The Five Problems of Communion With God That Must Be Resolved
To Be an Honest Person and Have Communion With God There Are Five Main Problems That Must Be Resolved
The first problem involves simply and openly speaking one’s mind before God without any tendency to lie. Simply and openly speaking one’s mind before God without lying is the first thing that must be entered into. So what do we mean by lies? Speaking doctrines and other meaningless stuff while praying to God is a type of lie. This kind of talk, without a doubt, is deceiving God. For example, if you say: “God, I dedicate myself to You and I’ll follow You all my life,” isn’t that a lie? Have you really dedicated yourself? You’re just trotting out meaningless doctrines, and so it’s all lies and deceit. If you say: “God, I belong to You. I long ago dedicated myself to You,” isn’t that a lie as well? You pay lip service to the idea of dedication, but have you really offered yourself up? Do your words really represent what’s going on in your heart? So, those people who merely cleverly speak doctrines or other meaningless stuff before God are all liars and cheats. Speaking simply and openly means speaking the truth, telling it as it is. If you don’t tell it as it is, then it’s not coming from your heart and so it’s a lie. God is most realistic, and He hates pretense and lies above all else. … Now let’s speak simply and openly before God, as this is the most basic training for life entry and is the most basic practice for becoming an honest person. Now when you pray to God are you able to simply and openly speak your mind? Have you begun to practice it? Some of you have, and that’s very good. So when you speak your mind when praying, how do you feel? It feels pretty enjoyable, happy and peaceful, right? And do you still feel like you did when you were trotting out all those useless doctrines and slogans in front of God? See how those religious types pray—they’re still the same, right? When it’s time to pray they look to see who is speaking the most or the cleverest doctrines, who is shouting out slogans the most enthusiastically, and they think those people are the most spiritual and have life. They’re just fooling themselves, aren’t they? They’re all fake do-gooders, liars and cheats. If you’re able to simply and openly speak your mind before God then you are starting to have true communion with God, and this experience will get deeper and deeper. After a few years of praying like this, when you come before God to pray then whatever you say will have substance, every sentence will count, and you will have grown and matured in life. Most believers still say a fair bit of useless stuff when they’re praying, even though they’re being simple and open. Too much useless stuff and not enough basic, meaningful stuff that gets to the point. When you are able to totally speak your heart and express the most fundamental things then your communion with God will go deeper.
When someone with true stature communes with God how does the communion proceed? Sometimes when they ponder over a line of God’s words and seek God’s intentions, a short prayer like this may arise in their heart: “God, I haven’t been honest in dealing with this matter, which shows that I’m still far off being an honest person.” As they think about the line of God’s words, they suddenly grasp God’s intention. Simple, right? This is true communion with God. Or they might say: “God, today my heart is far from You. I wish to be closer to You so that Your Spirit may move me.” Also pretty simple, right? And it’s also true communion with God. Sometimes when they encounter a problem they pray a little to God, and since it’s true communion with God then those few sentences are crucial. Sometimes a certain matter reveals them, and they might say something like: “God, this matter has made me see that in my heart I’m not yet truly obedient to You, and I don’t have enough love for You.” Again, just one line shows true communion with God. Through communion with God they eventually get to the stage where in everything they do they are with God in their heart and they are able to pray and fellowship with God and seek God’s intention. For them, praying to find God’s intention is simple, the words used in the prayers are simple, the words used to worship God are simple, and the words used to seek truths are simple; they are clear-minded and resort to no ramblings. This is true communion with God. Simply and openly speaking one’s mind before God is right at the beginning of entry into being an honest person. When you are simply and openly speaking your mind you are being an honest person and are having a true communion with God. The more you communicate the feelings in your heart, the more substantial your communications will become, and you’ll eventually be able to commune with God when dealing with all matters. This is entering onto the right track of fellowshiping with God. For example, you clearly know what God’s intention for you is but you go against it to satisfy your own flesh. Then when you realize what you’ve done, what should you do? You should go back to God and say: “God, I’ve rebelled against You and violated Your intention for me. I understand this now, and I won’t do it again. I beg You to search me.” Just 2 or 3 sentences like this will prove that you have true communion with God regarding the matter in question. This is the most suitable way to communicate with God. No matter what situations you encounter—no matter whether you are doing something to obey God, or God has arranged some duties for you to do, or God is revealing your rebelliousness and corruption—you must commune with God and lay your heart bare to God. In this way, you will, almost unwittingly, learn how to grasp God’s will for you regarding whatever matter you are dealing with. For each and every matter you will know how to practice truths in order to satisfy God, and the more you do this the more reality you will have. If your prayers are not about the things you encounter, but instead you fellowship with God about some useless stuff or shout out empty slogans when everything’s fine, then that’s not real fellowshiping and it’s worthless. Now you’ve got to open to God about everything you encounter.
In the past we have fellowshiped about how to bring God into our everyday life. At the time, a lot of us didn’t understand, and said things like, “What on earth does it mean to bring God into daily life?” Now we understand that it means to have true communion with God, to lay bare our heart to God every time we encounter a situation, and to learn how to obey and satisfy Him. This is bringing God into our everyday lives. If you can lay your heart bare to God about everything you encounter it shows that you will practice God’s words in everything you do, that you’ll learn to practice truths, and that you’ll satisfy God according to God’s words. This is bringing God into your everyday life. If you can open your heart to God about everything you encounter it proves that God has priority in your life and that satisfying Him is the most important thing for you. It shows that you have God and God’s words in your life and that you live by God’s words. It shows that you let God guide you in your everyday life and let God enlighten and illuminate you, so that you will live by His words. This is bringing God into your daily life. Are you clear about what is included in daily life? What you eat, what you wear, what you seek, who you interact with, what work you do, how you deal with the problems you come across, how you treat your family, your offspring, and your parents—these are all part of daily life, right? For example, you want to look smart today and you see someone wearing something nice, so you want to wear the same garment too. This is part of daily life, so how should you deal with it? You could pray to God like this: “God, I saw someone wearing a nice garment and I got really envious. I want to buy one but I don’t have enough money. Could You please send some money my way?” What do you think of this kind of prayer? It’s wrong because you’re not seeking the right thing. Even an item of fine clothing can drive you into praying to God and asking for money. It shows that you’re not mindful of God’s intentions. You should pray like this: “God, I saw a nice garment and it got me tempted. I want to buy one and look good in public so that people will look up to me. Why am I so vain? Can wearing fine clothes do any good to me? Even if I wear fine clothes, I’m clearly still corrupt and don’t have any truths. When I don’t have truths, what’s the point in trying to look pretty? I’m not going to buy it.” This sounds a bit better, right?
Whatever you encounter, you must open your heart to God, but what is the method for doing this? It’s saying what is in your heart. Whenever you encounter a problem, tell God what is in your heart. If you are revealing rebelliousness, admit it to God; if you need to seek truths then seek truths from God; if you need God’s assistance then ask for His assistance. You tell God what is in your heart according to your needs, and this is what it means to have true communion with God when dealing with anything. What sort of things do some people communicate with God about? When they have difficulties or get ill, and can’t resolve the problem themselves, then they’ll ask for God’s help. But apart from these situations, whenever they are dealing with something they always look for ways to satisfy their own flesh and never consider how to act in accordance with God’s intentions, how to satisfy God or what to seek in order to make God happy. They never ponder these positive things, so are they people who can commune with God? To commune with God primarily means learning to satisfy God in everything you do, learning to put truths into practice, and learning to do or see everything in accord with God’s words. You commune with God in order to achieve entry into life, achieve God’s salvation, and be able to submit to God, do God’s will. This is what should be in your mind when you pray to God and share the words in your heart with Him, so that you can be completely compatible with God’s intentions. For example, a mother and father might have a son who is about to take university entrance exams and who is also a Christian. So should the parents pray like this: “God, I beg You to make my son smart enough to get into university so that he’ll have a bright future and will make something of himself”? Is this type of prayer suitable? No, it’s not, because it’s just about satisfying their flesh. This is the way to pray: “God, I wish that my son can get into university, but I don’t know if university will be of much benefit to him. Will it help him to have faith in You in the future? If he can go to university and also be a pious believer in God then that’s good. Please lead him, God. After all, my heart’s desire is to see him become a useful person in Your eyes, or, even better, to become someone who serves You.” What do you think about this way of praying? This way’s better because your intention is correct. So, the crucial thing is what your intentions are every time you pray to God about your problems. If you always just pray or plead to satisfy your flesh this is not a true communion with God. You are satisfying yourself but you aren’t satisfying God, and you are not having the right consideration for God’s intentions. And what are God’s intentions? God doesn’t want that boy to have excellent qualifications; God wants to gain him, to perfect him. God hopes that the boy will serve Him in the future and bear witness for Him. That’s God’s intention. It’s just like parents whose biggest hope is that when their offspring grow up they will be very filial. This is fundamental, isn’t it? Regardless of whether or not they go to university, they must be a normal human being and respect and honor their parents. This is fundamental. Your intention is crucial. Sometimes, your intention is wrong, so how should you pray? Simply and openly speak your mind to God. Admit to God all of your selfish and despicable thoughts. You might say something like this: “God, I’m bringing up my child for myself. I’m very selfish and I never truly consider Your will. Now that You have enlightened me I understand things better, and I’m willing to hand my son over to You. Please guide him and give him enough intelligence and wisdom. If he can get into university that would be better, but the most important thing is that he becomes a true believer in You when he grows up so that he can serve You. This is the crucial thing, and anything he learns now is just the foundation for serving You in the future.” Opening your heart to God in prayer like this is compatible with God’s will. But if the purpose of getting your son into university is so that he will have a bright future and not so that he can satisfy God then how should you deal with this problem? You should pray before God and seek truths and seek how to act in a meaningful manner. If your intention was initially wrong then you should ask God to enlighten you, to prune and discipline you. Opening your heart to God this way is a true communion with Him. Anyone who doesn’t have a true communion with God is just speaking falsehoods and empty words and is fooling around with Him. All of their prayers and pleading are for their flesh, to satisfy their own excessive desires. Aren’t these people the most selfish, despicable people there are? They certainly are, and they are also the ones that rebel the most against God and have no consideration for God’s intentions. Now if you discover this problem within yourself then you should recognize your own corrupt substance like this: “What a terrible person I am! I’m not honest before God. I’m a crooked, deceitful hypocrite who always tries to cheat God and fool around with God. Now I can clearly see just how corrupt my nature is.” Whenever your own corruption, intentions and objectives are revealed then it’s a chance to clearly see your true corrupt condition and know yourself better.
Nowadays everyone has some difficulties. So when you encounter difficulties, how to pray to God, what your intention should be, how to behave in a way that is compatible with God’s intentions, are all questions that must be resolved by praying, seeking and feeling out God’s intentions. Some people still don’t have the courage to tell God about their problems; they don’t dare to hand themselves fully over to God. What kind of people are they? First, they don’t really believe in God. Second, they’re not willing to satisfy God, but are very willing to satisfy themselves. They’re afraid that if they hand the problem over to God, God will ruin it for them and they’ll lose out in a big way. They think it would be better to deal with the problem themselves, and so go ahead sneakily putting their plans into action. Are these people living in the light? Are they honest people who are living in front of God? No, they are selfish and despicable people. It is absolutely crucial to simply and openly speak your heart before God. If you already have true entry then you will have already started being an honest person, and there will be some results from your honesty. If your entry is completely successful, then you will say fewer and fewer lies and you will deceive God less and less. This kind of training will definitely be effective. Probably most of you are practicing like this already. You are probably gradually discarding all those prayers used by religious types and Pharisees, right? We throw away all that useless stuff, no matter how others criticize us. Even if they say that we are fools and idiots, we still choose to be fools and idiots who seek to be honest people. Having God delight in us is higher than anything, so what does it matter if people hate us? Whether people like or don’t like us is meaningless; having God like us is the highest honor.
The second problem to be dealt with in communion with God is that of telling lies for the purpose of dealing offhand with, fooling around with, or deceiving God. This is a pretty important issue. Why do people lie? First, they do it in order to get what they want. Second, they do it to deceive. Telling lies before God is undoubtedly a form of deceiving God, and telling lies to other people is undoubtedly deceiving men. We can now see clearly that anyone who tells lies to God, who can deal offhand with, fool around with, or deceive God, is not an honest person. They are a crafty person. And if a crafty person is capable of dealing offhand with, fooling around with, or deceiving God then are they capable of doing the same thing to other people? They certainly are. So if you are an honest person in front of God, then you are undoubtedly even more honest in front of other people; if you are a dishonest person in front of God, then you are undoubtedly even more dishonest in front of other people. Someone says: “I always speak honestly before other people. I tell it as it is.” You may well tell it as it is with other people and never tell lies, but that doesn’t mean you can always tell the truth, without lying, to God. There are people who just say meaningless things before God, or they brag, or say nice things to flatter God. On the surface it seems as if they are full of praise for God, but in fact they haven’t the slightest obedience to God. So whatever they say before God is all a bunch of lies, it’s all deceitful. Are there many people like this? For sure there are. If you don’t believe me, then look at the way you pray and see if there is any deceit in there. You can also listen to the way those hypocritical, deceitful people around you pray and you’ll know immediately if they have reality or have entry or not. This is very clear. If someone’s praying is very honest and comes from the heart and sounds real then that person has reality; if their praying is full of meaningless stuff, doctrines and slogans then they are particularly arrogant and self-righteous, don’t obey anybody, and don’t have the slightest bit of reality. Is this an accurate way to discern them? Yes, listening to the way someone prays is the most accurate way to discern them.
What are the common ways that people employ to deal offhand with, fool around with, and deceive God? We should think carefully about this issue because it is fundamental and crucial to becoming an honest person before God. So we must pay great attention to and be serious about the details of every aspect of becoming an honest person. We must be totally clear and not neglect anything. What indeed are the ways that people employ to deal offhand with, fool around with, and deceive God? Some people might say: “Hmm … if I’m not conscientious when doing my duty then that’s dealing offhand and fooling around with God.” We all know that, right? So, are there any other ways? When you have your own plans or your own intentions, you are afraid to come before God, thinking: “Better not pray. Praying will spoil the plan and I’ll lose out. Praying only brings trouble.” So you avoid God and attend to your own satisfaction. Isn’t this deceiving God? There’s something big happening in your life, but you don’t want to report it to God and try to deceive Him instead to satisfy your own desires. Unbelievers would call this a fait accompli, and it’s also a form of deception. What other ways are there? For some people, the more there is something that should be practically entered into and is required of by God, then the more they ignore it, feeling that it’s not important or of any benefit to themselves. They only bring before God the things they think that are of importance or of benefit to themselves. This is also a form of dealing offhand with, fooling around with, or deceiving God, isn’t it? In another case, you clearly know what God’s demands are, but you do not try to satisfy them because you are not able or willing to, and so you choose to avoid God. This is dealing offhand with and fooling around with God too, isn’t it? Or when you are able to fulfill your duties but you don’t want to suffer the hardship or pay the price, you avoid bringing up the subject and talking about your own problems when praying to God, which is also dealing offhand with and fooling around with God, right? Or when you clearly know your own corruptions and transgressions, you don’t lay your heart bare to God and avoid the issue instead when praying to God, which is also dealing offhand and fooling around with God, right? These are the problems that can be found in most believers.
So how should you solve these problems? Can you solve them by avoiding them? If you don’t pray to God and bare your heart to Him, can these problems be solved? No, they can’t, and avoiding them is irresponsible. The most important principle when communing with God—besides simply and openly speaking your heart—is to not avoid problems. If you have a dispute with God or there is something that prevents you from satisfying God, then you should tell God and seek a resolution. When you face God’s trial or face a big challenge and you can’t satisfy God or lay your heart bare to God but instead you choose to avoid God, then you are unable to truly commune with God. If some serious prejudice exists in a relationship between 2 people, and they avoid dealing with this problem, then will they be able to maintain their relationship for long? No, they won’t. So, if you discover a problem in communing with God then you absolutely should not avoid it but should rather come to God’s presence and seek how to resolve it. If you seek truths, rely on God, forsake your flesh, and eventually your problem is resolved, then your communion with God will be able to proceed normally. All of the difficulties that arise when people are interacting with God can easily create obstacles and barriers to their true communion with God. Therefore, one of the important principles for communion with God is that whenever a problem is discovered it mustn’t be avoided. For example, there are some people who can preach the gospel and do their duties but because of difficulties at home they don’t do their duties and they don’t reflect on their failings in front of God. When they pray, they don’t mention anything about it but carry on praying to God as they always do. They are unable to face the truth of the matter and tell God of the actual problems they are encountering in order to seek a solution. How can they maintain a normal relationship with God? This is a manifestation of fooling around with and deceiving God. If you want to have true communion with God, then problems of every type that are to do with dealing offhand with, fooling around with, and deceiving God must be resolved. If you keep on putting it off or avoiding it then you won’t have substantial growth in life and your experience will not deepen, but will instead come to a halt. Some people do their duties carelessly and, as a result, get dealt with. Then they feel hard done by and start to complain, and even refuse to do their duties or stop working altogether. Can such people have true communion with God? What sort of problem is it when someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for their own duties? Not taking responsibility for duties is a problem of lack of conscience and rationality, right? And what do we mean by lack of conscience and rationality? If someone is noted down as an irresponsible person it means that they don’t have conscience and rationality. Or, to be strict about it, their humanity is not good or they have no humanity. Someone who is heartless is irresponsible, and no one wants to interact with such people. If, after pruning and being dealt with, someone becomes weak and harbors a complaint then what should they do? They should hurry up and return before God and solve the problem. Problems should not be left unresolved or shelved; solving problems is paramount. No matter in which areas you owe God or rebel against God, when you discover these problems hurry up and sort them out. But sorting out a problem can’t be done by just praying once: Sometimes you have to first pray to seek truths and get a feel for God’s intentions; then through praying and pondering over a passage of God’s words you will come to know the substance of the problem. After a few days, when you’ve seen to the bottom of the problem, then you can come before God and have a true communion with God to know yourself and open yourself up to accept God’s judgment and chastisement. Eventually, you will be able to see the substance of your corruption and be able to truly repent before God, and that’s how the problem will be resolved. After undergoing a few of these steps, all of the problems in your heart will be resolved and you’ll be at peace before God. You’ll be able to have even deeper communion with God, which is the process of entering true communion with God.
If someone never discovers any serious problems with themselves in front of God—problems concerning resistance and rebelliousness toward God—then does such a person have true communion with God? Of course not, because humans don’t live in a vacuum: We live in the reality of daily life, and in daily life there are always many problems. So if someone says that they don’t have any problems, and don’t have any rebelliousness or corruption before God, they are telling lies and deceiving God. If, when communing with God, you don’t talk about the corruptions that you reveal when dealing with your affairs, or ask how to seek truths to resolve them, then what on earth are you communing with God for? Isn’t communing with God communicating with Him about these things? It refers to communicating about your problems, communicating to learn God’s intentions, communicating to learn what God demands from mankind and how you can satisfy these demands and thus satisfy God, communicating to learn how to know and solve your problems, and seeking the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit to know yourself, to know the reality and substance of your corruption, so that you will be able to live your life according to God’s words through pursuing truth. When you communicate about all this you are communing with God. With regard to these fundamental problems about salvation, if you don’t commune with God then isn’t everything you say just useless claptrap? Try hard to recollect what you have mainly been talking to God about in your prayers. What have been the main problems and matters you’ve communicated about? Make a summary and see how much of what you said was to seek truths in the things you encountered; how much was to try to know the substance of your corruptions when you were revealed in a situation; how much was to sincerely seek truths, seek to obey God, and satisfy God; how much was you really laying your heart bare to God; and how much was just slogans, empty promises, doctrines or for the sake of your own flesh. You should examine your prayers over a period of time and put everything you said in them into the above categories, and see which category has the most and you’ll have proof to whether or not you are a person who has true communion with God. In the past, some people had no discernment, so they would look around to see who was praying the longest or said the most in their prayers and they’d think that person had the best relationship with God, had true communion with God. But is that right? Religious people often say things like: “So-and-sos pray for 2 hours every morning and often fast, or maybe they fast one day every week and even sometimes pray on their knees for 4 hours without getting up, they’re the really spiritual ones!” Is it really like that? They might kneel and pray for an hour but that’s still not as good as you saying one thing that is true, right? When you say one thing that comes from the heart, or that is about knowledge of yourself, it is more powerful than them praying for 10 hours, because God is fed up with their prayer and doesn’t listen to them, while God will definitely listen to you saying one thing that comes from your heart. So, praying is not a matter of how much is said but depends on whether it’s a true communion with God that comes from the bottom of your heart. That’s the crucial thing.
Resolving the problem of dealing offhand with, fooling around with, and deceiving God really is crucial and leads to true entry. Crafty people are those that try to deal offhand with, fool around with, or deceive God. If you have these problems you will know that you are a crafty person, not an honest person. Fundamentally speaking, honest people don’t lie, they don’t fool around with God, and they never deceive God. In addition, whatever God demands of them they can satisfy God, and when they pray they say what’s on their mind. Whatever they say they’ll do, they do. These are all hallmarks of an honest person. If someone just says nice things but doesn’t really mean it and they don’t practice them then that proves they aren’t honest and are deceiving God. So, resolving the problem of dealing offhand with, fooling around with, and deceiving God is of paramount importance as it is the truest and most substantial entry to being an honest person. If someone never tries to deal offhand with, fool around with, or deceive God are they an honest person? Yes, they are, and honest people definitely have the Holy Spirit working on them and the presence of God with them. Whatever they do they enjoy the enlightenment, illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit because God only blesses honest people. The more honest someone is, the more the Holy Spirit works on them and guides them. So the more honest someone is then most of what they say and do is part of living in front of God and communing with God.
The third problem to be dealt with in communion with God is that of always having demands and excessive desires for God, and being prone to get resentful toward God when things don’t go one’s way even slightly. This is a pretty serious problem. Always having demands of God but never considering God’s demands of man, always asking God to satisfy them or treat them in a certain way—does this indicate a rational person? Is someone who always has demands and excessive desires of God a person who pursues truths? No, they are not, and they are definitely not honest either. Honest people have conscience and rationality and are willing to satisfy God. Someone who always has demands of God and wants God to satisfy them is not honest but instead is extremely deceitful and selfish. What are the common signs of someone always demanding things from God? Some people renounce a bit for God, or pay a bit of a price, or suffer a bit of hardship while doing their duty, and then think: “God should bless me. God should bestow great blessings on me and give me more of His grace. My home should be even more safe and peaceful.” This is having demands of God, isn’t it? Look at those people in God’s house who always do their duties. Does God treat them as people seem to imagine that He should do? No. The more you pursue truths the more God will like you—and this is always the case—but it also means that God will try you more, refine you more, and reveal you more so that you can see your own flaws and corruptions and resolve to pursue salvation and perfection. The more God loves someone, the more trials God will put in their way. Why is that? God’s work is to save and perfect people, and so when you encounter God’s trial you should try to grasp God’s intentions. You might ask God: “God, I’m willing to pursue truths. But how come there are always trials and sufferings? Can’t I have a bit of enjoyment? Could You please not give me too many hardships and give me a bit more happiness instead?” But then you might contemplate a bit, and realize that this attitude isn’t right. You then think: “The pursuit of being perfected by God means suffering many trials, and isn’t this God’s blessing?” Do a lot of trials mean that there’s lots of God’s blessings and grace? Yes, lots of trials mean lots of blessings and grace, so you should be grateful to God and see God’s love and salvation in the tests. People always demand things from God according to their own notions and imaginings. But what do these demands prove? They prove that people are irrational, and that they don’t understand God’s work or His will. It’s like parents who demand a lot from their child and discipline them very strictly. The child sometimes might not understand it and feel miserable. They think that their parents are bad for treating them in that way. But when they finally grow up they’ll understand that their parents did it in order to turn them into one who can make something of themselves. All children have experienced this. So how should we look at God’s love? How should we understand it? Everything parents do for their offspring is love and care for them, and everything that God does for mankind is even more love and care and for perfection of them. If you always have requests of God, and if God does according to your notions, could you be perfected? Could you achieve salvation? So you must understand God’s intentions and not constantly make demands of God. If they are reasonable requests, that would be fine. For example, you say: “God, I don’t need much grace right now. What I need is more of Your trials, because without trials I won’t be able to change and I won’t be able to gain life. My life is too comfortable at present, and when I’m comfortable my heart strays far from You. Comfort is definitely not good, so please give me more trials to transform my life disposition.” If you pray like this and have such a request of God, it is proper as it shows that you understand God’s will, that you are willing to satisfy God, and that you hope you can be saved and perfected sooner rather than later.
Are people difficult to manage who always have demands and excessive desires for God, and who get resentful toward God when things don’t go their way? They certainly are. There are people who always get dissatisfied and complain in their heart when things don’t go their way, and some can even get to the point of hating God. Have you ever felt this way? Sometimes you have, right? This is not rational, and it shows that you don’t know God or God’s work and you don’t understand God’s will, which is why you have so many irrational demands and excessive desires. For people who are encountering difficulties in their life or in making a living, then how should they pray? Some people may have this desire: “God, can’t You change my circumstances? Can’t You put me in better circumstances so that I can enjoy life a bit more, so that I don’t have any burdens to carry or encounter any trouble? Then I’ll have more strength to believe in You, and that would be great.” Is this the right mindset? Some people have excessive desires from God that are even more pitiful: They want to find a good partner to marry; they want nice kids; they want their kids to get into university; or they want their husband to get a good job. Some even want to get divorced because their unbelieving husband is no good and they expect God to prepare a good brother for them. These are all unreasonable requests and excessive desires. For each and every matter you should seek and grasp God’s will. You should first communicate about your reasonable wishes with God. If God thinks they’ll be of benefit to you, and thus grants your wishes, then of course that’s fine; if what you have expected are all unreasonable requests or excessive desires, that’s improper and it proves that you only want to satisfy yourself and have no consideration for God’s will. You should carefully mull over what God’s demands are for you or what God wants you to do. Thinking about this is a bit rational. There are some believers now who undergo a number of trials and some hardship and think it’s all sweet. They say things like: “Oh God’s work really is so great! Human beings are corrupt and should be put through as much suffering as possible as it’s so beneficial to us. The trouble starts when there are no hardships because people are just so corrupt, and the more comfortable we get the further they move away from God and the worse we get.” You now know that undergoing suffering is good, but when the going really gets tough you get afraid and can’t take it. Your flesh is still not willing to suffer, so when this happens how should you pray? You want to satisfy yourself, but don’t dare to pray for it; you want to satisfy God, but your flesh isn’t willing to suffer. So how can you pray? There isn’t an easy choice at such times but you’ll have to take a stance: Are you truly considerate of God’s will or will you follow your flesh? These are the times when you get revealed.
So tell me, is it better to have faith in God when life is comfortable or when the going gets tough? (When the going gets tough.) And what is the advantage of believing in God when the going gets tough? (We grow in life quickly.) Why do you grow in life quickly? You must have detailed experience in this aspect. If you only know the theory but don’t have experience then when the difficulties arise you won’t know how to deal with them. Why do we say that people grow in life quickly through believing in God through difficult times? Because for life entry to occur they must face challenges. If there are no difficulties, if the going never gets tough, then there are no challenges, and without challenges people can’t gain entry. Some people have problems making a living, some sisters have husbands who are unemployed and have no income, and some have steady jobs but then suddenly lose them. What should these people do at such times? How should they pray when there is no food on the table? Should they earnestly beseech God? Should they keep beseeching God like a bird pecking at rice: “God, give me food to eat. I don’t have a job. God, I’ve got nothing to cook, what am I going to do?” What do you think about this way of praying? Some people get ill, and how do they pray? They pray like this: “God, cure me, please cure me!” They keep beseeching God like this, without saying anything else. But is this really communing with God? When people are in great pain they will shout out: “God, I’m in agony, I really am. Can’t You lessen my pain?” And some people say things like this when they pray: “God, hurry and rid me of my illness. This is most important to me, because when I’ve recovered I’ll be able to fulfill my duty. I’ll try my best to do my duty very well after I’m healed. Please don’t let illness bother me again.” What do you think about this way of praying? You always have demands of God, have excessive desires, and get resentful and complain against God when things don’t go your way. Isn’t that rebelling against God? Are you being considerate of God’s will and being loyal to God? When suffering comes upon you, it is a sign that God is trying your faith and loyalty to see if you really can be loyal to Him. If you complain about God and betray Him just because of a bit of suffering then you clearly don’t have any loyalty. When you honestly are ill and in pain then you should pray to God like this: “God, I’m in pain but I still don’t know if I can be loyal to You to the end. If You are willing, please increase my pain a notch or two then I’ll know just what sort of stature I have and whether or not I can persevere in my faith in You.” What do you think about this way of praying? Someone answers: “That won’t do. It’s bad enough already without praying for more suffering.” You don’t like the idea of praying that way. Actually, is God aware that you are bearing the pain? God knows exactly to what degree you are suffering because God is searching your heart. But however much you suffer is it ever as great as God’s suffering? In the midst of your suffering do you ever think about what God is suffering? Just think about how great God’s suffering must be. So when you are suffering—when you’re riddled with disease or facing misfortune—then what should you pray to show consideration for God’s will and what kind of heart should you have when you pray? This is very revealing of you! Someone who has true communion with God prays in accord with God’s will; someone who doesn’t have true communion with God only asks for fleshly things and hasn’t the slightest consideration for God’s heart. Is it good to always have demands of God? When faced with a trial do you say: “God, I beg You to take away this trial from me”? Or when illness strikes do you say: “God, I beg You to cure me and take away the illness. I really want to expend myself for You”? Do you still have such requests? Having such requests of God is basically irrational.
If everyone else looks down on you, takes a dislike to you, or doesn’t want anything to do with you then how should you pray about this to God? Should you say: “God, these people look down on me. Please give me a position and perfect me, and then they would look up to me”? What do you think about this way of praying? Irrational, right? If you are a rational, self-respecting person you should mull over these questions: “Why do they look down on me? Why are they fed up with me? There must be a reason for it. If someone hates me it must be because I’ve upset them. Maybe I’ve encroached on their interests or hurt their self-respect. They all seem to be totally fed up with me now so that must mean that I’m not a good person. Everyone despises the way I’ve been seriously corrupted so that’s why they’re all abandoning me. I really must be pretty terrible, so they treat me like this.” You should look at your situation like this, right? If you think clearly about this problem, if you get a good handle on the substance of the problem, then how should you pray when you come before God? You should say: “God, it’s all clear to me now. I’m a very corrupt person, and everyone is fed up with me and hates me for it. I really am awful. If I had a bit of humanity then not so many people would hate me. I hate myself, I curse myself, and I deserve every bad thing that happens to me. They’re right to treat me the way they do.” What do you think of this way of praying? It’s rational, right? And then what should you say? Something like this: “The problem is with me, not with them. I’ve been bad, but now I’m willing to repent and will strive to do well for myself. I’m going to make a commitment to be an honest person and pursue to gain truths.” Is this a good way to pray? If you become a person that God smiles upon then will other people still dislike you? If everyone is fed up with you then that proves that you’ve behaved badly, that you haven’t been a good person, right? So you must have this kind of rationality. If someone is unreasonable and people treat them badly they might think: “There is only a minority of people who understand truths. This bunch are probably not in the right. I’m in the right; I can say with a bold conscience that everything I’ve done has been correct. They can’t see that because they’re corrupt and they look down on me.” And then that person might come before God and say: “God, I’ve suffered a lot for You and You’ve seen how much humiliation I’ve had to take and how many people have turned against me. But I still believe in You, I still follow You.” What do you make of this kind of person? Again, they’re irrational, and they don’t know themselves or what they really are. They come before God full of pretense, saying that they’re pretty good, and boasting about their own virtues. They don’t know their limits. Also, such people don’t have self-awareness. People who lack self-awareness have no sense of shame and can thus easily end up doing shameless things. It is obvious that they do things for their own purpose but they still say to others: “I’m doing this for everybody. I never do things just for myself.” Aren’t they fake do-gooders? Aren’t they boastful of their own virtues? Aren’t they hypocrites? We must see clearly to the bottom of these problems. People who aren’t clear about their own problems and what kind of people they are will not easily grow.
The fourth problem to be dealt with in being an honest person and communion with God is that you should know your own fatal weaknesses, and the problems you have in order to achieve self-awareness. This is a very important issue, a very crucial one. For example, someone expends themselves for God but contaminates it with their own objectives or will and is thus pruned and dealt with severely. After being pruned and dealt with, how should they understand it? If they say: “I expended myself for God by doing loads of work and that made the others envious,” is there a problem with thinking like this? Isn’t this distorting the truth? Some other people say things like: “I was replaced as a leader because So-and-so always reported what I was doing to the above. In the end the above listened to him and replaced me.” Is this appropriate to say these things? If you really think that’s the case, then how will you get to grips with this problem? First of all don’t think that you are right but instead question it. Have an attitude of skepticism about your own way of thinking and viewpoints; don’t think that your own way of thinking and viewpoints are absolutely correct, as that would be too self-righteous. Before you have sought the truth regarding the matter, fellowshiped about it, and got confirmation, you mustn’t take your own way of thinking to be correct. You should first come before God and pray: “O God, I think that I’ve been replaced as a leader because someone reported me to the above and the above believed it. Or maybe someone wanted to attack me or take revenge on me. I don’t know whether I am right to think like this. I’m waiting for Your revelation so that I can clearly see the truth of the matter. Then I’ll give my opinion.” At such times you should pick your words very carefully. If someone asks you why you’ve been replaced and you tell them it was for this or that reason, and you tell them your views and opinions about the matter, then you are acting foolishly. You are being very self-righteous. But if someone asks you why you’ve been replaced and you tell them: “I’m not really very clear about that, but it must be because I haven’t performed my duty well or have done something wrong. Otherwise, why would I be replaced? The problem is definitely with me,” this is a suitable and rational way to talk about it. Don’t think that your way of looking at it is correct, and then go shooting your mouth off in front of others. Because if you’re wrong then you’re going to be very embarrassed, right?
Many people are very self-righteous. They think their way of looking at things is absolutely right, and no matter what others say they stick to their viewpoint. Such people are far too full of themselves, and they will lose out and fall flat on their faces. What do you have to learn in front of God? You have to learn to seek the truth from the facts and tell it as it is. This is a very crucial point. If you can’t tell it as it is and persist in doing so, always adhering to your own imaginings, then you’ll easily make mistakes and fall flat on your face. And if you are a leader then it’s an even greater problem because you might even ruin other people. So, before God you must be honest and learn how to tell it as it is and look at the matter in hand as it is; do not believe too much in yourself, and do not be self-righteous. If the majority of people think that you have certain problems, but you don’t admit them, what kind of mistake are you committing? You are being very idiotic, being a stubborn fool, right? Such a person is not an honest one. How can a person who is dishonest regarding their own problems be an honest person? You have to be realistic: You are what you are, and you are what others say you are. One is one and two is two—you should tell it as it is and not hold on tight to your own imaginings and your way of looking at things. If everyone says that you’re a devil but you say that you’re a human being, is that the right thing for you to do? If everyone says that you’re a devil, what should you do? You should agree that you’re a devil—that’s the way you should learn to deal with yourself. Then when the day comes when everyone sees you with new eyes and says that you are a human being then you will think: “They all say I’m a human so that means I must have been more or less acting like a real human being.” And then you can celebrate! Don’t believe in yourself. Believing in yourself too much means that you’re too self-righteous, and you’ll suffer for it. If you think you are good looking but everyone says that you are ugly, what should you do? Agree with them, even though you don’t feel that you are ugly. You should believe in what other people see and what they say, and if they say you’re ugly then for sure you must be quite ugly. Simple, right? You have to learn to believe others. To believe others is sensible, and don’t believe yourself or have too much confidence in yourself. Believing yourself is not a good thing; you should be totally clear what you are.
The dispositional issues that you have and the mistakes that you make must be dealt with properly, without perfunctoriness. Some people have done the things that resist God and sadden God the most, and yet still think that they are quite good and that they are good believers. What is the problem here? They are shameless, they do not know what they are, and they have no self-knowledge. If a person doesn’t dare to face their own existing issues, and continues to deny the standpoint of others and insist that they are in the right, then such a person is irrevocably stupid! For example, in every church we see this kind of situation: A majority of the members have a certain opinion about somebody; a majority of them hate a particular person; a majority of them are fed up with a particular person; a majority of them like a particular person, etc. This is the case, isn’t it? If there are people who make everyone else disgusted and they all cold-shoulder and reject them then how should they deal with their issues? Some of them might say: “I’d pretend not to notice it. If I really understand that everyone is disgusted with me and hates me, I would rather be dead than alive.” Is this the right way to deal with this problem? No, it’s not. Some might say: “I would pretend not to see it and try to be magnanimous. The more people look down on me the more I’ll tell myself that they are treating me well, and that they all like me and approve of me.” And they might even tell other people things like: “Most of the members of the congregation treat me pretty good, I’m clear about that, so that’s why I’m so happy.” But are people like these really progressing along the path? If you can’t really see the reason why most people are treating you like they do, why they are fed up with you, then isn’t it a good chance to know yourselves? If you can grasp the opportunity to know your fatal flaws, then isn’t this the best form of progress? This is the best time to enter the truth, the best chance to repent, and is the beginning of entry to life. Avoiding the problem will be of absolutely no benefit to you. Some people who encounter this type of problem just get anxious. When they see that others are ignoring them they’ll say to themselves: “They’re all ignoring me; what am I going to do? I can’t let this happen. I’ll have to think of a way to turn the situation around.” So they do some small favors to one person, buddy up to another, and they flatter this person, give someone else gifts—all in order to change the way people look at them. Is this a suitable way to act? No matter what, you have to solve the problem urgently. You have to resolve the problem at its root, and then the others will see that you really have changed, that you’re not the same person you were, and they will naturally look at you with new eyes. This is the result of resolving the issue thoroughly. For some people, although for the moment the others haven’t abandoned you, in fact the majority of people have an opinion of you and know what your faults are. Don’t think that you’re OK and that you are a good believer in God just because they do not reject you. It is only that you are not someone who is so corrupt that they’d reject him. Some people behave badly by always turning other people against each other and making inferences about them behind their backs. Every day they spread malicious gossip and sow discord; in the end what happens? Everyone sees that they are the bad apple in the barrel, and so rejects them and keeps a good distance from them. So, the way you treat your existing issues is very important. You must consider why you have been rejected and detested by the others. You must resolve your problems and discover what your fatal weaknesses are. But if you discover them and still don’t repent—still go on living the way you always have, doing what you want, having everything your own way—then you will never gain God’s salvation.
You must be clear about your own issues and what your fatal flaws are and resolve them. Once you are clear about these then you will know how to enter the necessary truths, how to show repentance, and how to act so that others can forgive you, so that others can treat you properly. If you don’t know your own issues and what your fatal flaws are—if you never see them clearly and always think that you’re pretty good—then you’ll never achieve true transformation. If you have a rotten reputation among people then you won’t be the kind of person that God likes, and God will eliminate you. But if you truly repent in front of men and can gain their forgiveness and praise then you’ll definitely be accepted by God, and God, at the very least, will continue to have mercy on you and save you.
The fifth problem, which is also the most important issue, to be dealt with in being an honest person and communion with God is not handing one’s heart over to God, but just living for one’s flesh and believing in God as a matter of form. If someone doesn’t hand their heart over to God, what does it prove? It proves that in their heart they don’t have faith in God, and that they are just paying lip service to the idea of faith in God. If you don’t give your heart totally over to God and let God control you, guide you, and rule over you then that proves that you have no trust in God, that you want to live by yourself, and that you are an independent individual who has moved away from God. But if you like an independent life apart from God can you be someone who has God in their heart? No, that’s impossible, and not only haven’t you brought God into your daily life but you haven’t even given Him any place in your heart. And if your heart hasn’t been handed over to God then aren’t you a non-believer? Strictly speaking, anyone who doesn’t give their heart to God in every matter is a betrayer of God. And can anyone who doesn’t give their heart to God accept God’s searching? Are they able to submit to God and satisfy Him? These things are even more unattainable. Basically, as a believer in God, you should hand your heart over to Him and say: “God, I’m giving my heart to You and wish to accept Your searching. If my heart harbors personal intentions and objectives, and I’m just living for myself, then please discipline me and punish me. If my heart deviates from Your way, then please shine Your light on me so that I can feel it. I don’t wish to leave You, and I especially don’t wish to betray You just to live for myself.” If you interact with God like this, then you are someone who is living before God. Nowadays, there are many people who pray to God concerning minor things and seem to rely on God and be obedient to Him, but the bigger the problem they encounter the less they pray and the more they live by their flesh and satisfy their flesh. Aren’t they hypocrites? Something trivial happens to them and they say to God: “God, what should I do to satisfy You?” But when something major happens they don’t pray to God at all because they are afraid that praying to God will get in the way of their physical enjoyments and their personal objectives. Isn’t this betraying God? Such people are not sincere in their faith and always cheat God; they pay lip service to the idea of submission to God but in their hearts they betray Him. Not giving your heart to God, not seeking God’s intentions or satisfying Him in every matter that you encounter are all manifestations of betrayal of God. To have true communion with God you must resolve this problem of not handing your heart over to God, which is a substantial problem of betrayal of God. Have you handed your heart over to God yet? You might have given your heart to God, but there are times when you are still thinking about this or that—you have personal objectives and your own intentions—so what to do about it? Urgently seek God’s illumination to help you understand truths, give up your individual intentions and objectives, and seek the way to satisfy God. When you hand your heart over to God you must accept God’s searching, and whenever you are wrong in your motives or your way of thinking is incompatible with truths and is against God’s intentions then the Holy Spirit will work and you will feel it. When you feel it you should immediately communicate with God, repent, and seek truths and seek to satisfy God. In this way you are being a person who truly gives their heart to God. For a person who has truly given their heart to God, the bigger the events they encounter the more they pray to God for His guidance, and the more they wish God to help deal with them according to His desire. If you found 10,000 yuan on the sidewalk would you be able to first pray to God and ask Him the best way to deal with the situation? Could you let God decide? Someone says: “If I find a 100 yuan note, then I immediately pray to God, and if God doesn’t want me to keep it then I hand it in. But if it were 10,000 yuan, then I wouldn’t be able to pray because handing it in would be too big of a loss.” Is this the right intention to have before God? Isn’t this a hypocritical behavior? They can satisfy God regarding trivial things but when it comes to something big they want to satisfy themselves. People like this have completely the wrong intention; they are hypocrites.
Not handing one’s heart over to God is a problem that must be resolved in order to become an honest person. Giving one’s heart to God is crucial, because only by doing this can one truly give themselves over to God and put themselves in God’s hands. A person who gives their heart to God can abandon their individual future and only seeks to expend themselves for God, has no choice about whatever kind of ending God arranges for them, and does not complain even if God destroys them after using them to do service. Some people believe in God but aren’t willing to do service for God, so are they really honest people? No, and in fact they are very crafty. They just want to gain blessings but are not willing to render service because they think they might lose out. They are extremely crafty. Honest people are always willing to do service for God, but the craftier someone is the more they are afraid of doing service for God. They would say things like: “I won’t do service for God as it’ll be all in vain. When I am no longer effective God will destroy me, like sending an old mule to the slaughterhouse!” Such people really are crafty, aren’t they? They are willing to render service for Satan, but not for God. They really are totally wicked! Truly honest people will say: “I am too corrupt to be worthy of serving God, so to be able to do service for God really is God’s elevation and I feel I haven’t lived in vain. There are so many people around the world who aren’t able to do service for God. I have this opportunity, and God has deemed me worthy of doing some service for Him. This is God’s elevation; this is how I am of value to God. Even if God destroys me when I am no longer effective, then I won’t complain because I am not worthy of His blessings and my doing service is His elevation.” This is how an honest person talks! Some people know that they won’t gain salvation but they are still willing to render service for God and are happy to die after doing all they can. They see working for God as an honor, as a blessing, and as good fortune. They say, “As long as I can do service properly for God then it means I have some conscience and some likeness of a human being, and I can draw comfort from this and will die in peace with my eyes closed.” This is how an honest person acts. Those people who are not willing to do service for God really are being crafty, and they say things like: “If God asks me to fulfill my duty and then blesses and saves me when I’ve finished it then that’s fine, and I’ll exert myself as much as I can. But if God asks me to do service for Him and then gets rid of me when the job is done then that’s not OK. Why would I be so stupid as to let God use me like that? I will hurry away from it.” These are crafty people, right? Are people who have such intentions worthy of living before God? Are they worthy of doing service for God? It’s a serious problem if people have intentions like these.
So how should this problem be resolved? First, the substance of the problem should be recognized because it’s such a serious problem. Let’s look at how God works. When God began to speak His utterances, He first judged and tried service-doers. Then, after the trials of the service-doers, God’s chosen people are transformed into God’s people. So the significance of this to us is that our life experience must start with being service-doers. If you are willing to do service for God without complaining and are able to praise God and recognize God’s elevation and grace even if you will be destroyed by God when your service is done, then you are a loyal service-doer who is qualified to become one of God’s people. But if you don’t have these good intentions then you are not a suitable candidate to become one of God’s people. Does life experience start with being a service-doer? If you can experience this, then it’s guaranteed that you will be able to enter reality and achieve transformation of your life disposition. If your experience begins with being one of God’s people, and you never want to be a service-doer and are afraid of doing service for God, then it’s safe to say that you would not be saved and that you would not be worthy of being one of God’s people. Some people, when performing their duties, are always trying to sound out God’s opinions. They think: “Is God using me as a service-doer? If so, I’m not doing this any longer. I’d rather go back to the world to make money and enjoy fleshly pleasures than do service for God.” What kind of people are these? They are of a devilish nature, aren’t they? If an unbeliever is about to take up a position serving their president then what is the pledge they give? They say: “I’m willing to serve the president!” Unbelievers are willing to serve their president, but you’re not willing to do any service for God. How can a president be compared to God? You believe in God but you’re not willing to render service for Him even a little bit then you’re worse than the unbelievers! Is someone who has intentions like these an honest person? No, they aren’t honest; they are completely crafty. This kind of person never gives their heart to God, but is always testing God instead: “Are You using me as a service-doer or am I doing the duty of one of Your people?” Do people who are always testing God have true interaction with Him? They are always on their guard against God, and are always afraid that God is using them to do service, so they always test God and doubt and disbelieve God. People who don’t believe in God are totally crafty! If people don’t believe in God but only believe in themselves, isn’t this satanic disposition? This truly is satanic disposition.
Are you willing to do some service for God now? If you did service for many years and then were suddenly eliminated, how would you react? Would you complain about God? Would you judge God? How would you deal with it? This is a most practical and realistic problem and no one can avoid it. This is also the most fundamental lesson for entry into life. Now consider this question: You are fulfilling a duty now, but if some time in the future you are eliminated, and the fulfilling of your duty turns out to be doing service for God, how should you look at this issue? You should take this view on it: Don’t make everything that you do now part of trying to gain salvation or think that you are doing your duty as one of God’s people. Instead, you should assume that you are doing service for God, and then see just whether you are willing or not. Treating yourself in this manner is realistic. You must first be clear: If you are doing service, are you willing to do it? Can you be loyal to God in your service? And, if someone asks you to fulfill a duty, are you able to say: “I’m totally willing to do service”? Can you take it as doing service? Can you sincerely do service for God and pursue to be a loyal service-doer to satisfy God? If you are really willing to be a loyal service-doer to satisfy God then you are truly honest; you have some reality in being an honest person. But if in your mind you are constantly exaggerating your own importance by thinking things like, “I’m carrying out God’s commission by fulfilling my duty,” then you are full of pretentiousness. Has God really commissioned you? Why don’t you say, “I’m carrying out my mission”? Isn’t it very vain to say that what you are doing is so important and honorable? And it’s totally unrealistic. To be exact, fulfilling your duty is doing service because while fulfilling your duty you can’t grasp God’s intentions and you know even less about God’s demands of man, and you are just doing the duty by relying on your enthusiasm. You haven’t undergone much trial, your heart is still full of your own intentions, imaginings, and excessive desires that haven’t been purified, and you fulfill your duty according to these desires and imaginings in order to gain blessings, so is it realistic to say that you are fulfilling your duty? In fact, you are doing service: You try to do a bit more to get blessings, and you suffer a bit more, work particularly hard, and do more of your duties so that God will reward you. With so many personal intentions and objectives, isn’t you fulfilling duty merely you doing service? Yes, it is. You haven’t even reached the stage of being a loyal service-doer. And what exactly do we mean by loyal service-doer? It means a person who thinks they’re not worthy of being God’s people—not even of being a service-doer—that being able to do service is God’s elevation of them, and that it is their good fortune and a great honor. Only this is an honest person, who has entered reality. Life experience must be built upon the foundations of reality, and everything a believer says and the way they say must be realistic and objective. You shouldn’t be always magnifying what you’re doing to show yourself in case the day will come when God denies it and says that you’re doing service, and then you’ll be in trouble. So just accept that you are doing service, put your heart in it, and seek to do it properly to satisfy God. Seek to be a loyal service-doer and an honest person as this is true entry to life. When you reach a certain stage in your heart then you will feel totally willing and at ease and enjoyable in being a loyal service-doer, and you will find joy in satisfying God, without feeling envy toward the believers who are fulfilling their duties, or who are God’s people or firstborn sons. Isn’t this a manifestation of transformation in life disposition? There is a very profound lesson to learn in pursuit of transformation in life disposition; it’s not a simple thing at all. There are also very profound and practical lessons in becoming an honest person, as entry into any aspect of truth involves being an honest person. So don’t think that being an honest person is a simple matter.