148. The Principles of How to Approach Practical Knowledge
1. Practical knowledge is beneficial to improving one’s caliber and is something you should possess. You should approach it correctly and learn to master it;
2. Knowledge is not the truth and cannot become people’s life. It is merely a tool that people cannot live without—do not have blind faith in it or worship it;
3. Only by possessing the truth can you correctly approach and make rational use of knowledge. Without the truth and only with knowledge, you cannot extricate yourself from Satan’s corruption;
4. You may learn to master practical knowledge sufficiently, but only by focusing on pursuing the truth can you be saved.
Relevant Words of God:
I have talked about bringing God into real life, and this is the path for those who believe in God to enter into the reality of God’s words. In fact, the life of the church is only a limited way to perfect men. The primary environment for perfecting men is still real life. This is the actual practice and actual training that I talked about, which allows men to achieve a life of normal humanity and to live out the likeness of a true person during daily life. One aspect is that one must become educated in order to elevate his own educational level, be able to understand God’s words, and achieve the capability to understand. Another aspect is that one must be equipped with the basic knowledge required to live as a human being in order to achieve the insight and reason of normal humanity, because men are almost entirely lacking in these areas. Furthermore, one must also come to savor God’s words through church life, and gradually come to have a clear understanding of the truth.
Speaking of acquiring wisdom and insight through training, how could this be achieved? Could man acquire wisdom and insight simply from listening, reading, and advancing his knowledge? How does this lead to the acquisition of wisdom and insight? Man must strive to understand and experience through real life. Therefore, training cannot be lacking and one cannot depart from real life. Man must pay attention to different aspects and have entry in various aspects: educational level, expressiveness, the ability to see things, discernment, the ability to understand God’s words, common sense and rules of humanity, and other things relating to humanity that man must be equipped with. After understanding has been attained, man must focus on entry, and only then can transformation be attained.
from “Discussing Church Life and Real Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
“Real life” primarily requires that people possess normal humanity; what people should possess is what God asks of them today. Bringing the words of God into real life is the actual meaning of “bringing God into real life.” Today, people should primarily equip themselves with the following: In one regard, they must improve their caliber, getting educated, increasing their vocabulary, and improving their reading skills; and in another, they must lead the life of normal people.
from “Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Normally, you can also read some reference works (such as grammar or rhetoric books). There is no need to read books that stimulate your mind too much (romance novels, pornography, magazines, or biographies of great men), which cause more harm than good. You must master all that you should enter and should understand. The purpose of improving caliber is none other than to help people know their own essence, identity, status or worth. What is the main thing the churches below should enter? Are people not raising their caliber now? It is imperative to hold onto this entry of becoming educated; it cannot be let go! One aspect is that you must understand why people’s caliber must be improved, how caliber can be improved, and which aspects to enter. You must understand the meaning of normal humanity, why this work has to be done, and how it should be coordinated. In becoming educated, which aspects are to be learned, and how should one enter? You should all know what the goal of becoming educated is. Is it not to understand God’s words and enter the truth?
from “Improving Caliber Is for Receiving God’s Salvation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do you know how God sees knowledge? (God wants people to be advanced in science.) God wants people to be advanced in science, wants people to understand more things; God wants people to do well. This is correct. He doesn’t want people to understand nothing, to know nothing, but He uses these things for performing service. He does not commend these things and He certainly does not use these things to replace the truth, and He does not use them to add to people’s humanity or to change people’s dispositions.
from “What a Change in Disposition Is and the Path to a Change in Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
For without the guidance of God, no matter how much rulers and sociologists wrack their brains to preserve human civilization, it is to no avail. No one can fill the emptiness in man’s heart, for no one can be the life of man, and no social theory can free man from the emptiness with which he is afflicted. Science, knowledge, freedom, democracy, leisure, comfort, these are but a temporary respite. Even with these things, man will inevitably sin and bemoan the injustices of society. These things cannot restrain man’s craving and desire to explore. Because man was made by God and the senseless sacrifices and explorations of man can only lead to more distress. Man will exist in a constant state of fear, will not know how to face the future of mankind, or how to face the path that lies ahead. Man will even come to fear science and knowledge, and fear even more the feeling of emptiness within him. In this world, regardless of whether you live in a free country or one without human rights, you are utterly incapable of escaping the fate of mankind. Whether you are the ruler or the ruled, you are utterly incapable of escaping the desire to explore the fate, mysteries, and destination of mankind. Much less are you capable of escaping the bewildering sense of emptiness.
from “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Only God is the truth. God controls the heavens and earth and everything in them and has dominion over all. Not to believe in God, not to submit to God is to be unable to obtain truth. If you live according to God’s word, you will feel a clarity, stability, and incomparable sweetness in the depths of your heart; you will have truly obtained life. No matter how great the scientific achievements of scientists in the world, when they near death they feel empty-handed; they have obtained nothing. Even Einstein and Newton, with so much knowledge, felt empty, and that’s because they did not have truth. Newton and Galileo, in particular, both believed in God and were Christians; they were persecuted by Catholicism, but they did not seek truth. They only knew it was good to worship God. They merely studied science and discovered that there really is a God, and they believed in God to the end, ending up with a one hundred percent conviction that God exists and a one hundred percent conviction that He created the heavens and earth and all things. They only sought scientific knowledge and did not seek to know God. They did not obtain truth, and they did not obtain true life.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Improving people’s caliber is requiring that you improve your abilities to receive. The most basic requirement of you is that you receive clearly the words spoken to you. Is it not muddled faith if you follow Me without understanding what I say? Your caliber is too low. It is because you do not possess the abilities to receive that you do not even have the slightest understanding of what is being said. As such, it is very difficult to achieve the desired results. Many things cannot be said to you directly and the original effect cannot be achieved. Therefore, additional tasks have to be added to My work. It is necessary to launch this “raising people’s caliber” task among you because your abilities to receive, abilities to see things, and the standards of your lives are too poor. This is the required direction; there is no alternative, and it must be done this way so that a part of the results may be achieved. Otherwise, all of the words I say would come to nothing … What is the pervading situation in churches now? If you ask a person to get educated, they forget about the enjoyment of God’s words … You have deviated if you remain in the current situation. So why are you being asked to enter a spiritual life? All you learn are these things that cannot help you achieve what is required of you. The most important thing is still life entry. The reason for doing this work is to resolve the difficulties people encounter in their experiences. Raising caliber allows you to know human nature and the essence of man—the main purpose of knowing these things is so that people’s spiritual life can grow and their disposition can change. You may know how to dress up and look good; you may have insight and wisdom, and yet ultimately, when the day comes for you to go to work, you are unable to do it. You should know, therefore, what you should also be doing while raising your caliber. Changing you is goal. Raising caliber is additional. It will not do if your caliber is not improved. It is even worse if your disposition cannot be changed. One without the other will not suffice. Having a normal humanity does not mean that you have borne a resounding testimony. What is required of you is not so simple.
When a person’s caliber has improved such that they have the sense and lifestyle of a normal humanity and also have life entry, only then will they be able to change and bear witness. When the day of bearing witness comes, there is also a need to talk about changes in human life and about the knowledge of God within. Only the combination of these two aspects is true testimony and your true gain. It will not do if you have only a change in humanity on the outside and have no understanding on the inside. It won’t do either if you have understanding and truth on the inside but you overlook living out a normal humanity. The work done on you today is not for showing others but to change you. You simply need to pay attention to changing yourself. You may write and listen daily, but it won’t work if you don’t engage in other areas of your life. You should have entry in every aspect. You should have the normal life of a saint. Many sisters dress like wealthy ladies and brothers dress like wealthy gentlemen or lords, completely losing the decency of saints. One aspect is raising a person’s caliber, which can be achieved incidentally. Another aspect of key importance is eating and drinking God’s words. Wouldn’t it be a waste of learning if your caliber is elevated but not applied because you didn’t eat and drink God’s words? Both aspects must be combined … You have been corrupted by Satan and have too many of Satan’s toxins. All that is asked of you is to get rid of this corrupt satanic disposition, not for you to become a high-ranking figure, or a famous or great person. This is useless. The work that is done on you accords with what is inherent in you. There are limits to what I require of people. If the people of today were all asked to behave like Chinese cadres, and practice the tone of voice of Chinese cadres, train in the way of speaking of high-ranking government officials, or train in the manner and tone of speaking of essayists and novelists, then this would not do either. It would not be attainable. In accordance with the caliber of these people, they should at least be able to speak with wisdom and tact and explain things clearly. It is then that they meet the requirements. At the very least, insight and sense should be attained. At present the main thing is to cast off the corrupt satanic disposition. You must cast off the ugliness you express. If you have not cast these off, how can you touch upon supreme sense and insight?
from “Improving Caliber Is for Receiving God’s Salvation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
There are some things which do not contain truth but which contain culture, they have cultural meaning. They have things that are beneficial to man, and so man sees them as something positive, good culture, good knowledge. However, such things are not truth. No matter how great man’s legacy and culture are, they are not truth, and cannot compare with truth. What can truth bring for man? What can the so-called good cultures in man’s eyes bring for man? Truth can change man, can be his life. But can good cultures change man? Can they make man good? Can they make him kind of heart? Can they save him? Or change him? They cannot, right? Look at those who study in the highest educational institutes across the world. They all learn traditional culture, but have they changed for the better? Has their corruption been lessened? The leaders of the countries in the world are all high-level intellectuals, but have they made man good? Is man becoming ever better? Man is not becoming even better. In fact, man is becoming ever more corrupt, right? Man’s culture learnings are becoming ever higher, but why is man becoming ever more corrupt, and the world ever darker? What is going on? Can good cultures save man? They absolutely cannot, because they are not truth. Only that which belongs to truth is a positive thing, and that which has no truth within is not. Therefore, truth is the reality of all positive things. And from this perspective, we can recognize whether or not culture and knowledge is truth. All that the world’s high-level intellectuals, literati and politicians speak of is culture and knowledge, not truth. Have you remembered this? So, when they pass on the best culture they have to you, you will say, “This culture you have is pretty good, but it is not truth. It cannot change man, it cannot become our life; it can only be used for us to appreciate in our spare time or refine our character, but it cannot change our nature and essence, it cannot save us.” So, no matter how good culture is, can it save man? Can it make corrupt mankind good? Can it make man know God? Can it deliver a bright life to man? They could not do any such things, could they? And since they cannot, they are not truth, because truth has this ability and can accomplish such effects.
from “How to Know the Truth and the Value of Pursuing It” in Sermons and Fellowship On Entry Into Life (IV)
Some people have asked, “Is knowledge useful to mankind? Should it be learned?” Practically speaking, knowledge is useful. However, it depends on who uses it. If the person using it is not someone who pursues the truth and if he does not have the truth, the knowledge will cause him to become arrogant and conceited. He will not submit to anyone. If knowledge is seized by the devil, it will become a deadly weapon. Is knowledge intrinsically evil? Knowledge is not intrinsically evil. In fact, it is intrinsically right. Proper knowledge is right. It is not wrong. However, why is it that the more knowledge people pursue, the more arrogant and conceited they become, the further they get from the truth and from God? This indicates that knowledge cannot be a person’s life. It is only a tool. Once it becomes someone’s life, he will betray God. You must not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That means that you should not pursue knowledge. Now, should you learn knowledge? You should learn it, but what is more important is that you should pursue the truth. Pursuing the truth is number one. If you learn knowledge after you have the truth, you will be able to appropriately approach knowledge and use knowledge.
from the fellowship from the above