Only in the Frequent Reading of God’s Words and Contemplation of the Truth Is There a Way Ahead
If you wish to perform your duty well, you must first understand the truth. You must seek the truth with all your heart. In seeking the truth, the key is to learn to contemplate the words of God. The purpose of such contemplation of God’s words is to understand their true meaning. It is through seeking that you will understand the meaning of God’s words, what God requires of people, and the intentions of God that can be found in His words. When you reach such an understanding, you will understand the truth. Once you have understood the truth, it is easy to grasp the principles that must guide your practice, and then you can practice the truth. Once you learn to practice the truth, you will begin to enter into the truth reality. At such a time, you will understand things that you could not understand before, you will perceive things that you could not see clearly before, and you will solve problems that were previously impossible for you. In many things you will begin to receive inspiration and new insight, paths of implementation will open up to you, and you will be able to consistently practice truth. This is how you will fully enter into the truth reality. However, if you do not put your heart into your duty, nor seek the truth principles, if you are muddled or confused, just doing things in the easiest way you can, then what sort of mentality is this? It is one of doing things in a perfunctory manner. If you are not committed to your duty, if you have no sense of responsibility toward it, or any sense of mission, will you be able to perform your duty properly? Will you be able to perform your duty to an acceptable standard? And if you are unable to perform your duty to an acceptable standard, will you be able to enter the truth reality? Absolutely not. If, every time you perform your duty, you are indifferent, you do not make any effort, and just muddle your way through, as thoughtless as if you were playing some game, is this not trouble? What can you gain from performing your duty in this way? Ultimately, people will see that when you perform your duty, you have no sense of responsibility, are careless and perfunctory, and are merely going through the motions—in which case, you are in danger of being cast out. God is watching throughout the entire process as you perform your duty, and what will God say? (This person is not worthy of His commission or His trust.) God will say that you are not trustworthy, and that you should be cast out. And so, no matter what duty you perform, whether it is an important or an ordinary one, if you do not put your heart into the work you have been entrusted with or live up to your responsibility, and if you do not see it as God’s commission, or take it on as your own duty and obligation, always doing things in a perfunctory manner, then this is going to be a problem. “Not trustworthy”—these two words will define how you go about your duty. What they mean is that your performance of your duty is not up to standard, and you have been cast out, and God says that your character is not up to par. If a matter is entrusted to you, yet this is the attitude you take toward it and this is how you handle it, then will you be commissioned with any further duties in the future? Can you be entrusted with anything important? Absolutely not, unless you demonstrate true repentance. Deep down, however, God will always harbor some distrust and dissatisfaction toward you. This will be a problem, will it not? You might lose any opportunity to perform your duty, and you may not be saved.
When people perform their duty, they are, in fact, doing what they ought to do. If you do it before God, if you perform your duty and submit to God with an attitude of honesty and with heart, will this attitude not be far more correct? So how should you apply this attitude to your everyday life? You must make “worshiping God with heart and honesty” your reality. Whenever you want to be slack and just go through the motions, whenever you want to act in a slippery way and be lazy, and whenever you get distracted or would rather be enjoying yourself, you should consider: “In behaving like this, am I being untrustworthy? Is this putting my heart into doing my duty? Am I being disloyal by doing this? In doing this, am I failing to live up to the commission God has entrusted to me?” This is how you should self-reflect. If you come to find out that you are always careless and perfunctory in your duty, that you are disloyal, and that you have hurt God, what should you do? You should say, “In the moment I sensed that there was something wrong here, but I didn’t treat it as a problem; I just glossed over it carelessly. I didn’t realize until now that I really had been careless and perfunctory, that I had not lived up to my responsibility. I truly am lacking in conscience and reason!” You have found the problem and come to know a bit about yourself—so now, you must turn yourself around! Your attitude toward performing your duty was wrong. You were careless with it, as with an extra job, and you did not put your heart into it. If you are careless and perfunctory like this again, you must pray to God and let Him discipline and chasten you. You must have such a will in performing your duty. Only then can you truly repent. You may turn yourself around only when your conscience is clear and your attitude toward performing your duty is transformed. And as you repent, you must also reflect often on whether or not you really have put all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength into performing your duty; then, using God’s words as the measure and applying them to yourself, you will learn what problems still lie in the performance of your duty. By constantly resolving problems in this way, according to God’s word, are you not bringing the performance of your duty with all your heart, mind, and strength into reality? To perform your duty in such a way: have you not already done so with all your heart, mind, and strength? If there is no longer any recrimination of your conscience, if you are able to meet the qualifications and demonstrate loyalty in the performance of your duty, only then will there truly be peace and joy in your heart. Performing your duty will feel like a responsibility that is perfectly natural and justified, rather than an added burden, and not at all like a job done for someone else. Performing a duty in this way, you feel fulfilled, and you feel that you are living in the presence of God. Conducting yourself like this brings peace of mind. Would it not make you a bit more human and less like a zombie? Is it easy, conducting yourself like this? It is, actually, but not for those who do not accept the truth.
In fact, whether or not a person is truly able to fulfill their duty, in either case there exists a weighted scale in their heart. If they constantly listen to sermons, constantly read the word of God, and constantly commune with others, even if they have but a shallow understanding of the truth, they will at least be able to understand certain doctrines. Taking these doctrines as their measure, they can also judge how well they are fulfilling their duty and whether they are abiding by correct principles. This clarity is within the grasp of all those who possess conscience and reason. Many times, when people perform their duties, they do so perfunctorily and carelessly. They do not devote their whole strength, let alone seek the truth and act in accordance with the principles. Whatever their duties may be, they turn a blind eye. Though they may see a problem, they do not seek to find a solution, but act as though it were not their concern and make some perfunctory attempts to resolve it. In their hearts, they see no need to make things hard for themselves, no need to be earnest in this matter. However, accommodating themselves in this way causes their internal condition to worsen imperceptibly. If you perform your duty without a sense of burden, your heart will inevitably become perfunctory and careless. It will not be able to take on responsibilities, much less be faithful. As a result, the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit will be denied. You are always following established rules and regulations without any new light or insight, doing nothing more than merely going through the motions. Fulfilling your duty in such a way is pointless, even when you render service it is inadequate. If even your service is rendered inadequately, can you be a faithful service-doer? Absolutely not. Those who render inadequate service can only be cast out. Some muddle-headed people have not the slightest understanding of the truth. They regard merely fulfilling their duty as practicing the truth. They think that simply by performing their duty, they are practicing the truth. If you ask such a person, “Can you practice the truth?” then they will answer, “Am I not practicing the truth by doing my duty?” Are they correct? Those are the words of a muddle-headed person. To perform your duty, at the very least, you must put all your heart, mind, and strength into it in order to effectively practice the truth. To effectively practice the truth, you must act according to principles. If you perform your duty in a perfunctory way it has no real effect. You cannot call this practicing the truth, it is nothing but rendering service. You are clearly only rendering a service, this is different from practicing the truth. Rendering service is simply doing the things that please you according to your own will, while disregarding everything that you do not enjoy doing. Regardless of the difficulties you encounter, you never seek the truth principles. Outwardly, it may look like you are fulfilling your duty, but it is all just rendering service. Anyone who does not perform their duty by acting in accordance with the truth principles is accomplishing nothing but rendering service. In God’s family, many people attempt to perform their duty by relying on human notions and imaginings. They toil for years with nothing to show for it, they cannot practice the truth or act according to principles in performing their duty. Therefore, if people often act according to their own will and perform their duties according to their own will, even though they are not doing evil, neither is this considered practicing the truth. In the end, their years of work do not lead them to understand anything of the truth, and they have no experience or testimonies that they can share. Why is this so? It is because the intentions which lead these people to perform their duty are not correct. The reason they fulfill their duty is definitely in order to receive blessings, they want to make a deal with God. They do not perform their duty simply for the sake of gaining the truth. They perform their duty because they have no other choice. For this reason, they are always confused and going through the motions in a perfunctory and haphazard manner. They do not seek the truth, and so it is all just rendering service. No matter how many duties they perform, their actions have no real effect. It is different for those who have the fear of God in their hearts. They are constantly contemplating how to act in accordance with the will of God and how to act for the benefit of God’s family and His chosen people. They are always thinking deeply about principles and results. They are always striving to practice the truth and demonstrate obedience to God. This is the correct attitude of the heart. These are the people who seek truth and love positive things. This kind of person, when performing their duties, is accepted by God and receives His commendation. Although those who do not love the truth may outwardly seem to be performing their duty, they do not seek the truth in the slightest. They act in accordance with their own will and only do things that avoid any disadvantage and are beneficial to themselves. They give only minimal effort and shun any hardship, yet they still want the approval of God’s chosen people and a good reputation. If this is the focus of their hearts, will they be able to perform their duties to an acceptable standard? Certainly not. Although you appear to be performing your duty on the outside, in fact your hearts are not living before God. With all your attention bent on self-serving schemes and calculations, you will not make any progress at all although you have held your faith for many years. Although you often gather together, eat and drink God’s words together, listen to sermons and fellowship, as soon as you close God’s word and leave your meeting place, nothing of it remains in your heart. Not one of God’s words, not one word of the truth, resides in your heart. Sometimes you write His words down in a notebook, but do not keep them in your heart, and you forget everything in the blink of an eye. In addition, you never contemplate the truth of God’s word in your everyday life. In fulfilling your duty, you never seek the truth principles. No matter what difficulties you encounter, you adopt a perfunctory and careless attitude. Even in the midst of pruning and dealing with, you never pray to God or seek the truth. In this, you appear no different than the unbelievers. You have believed in God for several years, but have neither life entry nor the truth reality at all. Your performance of duty is purely rendering service, and your intention is to exchange such service for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. Of this, there is no doubt. Believing in God in this manner, it is difficult for you to enter into the truth reality, difficult to gain life and the truth. Among you, there are those who possess good caliber, but though their faith is over a decade old, they can only spout a few words of doctrine, and they stop at the superficial words of doctrine. They are satisfied with understanding a little doctrine and think that simply following the rules is enough. It will be difficult for them to go deeper. As such people’s hearts have not tried to understand the truth, the extent to which they can enter into the truth reality is very limited. All they can do is follow certain rules. If you were asked how you should practice the truth in fulfilling your duty, maybe you would say, “Pray more, willingly receive suffering, while performing your duty do not be lazy or perfunctory, act according to principles, and obey the family of God in whatever it requires.” You are capable of discussing the outward, doctrinal aspects of fulfilling your duty, but on specific issues involving the truth principles, you have but a small understanding. This demonstrates that most people only understand the literal meaning of the truth, but do not understand the reality of the truth. As such, they really do not understand the truth at all. People who do not understand the truth may offer some words and doctrines about the truth, but should we consider them to have gained the truth? (Of course not.) So, what must you focus on in the future? You should lead a normal spiritual life, praying, gathering, eating and drinking God’s words, listening to sermons, and singing hymns to praise God. In addition to this outward observance of rules, you must not put off your duty, but rather you should perform it well. There is also the most important thing for you to understand: If you wish to pursue the truth, if you wish to understand and gain the truth, then you must learn how to be quiet before God, how to ponder the truth, and how to ponder God’s words. Are there formalities to consider while pondering the truth? Are there any rules? Are there any time limitations? Do you have to do it in a certain place? No—you can ponder over God’s words at any time or in any place. Put aside that time you normally spend on leisure or daydreaming and spend it on contemplating God’s words and the truth, so that the day is not squandered. How do people squander time? They spend their days in idle chit-chat, doing things that interest them, or engaging in frivolous things that have nothing to do with the truth, and when they have nothing else to do, they think about pointless things and things that have already happened. They imagine what the future may hold, where the future kingdom will be and where hell is, and so on. Are these not frivolous things? If you spend this time on positive things—if you are quiet before God, spend more time pondering God’s words and fellowshiping with the truth, reflect upon each of your actions, and hold them up before God for His scrutiny; if you then reflect on what issues remain unresolved in you and what difficulties remain to be tackled in performing your duty, and on whether your corrupt dispositions that frequently pour forth—especially those that are most rebellious against God and most deadly—have been resolved through seeking the truth in God’s words; if all of these issues can be resolved within a given period, then you will gradually be entering into the truth reality.
How should the contemplation of God’s words be practiced? First, think and fellowship frequently about the spiritual terms and expressions that you commonly use. Ask yourself: “I may know what these things mean literally and theoretically, but what do they mean in practical terms? What is it that they practically cover? How can I possess the reality implied within those spiritual expressions? Where should I begin practicing them and entering into them?” This is how you should contemplate. This is where contemplation of God’s word begins. It is hard to understand the truth and put it into practice if one believes in God but has not learned how to contemplate God’s words. If one is unable to understand the truth, can they enter into the truth reality? (No.) Without entering into the truth reality, can one gain the truth? (No.) Without gaining the truth, can one satisfy God’s will? (No.) They cannot—that is certain. Because people do not understand the truth, they live only by their corrupt disposition, and they resist God. How could such people ever satisfy God’s will? It absolutely cannot be done. How, then, is one to contemplate God’s words? For example, when you consider the oft-repeated phrase “fearing God and shunning evil,” this is what you should ponder: What is it to fear God? Does saying something wrong amount to not fearing God? Is speaking in such a way evil? Does God deem it a sin? Which actions are evil? My thoughts, intentions, ideas and opinions, the motives and source of my speeches and actions, and the various dispositions that are revealed in me—are these all in accordance with the truth? Which of these does God commend, and which does He abhor? Which does He condemn? In which matters are people prone to make big mistakes? All this is worth pondering. Is it typical for you to ponder the truth? (We do not spend much time pondering the truth; most of the time, our brains are on autopilot.) Think about how much time you have wasted over the years! How often have you thought about matters relating to the truth, to belief in God, to entering into life, and to fearing God and shunning evil? Have you given serious thought to these matters? When you have contemplated God’s words to the point of understanding the truth and practicing it in accordance with principles, that is when you will begin to see the fruit, and that is when you will enter into life. You do not yet know how to contemplate God’s words, nor have you arrived at an understanding of the truth. You have not yet entered into life. You must strive after this and not squander your time. Just as when a person, no matter how old, starts to think about how to learn a trade, how to earn a living and support their family, how to live a good life, how to treat others, what their future will look like, and so on, this means that this person’s mind has matured and they are starting to live an independent life. Someone who does not think about such things and has never thought about such things is someone with no thoughts or independent opinions. They cannot understand these things about life, so they must rely on their parents for everything. They depend on them for money to spend, for food to eat, and for clothes to wear. If their parents did not take care of them, they would be destitute, hungry, and cold. Can such a person live independently? Is this a mature person? (Of course not.) In which stage are you right now? Have you reached the stage of adulthood in your faith? Right now, if no one were to water you, if the Above were not to preach to you, if no one were to lead you and instead let you eat and drink God’s words and listen to hymns by yourself, would you be able to enter into life? Would you be able to practice the truth, perform your duty well, and act according to principle? (No.) Herein lies the problem. This means that you are still too small in stature. You cannot even perform your duty well and have not yet reached adulthood. In present circumstances, if someone leads and shepherds you, you can believe in God and perform your duty. You have the likeness of a person of faith. But if in the future no one is there to guide you, would it not be revealed whether you can stand firm and fulfill your duty properly, and how much truth reality you have acquired? If you do not realize that you have none of the truth reality until that time comes, is it not worrisome? It is a very dangerous thing! When you face trials, you will not know how to stand firm in your witness, and you will not know how to satisfy the will of God. You will have no path, no direction in your heart, and no truth will plant its roots inside you. How, then, will you be able to stand firm? If you do not possess the truth reality, you will likely stumble when you encounter temptations. When you encounter false leaders or antichrists who do evil and attempt to thwart the work of the church, you will not be able to recognize them for who they are and break away from their grasp. If you can still follow such false leaders and antichrists, you will be in trouble. These two questions will have exposed you, and you will be in danger of being cast out. Therefore, faith in God requires you to constantly contemplate the word of God and ponder the truth. It is in this way that you can enter into the truth reality and gain the truth.
At present, are there many temptations for people who live in this society? Temptations surround you on all sides, all sorts of evil currents, all sorts of discourses, all sorts of thoughts and viewpoints, all sorts of seductions and enticements from all sorts of people, all sorts of devilish faces worn by all sorts of people. These are all temptations you face. For example, people may do favors for you, make you rich, become friends with you, go on dates with you, give you money, give you a job, invite you to dance, show you courtesy, or give you gifts. All these things are possibly temptations. If things don’t go well, you will fall into the trap. If you are not internally equipped with some truth and lack any real stature, you will not be able to see these things for what they are, and they will all be traps and temptations for you. In one respect, if you don’t possess the truth, you won’t be able to see through Satan’s tricks, and you won’t be able to see the satanic faces of different kinds of people. You will not be able to overcome Satan, forsake the flesh, and attain obedience to God. In another respect, lacking the truth reality, you will be unable to resist all the varied evil currents, evil viewpoints, and absurd thoughts and sayings. When confronted with these, it will be like a sudden cold snap. Maybe you will only catch a mild cold, or maybe something more serious—you may even suffer a potentially life-threatening cold stroke[a]. Maybe you will lose your faith entirely. If you are lacking in the truth, just a few words from Satan and devils of the world of unbelievers will leave you confused and bewildered. You will question whether or not you should believe in God and whether such faith is correct. It may be that, gathering today, you are in a good state, but then tomorrow, you go home and watch two episodes of a television show. You have been lured away. At night, you forget to pray before sleeping, and your mind is completely occupied with the plot of the television show. If you continue to watch the television for two days, your heart is already far from God. You no longer wish to read God’s word or fellowship about the truth. You don’t even want to pray to God. In your heart, you are always saying, “When will I be able to do something? When can I start some important cause? My life doesn’t have to be in vain!” Is that a change of heart? Originally, you wanted to understand more about the truth so that you could spread the gospel and bear witness for God. Why have you now changed? Just by watching movies and television programs, you allow Satan to take hold of your heart. Your stature is small indeed. Do you think you have the stature to resist these evil tides? Now God shows grace to you and takes you into His house to perform your duty. Don’t forget your stature. At present, you are a flower in a greenhouse, unable to withstand the wind and rain outside. If people cannot recognize and withstand these temptations, Satan can take them captive at any time, in any place. Such is the small stature and pitiful state of man. As you do not possess the truth reality and lack understanding of the truth, all the words of Satan are as poison to you. If you give them your ear, they will be irremovably trapped inside your heart. In your heart, you say, “I will stop up my ears and seal my eyes,” but you can’t escape the temptation of Satan. You don’t live in a vacuum. If you hear Satan’s words, you won’t be able to resist. You will fall into the trap. Your prayers and curses on yourself will be of no avail. You can’t resist. Such things can influence your thoughts and influence your actions. They can block the path of your pursuit of truth. They can even control you, prevent you from expending yourself for God, render you passive and weak, and keep you far away from God. In the end, you will be worthless and despair of all hope.
Now you think that you are devoted to God. You have the ambition, the determination, and the ideal of satisfying God. But how will you cope when you meet the trials of God? You say you will be obedient, but when God places a difficulty in front of you that does not conform to your notions and fancies, what can you do when you are unable to obey Him? When God rewards people, it suits their psychological needs and conforms to their notions and tastes, so people can obey Him. But when God takes things from you, how will you respond? Can you stand steadfast in your witness in the midst of the trials of God and in the environment He has fashioned for you? Will this be a problem? When you say, “I will surely stand firm in my witness,” your words are ostentation, foolishness, ignorance, and stupidity. Do you know what God wants to do with you? Do you know why God wishes to test you? What does He want to expose in you? You say, “I have the will to receive suffering, I am ready, I do not fear any trial God may give me,” but then something occurs suddenly that you never expected, something you never prepared for. Then what is the use of your preparation? None at all. Say your health has always been good. You have done your duty for many years and God has protected you from all diseases. Your path has been a smooth one. Suddenly, one day you go for a check-up and the doctors find some strange disease, which they later diagnose as a terminal illness. In your heart, it is as if some force has redirected mighty streams and overturned a great ocean. “None of the brothers and sisters in the church have this disease,” you say. “I have believed in God the longest, been the most active in performing my duty, and suffered the most. How can it be that I have this disease?” After pondering the matter, you realize that this must be a trial from God and you should submit. Right now, you still have the faith to pray to God. But after you pray for a time and still are not healed, you determine, “This is God letting me die. God wants to take my life!” Will you still submit to God now? (Not likely.) You will cry, “My God! I don’t want to die. I haven’t lived enough. I’m still young. I’ve only experienced half my life. Give me a few more years. There is still a lot I can do!” It is useless to pray that God will heal you. No matter how many exams you undergo, they will show your illness is terminal. With treatment, you will die. Without treatment, you will still die. What will you do then? Many times, when God tests people, they start by thinking the actions of God are right and good, but when the conclusion becomes clear, they think, “Maybe it is God’s will that I die. If God wants me to die, let me die!” So they just passively, helplessly wait to die. What kind of attitude is this waiting for death? Is there any element of obedience in it? (No, it is a mere acceptance of fate.) Are such people actually willing to die? (They are not.) So why are they waiting for death? When death comes, they have no choice but to die. If they have no choice, they can only accept it. This “acceptance” is an attitude of passive opposition, not an act of bearing witness. Some people say, “God has let me die, so what witness do I have left to give?” Though God lets you die, are you not a creation of God? Would you abandon your duty? Have you completed your duty? Have you done your duty well? What kind of heart must you have in order to stand firm in the witness that is due of a created thing? (Let me speak of my experience. A few days ago, I had a toothache so bad that I couldn’t sleep for three days due to the pain. Yet I still had to do my duty every day. The disorienting pain in my head was truly almost more than I could bear. I complained a bit in my heart. I felt that I had done my duty very well, so why was this happening to me? At the time, I felt that I could not grasp the will of God. Some brothers and sisters urged me to search my own heart and know myself, so I kept praying to and seeking God. I didn’t find that I had disobeyed God in anything. Later, I thought of the words of Job to his wife during his time of trials, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Job was able to testify for God during his trials. I considered myself and saw how I could praise God when things went well for me, but became negative and rebelled against God in times of adversity. I felt that this was not a way of a proper creature created by God. This finally pricked my conscience. I had the will to forsake the flesh and satisfy God. I thought that, even if I was sick, I should still submit to God. No matter the pain, I must willingly persist in doing my duty. This was my own experience.) No matter what trials confront you, you must come before God—this is right. You must reflect on yourself while not delaying the performance of your duty. Do not only reflect and never perform your duty, neglecting the important to concentrate on the insignificant—that is the way of foolishness. No matter what trial befalls you, you must treat it as a burden given to you by God. Say some people are beset by great sickness and unbearable suffering, some even face death. How should they approach this kind of situation? In many cases, the trials of God are burdens He gives to people. However great the burden bestowed upon you by God, that is the weight of burden you should undertake, for God understands you, and knows you will be able to bear it. The burden given to you by God will not exceed your stature or the limits of your endurance, so there is no question that you will be able to bear it. No matter what manner of burden God gives you, what kind of trial, remember one thing: Whether or not you understand God’s will and whether or not you are enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit after you pray, whether or not this trial is God disciplining you or warning you, it does not matter if you do not understand. As long as you do not delay in performing your duty and can faithfully abide by your duty, God will be satisfied, and you will stand firm in your testimony. Seeing that they are suffering from a serious illness and are going to die, some people think to themselves: “It was to avoid death that I started believing in God—but it turns out that even after all these years of performing my duty, He’s going to let me die. I should get on with my own business, do the things I have always wanted to do, and enjoy the things I have not enjoyed in this life. I can put off my duty.” What attitude is this? You have been performing your duty for all these years, you have listened to all these sermons, and still you have not understood the truth. One trial topples you, brings you to your knees, and lays you bare. Is such a person worthy of being cared for by God? (They are unworthy.) They are totally without loyalty. So what is the duty they have spent all these years performing known as? It is known as “doing service,” and they have just been exerting themselves. If, in your faith in God and pursuit of the truth, you are able to say, “Whatever sickness or disagreeable event God allows to befall me—no matter what God does—I must obey, and stay in my place as a created being. Before all else, I must put this aspect of the truth—obedience—into practice, I must implement it, and live out the reality of obedience to God. Moreover, I must not cast aside what God has commissioned to me and the duty I should perform. Even on my last breath, I must abide by my duty,” is this not bearing testimony? When you have this kind of resolve and this kind of state, are you still able to complain about God? No, you are not. At such a time, you will think to yourself, “God gives me this breath, He has provided for and protected me all these years, He has taken much pain from me, given me much grace, and many truths. I have understood truths and mysteries that people have not understood for generations. I have gained so much from God, so I must repay God! Before, my stature was too small, I understood nothing, and everything I did was hurtful to God. I may not have another chance to repay God in the future. No matter how much time I have left to live, I must offer the little strength I have and do what I can for God, so that God can see that all these years of providing for me have not been in vain, but have borne fruit. Let me bring comfort to God, and no longer hurt or disappoint Him.” How about thinking this way? Do not think about how to save yourself or escape, thinking, “When will this illness be cured? When it is, I shall do my best to perform my duty and be devoted. How can I be devoted when I’m ill? How can I perform the duty of a created being?” As long as you have a single breath, are you not capable of performing your duty? As long as you have a single breath, are you capable of not bringing shame upon God? As long as you have a single breath, as long as your mind is lucid, are you capable of not complaining about God? (Yes.) It is easy to say “Yes” now, but it will not be so easy when this really happens to you. And so, you must pursue the truth, often work hard on the truth, and spend more time thinking, “How can I satisfy God’s will? How can I repay God’s love? How can I perform the duty of a created being?” What is a created being? Is the responsibility of a created being merely to listen to the words of God? No—it is to live out the words of God. God has given you so much truth, so much of the way, and so much life, so that you may live out these things, and bear testimony to Him. This is what ought to be done by a created being, and it is your responsibility and obligation. You must contemplate these things frequently; if you always contemplate them, you will go deeper into all aspects of the truth.
If people do not take the path of pursuing the truth and do not work hard to obtain the truth, sooner or later they will stumble and fall. It will be hard to stand upright because the problems they encounter cannot be solved by relying on the little bit of knowledge and doctrines they possess. No matter how well you can speak about doctrines, you will not be able to solve real difficulties. You must constantly contemplate the various truths to achieve a penetrating clarity. Only then can you use the truth to solve whatever problems you meet with. Those who truly understand the truth don’t talk about words and doctrines. They can discern all things and see them clearly, and they act with confidence in all they do. If you don’t know how to seek the truth in the situations you encounter and always act according to your own will, there is no way for you to understand the truth. To understand the truth, you must constantly ponder how to use the truth to solve problems in the performance of your duties. If you don’t contemplate in this manner, can you attain these truths? If you don’t contemplate God’s words, no matter how many sermons you hear, no matter how many doctrines you understand, you will always stay at the level of words and doctrines. If you know how to speak of these words and doctrines, this can often trick you into thinking that your faith in God has already borne fruit and your stature is very high, because you are passionate and vigorous now. But when confronted by the facts, that is, when facing trials and tribulations, you will come to see how little protection these words and doctrines afford you. They cannot protect you from a single trial, let alone ensure you can smoothly pass each test that God gives to man. Rather, you will feel that these words and doctrines have led you to ruin. At such times, you will see how little you understand of the truth and that you have not yet entered the truth reality. Often, when they confront trials and cannot see a way forward, people finally feel their helplessness without the truth and feel how useless was all their talk of doctrines. Only then do they see how much they lack and how pitiful they are. When everything is safe and untroubled, you always feel that you understand everything. You feel that your faith is not in vain and that you have gained a lot from it. You feel that, whatever happens, you don’t have anything to be worried about. In fact, you simply understand some words and doctrines, which is of no use whatsoever. In the face of disaster and calamity, you will be at a loss, not knowing how to face the situation. When praying to God, you will not know what to say or what to ask for. You cannot find the path. This shows how pitiful man is. Your heart is empty of God’s words and you lack the work of the Holy Spirit. Already, you are in darkness. Your faith in God has gained you nothing, and now you are as destitute as a beggar. Only then do you feel that your faith in God over all those years was completely devoid of the truth reality. Now you have been completely exposed. If many years of belief in God leave you in such a state, you are destined to be cast out.
February 12, 2017
a. Cold stroke, a term used in traditional Chinese medicine which refers to severe, potentially life-threatening, internal cold caused by external elements.