The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person
What’s your personal experience of being an honest person? (Being an honest person feels really difficult.) Why does it feel difficult? (I really want to be an honest person. But, when I examine myself each day, I find that I’m disingenuous and that there are lots of adulterations in my speech. Sometimes I insert emotion into my words, or I have certain motives when I speak. Sometimes I play little games, or I beat around the bush, or I say things that go against reality—deceptive things, things that are only half-true, and other kinds of falsehood, all in order to achieve a goal.) All of these behaviors arise from people’s corrupt dispositions; they belong to the part of people that is crooked and deceitful. Why do people play at being devious? It’s to accomplish their own objectives, to achieve their own goals, and so they use underhanded means. In doing this they are not open and aboveboard, and they are not honest people. It’s at these times that people reveal their insidiousness and cunning, or their evilness and contemptibility. This is where the difficulty lies in being honest: With these corrupt dispositions in one’s heart, it will indeed seem especially difficult to be an honest person. But if you are someone who loves the truth, and who is able to accept the truth, then being an honest person will not be too hard. You will feel that it is much easier. Those with personal experience know very well that the greatest barriers to being an honest person are people’s insidiousness, their deceitfulness, their maliciousness, and their despicable intents. As long as these corrupt dispositions remain, being an honest person will be too difficult. All of you are training to be honest people, so you have some experience in this. What have your experiences been like? (Every day I write down all the garbage I’ve said and the lies that I’ve told. Then, I do some introspection and self-analysis. I’ve found that there’s some sort of intent behind most of these lies, and that I’ve told them for the sake of vanity and saving face. Even though I’m aware that what I say doesn’t comport with the truth, I still can’t help but lie and pretend.) This is what’s so hard about being an honest person. Whether or not you’re aware of it is not important; the key thing is that you stubbornly continue to lie, knowing what you do is wrong, in order to achieve your aims, to maintain your own image and face, and any claim of ignorance is a lie. The key to being an honest person is to resolve your motives, your intents, and your corrupt dispositions. This is the only way to resolve the problem of telling lies at its source. To achieve one’s personal goals, that is, to personally benefit, to take advantage of a situation, to make oneself look good, or to gain the approval of others—these are people’s intents and aims when they tell lies. This sort of lying reveals a corrupt disposition, and this is the discernment you need with regard to telling lies. So, how should this corrupt disposition be resolved? That all hinges on whether or not you love the truth. If you can accept the truth and speak without advocating for yourself; if you can stop considering your own interests and instead consider the church’s work, the will of God, and the interests of God’s chosen people, then you will stop telling lies. You will be able to speak truthfully, and straightforwardly. Without this stature, you won’t be able to speak truthfully, proving that your stature is lacking and that you are unable to practice the truth. And so, being an honest person requires a process of understanding the truth, a process of growing in stature. When we look at it this way, it is impossible to be an honest person without eight to ten years of experience. This is the time that must be spent on the process of growing in one’s life, on the process of understanding and gaining the truth. Some people might ask: “Can resolving the issue of lying and becoming an honest person really be that hard?” That depends on who you are talking about. If it’s someone who loves the truth, then they will be able to give up lying when it comes to certain matters. But if it’s someone who doesn’t love the truth, then giving up lying will be all the more difficult.
Training oneself to be an honest person is mainly a matter of resolving the problem of telling lies, as well as resolving one’s corrupt disposition. Doing this involves a key practice: When you realize that you have lied to someone and tricked them, you should open up to them, lay yourself bare, and make an apology. This practice is of great benefit to the resolution of lying. For instance, if you have tricked someone or if there was some adulteration or personal intent to the words you spoke to them, you should then approach them and dissect yourself. You should tell them: “What I said to you was a lie, designed to protect my own pride. I felt uncomfortable after I said it, so I’m apologizing to you now. Please, forgive me.” That person will feel that this is quite refreshing. They’ll wonder how there could be a person who, having told a lie, will then apologize for it. Courage like that is something they really admire. What benefits does one gain from having engaged in such practice? Its purpose is not to gain the admiration of others, but to more effectively restrain and inhibit oneself from lying. So, after lying, you must practice apologizing for having done so. The more you train yourself to practice dissecting, laying yourself bare, and apologizing to people in this way, the better the results will be—and the number of lies you tell will grow smaller and smaller. Practicing dissecting and laying yourself bare in order to be an honest person and restrain yourself from lying requires courage, and apologizing to someone after lying to them requires even more courage. If you practice this for a year or two—or perhaps for three to five years—you are guaranteed to see clear results, and it will not be difficult to rid yourselves of lies. Ridding oneself of lies is the first step toward becoming an honest person, and it cannot be taken without three or five years of effort. After the problem of lying has been resolved, the second step is to resolve the problem of deception and trickery. Sometimes, trickery and deception do not require a person to lie—these things can be accomplished through action alone. A person may not outwardly lie, but they might still harbor deception and trickery in their heart. They will know this better than anyone else, because they have thought about it deeply and considered it carefully. It will be easy for them to recognize upon later reflection. Once the problem of lying has been resolved, resolving the problems of deception and trickery will be a little easier by comparison. But one must possess a God-fearing heart, for man is governed by intent when he engages in deception and trickery. Others cannot perceive this from the outside, nor can they discern it. Only God can scrutinize this, and only He knows about it. Therefore, one can only resolve the problems of deception and trickery by relying on prayer to God and accepting His scrutiny. If one does not love the truth or fear God in their heart, their deception and trickery cannot be resolved. You may pray before God and admit your mistakes, you may confess and repent, or you may analyze your corrupt disposition—stating truthfully what you were thinking at the time, what you said, what your intent was, and how you engaged in deception. This is all relatively easy to do. However, if you are asked to lay yourself bare to another person, you might lose your courage and resolution because you want to save face. It will then be very difficult for you to practice opening up and laying yourself bare. Perhaps you’re able to admit, in a general way, that you occasionally find yourself speaking or acting based on your own personal aims and intent; that there is a level of deceit, adulteration, lies or trickery in the things you do or say. But then, when something happens and you are made to dissect yourself, exposing how things played out from beginning to end, explaining which of the words you spoke were deceptive, what intent was behind them, what you were thinking, and whether or not you were being malicious or sinister, you don’t want to go into specifics or give details. Some people will even gloss over things, saying: “That’s just the way things are. I’m just quite a deceitful, insidious, and unreliable person.” This shows their inability to properly face their corrupt essence, or how deceitful and insidious they are. These people are always in a mode and a state of evasion. They are always forgiving and accommodating themselves, and are unable to suffer or pay a price to practice the truth of being an honest person. Many people have been preaching the words of doctrine for years, always saying: “I’m so deceitful and insidious, there’s often trickery in my actions, and I don’t treat people sincerely at all.” But after shouting that for so many years, they remain just as deceitful as they were before, because one never hears genuine dissection or remorse from them when they reveal this deceitful state. They never lay themselves bare to others or apologize after lying or tricking people, much less do they fellowship about their experience and testimony of self-dissection and self-knowledge in gatherings. Nor do they ever say how they came to know themselves or how they repented with regard to such matters. They do none of these things, which proves that they do not know themselves and have not truly repented. When they say they are deceitful and want to be an honest person, they simply shout slogans and preach doctrine, nothing more. It may be that they do these things because they are trying to swim with the tide and follow the herd. Or, it may be that the environment of church life compels them to go through the motions and put up a front. Either way, such shouters of slogans and preachers of doctrine will never truly repent, and they will definitely not be able to attain God’s salvation.
Every truth that God requires people to practice requires them to pay a price, to really practice and experience them in their real lives. God does not ask people to pay lip service by merely reciting doctrine, talking of self-knowledge, acknowledging that they are deceitful, that they are liars, that they are cunning, crooked and treacherous, or to say these things out loud a few times and then be done with it. If someone admits to all this but then doesn’t change in the slightest after the fact; if they continue lying, cheating, and being deceitful; if they employ the same satanic tricks, the same satanic methods when they encounter something; if their means and methods never change, then is this person capable of entering into the reality of the truth? Will they ever be able to change their disposition? No—never! You must be able to reflect and know yourself. You must have the courage to open up and lay yourself bare in the presence of the brothers and sisters, and fellowship your true state. If you do not dare to lay bare or dissect your corrupt disposition; if you do not dare to admit your mistakes, then you are not in pursuit of the truth, much less are you someone who knows themselves. If everyone is like those religious people who show off to gain others’ admiration, who bear witness to how much they love God, how much they submit to Him, how devoted they are to Him and how much He loves them, all to gain the respect and admiration of others; and if everyone harbors their own individual plans and maintains a private space within their hearts, then how can anyone talk of real experiences? How could anyone have true experiences to communicate with each other? Sharing and communicating your experiences means fellowshiping your experience and knowledge of God’s words. It is about giving voice to every thought in your heart, to your state, and to the corrupt disposition that is revealed in you. It is about letting others discern these things, and then solving the problem by fellowshiping the truth. Only when experiences are fellowshiped in this way does everyone benefit and reap the rewards. Only this is the true church life. If it’s just empty talk on your insights into God’s words or a hymn, and then you commune as you please without taking it any further, without bringing in your actual states or problems, that kind of fellowship brings no benefit. If everyone talks about doctrinal or theoretical knowledge, but says nothing about the knowledge they have gained from actual experiences; and if, when fellowshiping the truth, they avoid talking about their personal lives, their real-life problems, and their own inner worlds, then how can genuine communication occur? How can there be any real trust? There cannot be any! If a wife never voices the words in her heart to her husband, does that count as intimacy? Can they possibly know what’s on each other’s mind? (No, they can’t.) Suppose, then, that they are constantly saying, “I love you.” They say only this, but they never lay bare or tell each other what they are actually thinking deep down, what they expect from their partner, or what problems they are having. They never confide in each other, and when together, they have nothing but superficial niceties for each other. Are they then truly husband and wife? Certainly not! Likewise, if brothers and sisters are to be capable of confiding in each other, helping each other out, and providing for one another, then each person must speak of their own true experiences. If you say nothing about your own true experiences—if you only preach the words and letters of doctrine that man understands, if you only preach a bit of doctrine about belief in God and give banal platitudes, and do not open up about what’s in your heart—then you are not an honest person, and you are incapable of being an honest person. To use the same example: while living together for several years, a husband and wife try to get used to each other, occasionally locking horns. But if you are both of a normal humanity, and you always speak to him from the heart, and he to you, concerning whatever difficulties you encounter in life or at work, whatever you are thinking deep down and however you plan to sort things out, or what ideas or plans you have for your children’s future, and you tell your partner all these things, then will the two of you not feel especially intimate with each other? But if he never tells you his innermost thoughts and simply brings home a paycheck; if you never speak to him of your own thoughts and you never confide in each other, then will there not be an emotional distance between the two of you? There surely will be, for you do not understand each other’s thoughts or plans. Ultimately, you will not be able to tell what kind of person your partner is, nor will he be able to tell what kind of person you are. You will not understand his needs, nor will he understand yours. If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, then there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they cannot provide for each other or help one another. You have experienced this, have you not? If your friend confides everything to you, giving voice to all that they are thinking and whatever suffering or happiness they harbor, then will you not feel especially close to them? The reason they are willing to tell you these things is because you have confided your innermost thoughts to them as well. You are particularly close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along so well and help each other out. Without this kind of communication and exchange between the brothers and sisters in the church, they would be unable to get along harmoniously, and would find it impossible to work well together while performing their duties. That’s why fellowshiping the truth requires spiritual communication, and the ability to speak from the heart. This is one of the principles one must have in order to be an honest person.
When some people hear that, to be an honest person, one must tell the truth and speak from the heart, and if they lie or deceive they must open up and lay themselves bare, they say: “It’s hard being honest. Do I have to say everything I think to others? Isn’t it enough to fellowship the positive things? I don’t need to tell others of my dark or corrupt side, do I?” If you do not lay yourself bare to others, and do not dissect yourself, then you will never know yourself. You will never recognize what kind of thing you are, and other people will never be able to trust you. This is a fact. If you wish for others to trust you, first you must be honest. To be an honest person, you must first lay your heart bare so that everyone can look into it, see all that you are thinking, and look upon your true face. You must not try to disguise yourself, or cover yourself up. Only then will others trust you and consider you to be an honest person. This is the most fundamental practice, and a prerequisite to being an honest person. If you are always pretending, always feigning holiness, nobility, greatness, and high character; if you do not let people see your corruption and your flaws; if you present a false image to people so that they believe you have integrity, that you’re great, self-denying, just, and selfless—is this not deceitfulness and falsity? Will people not be able to see through you, given time? So, do not put on a disguise or cover yourself up. Instead, lay yourself and your heart bare for others to see. If you can lay your heart bare for others to see, if you can lay bare all your thoughts and plans—both positive and negative—isn’t that honesty? If you can lay yourself bare for others to see, then God, too, will see you. He will say: “If you have laid yourself bare for others to see, then you are surely honest before Me.” But if you only lay yourself bare to God when out of view of other people, and always pretend to be great and noble or selfless when in their company, then what will God think of you? What will He say? He will say: “You are a thoroughly deceitful person. You are thoroughly hypocritical and vile, and you are not an honest person.” God will thus condemn you. If you wish to be an honest person, then regardless of whether you are before God or other people, you should be able to provide a pure and open account of your inner state and the words in your heart. Is this easy to achieve? It requires a period of training, as well as frequent prayer and reliance on God. You must train yourself to speak the words in your heart simply and openly on all matters. With this kind of training, you can make progress. If you encounter a major difficulty, you must pray to God and seek the truth; you need to fight in your heart and overcome the flesh, until you can practice the truth. In training yourself this way, little by little, your heart will gradually open up. You will become more and more pure, and the effects of your words and actions will be different than before. Your lies and tricks will become fewer and fewer, and you will be able to live before God. You will then, essentially, have become an honest person.
Having been corrupted by Satan, all mankind lives in a satanic disposition. Like Satan, people disguise and package themselves in every aspect, and they resort to deceit and game-playing in all matters. There is nothing in which they do not resort to deceit and game-playing. Some people even play deceitful games in activities so common as shopping. For instance, they may have bought a most fashionable outfit, but—though they really love it—they do not dare wear it in church, for fear that their brothers and sisters will talk about them and call them shallow. So, they just wear it behind the others’ backs. What sort of behavior is this? It is the revelation of a deceitful and cunning disposition. Why would someone buy a fashionable outfit, but not dare to wear it in front of their brothers and sisters? In their heart, they like fashionable things, and they follow the trends of the world as unbelievers do. They are afraid of the brothers and sisters seeing through them, seeing how shallow they are, seeing that they are not a respectable and upstanding person. In their heart, they pursue fashionable things and have trouble letting go of them, so they can only wear them at home and are afraid to let their brothers and sisters see them. If the things they like cannot see the light of day, then why can they not give them up? Is there not a satanic disposition controlling them? They constantly speak the words of doctrine, and they seem to understand the truth, yet they are unable to put the truth into practice. This is a person who lives by a satanic disposition. If someone is always fraudulent in speech and in action, if they do not let others see them for what they are, and if they always affect the image of a pious person in front of others, then what is the difference between them and a Pharisee? They want to lead the life of a whore, but also have a monument built to their chastity. They knew full well that they couldn’t wear their exotic outfit in public, so why did they buy it? Was it not a waste of money? It’s just because they like that sort of thing and had their heart set on that outfit, so they felt that they had to buy it. But once they have bought it, they cannot wear it out. After a few years have passed, they regret buying it, and have a sudden realization: “How could I have been so foolish, so disgusting as to do that?” Even they are disgusted by what they did. But they cannot control their actions, because they’re unable to let go of the things they like and pursue. So they adopt two-faced tactics and trickery to satisfy themselves. If they reveal a deceitful disposition in such a trifling matter, will they be able to practice the truth when it comes to something bigger? It would be impossible. Evidently, it is their nature to be deceitful, and deceit is their Achilles’ heel. There was a six- or seven-year-old child, who ate something nice once with his family. When the other children asked what it was, the child blinked his eyes and said, “I forgot,” when in fact he just did not want to tell them. Could he have really forgotten what he just ate? This six- or-seven-year-old child was capable of telling lies. Was that something adults taught him to do? Was it an effect of his home environment? No—this is man’s nature, his heritage; man is born with a deceitful disposition. In fact, whatever nice thing the child ate, this was a normal thing to do. His parents made it for him; he did not steal someone else’s food. If this child could tell a lie in such circumstances, when it was not necessary to do so at all, then would he not be even more likely to lie in other matters? What problem does this illustrate? Is this not a problem with his nature? That child is all grown up now, and lying has become their nature. He is indeed a deceitful person; one could see that in him from quite a young age. Deceitful people cannot help but lie and trick others, and their lies and trickery can show themselves at any time and place. They do not need to learn how to do these things, or be instigated to do them—they are born with the ability to do so. If that child could make up lies to trick people at such a young age, could his lying really be a one-off transgression? Certainly not. This shows that he is, by nature and essence, a deceitful person. Is such a simple thing not easy to discern? If someone has been telling lies since childhood, lies often, even lies and tricks people with regard to simple matters that do not require them to do so, and if lying has become their nature, then it will not be easy for them to change. They are an authentically deceitful person. Why say that deceitful people cannot be saved? Because they are unlikely to accept the truth, so they cannot possibly be purified and transformed. Those who can receive God’s salvation are different. They are relatively guileless from the get-go, and if they tell a little lie they’ll likely blush and feel unsettled. It’s easier for someone like that to become an honest person: If you asked them to lie or cheat, they would find it difficult. When they do lie they can’t get all the words out, and everyone can tell right away. These are relatively simple people, and they are more likely to achieve salvation if they can accept the truth. This kind of person only lies under special circumstances, when their back is up against a wall. In general, they are always able to tell the truth. As long as they pursue the truth, they’ll be able to cast off this aspect of corruption with a few years of efforts, and then it won’t be hard for them to become an honest person.
What is God’s standard for the honest people that He requires? How are God’s requirements given in Three Admonitions, this chapter of God’s words? (“Honesty means giving your heart to God, being genuine with God in all things, being open with Him in all things, never hiding the facts, not trying to deceive those above and below you, and not doing things only to curry favor with God. In short, to be honest is to be pure in your actions and words, and to deceive neither God nor man. … If your words are riddled with excuses and valueless justifications, then I say that you are someone who is loath to put the truth into practice. If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, if you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily, and who will not easily emerge from the darkness” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God).) There is one particularly important sentence in here. Do you see what it is? (God says: “If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, if you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily, and who will not easily emerge from the darkness.”) Right, that’s it. God says: “If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share.” People have done many things that they don’t dare speak of, and have too many dark sides. None of their day-to-day actions are in accordance with the word of God, and they do not rebel against the flesh. They do whatever they want, and even after believing in God for so many years, they have not entered into the reality of the truth. “If you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily, and who will not easily emerge from the darkness.” Here, God has pointed humans toward a path of practice. If you do not practice in this way, and merely shout slogans and doctrines, then you are someone who will not receive salvation easily. This is indeed linked to salvation. Being saved is very important to each and every person. Has God mentioned “not attaining salvation easily” anywhere else? Elsewhere, He seldom refers to how difficult it is to be saved, but He does speak of it when talking about being honest. If you are not an honest person, then you are someone who is very difficult to save. “Not attaining salvation easily” means that if you do not accept the truth, it will be difficult for you to be saved. You will be incapable of taking the right track to salvation, and so it will be impossible for you to be saved. God uses this phrasing in order to give people some leeway. Which is to say: you are not easy to save, but if you put God’s words into practice, then you have a hope of attaining salvation. That’s its obverse meaning. If you do not practice according to God’s words, and never dissect your secrets and your challenges, and never open yourself in fellowship to others, neither fellowshiping nor analyzing nor bringing to light your corruption and fatal flaws with them, then you cannot be saved. And why is that? If you do not lay yourself bare or dissect yourself in this way, you will not hate your own corrupt disposition, and so your corrupt disposition will never change. And if you are unable to change, how can you even think about being saved? God’s words clearly show this, and these words demonstrate God’s will. Why does God always stress that people should be honest? Because being honest is very important—it has a direct bearing on whether or not a person can submit to God and whether or not they can attain salvation. Some people say: “I’m arrogant and self-righteous, and I often get angry and reveal corruption.” Others say: “I’m very shallow, and vain, and I love it when people flatter me.” These are all things that are visible to people from the outside, and they are not big problems. You should not keep going on about them. No matter what your disposition or character is, as long as you are able to be an honest person as God requires, you can be saved. So, what do you say? Is it important to be honest? This is the most important thing, which is why God talks about being honest in the chapter of His words, Three Admonitions. In other chapters, He mentions frequently that believers should have a normal spiritual life and a proper church life, and He describes how they should live out a normal humanity. His words on these matters are general; they are not discussed too specifically or in too much detail. However, when God speaks about being honest, He points out the path for people to follow. He tells people how to practice, and He speaks with ample detail and clarity. God says: “If you have many confidences that you are reluctant to share, if you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily.” Being honest relates to attaining salvation. So, what do you say, why does God demand that people be honest? This touches on the truth of human comportment. God saves honest people, and those He wants for His kingdom are honest people. If you are capable of lies and trickery, you are a deceitful, crooked, and insidious person; you are not an honest person. If you are not an honest person, then there is no chance that God will save you, nor can you possibly be saved. You say that you are very pious now, that you are not arrogant or self-righteous, that you are able to pay a price when performing your duty, or that you can spread the gospel and convert many people. But you are not honest, you are still deceitful, and you have not changed at all, so can you be saved? Absolutely not. And so these words of God remind everyone that, to be saved, they must first be honest in accordance with the words and requirements of God. They must open themselves up, lay bare their corrupt dispositions, their intents and secrets, and seek the way of the light. What does it mean to “seek the way of the light”? It means seeking the truth in order to resolve your corrupt disposition. When you lay bare your corruption, the goals and intents that lie behind your actions, you also dissect yourself, after which you seek: “Why did I do that thing? Is there a basis for God’s words in this? Is this in line with the truth? By doing this, am I knowingly doing something wrong? Am I deceiving God? If I am deceiving God, then I shouldn’t do this; I should look at what God requires, and at what God says, and find out what the principles of the truth are.” This is what it means to seek the truth; this is what it means to walk in the light. When people are able to practice this regularly, they are able to truly change, and thus they are able to attain salvation.
That God asks for people to be honest proves that He truly loathes and dislikes deceitful people. God’s dislike of deceitful people is a dislike of their way of doing things, their dispositions, their intents and their methods of trickery; God dislikes all of these things. If deceitful people are able to accept the truth, admit to their deceitful dispositions, and are willing to accept God’s salvation, then they too have a hope of being saved—for God treats all people equally, as does the truth. And so, if we wish to become people who please God, the first thing we must do is change our principles of comportment. No longer can we live according to satanic philosophies, no longer can we get by on lies and trickery. We must cast off all our lies and become honest people. Then God’s view of us will change. Previously, people always relied on lies, pretense, and trickery while living among others, and used satanic philosophies as the basis of their existence, their lives, and the foundation for their comportment. This was something that God despised. Among unbelievers, if you speak frankly, tell the truth, and are an honest person, then you will be slandered, judged, and forsaken. So you follow worldly trends and live by satanic philosophies; you become more and more skilled at lying, and more and more deceitful. You also learn to use insidious means to achieve your goals and protect yourself. You become more and more prosperous in Satan’s world, and as a result, you fall deeper and deeper into sin until you cannot extricate yourself. In God’s house, things are precisely the opposite. The more you lie and play deceitful games, the more God’s chosen people will become sick of you and forsake you. If you refuse to repent and still cling to satanic philosophies and logic, if you use ploys and elaborate schemes to disguise and package yourself, then you are very likely to be revealed and cast out. This is because God hates deceitful people. Only honest people can prosper in God’s house, and deceitful people will eventually be forsaken and cast out. All of this is preordained by God. Only honest people can have a share in the kingdom of heaven. If you do not try to be an honest person, and if you don’t experience and practice in the direction of pursuing the truth, if you don’t expose your own ugliness, and if you don’t lay yourself bare, then you will never be able to receive the Holy Spirit’s work and gain God’s approval. No matter what you do or what duty you perform, you must have an honest attitude. Without an honest attitude, you cannot perform your duty well. If you always perform your duty in a careless and perfunctory way, and you fail to do something well, then you should reflect on yourself, understand yourself, and open up to analyze yourself. Then you should seek the principles of truth and strive to do better next time, instead of being careless and perfunctory. If you do not try and satisfy God with a heart that is honest, and always look to satisfy your own flesh, or your own pride, then will you be able to do a good job? Will you be able to perform your duty well? Certainly not. Those who are deceitful are always perfunctory when they perform their duty; whatever duty they are in, they do not do it well, and such people find it hard to attain salvation. Tell Me—when deceitful people put the truth into practice, do they engage in deceit? Putting the truth into practice requires them to pay a price, to relinquish their own interests, to open up and lay themselves bare to others. But they hold something back; when they speak, they only give half away, and hold on to the rest. Others always have to guess what they mean, and always have to connect the dots to work out their meaning. They always give themselves room to maneuver, they give themselves some wiggle room. When others notice that they are deceitful, they don’t want to have anything to do with them, and are put on their guard against them in anything they do. They lie and cheat and others can’t trust them, not knowing what is true and what is false in the things they say, or how adulterated those things are. They often go back on their word with others and people place no value on them in their hearts. Then what about in God’s heart? How does God see them? God detests them even more, because God looks into the depths of people’s hearts and minds. Humans can only see what’s on the surface, but God sees more accurately, more incisively, and more realistically.
No matter how long you’ve been a believer, what your duty is or what work you do, whether your caliber is high or low or your character is good or bad, as long as you can accept the truth and seek to become an honest person, you will certainly reap the rewards. Some people who do not seek to become an honest person think that doing their duty well is good enough. To them, I say, “You will never be able to do your duty well.” Others think that being an honest person is no big deal, that seeking to serve God’s will is the bigger task, and that this is the only way to satisfy God. Then go ahead and give it a try—see if you can serve God’s will without becoming an honest person. Others do not seek to become honest people, but are content to pray every day, go to gatherings on time, eat and drink God’s words, and just not live the way unbelievers do. As long as they don’t break the law or do anything evil, that’s good enough. But can God be satisfied this way? How can you satisfy God if you’re not an honest person? If you’re not an honest person, then you’re not the right sort of person. If you’re not honest, then you are crooked and crafty. You do things in a careless and perfunctory way, display all sorts of corruption, and are unable to put the truth into practice even when you want to. Anything outside of being an honest person means that nothing is done well—you will have no way to achieve submission to God or to satisfy Him. How can you satisfy God in anything you do without an attitude of honesty? How can you satisfy God if you perform your duty without an honest attitude? Could you do it properly? You always think of your own flesh and your own prospects, you always want to lessen the suffering of your flesh, to expend yourself less, to sacrifice less, to pay less of a price. You are always holding something back. This is a deceitful attitude. Some people are calculating even when it comes to expending themselves for God. They say: “I have to live comfortably in the future. What if God’s work never comes to an end? I can’t offer up one hundred percent of myself to Him; I don’t even know when the day of God will come. I need to be calculating, to make arrangements for my family life and my future before I expend myself for God.” Are there many people who think this way? What disposition is it when one is calculating and makes contingency plans for themselves? Are these people loyal to God? Are they honest people? Being calculating and making contingency plans is not of one heart with God. It is a deceitful disposition, and the people who do this are acting in deceit. The attitude with which they treat God is certainly not an honest one. Some people are afraid that, while interacting or associating with them, their brothers and sisters will see through to their problems and say they are of small stature, or look down on them. So when they speak, they always try to give the impression that they are very zealous, that they long for God, and that they are keen to practice the truth. But inside, they are actually terribly weak and negative. They pretend to be strong so that no one can see through them. This is also deceit. In short, in anything you do, whether in life or in the performance of a duty, if you engage in falsehood and pretense or use false appearances to beguile or deceive others and make them esteem and worship you, or not look down on you, this is all deceit. Some women adore their husbands, when in fact, their husbands are demons and nonbelievers. Afraid that her brothers and sisters will say her affections are too strong, such a woman will be the first to say: “My husband is a demon.” But, in her heart, she says: “My husband is a good man.” The former is what she says with her mouth—but that is just for the others to hear, so they think she has discernment toward her husband. What she really means is: “Don’t bring this matter to light. I’ll express this view first so there’s no need for you to mention it. I’ve already exposed my husband as a demon, so that means I’ve let go of my affections and you won’t have anything to say about it.” Isn’t that being cunning? Isn’t that a facade? If you do this then you are deceiving people and misleading them by putting up a front. You are playing games, playing tricks at every turn, so that what others see is your false image, not your true face. This is sinister; this is man’s deceitfulness. Since you’ve acknowledged that your husband is a demon, then why not divorce him? Why not reject that demon, that Satan? You say that your husband is a demon, but continue spending your life with him—this shows that you like demons. You say with your mouth that he is a demon, but you don’t admit that in your heart. This means that you are deceiving others, hoodwinking them. It also shows that you are in cahoots with demons, that you are shielding them. If you were someone who could practice the truth, you would divorce your husband as soon as you acknowledged that he was a demon. Then you could bear witness, and it would show you were drawing a clear line between you and the devil. But unfortunately, not only have you failed to draw that line, you are living out your days with a demon, and misleading the brothers and sisters with lies and deceit. This proves that you are of the same ilk as the devil, that you are another lying demon. They say a woman follows her husband in whatever he does. Since you married a demon and never turned your back on him, that proves that you are also a demon. You are of the devil, but you say that your husband is a demon to prove that you are of God—isn’t this a tactic of lying and deception? You are well aware of the truth, but still use such means to pull the wool over others’ eyes. This is insidious; this is deceitful. All those who are insidious and deceitful are demons through-and-through.
Everyone has a corrupt disposition. If you do some introspection, you’ll clearly see some states or practices in which you give others a false impression or act deceitfully; all of you have times when you put on an act or are hypocritical. Some people say: “Then why haven’t I noticed? I’m a guileless person. I’ve been bullied and swindled to no end in this world, and I’ve never once been deceitful. I just say whatever’s on my heart.” That still doesn’t prove that you’re an honest person. It’s possible you’re just unintelligent, or not very educated, or maybe you’re easily pushed around in groups, or maybe you’re an inept coward lacking wisdom in your actions, possessing few skills, and on a lower rung in society—it still doesn’t mean that you’re an honest person. An honest person is one who can accept the truth—not a pitiable wretch, a good-for-nothing, an idiot, or a guileless person. You should be able to discern these things, right? I often hear some people say: “I never tell lies—I’m always the one being lied to. I’m always getting pushed around by people out there. God said He lifts the needy up from the dunghill, and I am one of those people. This is God’s grace. God takes pity on people like us, guileless people who are not welcome in society. This truly is God’s compassion!” God saying He lifts the needy from the dunghill does have a practical side to it. Although you can recognize that, it doesn’t prove that you’re an honest person. In fact, some people are just morons, idiots; they’re fools with absolutely no skills, low in caliber, and with no understanding of the truth. That kind of person has absolutely no connection to the honest people that God speaks of. It is the case that God lifts the needy up from the dunghill, but idiots and fools aren’t the ones being lifted. Your caliber is innately very low, and you are an idiot, a good-for-nothing, and even though you were born into a poor family and are a member of society’s lower class, you are still not a target for God’s salvation. Just because you’ve suffered a lot and endured discrimination in society, just because you’ve been pushed around and cheated by everyone, don’t think that makes you an honest person. If you think that, then you are sorely mistaken. Have you been holding on to any misunderstandings or misconceptions of what an honest person is? Have you gained some clarity with this fellowship? Being an honest person isn’t like people think it is; it isn’t being a straight talker who refrains from equivocation. A person might naturally be very straightforward, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t engage in trickery or deceit. All corrupt humans have corrupt dispositions that are cunning and deceitful. When people live in this world, under Satan’s influence, governed and controlled by its force, it is impossible for them to be honest. They can only become ever more deceitful. Living amid a corrupt humankind, being an honest person certainly involves many difficulties. We are likely to be mocked, vilified, judged, even excluded and driven out by unbelievers, devil kings, and living demons. So, is it possible to survive as an honest person in this world? Is there any room for us to survive in this world? Yes, there is. There is certainly room for us to survive. God has preordained and chosen us, and He surely opens up a way out for us. We believe in God and follow Him entirely under His guidance, and we live entirely by the breath and life He bestows. Because we have accepted the truth of God’s words, we have new rules for how to live, and new goals for our lives. The foundations of our lives have been changed. We have adopted a new way of living, a new way of comporting ourselves, entirely for the sake of gaining the truth and being saved. We have adopted a new mode of living: We live in order to perform our duties well and satisfy God. This has absolutely nothing to do with what we physically eat, what we wear, or where we live; it is our spiritual need. Many people feel that being an honest person is too difficult. One part of this is that getting rid of a corrupt disposition is really hard. On top of that, if you’re living among unbelievers—and especially if you’re working with them—then being an honest person and telling the truth can get you laughed at, slandered, judged, even ostracized or driven out. That creates challenges for our survival. Many people say: “Being an honest person isn’t viable. I’ll be at a disadvantage if I speak frankly, and I won’t get anything done without telling lies.” What sort of perspective is this? That’s the perspective and the rationale of a deceitful person. They say false, deceitful things entirely to protect their own status and interests. They’re not willing to be honest people and tell the truth for fear of losing those things. All of corrupt humanity is like that. No matter how learned they are, how high or low their status, whether they’re an official or common citizen, whether they’re a celebrity or an average person, they all constantly lie and cheat, and no one is trustworthy. If these corrupt dispositions aren’t resolved, they’ll continue to lie and cheat all the time, and be full of a deceitful disposition. Can they achieve true submission to God like this? Can they gain God’s approval? Absolutely not.
Do you feel like being an honest person is hard to do? Have you ever tried to put it into practice? In what respects have you practiced and experienced being an honest person? What principles were your practices based on? What level of experience do you have of this at the moment? Have you reached the point where you are basically an honest person? If you have achieved this, that’s wonderful! We should be able to see from God’s words that, in order to save and transform us, He does not merely do some preparatory work or work to show what the future may hold, after which He is done. Nor does He alter people’s external behavior. Rather, He wants to change every single person, starting from the innermost depths of their hearts, from their dispositions and from their very essences, and transform them at the source. Given that this is how God works, how should we then act toward ourselves? We should take responsibility for what we seek, for our dispositional change, and for the duties that we should do. We should be serious in everything we do, without letting things slide, and be able to hold everything up for dissection. Every time you finish doing something, even if you believe it was done correctly, it may not necessarily be in line with the truth. It must also be analyzed, and must be compared, verified, and discerned according to God’s words. This way, whether it was correct or mistaken will become clear. Moreover, the things you think you did wrong must also be analyzed. This requires the brothers and sisters to spend more time together fellowshiping, seeking, and helping each other out. The more you fellowship, the brighter your heart will be, and the more you will understand the principles of truth. This is God’s blessing. If none of you open your heart, and you all cover up yourselves, hoping to leave a good impression in the minds of others and wanting them to think highly of you and not scoff at you, then you will not experience true growth. If you always disguise yourself and never open up in fellowship, you won’t receive the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and you won’t be able to understand the truth. What will be the result then? You will live in darkness forever, and you will not be saved. If you want to gain the truth and change your disposition, you must pay a price to gain the truth and practice the truth, and you must open your heart and fellowship with others. This is beneficial to both your life entry and your dispositional change. Discussing your experience and understanding in gatherings benefits you and others. How will it turn out if none of you talk about your self-knowledge, or your experiences and understanding; if none of you dissect yourselves or open up; if you all excel at speaking letters and doctrines, with none of you sharing your understanding of yourselves, and with none of you having the courage to bring to light what little self-knowledge you possess? You’ll all get together and exchange some polite words and pleasantries, you’ll flatter and boast to each other, and say disingenuous things. “Oh, you’ve been pretty good lately. You’ve made some changes!” “You’ve shown such great faith recently!” “You’re so passionate!” “You’ve expended so much more than I have.” “Your contributions are greater than mine!” This is the kind of situation that develops. Everyone flatters and boasts to each other, and nobody is willing to bring out their true self for dissection, for everyone to discern and understand. Can there be a true church life in this kind of environment? No, there cannot be. Some people say: “I’ve lived church life for quite a few years. I’ve always been content and I’ve enjoyed it. In gatherings, the brothers and sisters all like praying and singing hymns to praise God. Everyone is moved to tears by the prayers and hymns. Sometimes things get emotionally charged and we’re all hot and sweaty. The brothers and sisters sing and dance; it’s such a rich, colorful church life, and it’s so enjoyable. It really embodies the work of the Holy Spirit! After that, we eat and drink God’s words, and we feel that God’s words speak straight to our hearts. Everybody’s really enthusiastic every time we fellowship.” A few years of this kind of church life is really enjoyable for everyone, but what comes of it? Hardly anyone actually enters into the reality of the truth, and hardly anyone can describe their experiences to bear witness to God. They have lots of energy for reading God’s words, singing and dancing, but when it comes time to fellowship the truth, some people become disinterested. No one talks about their experience of becoming an honest person; no one dissects themselves, and no one lays bare their own corrupt disposition for others to know and to discern, for their benefit and edification. No one fellowships on their actual experience and testimony to glorify God. Several years of church life are frittered away just like that, singing and dancing, feeling happy, full of enjoyment. You tell Me: Where does this happiness and enjoyment come from? I’d say that it’s not what God wants to see or what satisfies Him, because what He wants to see is a change in people’s life dispositions, and people living out the reality of the truth. God wants to see this reality. He doesn’t want you to clutch your hymnals, singing and dancing in praise of Him when you’re in gatherings or feeling passionate—that’s not what He wants to see. On the contrary, God is sad, pained, and anxious when He sees this, because He has spoken thousands upon thousands of words, but not one single person has truly carried and lived them out. This is just what worries God. You often feel quite complacent and self-satisfied with a little peace and happiness from your church life. You praise God and gain some enjoyment, a wisp of comfort or some spiritual fulfillment, and then believe that you’ve practiced your faith well. You cling to these illusions, treating them as capital, as the biggest takeaway from your faith in God, and accept them in place of a change in your life disposition and an entry onto the path of salvation. That way, you think that there’s no need to pursue the truth or pursue being an honest person. There’s no need to reflect on yourself or dissect your problems, or practice and experience God’s words. This is now getting into dangerous territory. If people continue this way; if, when God’s work draws to a close, they still haven’t become honest people or managed to do their duty well enough; if they haven’t achieved true submission to God and can still be misled and controlled by antichrists; if they haven’t escaped Satan’s influence; if they haven’t met these requirements given to them by God, then they are not people whom God will save. That is why God is concerned.
People are always really enthusiastic when they’re new to faith. When they hear God fellowship the truth, especially, they think: “Now I understand the truth. I’ve found the true way. I’m really happy!” Every day feels as joyful as celebrating the New Year or a wedding; every day they are looking forward to someone hosting a gathering or fellowshiping. But after a few years, some people lose their fervor for church life and lose their fervor for believing in God, too. Why is that? It’s because they only have a superficial, theoretical understanding of God’s words and the truth. They haven’t truly entered into God’s words, or personally experienced their reality. Just as God says, many people look at the sumptuous food at the banquet, but most of them are just coming to take a look. They do not pick up the delicious food provided by God and eat it, tasting it and using it to replenish their bodies. This is what God detests, and what worries Him. Isn’t this the kind of state you’re currently in? (Yes.) I fellowship with all of you frequently to help you out. What most concerns Me is that, after listening to these sermons and having your spiritual needs met, you’ll do nothing to put them into practice and will think nothing more of them. In which case, all I’ve said would have been in vain. No matter what sort of caliber someone has, you’ll be able to tell whether or not they are someone who loves the truth after two or three years of faith. If they are someone who loves the truth, then sooner or later they will pursue it; if they are not someone who loves the truth, they won’t hold up for long, and will be exposed and cast out. Are you actually lovers of the truth? Are you willing to become honest people? Will you be able to change in the future? How much of this will you personally carry out after this fellowship? How much of this will produce results in you, really? All of that is unknown; it will be revealed in the end. It has nothing to do with how fervent someone is or how much suffering they can take when they are new to the faith. The key is whether or not they love the truth, and whether or not they can accept the truth. Only those who love the truth will mull it over after hearing a sermon. Only they will ponder how to put God’s words into practice, how to experience them, how to apply them in their daily lives, and how to live out the reality of the truth in God’s words to become someone who truly submits to God. That is why those who love the truth will ultimately gain the truth. Those who don’t love the truth might accept the true way; they might gather and listen to sermons every day and learn some doctrine, but the moment they encounter hardship or trials, they become negative and weak, and may even renounce their faith. As believers, whether or not you can enter into the reality of the truth depends on your attitude toward the truth and what the goal of your pursuit is: whether or not it really is to gain the truth as your life. Some people equip themselves with the truth in order to help others, to serve God, or to lead the church well. That’s not bad, and it means that those people shoulder something of a burden. But if they don’t focus on their own life entry or on practicing the truth, and if they don’t seek the truth to resolve problems, then can they enter into the reality of the truth? That would be impossible. How can they help others if they don’t possess the reality of the truth? How can they serve God? Can they do church work well? That, too, would be impossible. It doesn’t matter how many sermons you have listened to or what path you have chosen. I will share the correct perspective with you: No matter what duty you do, whether you are a leader or a regular follower, you must primarily put your effort into God’s words. You must read them and think them over earnestly. You must first gain an understanding of all the truths that you need to know and practice; hold yourself up to them and carry them out for yourself. You have not gained a truth until you have first understood it and entered into its reality. If you always explain the doctrine that you understand to others, but you are unable to put them into practice or experience them, then this is a mistake—this is foolishness and ignorance. You should practice and experience God’s words as the truth, gradually coming to understand a great deal of truths. Then you will start to get better and better results in your duty, and have many experiences and testimonies to share. This way, God’s words will become your life. You will be sure to do your duty well, and you will also be able to complete the commission God has given to you. If you always want to hold others up to these words, apply them to others, or use them as capital in your work, then you’ll be in trouble. In doing this, you are taking exactly the same path as Paul. Since this is your perspective, you are surely treating these words as doctrine, as theory, and you want to use these theories to deliver speeches and get work done. This is very dangerous—this is what false leaders and antichrists do. If you view your own state according to God’s words, first reflecting on and gaining an understanding of yourself, and then putting the truth into practice, you will reap the rewards and enter into the reality of the truth. Only then will you be qualified and have the stature to do your duty well. If you don’t have practical experience of God’s work and His words; if you haven’t entered into life at all and can only recite letters and doctrine, then even if you do the work, you will be doing it blindly, achieving nothing concrete. Ultimately you will become a false leader and an antichrist, and you will be cast out. If you understand an aspect of the truth, you should first hold yourself up against it for comparison and implement it in your life, so that it becomes your reality. Then you will certainly gain something and be changed. If you feel that God’s words are good, that they are the truth and have reality, but you do not contemplate or try to understand the truth in your heart, nor practice and experience it in your practical life, instead just writing it down in a notebook and stopping there, then you will never understand or gain the truth. When you read God’s words or hear sermons and fellowship, you must ponder and hold yourself up against them, linking them with your own states, and using them to resolve your own problems. Only by implementing the words in this way can you genuinely gain something from them. Is this what you practice after you have heard a sermon? If it is not, then God is not in your lives, nor are His words, and you have no reality in your belief in Him. You are living outside of God’s words, like unbelievers. Anyone who believes in God, but cannot apply His words in real life in order to practice and experience them does not really believe in God—they are a nonbeliever. Those who cannot practice the truth are not people who obey God, they are people who rebel against Him and resist Him. Without bringing God’s words into one’s real life, they have no way to experience God’s work. And if one does not experience God’s work or the judgment and chastisement of His words in their real life, they have no way to gain the truth. Do you understand this? If you can comprehend these words, then that would be best—but no matter how you comprehend them, no matter how much you understand, the most crucial thing is that you should bring God’s words and the truths that you do understand into your real life, and practice them there. This is the only way for you to grow in stature and for your disposition to change.
When God expresses truths or puts forward His requirements of people, He will always point out principles and paths of practice for them. Take being an honest person, for example, like we were just talking about: God has given people a path, telling them how to be honest people and how to practice the principles of being honest people, in order for them to get on the right track. God said, “If you are highly averse to laying bare your secrets—your difficulties—before others to seek the way of the light, then I say that you are someone who will not attain salvation easily, and who will not easily emerge from the darkness.” The implication here is that He requires us to take what we think to be secret or private and reveal it, to present it for dissection. This is what you haven’t thought of: You didn’t understand or know that God said this to have you practice this way. Sometimes you act with cunning, deceptive intent, and so your actions and intents should be changed. Perhaps no one perceives the cunning or deceptive nature in your words—but don’t pat yourself on the back. You should come before God and examine yourself—you can fool people, but you can’t fool God. You need to pray, lay bare and dissect your intents and methods, reflect on whether these intents of yours would be pleasing to God, or whether they would be disgusting to Him, whether you can lay them bare, whether they are hard to talk about, and whether they accord with the truth. With this kind of dissection and analysis you will discover that, in fact, this matter is not in line with the truth; this kind of behavior is hard to bring out into the light, and it disgusts God. Then, you change this behavior. How does this fellowship of Mine make you feel? Some of you probably feel worried. You think: “Believing in God is really complicated. It’s been hard enough to get this far—now I have to start all over?” The reality is, now God has come, and He has begun leading mankind to enter into the reality of the truth. This is the beginning as a believer, and as a person. If you would make a good start, you must build a solid foundation in your faith, first learning the truths of visions and the significance of following God, and then focusing on practicing the truth and doing your duty well. This way, you can enter into the reality of the truth. If you only focus on speaking letters and doctrine and establish a foundation based on those things, that becomes a problem. It’s like building the foundation of a house on sand: No matter how tall you build it, it will always be in danger of collapsing, and it will not last. However, there is one commendable thing about all of you at this point, which is that you can understand what I fellowship with you about and are willing to listen to it. This is good. Pursuing the truth and entering into reality is what matters most, and the rest is secondary. As long as you know this, it won’t be hard to get onto the right track in your faith. To walk the path of pursuing the truth, you must first know yourself—you must be clear about what corrupt dispositions you possess and what your shortcomings are. Then you will understand the importance of equipping yourself with the truth, and you will be able to quickly seek the truth to resolve problems. Time waits for no man! Once you have addressed your problems with life entry and you possess the reality of the truth, you will have a greater sense of inner peace. No matter how great the disasters are, you will not feel afraid. If you fritter away these last few years without pursuing the truth, and when things come up, you still tend to go into a daze, and you remain in a passive state of waiting, nor can you use the truth to resolve your problems, but still live by worldly philosophies and corrupt dispositions, then how piteous that would be! If, when the day comes on which the disasters are great, you don’t possess a sliver of the reality of the truth, you will regret not having pursued the truth or done your duty well, not having gained any of the truth at all. You will be living in a constant state of anxiety. Right now, the Holy Spirit’s work waits for no man. In their first few years of faith, He gives people some grace, some mercy; He gives them help and sustenance. If people never change and never enter into reality, but are content with the doctrines they know, then they are in danger. They have already missed out on the Holy Spirit’s work, and have missed out on the last chance at God’s salvation and perfection of mankind. They can only fall into disasters, weeping and gnashing their teeth.
When you first start building a foundation in your faith, you should firmly set foot on the path of pursuing the truth. You should be on the starting line for entering into the reality of the truth, not the starting line of reciting letters and doctrine. You should be focused on entering into the reality of the truth, seeking and practicing the truth in all things, being able to put the truth into practice in all things and use it as a comparison for everything. You should ponder how to practice the truth, what the principles of practice are, and what sort of practice of the truth will meet God’s requirements and satisfy God. However, people are too lacking in stature. They are always asking about things that are unrelated to practicing the truth, that are unrelated to self-knowledge or being an honest person. Isn’t that pathetic? Doesn’t that show small stature? Some people accepted this step of God’s work as soon as He began it, and have been believers right up to the present day. But they still don’t understand what the reality of the truth is, or what practicing the truth is. Some say, “I’ve given up my family and career for my faith and been through quite a bit. How could You say I don’t have any reality of the truth? I’ve left my family behind—is that not reality? I’ve given up my marriage—is that not reality? Isn’t all of that an expression of putting the truth into practice?” On the outside, you have given up the secular world, and given up your family to believe in God. But does that mean you have entered into the reality of the truth? Does it mean you are an honest person, one who submits to God? Does it mean that your disposition has changed, or that you are someone who possesses the truth, or humanity? It certainly does not. These outward actions of yours may seem nice to other people—but they don’t mean that you are practicing the truth or submitting to God, and they certainly don’t mean that you are entering into the reality of the truth. People’s sacrifices and expenditures are too adulterated, and people are all controlled by the intent to receive blessings, and they have not been purified through trials and refinement. That’s why so many are still perfunctory in their duties and don’t get any actual results; they even disrupt, disturb, undermine, and cause all sorts of trouble to the church’s work. They give no thought to repentance and keep spreading negativity, telling lies, and twisting the facts to argue their own case, even as the church clears them out. Some people believe for a decade or two, but still run amok and do all sorts of evil. They are then cleared out or expelled by the church. The fact that they can do so many terrible things is adequate proof that they have terrible character, that they are too crooked and cunning, and they are not at all guileless, obedient, or submissive. This is because they have never cared much for practicing the truth and being an honest person. They see faith in God as a matter of: “As long as I give up my family, expend myself for God, suffer, and pay a price, God should commemorate my deeds, and I should receive His salvation.” This is just whimsy and wishful thinking. If you want to receive salvation and truly come before God, first you must come to God in seeking: “Oh God, what should I put into practice? What is Your standard for saving people? What type of people do You save?” This is what we should seek and know above all. Establish your foundation upon the truth, put effort into the truth and into reality in everything, and then you will be a person who possesses a foundation, who possesses life. If you establish your foundation upon letters and doctrine, never putting any truth into practice or putting effort into any truth, then you will be someone who never possesses life. When we practice being an honest person, we have the life, reality, and essence of an honest person. We then have the practice and the behavior of an honest person, and at the least, that honest side of us will bring God joy, and He will approve of it. However, we still often display lies, trickery, and deceitfulness, which need to be cleansed. That’s why we need to continue seeking and not get stuck in a rut. God is waiting for us, giving us a chance. If you never make plans to become an honest person, if you never seek how to speak honestly and from the heart, how to do things without the adulteration of artifice or deception, how to behave like an honest person, then there’s no way you will live with an honest human likeness or enter into the reality of the truth of being an honest person. If you have entered into the reality of a certain aspect of the truth, then you have gained that aspect of the truth; if you do not possess that reality, then you don’t possess that life or stature. In the face of trials and temptation, or when you receive a commission, if you don’t have any reality at all, you will easily stumble and make mistakes; you will be prone to offending and disobeying God. You won’t be able to help yourself. Many people run amok in their duties, refusing to take advice and remaining incorrigible, seriously disrupting and disturbing the church’s work and seriously harming the interests of God’s house. These people are cleared out or expelled in the end—this is the inevitable outcome. But if you are currently practicing the truth to be an honest person, your experiential testimony as an honest person is approved by God. No one can take that away from you, and no one can strip you of this reality, of this life. Some people ask, “I’ve already been an honest person for a long time. Can I turn back into a cunning person?” If you have cast off your corrupt disposition; if you possess the reality of the truth of being an honest person; if you’re living out a human likeness and despise artifice, deceitfulness, and the world of unbelievers in your heart, then you cannot return to being under Satan’s influence. This is because you are able to live according to God’s words; you are already living in the light. Changing from a cunning person into an honest one is not easy. Turning back into a cunning person from being an honest person that God truly delights in would be impossible, even more difficult. Some people say: “I have several years of experience of being an honest person. I tell the truth most of the time and I’m fairly honest. But here and there I say something that is untrue, indirect, or cunning.” This is a much easier problem to fix. As long as you focus on seeking the truth and striving for the truth, there’s no need to worry about being unable to change in the future. You’ll certainly continue to improve. Just like a seedling planted in the earth, if you water it on time and give it daily sunlight, you don’t need to worry about whether it will bear fruit later on, and there will certainly be a harvest in the fall. What you should be most concerned about now is this: Have you had any entry into being an honest person? Are you telling fewer and fewer lies? Can you say that you are, on the whole, an honest person now? These are the key questions. If someone says: “I know that I’m a deceitful person, but I’ve never practiced being honest,” then you don’t have any of the reality of being an honest person. You need to work hard, to take out for dissection every little facet of your life, all your various behaviors, all the ways you practice deceitfulness, and your treatment of others. Before you dissect these things, you may feel very pleased with yourself, very self-satisfied for having done what you’ve done. But once you dissect them in comparison with God’s words, you will be shocked, “I didn’t realize I’m so vile, so malicious and insidious!” You will discover your true self, and truly recognize your difficulties, your flaws, and your deceitfulness. If you don’t do any dissection, and forever think of yourself as an honest person, someone free of trickery, yet you still call yourself a deceitful person, then you will never change. If you don’t dig up those despicable, evil intents in your heart, then how will you see your ugliness and corruption? If you don’t reflect on and dissect your corrupt states, will you see the truth of how deeply corrupted you are? Without any understanding of your corrupt disposition, you won’t know how to seek the truth to resolve problems; you won’t know how to pursue the truth and enter into reality according to God’s requirements. That’s the true meaning behind the phrase: “You will never have reality if you don’t practice the truth.”
Everything that God says is the truth—every last word has the reality of the truth, and it is all the reality of positive things. People just need to bring God’s words into their daily lives to practice and enter into. Every word from God is aimed at what mankind needs, and every word is for people to compare themselves against. They are not meant to be glanced over in passing, nor are they meant to satisfy some spiritual needs of yours, nor for you to pay lip service to or to meet your needs to talk about letters and doctrine. Each word of God possesses the reality of the truth. If you don’t put God’s words into practice, you will have no way of entering into the reality of the truth—you will always be someone who has no connection to reality. If you practice being an honest person, then you will have the reality of being honest and you will be able to live out a true state of being an honest person, rather than just putting up false pretenses. You’ll also be able to understand what sort of person is honest and what sort of person isn’t, and why God detests deceitful people. You’ll truly understand the significance of being an honest person; you will experience what God feels about when He requires people to be honest, and why He requires that of people. When you find that you are full of cunning, you’ll hate your deceitfulness and crookedness. You will hate how shamelessly you lived by your deceitful, crooked disposition. You will thus be eager to change. This way, you will feel more and more that being an honest person is the only way to live out a normal humanity and to live with meaning. You will feel that God requiring people to be honest is incredibly meaningful. You will feel that only by doing this can you meet God’s will, that only honest people will gain salvation, and that what God said is entirely accurate! You tell Me: Is God’s requirement for people to be honest meaningful? (Yes, it is.) Then, starting from now, you should dissect the deceitful and crooked parts of yourselves. Once you’ve dissected them, you will discover that behind everything deceitful there is an intent, a certain goal, and a human ugliness. You’ll discover that this deceit reveals people’s foolishness, selfishness, and despicableness. When you discover that, you will see your true face, and when you see your true face, you will hate yourself. When you start to hate yourself, when you really know what sort of thing you are, will you keep flaunting yourself then? Will you keep boasting at every turn? Will you always be wanting compliments and praise from others? Will you still say that God’s demands are too high, that there’s no need? You won’t act that way, and you won’t say such things. You will agree with what God says, and give an “Amen.” You will be convinced with your heart and mind, and with your eyes. When this happens, it means that you have begun practicing God’s words, you’ve entered into reality, and you’ve started to see results. The more you put God’s words into practice, the more you will feel how accurate and how necessary they are. If you weren’t to put them into practice, but just blathered on: “Oh, I’m dishonest, I’m deceitful,” then you’d continue being as deceitful as always when faced with a situation. All the while, you’d think that that doesn’t count as deceitfulness, but as honesty, and that’s how you’d get past it. The next time something comes up, you’d play games once again. You’d be indirect and deceitful, and tell nothing but lies. Afterward, you’d wonder: “Was I crooked and deceitful again? Was I lying again? I don’t think that counts.” You’d come before God and pray: “God, You see how I’m always playing games, being crooked and deceitful. Please forgive me. I won’t be that way next time, and if I am, please discipline me.” You mention this matter casually, glossing over it. What kind of person would do this? This is someone who doesn’t love the truth and isn’t willing to put it into practice. You may have paid a bit of a price or spent some time performing your duty, serving God, or listening to sermons. You may also have sacrificed some working hours and made a bit less money. But in fact, you haven’t remotely put the truth into practice, and you haven’t taken the matter of practicing the truth seriously. You have been superficial and careless, never thinking much of it. If you only go through the motions when practicing the truth, that proves your attitude toward the truth isn’t one of love. You are someone who isn’t willing to put the truth into practice; you are distant from and sick of the truth. Your faith is undertaken in order to gain blessings, and the only reason you haven’t walked away from God is because you’re afraid of being punished. So you muddle through in your faith, seeking to preach the words and letters of doctrine to make yourself look good, learning some spiritual vocabulary and some popular hymns, learning some catchphrases for fellowshiping on the truth and buzzwords related to your faith. You adorn yourself like a spiritual person, thinking that you’re someone who conforms to God’s will and is worthy of being used by Him. You become complacent and forget yourself. You get taken in and fooled by this surface-level image, these hypocritical behaviors. You are fooled by these until you die, and though you think that you will ascend into heaven, in fact, you will descend into hell. What meaning is there in that kind of faith? There is nothing real in this so-called “faith” of yours. At most, you have acknowledged that there is a God, but you have not entered any bit of the reality of the truth. So, in the end, your outcome will be the same as unbelievers—you’ll go to hell, with no good outcome. God said, “What I ask for is not bright, lush flowers, but bounteous fruit.” No matter how many flowers you have or how pretty they are, God doesn’t want them. Which is to say that, no matter how nicely you speak or how much you appear to expend, contribute, or sacrifice, this is not what God takes joy in. God only looks at how much truth you have actually understood and put into practice, how much of the reality of the truth in God’s words you have lived out, whether there has been true change in your life disposition, how much genuine experience and testimony you have, how many good deeds you have prepared, how much you have done to satisfy God’s will, and whether you’ve performed your duty up to standard. These are the things that God looks at. When people don’t understand God and don’t know His will, they always misinterpret it and present Him with some superficial things as a way to settle accounts with Him. They say, “God, I’ve been a believer for many years. I’ve traveled all over the place, preached the gospel and converted so many people. I can recite several passages of Your words and sing quite a few hymns. When something big or something difficult comes up, I always fast and pray, and I read Your words all the time. How could I not be conforming to Your will?” Then God says to them: “Are you an honest person now? Has your deceitfulness changed? Have you ever paid any price to become an honest person? Have you ever brought before Me all the deceitful things you’ve done, all the ways you’ve shown deceit, and brought them to light? Are you being less dishonest with Me? Do you recognize when you make false oaths or empty promises to Me, or say nice things to fool me? Have you let go of these things?” When you think on that and find you haven’t let go of these things at all, you will be left dumbfounded. You will be alerted to the fact that you have no way to settle accounts before God. I expose your corrupt state to allow you to know yourselves; I talk this much so that you can put the truth into practice and enter into reality. No words, no fellowship or truths are for people to recite far and wide; they are to be put into practice. Why are you always being told to accept the truth and put it into practice? It is because only the truth can cleanse your corruption and change your outlook on life, and your values, and only the truth can become someone’s life. When you accept the truth, you must also put it into practice for it to become your life. If you believe that you understand the truth but haven’t practiced it, and it hasn’t become your life, then you cannot possibly change. Since you haven’t accepted the truth, there’s no way for your corrupt disposition to be cleansed. If you cannot practice the truth, you will not change. Finally, if the truth has not taken root in your heart and it has not become your life, then when your time as a believer is coming to a close, your fate and outcome will be decided. In light of this fellowship, are all of you feeling some urgency to put the truth into practice? Don’t wait for three years, five years, or beyond, and only then start to practice it. There’s no such thing as being too early or too late when it comes to practicing the truth; if you practice it soon, you will change soon, and if you practice it later, you will change later. If you miss your chance at the Holy Spirit’s work and God’s perfection of mankind, you will be in danger when the great disasters come. Then, when God’s work to save mankind concludes, there won’t be any chances left at all. If, after you’ve lost your chance, you say: “I didn’t put any effort in then, but I’ll start to practice this now,” it will be too late, and it’ll be unlikely that you will be perfected by God. That’s because the Holy Spirit won’t be working anymore, and your understanding of all things, of all truths, will be very shallow. There are all sorts of situations arising now, and through fellowshiping on the truth, your faith is growing and you have more drive to follow God. If there weren’t any situations for a while, you would certainly become negative and undisciplined, drifting further and further from God. You would become just like those in the religious world, just observing the formats of gatherings and religious ceremonies, utterly without the reality of the truth. Then what good would it do you to beat your chest and wail?
Tell Me, is it exhausting to live alongside deceitful people? (It is.) Are they not exhausted, too? In fact, they are also tired, but they do not feel their tiredness. This is because deceitful people and honest people are different: Honest people are simpler. Their thoughts are not so complicated, and they say what they think. Deceitful people, on the other hand, always have to speak in a roundabout way. They say nothing directly—instead, they are always playing deceitful games and covering up their lies. They are always exercising their minds, always thinking, afraid that if they are at all negligent, they will let something slip. To what extent do some people play deceitful games? No matter who they are interacting with, they are always trying to see who is more calculating, who is smarter, who is on top, and ultimately their competitiveness becomes neurosis. They cannot sleep at night, yet they do not feel pain, and even think this is normal. Have they not then become living demons? When God saves people, He allows them to cast off Satan’s influence and their corrupt dispositions, to become honest people, and live by His words. To live as an honest person is freeing and liberating, and much less painful. It is the happiest of lives. Honest people are simpler. They say what is in their hearts, and they say what they are thinking. In their words and actions, they follow their conscience and reason. They are willing to strive for the truth, and when they understand it, they put it into practice. When they cannot see through a matter, they are willing to seek the truth, and then they do whatever accords with it. They seek God’s will everywhere and in everything, and then follow it in their actions. There may be a few areas in which they are foolish and must equip themselves with the principles of the truth, and this requires them to constantly grow. Experiencing in this way means that they can become honest, wise people and conform entirely to God’s will. But deceitful people are not like this. They live by satanic dispositions, demonstrating their corruption, yet fearing that others may find something to use against them in their doing so. So, they use crooked and deceitful tricks in response. They are afraid of a time when everything will be revealed, so they use every means they can to fabricate lies and cover them up, and when a gap appears, they tell more lies to fill it. Always lying and covering up their lies—is that not an exhausting way to live? They are always racking their brains to think up lies and cover up for them. It is just too taxing. That is why deceitful people, who spend their days devising lies and covering them up, have such exhausting and painful lives! It is different, however, with honest people. As an honest person, one does not have so much to consider when one speaks and acts. In most cases, an honest person can just speak truthfully. It is only when a specific matter touches on their interests that they work their minds a bit harder—they may lie a little to protect their interests, to maintain their vanity and pride. These kinds of lies are limited, so speaking and acting are not so exhausting for honest people. The intents of deceitful people are much more complicated than those of honest people. Their considerations are too multifaceted: They must consider their prestige, their reputation, profit, and status; and they must protect their interests—all this, without letting others see any flaws or giving the game away, so they must rack their brains to come up with lies. Moreover, deceitful people have great, excessive desires and many demands. They have to devise ways to achieve their goals, so they must continue to lie and cheat, and as they tell more lies, they need to cover up more lies. That is why the life of a deceitful person is so much more exhausting and painful than that of an honest person. Some people are relatively honest. If they can pursue the truth, reflect on themselves regardless of what lies they have told, recognize the trickery they have engaged in, whatever it was, viewing it in light of God’s words to dissect it and understand it, and going on to change it, then they will be able to rid themselves of much of their lying and trickery in no more than a few years. They will then have become a person who is basically honest. Living like this not only makes them free from much pain and exhaustion, it also brings them peace and happiness. In many matters, they will be free of the constraints of prestige, profit, status, of vanity and pride, and will naturally live a free and liberated life. Deceitful people, however, always have ulterior motives behind their speech and actions. They fabricate all manner of lies to beguile and trick others, and as soon as they are exposed, they think of ways to cover up their lies. Tormented in this way and that, they, too, feel that their lives are exhausting. It is exhausting enough for them to tell so many lies in every situation that they encounter, and having to then cover up those lies is even more exhausting. Everything they say is intended to accomplish a goal, so they expend a lot of mental energy on every word they speak. And when they have finished talking, they fear you have seen through them, so they must also rack their brains to hide their lies, doggedly explaining things to you, trying to convince you that they are not lying or deceiving you, that they are a good person. Deceitful people are apt to do these things. If two deceitful people are together, there is bound to be intrigue, conflict, and scheming. The wrangling will never end, resulting in a deeper and deeper hatred, and they will become archenemies. If you are an honest person with a deceitful person, these behaviors will certainly sicken you. If they just act that way here and there, you’ll say that everyone has a corrupt disposition and that such things are hard to avoid. But if they act that way all the time, you’ll be particularly nauseated and disgusted by these methods; you’ll be disgusted by that side of them and the intentions they have. When you become so disgusted, you will be able to despise and reject them. This is a very normal thing. They cannot be interacted with unless they repent and show some change.
What do you say—isn’t life exhausting for deceitful people? They spend all their time telling lies, then telling more lies to cover them up, and engaging in trickery. They bring this exhaustion upon themselves. They know that living like this is exhausting—so why would they still want to be deceitful, and not wish to be honest? Have you ever thought about this question? This is a consequence of people being fooled by their satanic natures; it stops them from ridding themselves of this kind of life, this kind of disposition. People are willing to accept being fooled like this and to live in this; they do not want to practice the truth and walk the path of light. You think that living like this is exhausting and that acting this way is unnecessary—but deceitful people think it absolutely necessary. They think that to not do so would cause them humiliation, that it would harm their image, their reputation, and their interests, too, and that they would lose too much. They treasure these things, they treasure their own image, their own reputation and status. This is the true face of people who do not love the truth. In short, when people are unwilling to be honest or practice the truth, it is because they do not love the truth. In their hearts, they treasure things like reputation and status, they like to follow worldly trends, and live under the influence of Satan. This is a problem of their nature. There are people, now, who have believed in God for years, who have heard many sermons, and know what believing in God is all about. But they still do not practice the truth, and have not changed one bit—why is this? It’s because they do not love the truth. Even if they do understand a little of the truth, they are still not able to practice it. For such people, no matter how many years they believe in God, it will be for naught. Can people who do not love the truth be saved? It is absolutely impossible. Not loving the truth is a problem with one’s heart, with one’s nature. It cannot be resolved. Whether or not one can be saved in their faith mainly depends on whether or not they love the truth. Only those who love the truth can accept the truth; only they can undergo hardship and pay a price for the sake of the truth, and only they can pray to God and rely on Him. Only they can seek the truth and reflect and know themselves through their experiences, have the courage to forsake the flesh, and achieve the practice of the truth and submission to God. Only those who love the truth can pursue it in this way, walk the path of salvation, and gain God’s approval. There is no path other than this one. It is very hard for those who do not love the truth to accept it. This is because, by their natures, they are sick of the truth and hate it. If they wanted to stop resisting God or to not do evil, it would be very difficult for them to do so, because they are of Satan and they have already become devils and enemies of God. God saves mankind, He does not save devils or Satan. Some people ask questions like: “I really do understand the truth. I just can’t put it into practice. What should I do?” This is someone who does not love the truth. If someone does not love the truth, then they cannot put it into practice even if they understand it, because at heart, they are unwilling to do so and they do not like the truth. Such a person is beyond salvation. Some people say: “It seems to me that you lose out on a lot by being an honest person, so I don’t want to be one. Deceitful people never lose out—they even profit from taking advantage of others. So, I would rather be a deceitful person. I’m not willing to let others know my private business, to let them grasp me or understand me. My fate should be in my own hands.” By all means, then—try that and see. See what sort of outcome you wind up with; see who goes to hell and who gets punished in the end.
Are you willing to be honest? What do you plan to do after hearing these communions? What will you start with first? (I’ll start by not lying.) This is the right way to practice, but not lying isn’t easy. There are often intents behind people’s lies, but some lies don’t have any intent behind them, nor are they deliberately planned. Instead, they just come out naturally. Such lies are easy to resolve; it is lies with intents behind them that are difficult to resolve. This is because these intents come from one’s nature and represent Satan’s trickery, and they are intents that people intentionally choose. If someone does not love the truth, they will be unable to forsake the flesh—so they should pray to God and rely on Him, and seek the truth to resolve the issue. But lying cannot completely be resolved all at once. There will be the occasional relapse, even multiple relapses. This is a normal situation, and as long as you resolve each and every lie you tell, and keep up with this, then the day will come when you will have resolved them all. The resolution of lying is a protracted war: When one lie pours out, reflect on yourself, and then pray to God. When another one comes out, reflect on yourself and pray to God again. The more you pray to God, the more you will hate your corrupt disposition, and the more you will long to practice the truth and live it out. Thus, you will have the strength to abandon lies. After a time of such experience and practice, you will be able to see that your lies have grown much fewer, that you are living with much greater ease, and that you need not lie or cover up your lies anymore. Though you may not speak much day to day, every sentence will come from the heart and be true, with very few lies. How will it feel to live like that? Will it not be freeing and liberating? Your corrupt disposition will not govern you and you will not be bound by it, and you will at least begin to see the results of being an honest person. Of course, when you come across special circumstances, you may sometimes let a small lie slip. There may be times when you encounter danger or trouble of some sort, or want to maintain your safety, at which times lying cannot be helped. Still, you must reflect on it, understand it and resolve the problem. You should pray to God and say: “There are still lies and trickery in me. May God save me from my corrupt disposition once and for all.” When one is intentionally exercising wisdom, it does not count as a revelation of corruption. This is what one must experience to be an honest person. In this way, your lies will become ever fewer. Today you tell ten lies, tomorrow you might tell nine, the day after that you’ll say eight. Later, you’ll only say two or three. You’ll tell the truth more and more, and your practice of being an honest person will come ever closer to God’s will, His requirements, and His standards—and how good that will be! To practice being honest, you must have a path, and you must have an aim. First, resolve the problem of telling lies. You must know the essence behind your telling of these lies. You must also dissect what intents and motives drive you to speak these lies, why you are possessed of such intents, and what their essence is. When you have clarified all these issues, you will have thoroughly seen through the problem of lying, and when something befalls you, you will have principles to practice. If you carry on with such practice and experience, then you will surely see results. One day you’ll say: “It’s easy being honest. Being deceitful is so tiring! I don’t want to be a deceitful person anymore, always having to think about what lies to tell and how to cover up my lies. It’s like being a person with a mental illness, speaking in contradictions—someone who doesn’t deserve to be called ‘human’! That sort of life is so tiring, and I don’t want to live like that anymore!” At this time, you’ll have a hope of being truly honest, and it will prove that you have begun to make progress toward being an honest person. This is a breakthrough. Of course, there may be some of you who, when you begin to practice, will be mortified after speaking honest words and laying yourselves bare. Your face will go red, you will feel ashamed, and you will fear the laughter of others. What should you do, then? Still, you must pray to God and ask that He give you strength. You say: “Oh God, I want to be an honest person, but I’m afraid that people will laugh at me when I speak the truth. I ask that You rescue me from the bondage of my satanic disposition; let me live by Your words, and be freed and liberated.” When you pray like this, there will be ever more brightness within your heart, and you will say to yourself: “It’s good to put this into practice. Today, I have practiced the truth. Finally, I’ve been an honest person for once.” As you pray like this, God will enlighten you. He will work in your heart, and He will move you, allowing you to appreciate how it feels to be an honest person. This is how the truth must be put into practice. At the very start you will have no path, but through seeking the truth you will find a path. When people begin seeking the truth, they don’t necessarily have faith. Not having a path is hard for people, but once they understand the truth and have a path of practice, their hearts find enjoyment in it. If they are able to practice the truth and act according to principles, their hearts will find comfort, and they will gain freedom and liberation. If you have some true knowledge of God, you’ll be able to see all things in this world clearly; your heart will be illuminated, and you will have a path. Then you will gain complete liberation and freedom. At this time, you will understand what it means to put the truth into practice, to satisfy God, and to be a real person—and in this, you will be on the right track in your belief in God.