How Should We Pursue the Truth So That We Can Grow Up Into Maturity in the Faith?
Three Elements for Pursuing the Truth
First, we must accept the judgment, chastisement, pruning, dealing, trials, and refinement from God. If we do not accept them, if we do not submit to them, then anything we say about pursuing the truth is just empty talk. What is the basis for pursuing the truth? Pursuing the truth is based entirely on submitting to the judgment and chastisement of God. If you do not undergo the judgment and chastisement of God, then there is no way that you will be able to attain the truth. There will be no way for you to understand the truth. The more that a person accepts the judgment and chastisement of God, the end result is that they will understand the truth. … So, the first element in pursuing the truth is that a person must accept the judgment, chastisement, pruning and dealing from God. After accepting and submitting to the judgment, chastisement, pruning and dealing from God for a time, I guarantee that there will be positive results. What are the positive results? First, you will constantly receive new knowledge about your own nature and essence as well as the true state of your own corruption. You will have a deeper and more substantial understanding of these things. Second, your understanding of the word of God, the truth, and your understanding of God’s requirements on people will all increase. Third, your understanding of God’s disposition, wisdom, and omnipotence will all increase. Fourth, you will be able to see and know what real life and normal humanity are like. You will know what the likeness of a real man is like. There will be a path before you to pursue a new life. You will have a direction and a target to pursue. Fifth, the results you get from performing your own duty will get better and better because you now understand the truth. You know God’s requirements. You will know how to maintain the work of God and how to help God’s elect enter into life. You will know how to act completely in line with God’s will. You will not disrupt God’s work in the slightest. So, you will have a greater understanding of the path to take to perform your own duty, and you will also be more principled in performing your duty and have greater results. So, these are five areas of results that you will attain through undergoing and submitting to the judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing from God. There are some who say, “I am very arrogant by nature. What should I do to solve this?” You should accept more judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing from God and then slowly you will no longer be arrogant. There are some people that when it comes to their own corruption, all they know is empty talk. They do not have knowledge from the heart. They are simply following the herd. Other people say, “Oh, I really am Satan the devil,” and then they say, “I am, too.” Is that true understanding? That is deception. What are the results of truly seeing that you are just like Satan yourself? You will feel like you are living in shame. You will feel inferior. You will lay low and hide yourself away, not daring to be seen by other people. You will act as if you had done something exceedingly shameful. You will be ashamed and unwilling to see people face to face. If there is a mouse hole, you can’t wait to go in it and hide yourself. That is the result of truly knowing what you yourself are like. If you will not dare show your face or show off, how could you still be arrogant then? Therefore, only those who accept the judgment and chastisement from God are becoming less and less arrogant and their sense of their own inferiority is becoming heavier and heavier. An arrogant person should have something to be arrogant about. Take someone with high caliber, some gifts, and some strong points, and they will think, “I am better than other people.” So, their arrogant disposition is revealed and they see people as insignificant. This is normal because they have something to be proud of. They have great abilities. If they really understood themselves and felt that they were not worth even one penny, how could they still be arrogant? They would feel that it’s not worth it to be arrogant. There was no longer a source for their arrogance. They would no longer be able to muster the will to be arrogant. Isn’t this the truth? There are some people who think that they are better than everyone else, that they can see through everything. Then one day comes along and what happens? They receive some major setback and experience shameful failure. Will they still be able to be arrogant then? At that moment they will feel like they won’t even be able to lift their head. They won’t dare meet anyone face to face. So, when those people with arrogant dispositions experience failure and meet with shame several times, receive great pruning and dealing from God several times, then their arrogant disposition will naturally be resolved. That’s what all people experience. They experience the judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing from God, the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and they also receive some failures and setbacks. Then they become more honest and they become less arrogant. They also become less self-righteous. Even though they may be able to see through things, they still want to seek help. They seek the opinions of others. They guard against making mistakes. These are the results obtained from the judgment and chastisement of God. So, it doesn’t matter how arrogant and self-righteous you are. Do not be afraid. Do not worry. All you need to do is focus on experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God, accepting more pruning and dealing from God, especially the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and then you will slowly change. No one can help you with this. You just need to pray to God, pursue the truth, obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit works, all the problems will be resolved. … Experiencing judgment and chastisement from God is bitter, but after it passes, the heart can sense the sweetness that it produces in us. Therefore, experiencing the judgment, chastisement, pruning and dealing from God is what corrupt humanity needs. You can’t not have this. Then, after you have experienced more judgment and chastisement from God, once you begin to speak about experiencing the work of God, you will say, “Oh, the most important thing in experiencing the work of God is experiencing the judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing from God. This is the core and inside story of experiencing the work of God.” Once you understand this point, then your faith in God has entered onto the right track. You will know how to pursue the truth. You will know how to experience the work of God in the way that is most effective and most in line with the will of God. Isn’t this the mark of entering onto the right track of faith in God? Therefore, the first element for pursuing the truth is the most important. That is, you must accept every judgment and chastisement from the word of God, and then you must also accept the pruning and dealing from God. It doesn’t matter if the pruning and dealing you get is from leaders and workers or simply from other brothers and sisters. You must accept it. Do not waste your time considering if what they say is right or not. If it is a little right, then you must accept it. If it is half right, then you must accept it. If it is completely right, then that goes without saying. However, if your standard for whether or not you accept something is that it must be completely right, that you won’t accept it if it’s only half right or a little right, then you have made a mistake. There are many people nowadays who have their own rules with regard to accepting the pruning and dealing from others. Someone who prunes them must meet their personal requirements, and they even become picky about who they accept pruning from. They accept pruning and dealing from God. They accept pruning and dealing by the man used by the Holy Spirit. However, if it comes from the leaders and workers then they need to give it some consideration, and if it comes from the brothers and sisters then forget about it. And, even if the brothers and sisters do not prune and deal with them, they also cannot accept. Is this the correct point of view? If someone believes in God, but they are not obedient in the least, then this is a problem, and this person is too arrogant. They do not submit to anyone! Once you believe to a certain extent, you will submit to anyone that speaks to you. You will trust that everyone is better than you are. You will see that everyone has their own merits. You will see that everyone has their own strengths. You will be able to properly deal with anyone. The life disposition of this kind of person has really changed. You can see today that there are some people who actively limit who is able to come into contact with them. They will not come into contact with ordinary people, and they are unapproachable. They see themselves as very distinguished individuals. If a person that they do not like even looks at them, then they become angry. What is the disposition of this kind of person? They have a demonic disposition. They do not have a human disposition. What do you think? If a person does not experience the judgment and chastisement of God, won’t what they live out be demonic disposition? There are some people who have too much of a demonic disposition. It is unbearable. But if a person begins to experience some of the judgment and chastisement of God, they will fellowship and talk with ordinary brothers and sisters. If they advance a little further and attain a more normal human-like disposition, then when other people say something that does not accord with their own notions, or if they hear displeasing things, then they will bear it with patience and tolerance. This shows that they have some of human likeness. If someone says something that accords with the truth, then they are able to accept it, and they submit to it. They are able to see that they are just like other people, they will not disdain other people, they will certainly no longer view themselves highly, and then they will have regained some more of their human likeness. Isn’t it the norm for honest people that they attain a human likeness? Isn’t this the likeness of a real man? Indeed, this is the likeness of a real man. Only those who experience the judgment and chastisement of God are able to attain a true understanding of the truth and truly enter into the reality of the truth. Are entering into the reality of the truth and living out the likeness of a real man related? Well, for example, how can we see if a person has the reality of the truth? See what they live out. If they have honesty, reason, a conscience, dignity, integrity, patience, and tolerance, and if outwardly they stay calm, do not argue, do not dispute, but inside they are principled and they have a minimum standard, then this person is living out the likeness of a real man.
The second element of pursuing the truth is the need to maintain a normal relationship with God, because only in this way will you be able to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. This is very important. … So, how then should we maintain a normal relationship with God? Well, first the heart must always have a place for God in it, and you must have a heart that fears God. This is not to say that you need to think about God every moment of the day, but rather that when something comes your way you are able to pray about it and seek God. When a big problem comes, you have a heart of fear and reverence toward God and you don’t sin against God. Whenever a thought arises in your mind leading you to stray away from God, to resist God, to not conform to the will of God, then you must quickly pray and ask God for mercy. You must stand in your place as a created being and obey Him. If you do this, then your relationship with God will be normal. If, when something comes your way, you do not think about God, consult with God about it, pray to God, or seek God, like it has nothing to do with God, and you think, “I will do what I want to do. This is my business,” isn’t this kind of person too arrogant? There is a point at which someone is too arrogant to have God. They do not think about God, and they do not care about what God feels about it. Hasn’t this person lost the presence of God? So, once they have left God and become independent, they think, “I don’t need God for anything. I will take care of my own business. My fate is in my own hands.” Isn’t this just atheism? Indeed, this is called atheism, and these people are atheists. Aren’t antichrists this kind of person? Does this kind of person have a normal relationship with God? No, they don’t have a normal relationship with God. For example, when we worship God, we often say things like, “God! You are the Creator. I am merely a created being, just a very ordinary person, the smallest, most insignificant person. I worship You.” If this is how you speak, then you have a normal relationship with God. You stand in your place as a created being acting toward the Creator. So, no matter what comes your way, you just pray and say, “God! You are the Creator. You are God. I do not understand the truth in this situation. I do not know what to do that will accord with Your will. May You enlighten me in this matter. Amen.” This is a sincere heart. If you pray in this way, if you obey God in this way, and if you worship God in this way, then you will find acceptance. If you have this kind of relationship with God, the relationship of a created being worshiping the Creator, obeying the Creator, always standing in the place of a created being seeking the truth from God, seeking to find out the will of God, then this is what it means to have a normal relationship with God. If a person desires to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, the first thing that they need to do is straighten out their relationship with God. Then, once they have straightened out their relationship with God, and inwardly they thirst after the truth and have a heart to seek the truth, the Holy Spirit then enlightens them, illuminating the truth to them. When a person lies prostrate as a created being before their Creator in worship to Him, and then they praise and thank God, then this is what it truly looks like for a created being to be in a right relationship with God. When you stand in your proper place as a created being and take up the proper mentality, then your relationship with God will be normal. If a person does not stand in their proper place as a created being, and does not adopt the proper mentality, then they do not have a normal relationship with God. So, is someone who does not fear God able to receive the blessing of God? No, they cannot receive the blessing of God. If a person does not fear God, what does this illustrate? It illustrates that this person does not have a normal relationship with God, that they are not standing in their proper place, that they have no place for God in their heart, that they are unable to honor God as great, and that they are unable to honor God as holy. Can this kind of person worship God? They cannot worship God. They do not have a place in their heart for God. When someone has a place in their heart for God, and then they are able to stand in their proper place as a created being in obedience to the work of God, submitting to the word of God, and practicing the truth, then this is what it means to have a normal relationship with God. People are only able to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and enjoy the presence of God when they have a normal relationship with God. Having a normal relationship with God is the pre-condition to enjoy these things. … Now is the time for people to endure suffering. It is through enduring suffering that our corrupt disposition is worn away. This is what allows us to change so that we have a normal humanity. There are some who say, “So, if we perform our duties, then how will we have enough money to live on? We never get enough good food to eat or good clothes to wear.” Now is the time to endure suffering to see if you are able to obey God, to see if you still have extravagant fleshly desires or other fleshly demands. God is using this thing to wear away your corrupt disposition, to change you, to transform you, to refine you. You need to endure this suffering in order to fix your corrupt disposition and refine it away. Speaking plainly, corrupt humanity should undergo this kind of suffering. They are not enduring much suffering at the moment, but in the future, they will need to endure much more suffering in order to change. Do you still pursue fleshly enjoyment? When God makes you undergo this suffering, and refines you to a certain extent, how much refinement is necessary until you are finished being refined? It is when you no longer have extravagant fleshly desires, when you are indifferent toward fleshly enjoyment, and when you no longer have fleshly demands. You obey God no matter how He deals with you and you will definitely not complain about it. Isn’t this important? In the future, you are always ready and willing to endure suffering. It is appropriate for your flesh to suffer in this way. It is not appropriate for you to enjoy fleshly enjoyment. The more that you engage in fleshly enjoyment, the more corrupt and depraved that you become. So, isn’t enduring suffering the blessing of God? There are some people who do not see this point clearly. When they suffer a little bit now, they will think that it is torture and that they are not receiving a blessing from God. Do you know what this kind of blessing is? Do you know what suffering accomplishes, what the results of suffering are, or what problems suffering resolves? You do not understand the will of God, and yet you still think that you understand the truth. You cannot see the wood for the trees. Once you have fully endured this suffering, you begin to regard these things as unimportant. Fleshly enjoyment becomes utterly meaningless. At that time, God once again gives you things that are pleasing to the flesh, it will not cause you to stumble. You enjoy these things well and you don’t forget what God entrusts to you. You enjoy these things well and don’t forget to repay God. You enjoy these things well and you are still able to forsake everything in order to do the will of God. You still spend and struggle all throughout your life in order to do the will of God. What is it like when someone who has borne suffering partakes in these things? They do not care. They do not feel strongly one way or the other. If a person who has not borne suffering enjoys some good, material things and then you deprive them of those things, they begin to grumble and complain; it is really troublesome. If someone has completely borne all their suffering and has truly attained the truth, and understands the will of God, then they will begin to regard these things as unimportant. Then, if you give them again, their way of enjoying these things is already different from that of corrupt humanity. Moreover, any time in the future when you deprive them of something, then there is no longer a problem. If you have not borne this suffering, then you are not qualified to enjoy these things. If you go and enjoy these things anyway, then that is a problem. This is a matter of whether or not it is appropriate for a person to enjoy these things. What does it mean for it to not be appropriate to enjoy these things? It means that they will not be able to handle it well, and after they enjoy these things, they will become abnormal. He strays far away from God, resists God, and becomes insatiable. In this case, he has shown his true color as being the devil Satan. People whom God has made complete receive a hundredfold in this world and then eternal life in the world to come. You see, it’s different. Once God deprives, they still live to carry out the will of God just as before because they haven’t taken these material things as precious. They do not live for these things. Do you know what the result would be if God allowed everyone who performs their duty to enjoy good food, nice clothes, and nice treatment? First, they would become insatiable. Secondly, these people’s dispositions would be hard to change. Thirdly, when these people enjoy these things, then their hearts stray far away from God. They become unable to serve God. See for yourself. Corrupt humanity enjoys these things and then it causes them to stumble and become depraved. Doesn’t this mean that it is inappropriate for them to enjoy these things? If you want to maintain a normal relationship with God, then can you pursue fleshly enjoyment? Can you pursue some things that are not related to the truth? You must throw off all these things, forsake them, abandon them, and cast them away. In this way, you will be able to ensure that you are regularly pursuing the truth and performing your duty. That is what it means to have a normal relationship with God. If there is something that rules over you, impacting the normal performance of your duty, and you are unable to forsake it or cast it away, then it will impact your relationship with God. There are many people who come into conflict with God in this or that kind of thing, and then they end up not performing their duty. In the end they do not obey God, they grumble against God, they become estranged from God, they come into conflict with God, and what is the end result of all of this? They delay their own maturity. When God has finished His work, they are still able to complain, they have not really obeyed God, and they do not truly know God. Aren’t they just ruining themselves? Do not always reason your way out. Do not be always pursuing fleshly enjoyment. You must abandon, forsake, and cast aside anything that negatively impacts your performance of your duty and your relationship with God. You must learn “how to perform my own duty and pursue the truth in such a manner that my life disposition is changed and it pleases God.” This is what it means to show consideration for the will of God. This is what it means to have a heart that truly obeys God. It’s no good if a person does not have a heart that obeys God, does not have a normal relationship with God, and is always pursuing fleshly enjoyment. Isn’t this just extravagant fleshly desire? Is now the time to engage in fleshly enjoyment? No, this is not the time for that. You will not be able to bear it. With your life and your stature, it’s not the time to enjoy these things. You have not yet attained the truth, and your disposition has not changed. Once you engage in fleshly enjoyment, won’t that become a problem? There are some young people today who have not looked for a spouse and instead are able to pursue the truth with great energy. They meet with the church, perform their duty, and suffer hardship. If someone specially introduces a potential spouse to them, isn’t this like ruining them? Once you really introduce a spouse to them, and these two people fall in love, can they still perform their duty? Can they still regularly pray to God? Aren’t they just living in the lust between a man and a woman all the time at that point? They cannot bear it. If you do not have a spouse, then you will have energy to pursue the truth and perform your duty. Once you have a spouse, then it becomes troublesome. At the very least you will be tied up in this relationship for 2-3 years. Only then will you be able to gradually enter the right track of faith in God. Nowadays there are some who perform their duty, and all of them do not have a family. They are single, and they are all doers. They are all warriors, strong soldiers, and valiant generals. What about those who have a family? They are all amateurs. Right when the work is at its most crucial hour, they have something they have to take care of at home, their child is sick, or their husband is angry. Doesn’t this just delay the real work that is going on? Not having a spouse is really good. There are some people who say, “Isn’t looking for a spouse a right and proper thing to do? Has God restricted this?” God has not restricted this. It is a personal decision. There are others who say, “Is it right for me to look for a spouse?” It’s not wrong, but there are consequences. It will delay you being made perfect. Which one do you think is more important? You choose for yourself. It’s not wrong for you to look for a spouse, but you may die in ten years, and if you did not look for a spouse but instead you pursued the truth, then you would be made perfect and attain eternal life. Which of these would you choose? Do you want to die, or do you want to live? Both are correct. People have the freedom to choose. But, once you make a decision, you have to bear the consequences, and the consequences are not all necessarily good. If people bear suffering for ten, even twenty years, and are made perfect, attaining eternal life, what a great blessing this is! You have been refined through all of these years, but then in the last few years, you cannot continue in it? In the end, you no longer endure refinement and you turn back. Isn’t this foolish? The closer it gets to the end, the more crucial moment it is. If a product is only semi-finished, and then the work comes to an end, isn’t that a shame? It really is a shame to work on something, and then, in the end, it is only a semi-finished product. Are you a semi-finished product right now? If you go and try to find a spouse, then the result will be a semi-finished product. Then it becomes a problem. So, now is the most crucial time. The closer it gets to the end, the more crucial it becomes. …
The third element of pursuing the truth is that you need to do your duty in maintaining the work of God. Only in this way will you experience the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and understand the truth and enter the reality of the truth. If you pursue the truth but do not do your duty, then you will not get much of the work of the Holy Spirit, and you will not receive much pruning and dealing. If someone does not receive pruning, if they are not dealt with, if they do not have the work of the Holy Spirit, then it is very hard for them to know themselves, it is hard for them to understand the truth, and it is even harder to enter into the reality of the truth. So, when you are doing your duty, there is a principle that you must grasp, that is, you must maintain the work of God. This is what most accords with the will of God and is the easiest way to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. So, what are some of the aspects of obtaining the work of the Holy Spirit? You will have the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will guide you in all things so that you will do what you should do and avoid what you should not do. The Holy Spirit will enlighten and illuminate you so that you will be able to understand the truth. The Holy Spirit will help you in performing your duty and make it effective. The Holy Spirit will discipline you and help you know yourself, where you are rebellious, where you resist Him, what kinds of things there are in your life that do not accord with the truth. And, in the end, the Holy Spirit will help you walk in the right path. So, when the Holy Spirit works in a person, they will more and more fulfill the requirements of God as they perform their duty. They will more and more be in accord with God’s will. And, in the end, they will be made perfect. If in performing one’s duty, a person can measure up to the Creator’s standards, then, first, they are living out the likeness of a real man, and, second, they will have certainly attained salvation. If they are not able to fulfill God’s requirements in performing their duty, then are they living out the likeness of a real man? In performing your duty, the more that you are able to practice the truth, the more that you will satisfy God. The more that you practice the truth, the more that you will have the likeness of a real man. Then, you will attain salvation. If a person doesn’t have the likeness of a real man, then they are not saved. This is the most accurate standard by which to measure people.