55. The Principles of Preventing Absurdities
Relevant Words of God:
The words I speak are truths directed at all mankind; they are not addressed only to a specific person or type of person. Therefore, you should concentrate on understanding My words from the standpoint of the truth, and must have an attitude of undivided attention and sincerity; do not ignore a single word or truth that I speak, and do not treat all of the words I speak lightly.
Excerpted from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In My words, there are mysteries that are incomprehensible to man. Only those whom I love can express Me, and no others; this has been determined by Me, and no one can change it. My words are rich, comprehensive, and unfathomable. All should expend great effort on My words, try to ponder them often, and not omit a single word or sentence—otherwise, people will labor under error, and My words will be misunderstood.
Excerpted from “Chapter 119” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Coming to a genuine understanding of the actual meaning of God’s words is no simple matter. Do not think this way: “I can interpret the literal meaning of God’s words, and everyone says my interpretation is good, and gives me a thumbs-up, so this means I understand God’s words.” That is not the same as understanding God’s words. If you have gained some light from within God’s utterances, and you have gotten a sense of the true meaning of His words; and if you can express the intention behind His words and what effect they will ultimately achieve, then once you have a clear understanding of all of these things, you can be considered to have some level of understanding of God’s words. Thus, understanding God’s words is not all that simple. Just because you can give a flowery explanation of the literal meaning of God’s words does not mean you understand them. No matter how much you can explain their literal meaning, your explanation is still based on human imagination and way of thinking. It is useless! How can you understand God’s words? The key is to seek the truth from within them; only in that way can you truly understand what He says. Whenever God speaks, He certainly does not speak in mere generalities. Each sentence He utters contains details that are certain to be revealed further in God’s words, and they may be expressed differently. Man cannot fathom the ways in which God expresses the truth. God’s utterances are very profound and cannot be fathomed with human way of thinking. People can discover the entire meaning of every aspect of the truth as long as they make an effort; if you do this, then as you experience them, what details remain will be filled in completely as the Holy Spirit enlightens you, thus giving you an understanding of these concrete states. One part is understanding God’s words and seeking their specific content through reading them. Another part is understanding the implications of God’s words through experiencing them and obtaining enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. It is primarily by these two means that a true understanding of God’s words is achieved. If you interpret His words literally, or through the lens of your own thinking or imagination, then your understanding of God’s words is not real no matter how eloquently you can interpret them. You might even take their meaning out of context and misinterpret them, and doing so is even more troublesome. Thus, the truth is primarily obtained by receiving enlightenment from the Holy Spirit through gaining knowledge of God’s words. Understanding the literal meaning of His words, or being able to explain them, does not count as having gained the truth. If you only needed to interpret the literal meaning of His words, then what would be the point of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment? In that case, you would only need to have a certain level of education, and the uneducated would all be in quite a predicament. God’s work is not something that can be comprehended by the human brain. A true understanding of God’s words relies mainly on having enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; such is the process of gaining the truth.
Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The most important parts of understanding the truth in God’s words are understanding God within His words, understanding human life within His words, and understanding all aspects of the truth within His words, such as the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of human existence within God’s words. All truth is within God’s words. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the words of God. The main outcome you must attain is to know what it is to possess understanding and knowledge of God’s words. With a real understanding of God’s words, you can then understand the truth. This is the most fundamental thing. Some people work and preach and, despite superficially appearing to be fellowshiping on God’s utterances, they are only discussing the literal meaning of His words, and nothing substantive is mentioned. Their sermons are like teachings from a language textbook—arranged item by item and aspect by aspect, and when they are done, everyone sings praises, saying, “This person possesses reality. He preached so well and in such detail.” After such people are done preaching, they tell others to compile their sermons and send them out to everybody. In doing this, they have gotten to where they are deceiving others and all that they preach are fallacies. On the surface, it looks as though they are preaching only God’s words and their sermons conform to the truth. However, with more careful discernment, you will see that they are nothing but letters and doctrines and false reasoning along with some human imaginings and notions, as well as some things that delimit God. Does this kind of preaching not amount to an interruption of God’s work? This is service that resists God.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In the past, there were a lot of deviations and even absurdities in the ways people experienced. They simply did not understand the standards of God’s requirements, so there were many areas in which people’s experiences went awry. What God requires of man is for them to be able to live out normal humanity. For example, it is all right for people to follow modern conventions with regard to food and clothing, to wear a suit and a tie, to learn a bit about modern art, and in their spare time they can enjoy arts, culture and entertainment. They can take some memorable photos, they can read and gain some useful knowledge, and have a relatively good living environment. These are all things that befit a life of normal humanity, and yet people see them as things detested by God and they hold themselves back from doing them. Their practice consists of merely following a few rules, which leads to a life that is as dull as ditchwater and entirely devoid of meaning. In fact, God has never demanded that people do things in this way. People all wish to curtail their own dispositions, praying unceasingly within their spirits to be closer to God, their minds constantly mulling over what God intends, their eyes constantly observing this or that, in great fear that their connection to God will somehow be severed. These are all conclusions that people have come to on their own; they are rules set by people for themselves. If you do not know your own nature and essence and you do not understand what level your own practice can reach, then you will have no way to be certain exactly what standards God requires of man, and neither will you have an accurate path of practice. Since you cannot understand what it is exactly that God requires of man, your mind is always churning, you rack your brains analyzing God’s intentions and fumble about searching for some way to be moved and enlightened by the Holy Spirit. As a result, you develop some ways of practice that you believe to be suitable. You simply have no idea what it is exactly that God requires of man; you just blithely carry out your own set of practices, caring little about the outcome and even less about whether there are deviations or errors in your practice. In this way, your practice naturally lacks accuracy and is unprincipled. What it particularly lacks are normal human reason and conscience, as well as God’s commendation and the corroboration of the Holy Spirit. It becomes entirely too easy to simply take your own road. This kind of practice is just following rules or intentionally taking up more of a burden in order to restrict yourself and control yourself. Yet you think that you have your practice down to a tee, not knowing that the majority of your practice consists of unnecessary processes or observances. There are many who practice like this for years with basically no change in their dispositions, no new understanding, and no new entry. They unknowingly recommit the same old mistakes and give full play to their brutish natures, even to the point where there are many times when they commit unreasonable, inhumane acts, and behave in ways that leave people scratching their heads and completely baffled. Could such people be said to have experienced dispositional transformation?
Excerpted from “Practice (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
While seeking entry, every matter must be investigated. All matters must be thoroughly contemplated in accordance with God’s word and the truth so that you know how to handle them in a way that conforms entirely with God’s will. Things that arise from your self-will can then be abandoned. You will know how to do things in accordance with God’s will, and will then go and do them; it will feel as though everything is taking its natural course, and it will seem exceedingly easy. This is how people who have the truth do things. You can then really show others that your disposition has changed, and they will see that you certainly have done some good deeds, that you do things according to principle, and that you do everything right. This is someone who understands the truth and who indeed has some human likeness. Sure enough, the word of God has reaped results in people. Once people truly understand the truth, they can discern their states of being, see to the bottom of complicated matters, and know the appropriate way to practice. If you do not understand the truth, you will not be able to discern your state of being. You will want to rebel against yourself but will have no idea how to do it or what you are rebelling against. You will want to abandon your self-will, but if you think that your self-will conforms to the truth, then how can you abandon it? You might even think that it is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and you will therefore refuse to abandon it no matter what. Thus, when people are not in possession of the truth, they are very liable to think that human impurities, good intentions, muddleheaded love and human practices—all of which arise from their self-will—are correct, and that they conform to the truth. How, then, can you rebel against these things? If you do not understand the truth or know what it means to put the truth into practice, and if your eyes are clouded and you have no idea which way to turn and can therefore only do things based on what you think is right, then you will commit certain acts that will be off-track and erroneous. Some of these acts will be in keeping with the rules, some will arise from enthusiasm, and some will have originated with Satan and will cause disturbances. People who do not possess the truth act like this: a little to the left, and then a little to the right; correct one minute, and then deviating the next; with no accuracy at all. Those who do not possess the truth take an absurd view on things. As such, how can they handle matters properly? How can they resolve any problems? Understanding the truth is not an easy thing to do. Being able to comprehend God’s words depends on understanding the truth, and the truth that people are capable of understanding has its limits. Their understanding of God’s words will still be limited even if they believe in Him for their entire lives. Even those who are relatively experienced can, at best, get to where they can stop doing things that obviously resist God, stop doing things that are obviously evil, and stop doing things that do not benefit anyone. It is not possible for them to attain a state that has none of their self-will mixed in. This is because people think normal thoughts, and some of their thinking conforms to God’s words and belongs to an aspect of comprehension that cannot be classified as self-will. However, the key is to discern the parts of self-will that go against God’s words, against the truth, and against enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. You must therefore make an effort to know God’s words, and only by understanding the truth can you have discernment.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks