How to Pursue the Truth (8)

Previously, we fellowshipped about the first major aspect of how to pursue the truth, which is letting go. With respect to letting go, we fellowshipped about the first aspect of practice, which is letting go of various negative emotions. Our aim in fellowshipping about and dissecting people’s various negative emotions is mainly to address the incorrect and distorted ideas and viewpoints hidden beneath those negative emotions. Isn’t that right? (Yes.) That is, by resolving the negative emotions in people’s hearts, we aim to address the negative ideas and viewpoints they hold deep within their hearts toward various people, events, and things. Of course, it is also by exposing and dissecting various negative emotions and providing people with the correct thoughts, viewpoints, and understanding that people’s various negative emotions might be resolved. This is so that people are not troubled or bound by erroneous and distorted ideas and viewpoints whenever things befall them, whether in their daily lives or on their life’s path, and instead face each day, and the people, events, and things that befall them during each day, with positive, correct ideas and viewpoints that accord with the truth. Thus, when encountering people, events, and things in real life, they will not respond with hotheadedness but will live within the realm of normal human conscience and reason, and will be able to approach and handle every situation they face or experience in their life and on life’s path rationally, using the accurate and correct ways that God has taught. One aspect of doing this is so that people live under the guidance and influence of correct ideas and viewpoints. The other aspect is so that they handle every situation correctly under the guidance and influence of these positive ideas and viewpoints. The ability to handle every situation correctly is not the ultimate goal of course. The ultimate goal is to accomplish what those who believe in God should accomplish, which is to fear God and stay away from evil, to submit to God, and to His arrangements and orchestrations, to submit to every environment He has set up, and of course to submit to one’s destiny over which He is sovereign, and live rationally among every person, event, and thing, in every environment. In summary, whether we are fellowshipping about and dissecting people’s negative emotions or negative ideas and viewpoints, all this relates to the path that a created being should walk, the life path that God requires of a normal person. And, of course, it also relates to the principles that a created being should have, in terms of how they view people and things, how they comport themselves, and how they act. Letting go of various negative emotions is ostensibly about resolving people’s negative emotions and addressing the negative and fallacious ideas and viewpoints concealed beneath those negative emotions. But in fact, you could also say that essentially it is about guiding people, providing for them, and helping them, or about teaching people how to comport themselves, and how to be a true and normal person, a rational person, the person that God requires them to be, one He loves, and one who pleases God, when encountering various environments, people, events, and things. It is the same as other aspects of the truth principles, in that they all relate to one’s comportment. On the surface, the topic of letting go of various negative emotions seemingly involves a completely mundane emotion, or a state in which people are living at the moment. But in reality, these emotions and these simple states are related to the path that people walk and the principles by which they comport themselves. From a person’s perspective, they may seem insignificant and not worth mentioning. However, because they relate to the viewpoints that people hold and the perspectives and standpoints they adopt when encountering various people, events, and things, they have to do with one’s comportment. More specifically, they involve how to view people and things, how to comport oneself, and how to act. Because they involve how to view people and things, how to comport oneself, and how to act, these negative emotions and negative ideas and viewpoints need to be constantly examined and reflected upon in people’s daily lives. Of course, it is also necessary for people to be able to promptly correct themselves whenever they discover during the process of reflection that they have negative emotions or negative and fallacious ideas and viewpoints, and to be able to promptly replace these negative emotions and fallacious ideas and viewpoints with positive and correct thoughts and viewpoints that accord with the truth principles. This enables them to view people and things, comport themselves, and act with God’s words as the foundation and with the truth as the criterion. It is also a way for people’s dispositions to be transformed so that they align with God, and so as to achieve fear of God and to stay away from evil. The above things that we have fellowshipped on are basically the key details of the first aspect, “letting go,” in “How to Pursue the Truth.” Of course, among various human emotions, there are also certain specific, minor negative things, or some special negative emotions that are not at all representative, and which also relate to some negative or fallacious thoughts and viewpoints. These negative emotions or fallacious thoughts and viewpoints can be said to have minimal effects on people, so we will not fellowship about them individually in greater detail.

All the negative emotions we fellowshipped about earlier can basically represent issues that exist in people’s real lives or on their life’s path. These emotions involve various viewpoints on how to view people and things, and how to comport oneself and act. These various negative thoughts and viewpoints on how to view people and things, and how to comport oneself and act relate to broader directions, major principles, and to people’s pursuit of the truth. So, these are things that people should let go of and address within their thoughts and viewpoints. Some particular, non-representative, or more personalized matters that remain—such as food, clothing, personal life, and so on—do not involve the major principles of how one views people and things, and how they comport themselves and act, and it could be said that they do not involve making a distinction between positive and negative things. Therefore, they are not within the scope of the topic we are fellowshipping on. For example, when someone says, “I like things that are black,” that is their freedom, their personal taste and preference. Does this involve any principles? (No, it doesn’t.) It doesn’t involve how one views people and things, let alone how they comport themselves and act. For example, someone who wears glasses for shortsightedness says, “I like frames with a gold rim.” And someone else says, “Gold rims are so outdated. I prefer glasses without rims.” Does this involve principles of how to view people and things, and how to comport oneself and act? (No, it doesn’t.) It doesn’t involve principles of how to view people and things, and how to comport oneself and act. Others say, “I have negative feelings about daily household chores and cleaning. I always feel that they are troublesome and make my life exhausting. Even eating is a bother. It takes over an hour to prepare a meal, and after eating, I still have to wash the dishes, clean the pots, and tidy up the kitchen, and these things are particularly annoying as well.” Still others say, “Life is so troublesome. Your clothes need to be switched out every season, and yet it’s too hot in summer no matter how thin your clothes are, and too cold in winter no matter how thick your clothes are. This physical body is really a pain!” When their hair gets dirty, they don’t want to wash it, but when they don’t wash it, it itches. They have an air of lethargy and untidiness. They can’t get away with not washing their hair, but they get irritated when they do wash it, thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great to have no hair? It’s so annoying to have to cut and wash it all the time!” Are these negative emotions? (Yes.) Should these negative emotions be resolved? Do they belong to the various negative emotions that should be let go of? (No, they don’t.) Why don’t they belong? (These are just some habits and issues related to the physical life of the body.) Women, especially adult women, can handle these trivial daily matters, such as washing, tidying up, and cleaning up after themselves. Men are a little worse off. They tend to find cooking, doing laundry, and household chores troublesome. They particularly struggle when it comes to doing laundry. Should they wash it? They don’t feel like it. Should they not wash it? It’s too dirty, and they worry they’ll be mocked, so they just rinse it off for a second in water. Men and women have slightly different approaches and attitudes toward handling these trivial daily matters. Women tend to be more meticulous and particular, paying attention to cleanliness and appearance, while men may be relatively rough in handling these affairs. But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not good to be too messy; especially when you’re living with other people, you will be exposing too many of your flaws and this will make others dislike you. These flaws are defects in your humanity, and you should overcome those that need to be overcome, and resolve those that need to be resolved. Be a bit more diligent, organize things in your living space, fold your clothes and blankets properly, and clean and organize your work environment every other day or every few days so as not to bother others—it’s really that simple. There’s no need for you to feel challenged, is there? (No.) As for how often you personally bathe or change clothes, it’s fine as long as it doesn’t affect others’ moods. This is the standard. If you don’t bathe, wash your hair, or change clothes for an extended period of time, you start to smell, and no one wants to be near you, that’s not okay. You should wash up and make yourself presentable, at least so as not to affect the mood of others. They shouldn’t have to cover their nose or mouth while talking to you, and feel embarrassed because of you. If others treat you like this and you don’t mind it or care, then you can continue living that way. No one has put any excessive demands on you. As long as you are able to accept it. But if you feel embarrassed, try your best to manage your personal living environment and hygiene, so that others won’t be bothered by these. The goal is not to lay any undue burden or stress upon your own life and to consider the feelings of others. Do not put pressure or force your influence on others. This is the minimum requirement for normal human conscience and reason. If you don’t even possess this much, how can you comport yourself with decency? Therefore, these things that someone with normal humanity should be able to attain don’t require much explanation. God’s house doesn’t need to give you specific assignments or commands. You should be able to handle them yourself. The personal matters I mentioned above don’t involve principles or criteria for how to view people and things, how to comport oneself, and how to act. Therefore, you can rely on the most basic human conscience and reason to handle them. A person with a normal human conscience and reason ought to possess this level of intelligence. There’s no need to make a big deal out of it, and what’s more, these trivial matters should not be treated as issues that require understanding or resolution through the pursuit of the truth, because these are things that any person with normal humanity can accomplish. Even a small dog understands what it means to be decent. If humans don’t understand that, then they fall short of the standards of being human, don’t they? (Yes.) I have a pet dog. This dog is particularly good-looking, with big eyes, a wide mouth, and a nicely shaped nose. Once, it got into a fight with its own pup over food, and the pup bit it on the nose. There was a small wound in the middle of its nose after that, which ruined its appearance. I quickly applied medication to the wound and said, “What can we do now? If such a good-looking dog is left with a scar, what a sad sight it would make!” I told it, “From now on, don’t follow us when we go out. If people see a scar on your face, they’ll think you look ugly.” After hearing this, it made a sound of agreement, stared blankly for a moment, and widened its eyes. I continued, “You’re injured. You have such a big wound on your nose, people might laugh at you if they see it. You need to rest and heal. You can’t follow us out until you’re fully recovered.” After hearing My words, it didn’t make another sound, and didn’t insist on going out. I thought, even a dog knows what’s what. After a while, the wound scabbed over and improved significantly, so I took it outside. One sister saw the little dog and asked, “Hey, what happened to your nose?” After hearing that, it turned its head and ran without looking back, straight to the car, refusing to come back. When the sister began talking to it, it behaved itself, drinking water when she offered. It didn’t run away. But as soon as she asked, “What happened to your nose?” it turned its head and ran without looking back. When we returned home, I asked it, “Your nose was injured, why did you run away when the sister asked you about it? Are you shy?” It looked at Me with a shy expression, constantly lowering its head and feeling too embarrassed to look at Me. It snuggled into My arms, letting Me pet and hold it. I told it, “You can’t fight with your pup anymore. If you get injured and it leaves scars again, you might look ugly. People will laugh at you. Where will you hide your face?” Look, even a little five-year-old dog knows what it means to feel shy. It knows to hide from people because its face is injured and is afraid of being laughed at. If a small dog has this level of intelligence, shouldn’t humans have it too? (Yes.) Humans should have it, that is to say it should be something that they possess within the scope of their reason. What does it mean to be decent? What does it mean to become edified and not to be disliked or repulsed by others? You should have this standard within yourself. It is the simplest matter in daily life, and with a normal human conscience and reason, you can handle things accurately without the need for fellowshipping about truths such as resolving people’s corrupt disposition or negative emotions. Of course, if you live in your own home, you can be a bit messy, the standards are not as strict. However, if you live together with brothers and sisters, you must ensure that your normal humanity is well-maintained. Although we don’t have any specific requirements or strict standards for this, as a normal human being, you should have a sense of these matters. These are things that people with normal humanity should do and possess. They do not involve thoughts, viewpoints, perspectives, or standpoints on how to view people and things, comport oneself, and act, and they certainly do not involve a greater life path, direction, or goal. Consequently, it would be best for you to resolve these matters according to the requirements of normal human conscience and reason, so that others don’t gossip or feel disgusted by you because of these things. As for personal habits, hobbies, differences in personality, or choices regarding matters unrelated to the principles, these things that do not involve thoughts and viewpoints, you are free to choose and keep your own mannerisms. God’s house will not interfere. God has given people free will and basic conscience and reason, allowing individuals to choose their own interests, hobbies and habits, or the lifestyles that suit their personalities. No one has the right to constrain, bind, or lay blame on you. Regarding matters that do not involve the truth principles or God’s requirements in His words, specifically speaking, matters that do not involve how to view people and things, comport themselves, and act, people have the right to freely choose their own way of life without any interference from others. If a leader, group head, or supervisor criticizes or interferes with you regarding personal matters, you have the right to turn them away. In summary, these matters of normal humanity have nothing to do with the requirements of God’s words or the truth principles. As long as you feel comfortable and appropriate, and your behavior doesn’t have any impact on or disturb others, that’s fine. For example, if you enjoy dressing up and staying tidy, as long as you don’t affect others, it’s not a problem. But if it’s late at night and others need to go to sleep at eleven, and you’re still doing laundry or cleaning, that’s not acceptable. If you’re in your own home and you’re not affecting other people’s lives, you can stay up all night until four or five in the morning if you want. That’s your freedom. However, now that you’re living together with brothers and sisters, your actions will impact their daily routines and schedules. That’s not good. By doing so, you’re not exercising your rights and freedom correctly; instead, you’re being willful, which is called lacking humanity. For the sake of your own freedom and to satisfy the preferences and desires of your own flesh, you disrupt others’ lives and even sacrifice their time to rest. This behavior does not align with normal human conscience and reason. It needs to change. This relates to the principles of self-comportment. It’s not about whether there’s something wrong with your personal lifestyle or habits of cleanliness. It’s about a problem with the principles of how you comport yourself. You don’t consider others’ feelings, moods, or interests. You protect and preserve your own interests at the expense of others’. This way of behaving is not in line with God’s requirements for comporting oneself or with the principles of comportment that God requires. Therefore, any preferences, interests, lifestyle choices, habits, freedoms, rights, etc., of normal humanity must stay within the scope of a person’s conscience and reason in order to be considered normal humanity. If they exceed the boundaries of normal human conscience and reason, then that is not normal humanity, is it? (No.) Within the boundaries of normal human conscience and reason, you are behaving like a normal person. If you go beyond the boundaries of normal human conscience and reason and still emphasize your freedom, then you’re not acting like a normal person; you’re subhuman. This is something that needs to change, it should be clear. What should be clear? It should be clear that these personal matters should be handled within the boundaries of normal human conscience and reason, and that this is a principle of self-comportment. Your personal habits, demands, lifestyle choices, etc., are all up to you, as long as they don’t exceed the boundaries of normal human conscience and reason. There are no specific requirements regarding these matters.

In the first section of how to pursue the truth, “letting go,” as regards letting go of various negative emotions, such as inferiority, hatred, anger, depression, distress, worry, anxiety, and repression, these are basically the major directional issues and issues involving principles that we need to fellowship about. As for the minor, side issues that do not involve principles or directions, earlier we fellowshipped about them comprehensibly. As for the reluctance, dissatisfaction, discontentment, and so on, you feel toward your own personal issues, as long as they do not involve genuine thoughts and viewpoints and do not touch upon the principles of how one views people and things, or how they comport themselves and act, they are your own personal matters. You need to adjust and address them within the scope of your conscience and reason. For example, you’re hungry and don’t feel like cooking, but you’re too weak to work on an empty stomach, and when you do cook, you get irritated. You might think, “Is this a negative emotion?” This isn’t a negative emotion; it’s your physical laziness and dislike for cooking. It’s a matter of your corrupted flesh. If your financial conditions allow, you can hire someone to help you with cooking. If you don’t have the financial means, then you can only solve it yourself. Others are not obligated to solve these life problems for you; it’s your own responsibility. These mundane tasks of eating, getting dressed, and brushing and scrubbing are a part of human life. They’re inherent to man’s existence. Humans are different from cats and dogs. Once you adopt a kitten or a puppy, you are responsible for its food and drink. When it’s hungry, you need to feed it. But this won’t work for humans; humans have to take care of and shoulder these aspects of life themselves. It’s not a burden; learning to handle these things properly is something people with normal humanity can achieve. It’s only that some people might feel that they’ve never done these things before, especially certain men whose parents or family members helped them stay organized and pampered them so much they never learned how to cook, wash clothes, or take care of things in their own lives. This is a result of family environment. However, once they leave their parents and start living independently, they are capable of doing everything themselves, including washing clothes and making their bed. In fact, these are things that normal humanity can achieve. They are not difficult tasks for any adult, and are certainly not overwhelming. These problems are easily resolved. If you have higher standards for your quality of life, then you can do better. If you have less strict or lower expectations for your quality of life, then you can be more casual about it. These are all matters that do not involve principles.

Regarding the first major topic of how to pursue the truth—letting go of various negative emotions—let’s conclude our fellowship here, as it is basically finished. Next, in the process of pursuing the truth, apart from letting go of negative emotions, one should also let go of personal pursuits, ideals, and desires. This is the second major aspect of “letting go” in the practice of how to pursue the truth, which we will fellowship about today. Letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires—do you understand? (Yes, we understand.) Just now I mentioned the objects of this specific practice of “letting go,” and you have also taken note of them. Now, let’s examine the topic: What comes to mind when we talk about letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires? What examples can you think of? (I can think of the ideals people have, which God has fellowshipped about earlier, such as people with a particular talent, like acting, aspiring to become celebrities or superstars. Others who possess writing abilities and a bit of literary talent may aspire to perform text-based duties in God’s house and become writers. These are some ideals that emerge in people.) Anything else? (People pursue success as well as their own prospects and hopes, and desire to receive blessings.) Think further, what else? What should the emphasis be here? It is about the pursuits, ideals, and desires that people should let go of. In addition to people’s luxurious desires and the hopes they put toward their prospects and destiny, in the context of people’s real lives, in the necessary circumstances of human existence, what else is involved in the pursuits, ideals, and desires that people should let go of? What are some significant matters in life that can affect your faith in God and pursuit of the truth? (When people reach the age of marriage, they may be subject to the constraints of marriage. Also, when a person’s career conflicts with their faith in God, they may choose to pursue their own career. These are the two aspects that also need to be let go of.) Well said. Your faith in God during the past few years has given you results and an appreciation. You have correctly mentioned two significant aspects, marriage and career. These two major items are among the issues having to do with lifelong matters on the path of human life. Marriage is a significant matter for everyone, and a person’s career is also a major concern that is inescapable and unavoidable. Are there any other major matters besides these two? (There is also the aspect of dealing with family, parents and children. When these matters conflict with faith in God and the pursuit of the truth, it becomes difficult for people to let go.) When you create an outline, you shouldn’t use such long sentences. Earlier, we mentioned marriage and career. So, what should this topic be called? (Family.) That’s right, family is also a major aspect. Does this involve every individual? (Yes.) It involves every individual, and it is specific and representative enough. Marriage, family, and career are all major topics that involve the main theme of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. There are a total of four major topics related to letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. You have correctly identified three of them, which is great. It seems that this topic requires detailed fellowshipping, it is a topic that is already present in your minds, and it is rather closely related to your lives or to your stature and experience. There is one more topic, which is actually quite simple. What is it? It is a person’s interests and hobbies. Isn’t that simple? (Yes.) Why do I say a person’s interests and hobbies? Take a closer look at the topic and see if interests and hobbies are related to the people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires that we need to discuss. (Yes.) Is marriage related to them? (Yes.) Is family related to them? (Yes.) Is career related to them? It is too. Each of these four aspects is related to a person’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. Each aspect involves imaginings and specific requirements about it deep within their heart, and the things one wishes to obtain in their flesh and feelings. Each aspect has specific elements and concrete pursuits, and it also involves the effort a person puts in and the price they pay for them. Each aspect involves and influences a person’s thoughts and views throughout their life and can affect their pursuit of correct goals. Of course, it also impacts how one views people and things and how they conduct themselves and act. If I were to speak in general terms, you might find it unclear and difficult to understand. So let’s fellowship about each aspect one by one, examine them carefully, and you might gradually gain a clear understanding of the issues. Once they become clear, people may seek here the principles they should implement and abide by.

First, let’s talk about interests and hobbies. Interests and hobbies of course do not involve what people occasionally do for fun, or their temporary pastimes or study interests—they have nothing to do with temporary things. Here, interests and hobbies refer to the genuine longing and pursuit that reside in a person’s spiritual being and deep within their soul. They will even take action and make plans for these things, and more so they will make concrete efforts and strive to satisfy or further develop these interests and hobbies, or in order to do work that aligns with their own interests and hobbies. In this context, interests and hobbies imply that individuals have set goals and ideals, and have even paid a price, expended energy, or taken specific actions. For example, they have gone and studied relevant knowledge for the sake of their interests and hobbies, spending the majority of their daily lives on the study of this knowledge, and obtaining practical experience in and hands-on appreciation for it. For instance, some people have the specific interest and hobby of painting, and these paintings aren’t as simple as just drawing portraits or landscapes. It goes beyond such simple interests and hobbies. They study various techniques of painting, such as sketching, landscapes, and portraits, and some even study oil and ink painting. Their reason for studying like this does not solely arise from their interests and hobbies, but rather from the ideals they have developed and established, and the desires they possess, because of their interest in painting. They even wish to dedicate their entire life’s energy to painting, become accomplished painters, and pursue painting as a profession. Before engaging in this profession, extensive preparation and planning are necessary, for example, attending specialized schools for further education and training, studying various aspects of painting, conducting on-site sketches, seeking guidance from experts and master artists, and participating in competitions, among other things. All these activities revolve around their pursuits, ideals, and desires. Of course, all these pursuits, ideals, and desires are based on their interests and hobbies. It is due to these interests and hobbies that they have developed their life’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. Some people have a strong passion for studying history, including ancient and modern, domestic and foreign history. As their interest grows stronger, they begin to see themselves as individuals with a talent in this field, and they feel compelled to pursue a career related to it. They continue to learn and further their education. During this process, of course, their pursuits, ideals, and desires continue to take shape and solidify, and they ultimately aspire to become historians. Before becoming a historian, most of their time and energy revolves around this interest and hobby. There are also some people who have a particular interest in economics, and enjoy working with numbers and studying things related to the field of economics. They hope one day to become outstanding or successful figures in the finance industry. In short, they also develop a pursuit based on their interest and hobby, and develop ideals and desires related to that interest and hobby. At the same time, they also invest their time, take action, pay the price, and expend energy to learn, research, further their education, and acquire comprehensive knowledge related to their interests and hobbies. Others have a passion for the arts, such as performing arts, dance, singing, or directing. After developing such interests and hobbies, under the impetus of these interests and hobbies, their ideals and desires gradually take shape and solidify. As their ideals and desires gradually become their life goals, they also dedicate their efforts, labor, and actions toward pursuing those goals. Some people are fond of working in the field of education. They study various aspects of education, such as psychology and other relevant knowledge, to pursue a career related to their interests and hobbies. Some people enjoy design, engineering, technology, electronics, or researching insects, microorganisms, and various animal behaviors, survival patterns, origins, and more. Some people enjoy media work and aspire to be employed by the media industry as hosts, anchors, reporters, and so on. Driven by their diverse interests and hobbies, people continue learning and exploring in-depth, and gradually gain understanding. Their pursuits, ideals, and desires deepen in their hearts and continue to take shape. Of course, during the process of their pursuits, ideals, and desires gradually taking shape, individuals also strive and move forward toward their ideals and desires. Every specific action they take invests their energy, time, youth, and even emotions and efforts into these things.

Regardless of which field or industry one’s interests and hobbies are in, no matter the category they involve, once they ignite a pursuit and establish corresponding ideals and desires, their life goals and direction also become fixed. When one’s ideals and desires become their life goals, their future path in this world is basically set. Why do I say it is set? What is the issue being addressed here? It is that once you have determined the ideals and desires arising from your interests and hobbies, you must also strive and struggle in that direction, even to the point of having an unwavering and resolute spirit and mindset, willing to pay a lifetime’s worth of energy, time, and price. Your life, destiny, prospects, and even your ultimate destination will inevitably be influenced by, if not tied up with, the life goals you have already established. What is the main point I want to emphasize here? Once a person establishes their pursuits, ideals, and desires based on a particular interest or hobby, they will no longer remain idle and do nothing. Because of specific interests and hobbies, concrete actions begin to take shape. Simultaneously, under the guidance of these specific actions, you will establish your ideals and desires. From then on, your heart will not stop, and your feet won’t stand still. You are destined to live your life for your ideals and desires. You will never simply settle for acquiring a little knowledge and calling it a day. Because you have such talents, and possess such potential and gifts, you will undoubtedly search for a position that suits you, or you will make relentless efforts to soar high and become extraordinary in this world and in the midst of the crowd, without any regrets. You will pursue your ideals and desires with a firm belief in victory, and even be willing to pay any price, and face any difficulties, dangers, and suffering in order to achieve them. Why are people able to do this? Why, after developing ideals and desires based on their interests and hobbies, can they behave in such a way? (They do it to realize their ideals, to pursue higher things, and to be a cut above the rest. Consequently, they do not retreat in the face of any difficulty but continue to pursue their ideals and desires.) There is an innate instinct in people. If they never know what their strengths are, what their interests and hobbies are, they feel that they don’t have a place, are unable to realize their own value, and have a sense of worthlessness. They are unable to demonstrate their value. However, once a person discovers their interests and hobbies, they will turn them into a bridge or a springboard to realize their self-worth. They are willing to pay the price to pursue their ideals, to live a more valuable life, to become a useful individual, to stand out in the crowd and be seen, to be admired and validated, and to become an extraordinary person. In this way, they can live a fulfilling life, have a successful career in this world, and have their ideals and desires fulfilled, thus living a valuable life. Looking around at the bustling crowds of people, there are only a few who are as naturally gifted as themselves, who have set lofty ideals and desires, and who ultimately have achieved these things through relentless efforts. They have built a career doing what they love, attained the fame, profit, and prestige they desired, demonstrated their value, and realized their self-worth. This is the pursuit of people. Each person, driven by their unique interests and hobbies, has their own pursuits, ideals, and desires. Of course, after setting their own pursuits, ideals, and desires, they may not be able to achieve these ideals and desires. However, once individuals establish their ideals and desires, once they have these pursuits, they will certainly not allow themselves to remain ordinary. As the saying goes, everyone likes to strut their stuff, they want others to think they are unique. No one is willing to be an ordinary person who says, “This is how my life will be. I could be a cattle herder, a farmer, an ordinary bricklayer, or a janitor. I could even be a delivery person or a takeout driver.” No one has that kind of ideal. Suppose you say, “Is it a kind of ideal to be a happy delivery person?” Everyone will respond, “No, that’s not an ideal at all! Becoming the owner of a delivery company, a world-renowned boss, that’s an ideal and a desire!” No one willingly accepts their role as an ordinary person. Once a person gets even the slightest whiff of an interest or hobby, if there is a one-in-a-million chance of becoming a prominent figure in society or achieving modest success, they will not give up. They will put in 120 percent and pay any price for it, right? (Yes.) People never give up.

What is the nature of the ideals and desires that arise from people’s interests and hobbies? We are not exposing people’s interests and hobbies here, so what are we actually exposing and dissecting? Isn’t it the pursuits, ideals, and desires that arise from certain interests and hobbies people have? (Yes.) Aren’t we exposing the various behaviors people exhibit and the paths they take as a result of their pursuits, ideals, and desires? Isn’t this the essence we are exposing? (Yes.) So what are the paths that people take for the sake of their pursuits, ideals, and desires? What kind of path do the pursuits, ideals, and desires of any person lead them on? What kind of goals do they achieve? While people are realizing their pursuits, ideals, and desires, apart from investing their energy and time, as well as enduring more pain and all kinds of physical labor, fatigue, stress, and other similar hardships, most importantly, what is the path that they take? That is, while people are pursuing the realization of their own ideals and desires, what is the path they must take in order to achieve the realization of their pursuits, ideals, and desires? First and foremost, in order for people to realize their own pursuits, ideals, and desires in this world, what should they study as their first step? (All kinds of knowledge.) That’s right, they should learn and equip themselves with all kinds of knowledge. The more abundant, comprehensive, and profound their knowledge is, the closer they will be to their pursuits, ideals, and desires. The more comprehensive, abundant, and profound their knowledge is, the more likely they are to be recognized as experienced individuals, and the higher status they will enjoy in society. At the same time, the more abundant, profound, and comprehensive their knowledge is, this means they will need to invest more time and energy. This is spoken from the perspective of physical energy. Furthermore, after acquiring a foundation of knowledge, people are one step closer to the realization of their pursuits, ideals, and desires. Having sufficient knowledge is only the first step, the bottom foundation. After this, people need to immerse themselves in society, in the masses, in the vast dyeing vat or one might say meat grinder of the industry related to their ideals and desires, contending, struggling, and competing with forces on all sides, and participating in various contests, competitions, and seminars. While spending a great deal of energy, people also need to adapt to different situations and environments in order to achieve the realization of their pursuits, ideals, and desires. At the same time, in this vast dyeing vat, people must rely on their knowledge, and more so what they have learned from the masses, as well as the methods, philosophy, and rules of survival they already possess, in order to adapt to the masses and to society’s mechanisms and rules of the game. Through this process, people gradually get closer to the goals of their pursuits, ideals, and desires. After surviving so many ordeals, so many twists and turns, what is the ultimate outcome? As the winners, they take the crown, and the losers get nothing. In the end, with this result they achieve their life’s pursuits, ideals, and desires, realizing their life goals and gaining a firm footing in their industry. By that time, people have usually already arrived at middle or old age, and some may even be in their late years, with failing eyesight, balding heads, loss of hearing, and loose teeth. At that age, although they have achieved their ideals and desires, they have also done many harmful things. They have thrown their entire lives into this. Throughout their lives, in order to realize their ideals and desires they have said many things that went against their will, committed many acts that violated ethics and conscience and crossed certain boundaries, and even engaged in many unconscionable and immoral acts. They have deceived others and been deceived more than a few times, they have defeated others and been defeated as well. They are fortunate enough to have survived and to have gained a foothold, and their lives seem perfect, as if they have realized their self-worth and have not lived in vain. They have struggled their whole lives for their ideals and desires, and seem to have lived a valuable and meaningful life. Yet they fail to see through the path of self-comportment they should have taken, they lack any kind of motto for their life, and have struggled their entire lives solely for the sake of realizing their ideals and desires, battling against humanity, society, and even themselves. They have lost the conscience, boundaries, and principles needed for self-comportment. Although their ideals and desires have been realized, and after numerous twists and turns the life goals they set at each stage have been achieved, on the inside they do not feel at ease or fulfilled. The pursuits, ideals, and desires they have established for the sake of their own interests and hobbies, to put it plainly, ultimately lead them to a path of pursuing fame and profit. Although they may feel that, after attaining their ultimate goals, they have realized their self-worth, earned a sense of presence, and gained and possessed both fame and profit, they remain ignorant about the future, their destination, and the value of human existence that people should truly understand. As they reach old age, they increasingly feel that everything they ever pursued is terribly elusive and hollow. This hollowness and elusiveness bring with them waves of emptiness and apprehension. It is only in old age that people realize that the ideals and desires they pursued have only served to satisfy their vanity and provide temporary fame and profit, which are nothing more than a fleeting consolation. Such consolation quickly turns into a kind of unease and apprehension, because as people reach old age, they are more prone to contemplate their future, what will become of them, and what will happen to them after death, and when all these questions remain unanswered, when they lack any correct thoughts and viewpoints on these matters, people will begin to feel apprehensive and uneasy. This unease and apprehension persist with them until they close their eyes and pass away. The joy that comes from fame and profit quickly disappears from the human heart, and the more one even attempts to grasp and hold on to it, the more easily it fades away, and this sense of joy more easily transforms into unease and fear. Consequently, regardless of the ideals and desires that arise from people’s various interests and hobbies, they ultimately lead to a path of pursuing fame and profit, and the ultimate goal achieved, what people gain, is nothing more than fame and profit. This fame and profit only provide temporary consolation and the momentary satisfaction of fleshly vanity. When people do not understand the truth, they feel that their pursuits, ideals, and desires are real, make them feel grounded, that they are better able to find their place in the world, better able to control the direction of and maintain a grasp on their lives, to be in charge of their own destiny. However, when their ideals and desires are realized, people finally experience an awakening. What is the cause of this awakening? It is the realization that what they have devoted their life’s energy to is an empty thing that cannot be seized by the hand or felt by the heart. The more they try to seize and hold onto it, the more it slips away, leaving them with a heightened sense of loss and emptiness, and of course, greater feelings of fear and regret. Because people have interests and hobbies, they develop ideals and desires, and these ideals and desires create an illusion that makes people believe they have the ability to control their lives, to steer their life’s path, and to determine their mode and objectives of existence. At the root of this illusion is the fact that people do not pursue the truth, they have no love for the truth, and of course one might say that it is brought about by people not understanding the truth. When people do not understand the truth, they often instinctively pursue things that can make their flesh or their spirit feel satisfied. Regardless of how distant from them these things may be, as long as they feel they can attain and lay hold on them, they are willing to pay the price, even spending a lifetime of energy and time. Because people do not understand the truth, they easily mistake their interests and hobbies as the cornerstone or as a kind of qualification or capital for pursuing their life goals, and for this, they are willing to pay any price. You don’t realize that once you pay this price, once you embark on this path, you are destined to walk a path controlled by Satan and by the world’s trends and rules of the game. At the same time, you are destined to involuntarily immerse yourself in society’s dyeing vat, in society’s meat grinder. No matter what color it dyes you, no matter what it grinds you into, no matter how distorted your humanity becomes, you console yourself, saying, “In order to realize my ideals and desires, and for the sake of my future, I must endure!” You also constantly tell yourself, “I must adapt to this society, no matter what color I am dyed, I must accept and adapt to it.” While you are adapting to all these different environments, you are also adapting to the different colors you are being dyed, and constantly accepting different versions of yourself with different styles and different characters. In this way, people unknowingly become more and more numb, more and more without a sense of shame, and their conscience and reason are more and more unable to guide or control their thoughts, desires, and choices. In the end, to varying degrees, most people achieve their ideals and desires while pursuing them. Of course, a few individuals, no matter how they pursue, or how much effort and hardship they go through, still are unable to realize their ideals and desires. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, what do humans gain? Those who succeed gain fame and profit, while those who fail may be unable to gain this fame and profit, but what they receive is the same as the successful people—they receive the various harms and negative thoughts imbued by Satan, by this evil humanity, and by the entire social mechanism and society’s evil influence. Otherwise, why would people frequently use phrases like: “been around the block,” “a conniving old fox,” “a seasoned and wily snake,” or “weathered many storms,” and so on? It is because as you pursue your ideals and desires, you also “learn” a lot in this vast dyeing vat and this meat grinder of society. You “learn” things that don’t exist in your physical instincts—the term “learn” here should be in quotation marks. What does “learn” refer to? It means society, Satan, and evil mankind indoctrinating you with various thoughts that defy normal human conscience and reason, making you live with less and less conscience and reason, increasingly devoid of shame, and increasingly despise normal people and those who walk the right path. At the same time, what is the worst result? Not only will you increasingly look down upon people with normal humanity, conscience, and reason, but at the same time you will also envy and admire the despicable acts of those who betray their conscience and morality, and envy the rich material or economic benefits they gain from their despicable acts and bad behavior. Isn’t this the consequence? (Yes.) This is a more terrifying consequence, that is, as people pursue the realization of their ideals and desires, their countenance becomes increasingly grim and terrifying, their conscience and reason are gradually lost, and their moral outlook, life outlook, and behavior become more and more wicked, ugly, despicable, and sordid.

From the moment a person develops interests and hobbies to realizing their ideals and desires, during this process, the path they walk and the activities they engage in—that is, their whole current life situation—is a life situation, one might say, that is in the grip of society and evil trends. In fact, it is also a process during which people willingly accept the manipulation, trampling, and exploitation of Satan while pursuing the realization of their ideals and desires. It is of course also a process during which Satan corrupts people further and more specifically in everything. In every situation you encounter, Satan continuously instills in you the idea that in order to achieve your goals, you must use any means necessary, abandoning things that are positive and that normal humanity ought to uphold, such as human dignity, personal integrity, moral boundaries, one’s conscience, and the criteria for self-comportment. As it misleads you into gradually relinquishing these, it also challenges your conscience, reason, and moral boundaries, as well as the little bit of shame you have left. After it finishes challenging these, it leads you to continually make compromises in the midst of the misleading, temptation, control, and trampling of evil trends. In the process of making constant compromise, you choose to adopt the thoughts and viewpoints instilled by Satan concerning how to view people and things and how to comport oneself and act, and you actively practice the thoughts and viewpoints Satan has imparted to you as well as the ways and methods for how to comport oneself and act. You reluctantly and involuntarily engage in all of this, but at the same time, in order to achieve your ideals and desires, you willingly and actively do it all with a very accommodating attitude. In short, during this process, people remain passive, but from another perspective, they are actively conforming to Satan’s control and corruption. While pursuing the realization of their ideals and desires, they live all the time in the vast dyeing vat of society’s evil trends, in their grip. Similarly, they live in a complex and contradictory mindset of being both willing and unwilling, and in a real environment that is both complex and contradictory. Through this process, as people draw closer to the ideals, desires, and life goals they’ve been pursuing, they become less and less like a human being, their conscience grows increasingly numb, and their reason diminishes. However, deep down people believe that they have ideals and desires, some even say that their ideals and desires are their convictions, that having convictions in their hearts means that they have beliefs, and that one should have beliefs in life. They believe that they are normal human beings because they have beliefs, and that they should therefore continue their pursuits according to their former methods and laws of survival, and that as long as the results of this are good, and it brings them closer to their life ideals and goals, then any price they pay for this is worth it, even if it means losing everything. Consequently, within the contradictory mindset of being both willing and unwilling, people will continue to accept Satan’s control, its thoughts, and its manipulation and trickery. Even when people are well aware that they have been corrupted by society and evil trends, in these kinds of circumstances, they will still keep up a relentless pursuit in order to realize their ideals and achieve their life goals. They may even congratulate themselves on the fact that they are able to resort to any means necessary and have never given up, rejoicing in their ability to persist till now. Looking at the behaviors people exhibit during the pursuit of their ideals and desires, as well as the paths they take and their various transformations, what manner of path is that of pursuing the realization of people’s ideals and desires? (It is a path leading to destruction.) It is a path without return, where the further people walk down it, the further they drift away from God. One might also say that it is a path of destruction. The life goals, to which the ideals and desires that people have established lead, have Satan waiting for them there. And along the way to these life goals, that which accompanies and follows them isn’t the truth, it isn’t God’s words. Then who is it? (It is Satan, along with its evil trends and various philosophies for worldly dealings.) They are accompanied by Satan, by its control, corruption, trickery, and repeated temptations. This is a path of no return, a path of destruction, is it not? (It is.) Because while people pursue their ideals and desires, what they are actually pursuing is not the actualization of their ideals and desires as the goal, rather they use the pursuit of these things as their driving force and foundation to acquire fame and profit. That is the essence and the truth of the matter. This path only makes people yearn more and more for fame and profit, for the world’s evil trends. This path only leads people to sink deeper and deeper, making them more and more depraved, and more devoid of rationality and bereft of conscience, distancing them away from positive things. At the same time, it leads them further away from the more practical ways of living and life goals that someone with normal humanity should have. It can only make people’s corrupt dispositions become more deeply rooted, and it can only distance them further from the sovereignty and orchestration of God. Of course, it also makes it increasingly difficult for people to discern between positive and negative things. This is a fact. So, how can we resolve these problems? Once we understand the essence of human pursuits, ideals, and desires, what should we fellowship about? It should be about how to let go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires, isn’t that right? (Yes.)

We were fellowshipping just now about how pursuing the realization of one’s own ideals and desires is a path of no return, a road leading to destruction—then should people abandon such a way of life? (Yes.) They should let go of and change the way they live: It is neither a correct approach nor a right path in life. Since it is not correct, one should let go of it, change the way they live and adopt a correct approach to life and existence. Of course, they should adopt a correct approach in how they treat people’s interests and hobbies, and how they treat people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. People’s talents and gifts, along with these interests and hobbies, let them establish their pursuits, ideals, and desires, and at the same time, they also let them develop their goals to pursue. These goals are not right, and will lead people on a path of no return, taking them further away from God and eventually bringing them to destruction. Since they are not right, what is the right course of action? Let’s first take a look at whether it is right for people to have interests and hobbies, that is to say, can their interests and hobbies be listed under the category of negative things? (No, they cannot.) People’s interests and hobbies are not inherently wrong, and of course one certainly cannot say that they are negative things. They should not be condemned or criticized. It is a part of normal humanity for people to have interests, hobbies, and talents in certain areas—every person has them. Some people like dancing, some enjoy singing, drawing, performing, mechanics, economics, engineering, medicine, agriculture, sailing, or certain sports, others like studying geography, geology, or aviation, and, of course, still others might enjoy the study of even more obscure subjects. Regardless of a person’s interests and hobbies, they are all a part of humanity and of normal human life. They should not be vilified as negative things, neither should they be criticized, and banned even less. That is, any interest and hobby you may have is legitimate. Since any interest or hobby is legitimate and should be allowed to exist, how should the ideals and desires related to them be treated? For example, some people enjoy music. They say, “I want to become a musician or a conductor,” then disregard everything else to go study and further themselves in music, setting their life’s goals and direction on occupying the seat of a musician. Is this the right thing to do? (It’s not the right thing to do.) If you don’t believe in God, if you’re a part of the world and spend your life realizing the ideals and desires established by your own interests and hobbies, we have nothing to say about that. Now, as a believer in God, if you have such interests and hobbies and want to dedicate your whole life, paying the price of a lifetime to realize the ideals and desires established by your own interests and hobbies, is this path good or bad? Is it worth promoting? (It’s not worth promoting.) Let’s not talk just yet about whether or not it’s worth promoting; everything ought to be worked through solemnly, so how do you do that in order to determine whether this matter is right or wrong? You need to consider whether the pursuits, ideals, and desires you’ve established have any connection to God’s teachings and His salvation and expectations for you, to God’s intention to save mankind, to your mission, and to your duty, whether they will help you complete your mission and fulfill your duty more effectively, or whether they will increase your chances of being saved and help you achieve the satisfaction of God’s intentions. As an ordinary person, your pursuit of ideals and desires is your right, but as you realize your own ideals and desires and pursue this path, will they lead you down the path of salvation? Will they lead you down the path of fearing God and shunning evil? Will they ultimately lead you to the result of absolute submission to and worship of God? (They will not.) That’s for sure. Since they will not, then as a believer in God, are the ideals and desires established because of your interests, your hobbies, and even your talents and gifts, positive or negative? Should you have them or not? (They are negative; we shouldn’t have them.) You shouldn’t have them. So, what does the nature of a person’s ideals and desires become? Do they become positive or negative things? Do they become a right you should have or something you shouldn’t have? (They become negative, something I shouldn’t have.) They become something you shouldn’t have. Some people say, “Then if I shouldn’t have them, it must mean You’re taking away my rights!” I’m not taking away your rights; I’m talking about what kind of path people should take and how to pursue the truth. I’m not taking away your rights; the freedom of choice is yours, you are allowed to choose. But as for what is the nature of this matter and how it should be judged, we have a basis for our arguments and are not speaking at random. If you take God’s words as your basis and speak from the perspective of the truth, then a person’s ideals and desires are not positive things. Of course, to be more precise, if as a believer in God you wish to pursue the truth and attain salvation, if you wish to pursue the truth and achieve fearing God, shunning evil, and submitting to God, then you shouldn’t have the same ideals and desires as worldly people do. In other words, if you want to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you should let go of your own pursuits, ideals, and desires. To put it differently, if you want to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you shouldn’t pursue your own ideals and desires, and you especially shouldn’t use the pursuit of these ideals and desires for the purpose of garnering fame and profit. Can it be put this way? (Yes.) It’s all clear now. As a believer in God, since you are willing to pursue the truth and wish to attain salvation, you should then let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires, you should abandon this path, that is the path of seeking fame and profit, and let go of these ideals and desires. You should not choose the realization of your ideals and desires as your life’s goal; instead, it should be to pursue the truth and attain salvation.

Some people ask, “Since I can’t realize my pursuits, ideals, and desires, and I’ve let them all go, what should I do about my interests and hobbies?” That is your own business. Though you may have interests and hobbies, as long as they do not disturb your normal pursuit, do not interfere with performing your duty and completing your mission, and do not affect your life goals or the path you are taking, then you can keep these interests and hobbies. Of course, it can also be understood like this: Since these interests and hobbies are a part of your humanity, then one might also say that they are given to you by God. All aspects, such as a person’s appearance, family, background, and survival habitat, have been predestined by God. Therefore, we cannot deny that the interests and hobbies you have are also given by God. This fact cannot be denied, it is certain. For instance, some people are skilled in languages, in drawing, in music, in distinguishing sounds, colors, etc. Regardless of whether these things are your special skills or interests and hobbies, one might say that they are all a part of humanity. Why does God give people certain interests and hobbies? It is to make your human life a bit more rich and colorful, so that your life may be accompanied by certain elements of entertainment and leisure without affecting you walking the right path in life, making your life less dry, less dull and monotonous. For example, when it is time to sing hymns at gatherings, someone who is able to perform a musical instrument can accompany the singing by playing the piano or guitar. If no one could perform, then everyone would be deprived of this delight. If there is someone to provide an accompaniment, then the result will be much better than singing without accompaniment, and everyone will enjoy it. At the same time, it broadens horizons, enriches experiences, life gains more substance, people feel that life is more beautiful, and their moods grow more cheerful. This is beneficial to both their normal humanity and the path they take in belief in God. For instance, if you enjoy drawing, then when life for the brothers and sisters has grown monotonous, you can make humorous drawings, and depict certain people’s negative expressions and faces, and negative remarks, as witty and humorous cartoons, then compile them into a little booklet and share it with everyone, including those Negative Nancies. When they see it and say, “Yikes, is this a drawing of me?” they’ll chuckle and feel happy, and they won’t be negative anymore. Isn’t this a good thing? It didn’t take too much effort, yet it helped them come out of their negativity rather easily. In one’s free time, drawing, playing musical instruments, discussing art, or exploring acting and performing various characters, including different kinds of negative people, different kinds of arrogant individuals, and the various manifestations of antichrists who act arbitrarily, can help people improve their discernment and broaden their horizons. Isn’t this a good thing? How are these interests and hobbies not useful? They are beneficial to people. However, if you give rise to ideals and desires because of your interests and hobbies, and they have the effect of steering you toward a path of no return, then they are not good for you. But if you apply your interests and hobbies to your life in a way that is insightful to your humanity, makes your life more abundant and colorful, and makes you more witty and cheerful, living more well-nourished, free, and liberated, then your interests and hobbies will have a positive effect, benefiting everyone and providing you with edification, while not affecting the performance of your duty and completion of your mission. Of course, to some extent they will assist you in fulfilling your duty. When you are feeling down or discouraged, singing a song, playing an instrument, or playing lively and rhythmic music can uplift your mood, enabling you to come before God in prayer. You will no longer harbor negativity, complain, or want to quit. At the same time, you will discover your weaknesses and defects, realizing that you are too fragile and unable to withstand tempering or setbacks. Playing an instrument will help you improve your mood; this is called knowing how to live. Haven’t these interests and hobbies had a positive effect? (Yes.) Interests and hobbies can be viewed as tools that, when used properly, can change your mood, allowing you to live a more normal and rational life. To some extent, they can expedite or facilitate your entry into the truth reality and provide an additional tool to help you perform your duties. Of course, some people’s humanity is bad and evil; they’re always ambitious, with the disposition of an antichrist, or they are antichrists. For them, having interests and hobbies can be troublesome, as they might use them as a capital and think no end of themselves, which undoubtedly feeds their aggression and audacity in doing evil deeds. Therefore, interests and hobbies themselves are not inherently bad or negative things. Good and normal people use them for positive things, while bad, evil, and negative individuals use them to do evil and bad deeds. So, interests and hobbies can either make you better or worse, isn’t that the case? (Yes.) Let’s return to the theme of how to let go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. After understanding the essence of interests and hobbies, people should not view someone’s interests and hobbies through colored glasses, and they should certainly not reject people with any interests or hobbies. Interests and hobbies are a part of normal humanity, and people should treat them correctly. Unless your interests and hobbies start affecting others’ lives or causing discomfort to others, or if you preserve your interests and hobbies at the expense of affecting or disturbing others, then this is inappropriate. Apart from this, your interests and hobbies are legitimate, and it is hoped that people can treat them properly and make reasonable use and employment of them. Of course, the best and most correct way to use and employ them is to let your interests and hobbies have the greatest impact on the work you do and the duties you perform, and employ them to the fullest extent without letting them go to waste. Some people say, “My interests and hobbies can play a significant role in doing my duties, but I feel that my knowledge in this area is not sufficient and comprehensive enough right now. I want to further myself and carry out a better and more systematic study of subjects related to this area, then apply it to my duties. Can I do that?” Yes, you can. God’s house repeatedly encourages you to keep learning. Knowledge is a tool, and if it doesn’t contain anything that corrodes or erodes one’s thoughts, you can study and deepen your understanding of it. You can use it as a positive and beneficial tool to perform your duties, allowing it to be effective and have an impact. Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t this an appropriate approach? (Yes.) Of course, this method of practice is also a proper way to handle your interests and hobbies, and at the same time it is also a correct way to let go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. You are using and employing your interests and hobbies correctly, not using them to achieve personal goals or to achieve the goal of pursuing the satisfaction of personal ambitions and cravings. This, then, is legitimate and an accurate way of practice, and of course it is also a correct and positive way of practice. Moreover, it also serves as a concrete path of how to let go of pursuits, ideals, and desires.

We have clarified the issue of how to treat interests and hobbies correctly; now, what does truly letting go refer to? We are not criticizing or condemning interests and hobbies, rather we are dissecting the pursuits, ideals, and desires that people establish with interests and hobbies as their foundation and capital. Consequently, it is these pursuits, ideals, and desires that must be truly let go. We fellowshipped earlier about letting your interests and hobbies play a positive role and produce a positive effect—this is an active method of practice for letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires. In another respect, people should not pursue their own ideals and desires because they have interests and hobbies—this is a more practical form of letting go. In other words, one aspect is to utilize your interests and hobbies well, while another is that you shouldn’t pursue ideals and desires established because of your own interests and hobbies, that is, don’t pursue the life goals you have because of your interests and hobbies. So how might you determine that you are employing interests and hobbies normally, and not pursuing ideals and desires? If you have an interest or hobby, and you apply it correctly to your work, to the performance of your duty, and to your own daily life, if the goal of your pursuit is not to showcase yourself or blow your own trumpet, certainly not to increase your own popularity or gain the esteem, commendation, and admiration of others, and of course more especially not to make people have a place in their hearts for you because of your interests and hobbies, and thereby establish and follow you, then you have carried out a positive, proper, appropriate, and rational application of your interests and hobbies, which aligns with normal humanity and accords with God’s intentions, and you are utilizing them according to the truth principles. But if, while utilizing or applying your interests and hobbies, you force others to admire and accept you, with the especially strong purpose of showcasing yourself, if you unscrupulously, shamelessly, and forcefully get others to listen to and accept you, satisfying the vanity you get from showcasing your interests and hobbies, regardless of how others feel, ultimately using your interests and hobbies as capital to control others, gain a place in their hearts, and establish prestige among people, and if ultimately you achieve fame and profit as a result of your own interests and hobbies, then this is neither a legitimate use of interests and hobbies, nor a normal employment of your interests and hobbies. Such actions should be condemned, they should be discerned and rejected by others, and of course they should also be let go of by people. When you use opportunities of performing your duties, or you give yourself the pretext of being a leader, a person in charge, or someone with exceptional talent, in order to show others that you have certain talents and skills, and show them that your interests and hobbies are above theirs, this way of doing things is inappropriate. It involves using the employment of your interests and hobbies as a pretext to establish prestige among people and satisfy your own ambitions and desires. To put it precisely, this process or course of action amounts to exploiting your interests and hobbies and people’s admiration for them to realize your pursuits, ideals, and desires. This is what you should let go of. Some people say, “After hearing this, I still don’t know how to let go.” In reality, is letting go easy? When you possess certain unique interests and hobbies, if you do nothing, these interests and hobbies stay within your humanity and don’t have anything to do with what path you take. However, once you are constantly showcasing your interests and hobbies, attempting to win fame among people or increase your popularity, make yourself known to more people, and attract more attention, this process and this course of action are not simple ways of doing things. When all these actions and behaviors are combined, they form the path a person takes. So, what is this path? It is an effort to pursue the realization of one’s ideals and desires within God’s house, to pursue the admiration of others, and to achieve the satisfaction of their own ambitions and desires. Once you start this kind of pursuit, the path you are on becomes a path of no return, a path leading to destruction. Shouldn’t you quickly turn around, reverse these actions, and let go of these actions, ambitions and desires? Some may say, “I still don’t know how to let go.” Then, don’t do it. What does “don’t do it” mean? It means you should keep your interests and hobbies hidden and try your best not to showcase them. Some may ask, “But if doing my duties requires it, should I show them?” When you should, when you must show them, you should do so—that’s the right time for it. However, if you are currently on a path of pursuing your ideals and desires, then don’t reveal them. When you feel the urge to show them off, you should pray to God, make a firm resolution, restrain these desires, and at the same time accept God’s scrutiny and discipline, control your heart and confine your ambitions and desires to their cradle, making them disappear, and never letting them become a reality—is this good? (Yes.) Is it easy to do? It isn’t easy, is it? Who has a bit of talent but doesn’t want to show it off? Don’t even mention those who have some special skill. Some people can cook and prepare meals, and they want to show off wherever they go, even calling themselves “Tofu Beauty” or “Noodle Queen.” Are these minor skills worth showcasing? If they were to possess exceptional gifts, how excessive would their arrogance become? They would undoubtedly end up on a path of no return. Of course, apart from people taking the wrong path, or a path of no return, due to their interests and hobbies, the majority of them often have active thoughts because of their interests and hobbies in the process of believing in God. While believing in God and doing their duties, in their minds they are constantly turning over the ideals and desires they established, or they may continuously remind themselves of their unrealized ideals and desires, constantly telling themselves in their hearts that they still have these ideals and desires that have never been realized. Even though they have never paid any specific price or adopted any specific practice toward these things, these ideals and desires have taken root deep in their hearts, and they have never let them go.

Earlier, we fellowshipped about and dissected that the pursuit of realizing ideals and desires, as well as following the path of this world, is a path of no return, a road that leads to destruction. This and the pursuit of the truth are like two parallel lines, there will never be a point where these lines intersect, and of course they too will never intersect with each other. If you believe in God and wish to pursue the truth and attain salvation, then you must completely let go of any ideals and desires you previously held in your heart. Do not preserve or cherish them; they should be discarded. Pursuing the realization of your ideals and desires and pursuing the truth are like paths of oil and water. If you have ideals and desires and wish to realize them, you will be unable to pursue the truth. If, through an understanding of the truth and so many years of experience, you wish to set your mind on pursuing the truth in a grounded manner, then you should abandon your past ideals and desires, removing them completely from your consciousness or the depths of your soul. If you wish to pursue the truth, then your ideals and desires will never come to fruition. Instead, they will disrupt your pursuit of the truth and your entry into the truth reality, while dragging you down and making your path to pursue the truth arduous and challenging. Since you know you will be unable to realize your ideals and desires, it is better to decisively cut ties with them, and let them go completely, don’t think about them again, and don’t hold onto any illusions about them. If you say, “I am still not very interested in the path of pursuing the truth and attaining salvation. I still don’t know whether I can pursue the truth, whether I am a pursuer of the truth. I am still unclear about this path of attaining salvation. On the contrary, I have a very concrete path toward pursuing worldly ideals and desires, and a very concrete plan and strategy.” If this is the case, then you can let go of the path of pursuing the truth and doing your duties to go realize your ideals and desires. Of course, if you are unsure whether to pursue your own ideals and desires or the truth, I advise you to remain calm for a period of time. Perhaps stay another one or two years in the house of God: The more you eat and drink God’s words, the more environments you experience, the more your perspective and approach to how you view things mature, your mood and state will improve, which will undoubtedly be an immense blessing for you. Perhaps after a couple of years, you may come to understand certain truths, gaining a thorough insight into the world and humanity, then you will be able to completely let go of your ideals and desires and willingly follow God for the rest of your life, accepting His orchestrations. No matter how great the hardships you may face in God’s house, you will be able to persist in fulfilling your duties and completing your mission. And most importantly, you will have firmly resolved and decided to abandon your previous ideals and desires, allowing you to pursue the truth in a grounded manner without wavering. However, if you are unable to be certain now and wish to reassess in one or two years whether you can pursue the truth, God’s house will not force you, or say, “You are distracted and unsteady.” After a year or two, as you read more of God’s words, listen to more sermons, understand a bit of the truth, and your humanity matures, your perspective on how you view things, your outlook on life, and your worldview will change. By then, your choices will be somewhat more accurate than they are now, or, to use a phrase from the nonbelievers, by then you will know what you yourself need, which path you must take, and what kind of person you must be. This is one aspect. Suppose you genuinely have no interest in believing in God and only did so because your parents or co-workers presented the gospel to you, and you accepted out of saving face or politeness; you reluctantly attend gatherings and do your duties in God’s house, while thinking that the church brothers and sisters are not bad and, at the very least, they don’t bully people, and God’s house is a place of reason, where the truth holds authority, and where people are not subject to oppression or the bullying of others, and you feel that God’s house is better than the world of nonbelievers; but your ideals and desires have never been let go of or changed, and on the contrary, these previously held ideals and desires have been growing stronger and clearer in the depths of your heart, mind, and spirit; and as they become more pronounced, you find that, when it comes to faith in God, the truth being fellowshipped about, as well as the daily words, actions, and way of life, etc., are increasingly dull and dry; you feel uncomfortable, and pursuing the truth is out of the question, you have no interest whatsoever in pursuing the truth, and have no good opinions in your mind about walking the correct path in life, how to conduct oneself properly, or what constitutes positive things; if you are someone like this, then I tell you, hurry up and go pursue your own ideals and desires! There is a place for you in this world, a place amid the complex and chaotic currents of evil. You will undoubtedly realize your ideals and desires just as you had hoped and will obtain the things you wish for. God’s house is not suitable for you to stay, it is not your ideal place, and certainly, the path of pursuing the truth is not what you want to take, and it is especially not what you need. Take advantage right now, while your ideals and desires are taking shape, and while you are still young and still have the energy or resources to go strive in the world, hurry up and leave God’s house, go realize your ideals and desires. God’s house won’t hold you back. Don’t wait until the day when you lose hope of receiving blessings and you have nothing to say about your experiential testimony, when you haven’t finished fulfilling your duties properly and finally wake up at the age of fifty, sixty, seventy, or eighty, wishing to pursue the truth—then it will be too late. If you don’t wish to stay in God’s house, then you will abandon yourself to ruin. For people like you, there is no need to go against your will and let go of your pursuits, ideals, and desires. Because the premise I discussed of letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires is that you are a person who pursues the truth or although right now you have yet to start pursuing the truth, you have set your heart on becoming one, and you won’t leave God’s house no matter if you attain salvation or not, regardless of whether you live or die. I am addressing people like this. Of course, I should add a disclaimer: As I have been fellowshipping today about the topic of “letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires,” it is with the premise that people are willing to pursue the truth and attain salvation. It is specifically aimed at people who are willing to pursue the truth and attain salvation. Apart from them, those who are not concerned with the path, direction, willingness, or resolve of pursuing the truth and attaining salvation, need not listen to today’s topic. This is the disclaimer I have added; it is a necessary one, is it not? (Yes.) We grant people freedom, we don’t force anyone. Any truth principle, any teaching, provision, support, or help is given to people based on rationality and on the condition that they are willing. If you are unwilling to listen, you can cover up your ears and neither listen nor accept it, or you can also leave—both are acceptable. The fellowship of the truth in God’s house is not forced upon anyone to accept it. God grants people freedom and does not compel anyone. Tell Me, is this a good thing? (Yes.) Is there a need to force them? (No.) There is no need for force. The truth brings life, eternal life. If you are willing to receive this, and you accept and submit to it, then you will receive it. If you do not accept it, but reject and resist, then you will not attain it. Whether you can attain it or not, you must accept the consequences. Isn’t this the case? (Yes.)

The reason why we fellowship about the need to let go of certain things while pursuing the truth is because pursuing the truth and attaining salvation is similar to when people participate in a marathon. Contestants participating in a marathon don’t need extraordinary physical strength or exceptional skills, but they are required to possess certain endurance and perseverance, and they are required to have faith, as well as the determination to persevere. Of course, in the process of participating in a marathon, apart from these spiritual elements, people are also required to gradually let go of certain burdens in order to reach their destination more easily, more freely, or in a way that is more in line with their wishes. The marathon, as a sport, doesn’t care about the ranking of participants reaching their destination; rather, it cares about the performance of individuals over the course of the event, their perseverance, endurance, and everything they undergo in the process. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) When it comes to belief in God, pursuing the truth and ultimately attaining salvation is similar to a marathon; it requires a very long process, and in this process it also requires letting go of many things unrelated to the pursuit of the truth. These things are not just simply unrelated to the truth, but more importantly, they can obstruct your pursuit of the truth. Consequently, in the process of letting go of and resolving these things, one may inevitably experience some pain and need to abandon certain things and make correct choices. The pursuit of the truth requires people to let go of many things because these things diverge from the path of pursuing the truth and go against the correct life goals and direction toward which God guides people. Anything that goes against the truth and obstructs a person from pursuing the truth and taking the correct path in life is a negative thing, all for the sake of pursuing fame and profit, or to achieve such results as abundant property and money. This path of pursuing the realization of one’s own ideals and desires relies on people’s abilities, as well as their knowledge, their fallacious thoughts and viewpoints, and their various philosophies for worldly dealings, as well as their various methods, tricks, and schemes. The more one pursues the realization of their own ideals and desires, the further they drift away from the truth, from God’s words, and from the right path that God has pointed out for them. The so-called ideals and desires in one’s heart are actually empty things, they cannot teach you how to comport yourself, how to worship and understand God, or how to submit to God, to God’s will, and to the Sovereign, among other positive things like this. When you pursue your ideals and desires, you will not gain any of these positive and valuable things alike that align with the truth. Any life path oriented toward people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires has the same ultimate goal, essence, and nature—they all go against the truth. However, the path of pursuing the truth is different. It will correctly guide your life path—this is a somewhat broad manner of speaking. More specifically, it will expose your incorrect and distorted thoughts and viewpoints toward how you treat various people, events, and things. At the same time, it will inform you, guide you, supply and teach you correct and accurate thoughts and viewpoints. Of course, it will also tell you what manner of thoughts and viewpoints to have as you view people and things, comport yourself, and act. This path of pursuing the truth tells you how to comport yourself, how to live within the boundaries of normal humanity and comport yourself according to the truth principles. At the very least, you should not dip below the standard of conscience and reason—you should live like a human and as a human. Apart from this, this path informs you more specifically about the thoughts, viewpoints, perspectives, and stances you should have as you view every matter and do every thing. These correct thoughts, viewpoints, perspectives, and stances are at the same time the correct criteria and principles of self-comportment and action that one should uphold. When a person achieves or enters into the reality of viewing people and things, comporting oneself, and acting wholly according to God’s words, with the truth as their criterion, that person has become saved. Once a person is saved and gains the truth, their point of view toward things will completely transform, aligning perfectly with God’s words and in accordance with God. When this stage is reached, a person will no longer rebel against God, and God will no longer chastise or judge them, nor will He detest them. It is because this person is no longer an enemy of God, they no longer stand in opposition to God, and God has truly and rightfully become the Creator of His created beings. People have returned under God’s dominion, and God enjoys the worship, submission, and fear that people should offer to Him. Everything falls naturally into place. All things created by God are for humankind, and humankind, in turn, manages all things under God’s sovereignty. All things are under humankind’s management, everything follows the rules and laws set by God, progressing and continuing forward in an orderly manner. Humankind enjoys all things God has created, and all things exist in an orderly manner under the management of humankind. All things are for humankind, and humankind is for all things. All of this is so very harmonious and orderly, all of it comes from God’s sovereignty and His salvation of humankind. It is really such a wonderful thing. This is one of the ultimate meanings of letting go of pursuits, ideals, and desires. You see, although you let go of your temporary ideals and desires now, in the end, what you gain is the truth, it is life, it is the most precious thing. Compared to the worthless ideals and desires you let go of, they are who knows how many thousands, or even tens of thousands of times more valuable. They are virtually incomparable. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) Of course, one thing should be made clear: People should understand that pursuing ideals and desires will never teach you how to comport yourself. Since the day you were born, your parents told you, “You must learn to lie, learn to protect yourself, and don’t let others bully you. When someone bullies you, you must be tough, don’t be weak, don’t let others think you are that easy to bully. Furthermore, you must acquire knowledge and strengthen yourself, so that you can stand firm in society. You must pursue fame and profit, women ought to be independent, and men should carry the weight of the world.” From a young age, your parents educated you in this way, as if they were teaching you how to comport yourself; but in reality, they were striving, doing whatever it took, and even seeming to put their lives on the line in order to push you into this world, into this evil tide, to leave you ignorant of what is positive and what is negative, ignorant of how to distinguish between justice and evil, how to discern between positive and negative things. At the same time, your parents also taught you, “Do whatever it takes, don’t be too polite with others. Tolerance to others is cruelty to yourself.” They have been educating you like this since you first began to understand things, and then at school, and in society, everyone teaches you the same things. They do not teach you this so that you will comport yourself as a human, but so that you will become a demon, lie, do evil, and perish. It’s only after you believe in God that you come to know that one must comport themselves as an honest person and speak the truth and the facts. You muster up the courage and finally manage to speak the truth, you hold onto your conscience and moral boundaries in order to speak it once, but you are spurned by society, blamed by your family, even ridiculed by your friends, and in the end, what happens? You are hit hard, you’re unable to bear it, and you don’t know how to comport yourself anymore. You feel that comporting yourself as a human is too difficult, being a demon is easier. Just be a demon and follow the evil tide of this society—no one will say anything. No one in the whole of humankind teaches you how to comport yourself. After you believe in God you hear that every word God speaks and everything God does is to teach you how to comport yourself, how to practice the truth so that you can become a true human being. Only in God’s words can you find the correct answer to what is true human life. Consequently, how to view people and things, and how to comport oneself and act must be wholly based on God’s words, with truth as its criterion. This is what is called acting like a person. When you understand the basis of comporting yourself according to God’s words, and comprehend and enter into the truth principles, then you will know how to comport yourself, and you will become a real human being. This is the foundation for self-comportment, and only such a person’s life is worthwhile, only they deserve to live and should not die. On the contrary, those who act like demons, those walking corpses wearing human skin, those people do not deserve to live. Why? Because everything God created is prepared for humankind, for God’s created beings, not for demonic kind. Then why are those people still able to remain alive today? Aren’t they sharing in the benefit of those people whom God intended to save? If it weren’t for God’s work of salvation at this stage, utilizing devils and Satans to render service, letting God’s chosen people discern negative things, and seeing through devils’ essence, God would have long destroyed them, because these people are unworthy of enjoying all the things that God created, and they squander and ruin the things God has made. How do you think God will feel when He sees this? Will He be in a good mood? (No.) Therefore, God urgently wants to save a group of people with normal humanity who are true human beings, and teach them how to comport themselves. When these people attain salvation, become qualified to remain and not to be destroyed—then God’s great work will be accomplished. That is to say, regardless of whether these things attain the level of being accurate and correct, when their laws of survival, their outlooks on life, the paths they take, as well as their pursuits, and the attitudes with which they treat God, the truth, and positive things, at the very least do not go against the truth, and certainly don’t go so far as to offend God’s disposition, when these people won’t be destroyed, because they are able to submit to God in a basic way—then God’s great work will be accomplished. What does it mean for this great work to be accomplished? It means that those whom God has saved can exist forever, can live on forever. To put it in human language, it means this human race will have successors, the ancestors of humans created by God will have successors, and there will be humans capable of managing all things. Then, God will feel at ease, then He will rest, and He won’t need to be concerned with things anymore. All things have their own rules and laws, already established by God, and God does not need to give them a single thought, idea, or project. All things exist within their respective rules and laws, humans have but to maintain and manage them. With such a race of humans, do you think God will still need to worry? Will He still need to be preoccupied? God will rest, and when He rests, the time for His great work to be accomplished will have come. Of course, this will also be a time for humans to celebrate—that is, they will ultimately attain salvation on the foundation of the path of pursuing the truth, no longer rebelling against God, but aligning with God’s intentions. Humans will have been gained by God, and they will no longer have to taste death—then they will have already received salvation. Isn’t this something worth celebrating? (Yes.) Now, since there will be such tremendous benefits, and you know that God’s intentions are these, isn’t it worth it for people to let go of the small ideals and desires they held previously? (Yes.) It is appropriate any way you measure it. So, since it is appropriate, shouldn’t you let go? (Yes.) In theory, everyone knows they should let go, but how is it specifically done? Actually, it’s quite simple. It means you no longer take any action, put forth any effort, or pay any price for the sake of your ideals and desires. You no longer let them occupy your mind or make any sacrifices for them. Instead, you turn back to God, let go of your personal desires and ideals, stop obsessing over them, and even stop dreaming about them when you dream. Instead, bit by bit in your heart you shift your direction and inclination toward the path of pursuing the truth and attaining salvation. Day in and day out, everything you do, the thoughts, energy, and price that you pay, are all done for the sake of pursuing the truth and attaining salvation—this is how you gradually let go.

Concerning today’s fellowship about the topic “letting go of people’s pursuits, ideals, and desires,” have I fellowshipped about it comprehensibly? Do you know how to let go? Some people might say, “Oh, I’ve already been letting go before You even brought it up.” But that’s not necessarily true. In fact, it’s only through the process of pursuing the truth that people gradually see through the world’s evil tide and also gradually see through and let go of the path of pursuing fame and profit taken by nonbelievers. If you haven’t yet pursued the truth, and you’re merely thinking about letting go in your heart, that isn’t at all the same as truly letting go. You preparing to let go and truly letting go are two separate things—there is still a difference. Therefore, the most important thing is to begin pursuing the truth, and that should not change no matter when—it is the most important thing. Once you start pursuing the truth, letting go of ideals and desires becomes easier. If you don’t accept the truth but say, “I really want to let go of these ideals and desires. I don’t want to be dyed in the vast dyeing vat or ground up in the meat grinder,” and if you still want to survive, I’m telling you that’s not possible. There’s no way, you won’t get such a good deal! If you don’t wish to pursue the truth but still want to let go of ideals and desires, that is impossible. All normal people have ideals and desires, especially those who have a few gifts or talents. Where is there a person who is happy being lonely and willingly resigns themselves to living a mundane life? Nowhere is there a person like this. Everyone wants to stand out, to make something of themselves, to have a certain aura about them, and to make their life more comfortable. If you want to let go of personal ideals and desires, attain salvation, and live out a meaningful life, then you must accept the truth, pursue the truth, and submit to God’s work—this way you will have hope. Listening to God’s words and following God is the only way. Therefore, despite all apparent changes one thing remains essentially the same—the pursuit of the truth. This is the most important topic, isn’t it? (Yes.) Alright, let’s end today’s fellowship about our topic here. Goodbye!

December 17, 2022

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