time of the service-doers were all curses: the curses of your flesh, the curses of your satanic corrupt disposition, and the curses of the things of you that do not fulfill God’s will. The work done by God in that step was manifested as majesty, closely after which God carried out the step of the work of chastisement, and there came the trial of death. In such work, man saw the wrath, majesty, judgment, and chastisement of God, yet he also saw God’s grace, and His love and mercy; all that God did, and all that was manifested as His disposition, was the love of man, and all that God did was able to fulfill the needs of man. He did it in order to make man perfect, and He provided man according to his stature. If God had not done this, man would be incapable of coming before God, and would have no way of knowing the true face of God. From when man first began to believe in God until today, God has gradually provided to man in accordance with man’s stature, so that, inside, man has gradually come to know Him. Only having come to today does man realize just how wonderful is the judgment of God. The step of work of the service-doers was the first incidence of the work of curse from the time of creation until today. Man was cursed into the bottomless pit. If God had not done that, today man would not have a true knowledge of God; it is only through the curse of God that man officially encounters the disposition of God. Those experiences showed man that his loyalty was unacceptable, that his stature was too small, that he was incapable of satisfying God’s will, and that his claims of satisfying God at all times were nothing more than words. Although in the step of the work of the service-doers God cursed man, looked at from today that step of God’s work was wonderful: It brought a great turning point for man, and caused a great change in his life disposition. Before the time of[a] the service-doers, man understood nothing of the pursuit of life, what it means to believe in God, or the wisdom of God’s work, nor did he understand that God’s work can test man. From the time of[b] the service-doers through to today, man sees how wondrous is the work of God, it is unfathomable to man, and using his brain he is unable to imagine how God works, and also sees how small is his stature and that too much of him is disobedient. When God cursed man, it was in order to achieve an effect, and He did not put man to death. Although He cursed man, He did so through words, and His curses did not actually befall man, for what God cursed was the disobedience of man, and so the words of His curses were also in order to make man perfect. Whether God judges man or curses him, both make man perfect: Both are in order to make perfect that which is impure within man. Through this means man was refined, and that which was lacking within man was made perfect through His words and work. Every step of God’s work—whether it be harsh words, or judgment, or chastisement—makes man perfect, and is absolutely appropriate. Never throughout the ages has God done work such as this; today, He works within you so that you have appreciated His wisdom. Although you have suffered some pain within you, your hearts feel steadfast and at peace; it is your blessing to be able to enjoy this stage of the work of God. Regardless of what you are able to gain in the future, all that you see of God’s work in you today is love. If man does not experience God’s judgment and refinement, his actions and fervor will always be on the outside, and his disposition will always remain unchanged. Does this count as having been gained by God? Today, although there is still much within man that is arrogant and conceited, man’s disposition is much more stable than before. God’s dealing of you is in order to save you, and although you may feel some pain at the time, the day will come when there occurs a change in your disposition. At that time, you will look back and see how wise the work of God is, and that will be when you are able to truly understand God’s will. Today, there are some people who say they understand God’s will—but that is none too realistic, they are talking nonsense, because at present they have yet to understand whether the will of God is to save man or curse man. Perhaps you cannot see it clearly now, but the day will come when you see that the day of God’s glorification has arrived, and you see how meaningful it is to love God, so that you will come to know the human life, and your flesh will live in the world of loving God, that your spirit will be set free, your life will be full of joy, and that you will always be close to God, and will always look unto God. At that time, you will truly know how valuable the work of God today is.
Today, most people don’t have that knowledge. They believe that suffering is without value, they are renounced by the world, their home life is troubled, they are not beloved of God, and their prospects are bleak. The suffering of some people reaches a certain point, and their thoughts turn to death. This is not the true love of God; such people are cowards, they have no perseverance, they are weak and powerless! God is eager for man to love Him, but the more man loves Him, the greater man’s suffering, and the more man loves Him, the greater man’s trials. If you love Him, then every kind of suffering will befall you—and if you don’t, then perhaps everything will go smoothly for you, and all will be peaceful around you. When you love God, you will feel that much around you is insurmountable, and because your stature is too small you will be refined; moreover, you are incapable of satisfying God, and you will always feel that God’s will is too lofty, that it is beyond the reach of man. Because of all this you will be refined—because there is much weakness within you, and much that is incapable of satisfying the will of God, you will be refined inside. Yet you must clearly see that purification is only achieved through refinement. Thus, during these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should go on to the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God, and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony. When you are tempted by Satan, you should say: “My heart belongs to God, and God has already gained me. I cannot satisfy you—I must devote my all to satisfying God.” The more you satisfy God, the more God blesses you, and the greater the strength of your love for God; so, too, will you have faith and resolve, and will feel that nothing is more worthy or significant than a life spent loving God. It can be said that man has but to love God to be without sorrow. Although there are times when your flesh is weak and you are beset by many real troubles, during these times you will truly rely on God, and within your spirit you will be consoled, and you will feel certainty, and that you have something to depend upon. In this way, you will be able to overcome many environments, and so you will not complain about God because of the anguish that you suffer; you will want to sing, dance, and pray, to assemble and commune, to give thought to God, and you will feel that all the people, matters, and things around you that are organized by God are fitting. If you do not love God, all that you look upon will be irksome to you, nothing will be pleasing to your eyes; in your spirit you will not be free but downtrodden, your heart will always complain about God, and you will always feel that you suffer so much torment, and that it is so unjust. If you do not pursue for the sake of happiness, but in order to satisfy God and to not be accused by Satan, then such pursuit will give you great strength to love God. Man is able to carry out all that is spoken by God, and all that he does is able to satisfy God—this is what it means to be possessed of reality. Pursuing the satisfaction of God is using the love of God to put His words into practice; regardless of the time—even when others are without strength—inside of you there is still a heart which loves God, which profoundly yearns for God, and misses God. This is real stature. Just how great your stature is depends on how great your love of God is, on whether you are able to stand fast when tested, whether you are weak when a certain environment comes upon you, and whether you can stand your ground when your brothers and sisters reject you; the arrival of the facts will show just what your love of God is like. It can be seen from much of God’s work that God really does love man, it’s just that the eyes of man’s spirit have yet to be completely opened, and he is unable to see through to much of the work of God, and the will of God, and the many things which are lovely about God; man has too little true love for God. You’ve believed in God throughout all this time, and today God has cut off all means of escape. Realistically speaking, you have no choice but to take the right path, the right path that you have been led on to by the harsh judgment and supreme salvation of God. Only after experiencing hardship and refinement does man know that God is lovely. Having experienced up until today, it can be said that man has come to know part of God’s loveliness—but this is still not enough, because man is so lacking. He must experience more of God’s wondrous work, and more of all the refinement of suffering set out by God. Only then can man’s life disposition be changed.
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “the time of.”
b. The original text does not contain the phrase “the time of.”