The Significance of Experiencing Trials and Refinement
The Significance of Experiencing Trials and Refinement When One Believes in God
Why must people undergo trials and refinement when they believe in God? What problems do these trials and refinement solve? This is a truth that people should think about, and one that they must understand. First, let us look at why God causes trials and refinement. We just read several passages of God’s words; what did these passages say? Most important is to use trials and refinement to internalize God’s words, to turn them into true faith, true life, true love, that is, the reality of man’s life. Without trials and refinement, people would not internalize God’s words, for God’s words are the truth, not the knowledge or doctrine. People can only know, understand, and enter the truth through various trials and refinements. For example, if people love God but their love of God has not undergone trials and refinement, is this love pure? Is it tainted? It is, very much so—and what is it tainted with? With their conceptions, imaginings, extravagant desires, conditions, and transactions. People believe, “I love God, so He must love me back. I love God, and so He must bless me. I love God, so He must protect me. I love God, so I must be without pain and disaster. I love God, so God must love my whole family, He must protect them from harm. I love God, so He must save my family, even if they are unbelievers and do not practice the truth. God can’t let a single one of them die.” Are these what taint people’s love? They are, and because these people’s love is so tainted, when a disaster befalls some of those who expend themselves for God, they complain and say, “I did all this for God, I gave up my family and career, how could people in my family still suffer disaster? How could they still get sick? How could no one care for them? How could no one love me?” What does this expose? Is their love tainted with their intention? Because there is so much that is impure within people, they are not only tainted with the conceptions and imaginings of man, but also the extravagant desires of man, and the transactions and demands of man—which is why they are beset by trials and refinement. And what happens when they are? The trials and refinement purify the contamination within them, they purify the motivations and desires within them, and ultimately, when a disaster befalls you, all that you cannot bear to give up is expunged, it is taken from you, to see if you are still able to love God. Do such trials make people perfect? They are in order to make perfect your love, to make perfect your loyalty to God, and to make perfect your true obedience to God. Thus, in these trials is achieved the effect of denuding you and cleansing you, and ultimately, God’s words become your true love and your true faith, and you attain absolute obedience to God. Though they bring pain, these trials achieve the effect of making you perfect and cleansing you, yes? If people only eat and drink the words of God, if they only equip themselves with the truth, and trials and refinement are totally absent, what is the consequence? Can they attain the true love of God? Can they attain true obedience to God? Can they attain true faith in God? They cannot. Thus, these trials and refinement are vital—crucial—to making people perfect, and they must be experienced for those who are corrupt to be saved and made perfect. So for those who are corrupt, are trials and refinement an attack and a punishment, or are they a blessing, something that makes these people perfect? They are an attack, a punishment—but the more important, eventual effect is to bless people and make them perfect. How do people who are without the truth regard the arrival of various trials? They say these trials are something bad, that they suffer, that they’ve been cursed by God, and eliminated by Him, that this misfortune has come from Heaven, that calamity has fallen upon their heads—are these not their conceptions? So how do you see these various trials and refinement now? Are they something good or bad? According to people’s conceptions, they are disastrous. They have but to cause pain to people’s flesh, and these people regard them as something bad, something evil and terrible. If something brings comfort to their flesh, then they view it as something good, something peaceful and joyous. People come to these conclusions based on the feelings of their flesh, yes? If you truly understand the truth, what should you use to measure what happens to you? What should you use to distinguish between what is good and bad? Should this be according to whether it is beneficial to your life or harmful? Or according to whether it benefits to your flesh? Some people class what happens to them as something evil, something bad and terrible, because it brings pain to their flesh, and is of no benefit to them; and when it is of benefit to their flesh, when it brings them comfort, then no matter what the harm to their life might be, it is something good. Is this view not wrong? There are some who believe that when their right eye twitches, something bad is about to happen to them, and when their left eyes twitches, they’re about to have good luck. Or else when their right eye twitches they might suffer misfortune, or a shock, it could be a bad omen, or the precursor to a nightmare—and what do you say when you pray? You quickly pray and say: “Protect me, God; keep me safe. If something unfortunate happens to me, make it fortunate—I leave it all up to You.” Do you not pray thus? So what should you do now? If you are truly someone who pursues the truth, then you must clearly see this: There are some things that seem good to you, but are bad for the growth of your life—so they are not good, and ought to be considered bad; some things seem bad in your eyes, but are beneficial for the growth of your life, and so these things are good. Is this not the right way of looking at things? If something is of benefit to the growth of your life and your entry into life, and it brings you spiritual peace and gratification, then it is good. If it causes pain to your flesh, and there is no benefit to your spirit—if it is something disastrous—then it is bad. If it is truly something good, then even if it causes pain to your flesh it is still good; as long as your spirit gains the life and is edified, then it is something good. …
When people possess the truth, their perspective on things changes. With the truth, they have the correct view of trials and refinement: Trials and refinement are God’s love, and they are perfection of man. What befalls your flesh is pain, refinement, and torture, which makes you hover between life and death. But it achieves the effect of saving you and making you perfect, and ultimately, it shows you God’s love and kind intentions. Could you see this clearly without the truth? Could you see it clearly without undergoing trials? Could you see it clearly if you haven’t come alive? In their faith in God, many people are short-sighted and they can’t see the forest for the trees. Regardless of the pain that trials and refinement cause you, as long as you pursue the truth, do not stray from God, and gain a closer relationship with God, then these trials will have an effect on you, and as a result, will you not have been made perfect? For many things, you cannot understand the truth without experiencing them. When a trial befalls, you are refined for two months and you suffer great hardship. Others ask: “How have you been refined in this trial?” You reply: “I’ve suffered pretty badly and it has left my face shrunken and hollow, but I have understood a truth, I have seen something clearly, and there has been a change in my conceptions about it.” Have you not gained something? Is it worth suffering great pain and losing ten pounds of weight in order to understand this truth? It is, extremely so. The right way of approaching this is correct. You should look at the results of undergoing these trials. The end result is that your life has grown, and you have understood the truth. Is this not God making you perfect, is it not God’s love? When they believe in God, many people are afraid of being taken by the great red dragon. They spend each day trembling with fear, and every day they pray. What will happen to them if they are arrested? Some of them fall down, and some of them stand firm. What are people who stand firm like when they get out? They suffered torture, but they don’t care. They are a little more cautious—not just for their own sakes, but also for the church. If they can stand firm the first time, they can stand firm the next time, too. After being taken in, some of the sisters are beaten pretty badly, and how must they pray at such times? Their hearts must be the closest to God. Not for a single moment must they stray in their prayers. They must call out to God from the depths of their hearts, and ultimately, there will be some who behold the deeds of God, who look upon the wisdom of God, who see His omnipotence, and their faith in God will be even truer, even greater. No matter how many times they are arrested, or what other trials they suffer, such people are not likely to back away or fall down, but will become even stronger. There are those who bemoan the injustice of it and complain about God after suffering some minor discomfort. If such people are arrested, put in prison, and tormented a little, are they capable of standing firm? This is not easy to say—there is a question over such people. In the country of the great red dragon, if you are cowardly in your belief in God, would you dare do pastoral work in the church? Would you dare spread the gospel? You would not. And if you are at a host family, would you dare speak without moderation? If you spoke in a loud voice, the neighbors would hear you, and would say: “Hey, that doesn’t sound right. They must have an outsider in there.” And then they’d report you. When some people see strangers headed for someone’s house, they follow them and then report to the village cadres, “There are strangers in that house.” And if the village cadres send people there to take a look, what do the brothers and sisters have to do? Some of them hide under the bed, others in a vat, and they’re stuck there for two or three hours until the people from the village leave. When those people linger about on purpose, idly chatting for two or three hours, you have to wait under the bed or in a vat for all that time. Is it hard going? This is refinement. You have to suffer every manner of hardship. After spending a decade in the demonic prisons of the country of the great red dragon, the people whose nerves are not broken are those whose minds are wide open. They would not be able to stand firm if they do not pursue the truth and see the real work of God? Thus, it makes perfect sense that God should choose this environment, where the great red dragon wields power, that He should carry out the work of conquering, saving, and making people perfect in the heart of the great red dragon. There is one merit that all who believe in God in the country of the great red dragon must possess: They must have courage. Many people admit, “This is the true way, but I dare not believe. It is the true way, yet I’m afraid of being arrested. I’ll start believing when they stop arresting people and there is true freedom of religion.” Is there not a great number of people who say this? Thus, in the country of the great red dragon, if people dare to live the life of the church and perform their duty, then at the very minimum they must have courage, and faith, right? If, when they are let out after being arrested, they are still able to perform their duty, then they will be of even greater faith; they have withstood the trials, and have proven themselves. The great red dragon has laid siege to those who believe in God. Its monitoring is all-pervasive: highways, villages, towns—they all have cameras. If you can remain adamant in performing your duty, expending yourself for God, spreading the gospel and bearing witness to God in this country which is like a prison, then you have true testimony. And if you can persevere to the very end, then it is good testimony, which everyone will admire and be convinced by. Some foreigners ask, “Is the persecution of God’s chosen ones in China really that bad?” If you’re doubtful, go and see for yourself. Have a try to attend a meeting there, try to pray and sing hymns. Immediately, you’ll be followed and arrested. That environment is brutal, in which they kill people without blinking an eye, and the more they are good people and believe in God, the more thorough their extermination. Are you refined when believing in God in such an environment? If you are able to stand firm after undergoing these trials and refinement, when the great disaster comes in the future and those among your family and loved ones who are Satan and devils must die, you will be tried and refined once more. Once you have passed the hurdle of being arrested, next will come the death of your loved ones, after which you will be stripped of your assets and everything you own, and ultimately, you will understand, “Loved ones, devil Satan, I don’t need any of them, and it doesn’t matter whether they are here or not. Just let me believe in God, all I want is God, I want nothing else, I want no blessings. In my heart, I cannot be apart from God, and so I cannot be apart from the truth.” Only when you have been refined to this point will you truly be made pure and without blemish, only then will you have been truly cleansed. Ultimately, you will be able to say, “I need only God and the truth. No matter what blessings I receive in the future I leave up to God’s orchestration. I do not pursue such things. I pursue only the knowledge of God, growth in life, the love of God, becoming one of those who are beloved of God, and being able to live out the true life of man. I want only to bear proper testimony to God, and nothing else.” If a person has ultimately been refined to this point, then they are made clean, and able to do God’s will, and thus have become righteous man. Those who are righteous and the saints can forego all else in order to do God’s will. They do not complain when their unbelieving husband is taken from them, and even when they shed tears, still they are thankful to God. When their wife is taken from them still they thank God, and do not complain about God, and they say, “As long as I’m still alive, I will expend myself for God, and be loyal unto God. I can do without all else; even if I were without food and died of hunger, still I would have no complaint.” When people have reached this point, they have been made perfect. Where is your stature at now? Would you be able to stand firm if your unbelieving husband (or wife) and children died? Would you be able to say, “I need only God. What I love is the truth, and what I pursue is the love of God, and I ask for nothing else but to worship God. I love nothing but God and the truth of God’s words”? If you are able to say such words, then you have been purified. And when you are tested, it is as if you have stepped into the arena where it’s a matter of life and death. If you do battle against Satan, and you prevail against Satan, and Satan runs off defeated, then you will have stood firm, and God will praise and acknowledge you. If you lose, and Satan is happy, then you will be eliminated, for you will have been exposed. When Job was tested by trials, did he not bring shame on Satan? He did. This is the case. So what was the root cause of these trials? It was God’s battle with Satan to make mankind complete and save humankind. These trials and refinement were born of Satan’s accusation, and God uses them to test man’s work, to make man perfect, and to expose them. If you are equipped with the truth, and pursue the truth, and if you fail once or twice, but ultimately succeed, then you, too, are an overcomer. If you are able to stand firm in your testimony during the final trials, and do not fall down, then you are an overcomer. When the great red dragon is brought to ruin, those who have faithfully performed their duty and expended themselves for God will rejoice, they will be overcome with joy, and they will step up and bear testimony: “For these years, I have seen how God leads me to perform my duty and serve God, how many trials I have undergone, how God enlightens and illuminates me to understand the truth, what corruption I have rid myself of through these trials and refinement, and what truth I have equipped myself with so that I might make it today.” There are many such testimonies, and all who truly bear testimony are overcomers. Those who do not bear testimony, who have no real experience, who, like the antichrists, have no slightest knowledge of themselves, God’s words or the truth, and who have not truly experienced these things are all people who do not accept the truth, are evil, and shall be condemned and eliminated. This is what will be seen when God’s work comes to an end; this is what God will do. At that time, those without true testimony will be eliminated. And in this, will they not be exposed?