How to Walk the Path of Peter

To be precise, taking Peter’s path in one’s faith means to walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly getting to know oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by walking the path of Peter will one be on the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on how, exactly, to walk Peter’s path, as well as how to put it into practice. Firstly, one must put aside one’s own intentions, improper pursuits, and even family and all things of one’s own flesh. One must be wholeheartedly devoted; that is to say, one must completely devote oneself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking God’s words, concentrate on the search for the truth and God’s desires in His words, and try to grasp God’s intentions in everything. This is the most fundamental and vital method of practice. This was what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one can achieve the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the word of God primarily involves seeking the truth and God’s desires within His words, focusing on grasping the intentions of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from God’s words. When reading God’s words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge. Instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s intentions, as well as achieving an understanding of God’s disposition and loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s nature essence, and actual shortcomings, thereby easily meeting God’s requirements in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God. This was most in line with God’s intentions, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials sent by God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment and exposure of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to accurately fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and he achieved very good results. By practicing in this way, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states and shortcomings of man, but he also came to understand man’s essence and nature. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but he also saw God’s righteous disposition, what God has and is, God’s intentions for His work, and God’s demands of mankind. From these words he truly came to know God. He came to know God’s disposition and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials, but he did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. In addition, he focused with particular attention on God’s requirements of mankind contained within His words. In whichever aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s intentions, Peter was able to put forth great effort in these aspects and achieve full clarity. This was extremely beneficial with regard to his life entry. No matter what God spoke of, so long as those words were able to become life and were the truth, Peter was able to carve them into his heart to ponder and appreciate them frequently. Having heard the words of Jesus, he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s intentions, act entirely in accordance with God’s desires, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginings. In this way, Peter entered into the reality of God’s words. Peter’s service came to be in line with God’s intentions primarily because he had done this.

If one can satisfy God while doing one’s duty, is principled in their words and actions, and enter the reality of all aspects of the truth, then they are a person who is perfected by God. It can be said that the work and words of God have been completely effective for them, that God’s words have become their life, they have obtained the truth, and that they are able to live in accordance with God’s words. After this, the nature of their flesh—that is, the very foundation of their original existence—will shake apart and collapse. Only after people possess God’s words as their life will they become new people. If the words of God become people’s lives, if the vision of God’s work, His exposure and requirements of humanity, and the standards for human life that God requires people to meet become their life, if people live according to these words and truths, then they are perfected by the words of God. Such people are reborn and have become new people through God’s words. This is the path by which Peter pursued the truth. This is the path of being perfected. Peter was perfected by God’s words, he gained life from the words of God, the truth expressed by God became his life, and he became a person who obtained the truth. We all know that around the time of Jesus’ ascension, Peter had many notions, rebellions, and weaknesses. Why did these things completely change later? This has a direct relationship to his pursuit of truth. In the pursuit of life, one must focus on practicing the truth. Merely understanding doctrine is of no use, nor is the amount of doctrine one is able to speak on. These things cannot bring about change in one’s life disposition. Merely understanding the literal meaning of God’s words is not the equivalent of understanding truth. It is those matters of essence and principle illustrated in God’s words that are the truth. Every line of His utterances contains the truth, though people may not necessarily understand it. For example, when God says, “You must be honest people,” there is truth in this statement. There is even more truth in statements from Him such as, “You must become people who submit before God, who love God, and who worship God. You must fulfill your duties as humans.” Each line of God’s words expounds on an aspect of the truth, and each of these truths are intimately related to other truths. Therefore, God expresses truth within everything He says, and God speaks extensively about each truth. The aim of this is to make people understand the essence of the truth. Only those who understand God’s word to this extent can be said to understand God’s word. If you only understand and explain God’s words according to their literal meaning and speak empty words and doctrines, then yours is not an understanding of truth. You are simply showing off, all talk but no action, just toying around with doctrine.

Until people have experienced God’s work and understood the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates them from within. What, specifically, does that nature entail? For example, why are you selfish? Why do you protect your own position? Why do you have such strong feelings? Why do you enjoy those unrighteous things? Why do you like those evils? What is the basis for your fondness for such things? Where do these things come from? Why are you so happy to accept them? By now, you have all come to understand that the main reason behind all these things is that Satan’s poison is within man. So what is Satan’s poison? How can it be expressed? For example, if you ask, “How should people live? What should people live for?” people will answer, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. Satan’s philosophy and logic have become people’s lives. No matter what people pursue, they do so for themselves—and so they live only for themselves. “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost”—this is the life philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. These words have already become the nature of corrupt mankind and they are the true portrait of corrupt mankind’s satanic nature. This satanic nature has already become the basis for corrupt mankind’s existence. For several thousand years, corrupt mankind has lived by this venom of Satan, right up to the present day. Everything that Satan does is for the sake of its own desires, ambitions, and aims. It wishes to surpass God, to break free of God, and to seize control of all things created by God. Today, such is the extent that people have been corrupted by Satan: They all have satanic natures, they all try to deny and oppose God, and they want to control their own fates and try to oppose the orchestrations and arrangements of God. Their ambitions and desires are exactly the same as Satan’s. Therefore, man’s nature is Satan’s nature. In fact, many people’s mottos and aphorisms represent human nature and reflect the essence of human corruption. The things that people choose are their own preferences, and they all represent people’s dispositions and pursuits. In every word a person says, and in everything they do, no matter how disguised it is, it cannot cover up their nature. For example, the Pharisees usually preached quite nicely, but when they heard the sermons and truths expressed by Jesus, rather than accepting them, they condemned them. This exposed the Pharisees’ nature essence of being averse to and hating the truth. Some people speak quite prettily and are good at disguising themselves, but after others associate with them for a while, the others find that their nature is deeply deceitful and dishonest. After a long time of associating with them, everyone else discovers their nature essence. In the end, the others draw the following conclusion: They never speak a word of truth, and are deceitful. This statement represents such people’s nature and it is the best illustration and proof of their nature essence. Their philosophy for worldly dealings is to not tell anyone the truth, as well as to not trust anyone. Man’s satanic nature contains a great deal of satanic philosophies and poisons. Sometimes you yourself are not even aware of them, and do not understand them; nevertheless, every moment of your life is based on these things. Moreover, you think that these things are quite correct and reasonable, and not at all mistaken. This suffices to show that Satan’s philosophies have become people’s nature, and that they are living in complete accordance with them, thinking this way of living to be good, and without any sense of repentance at all. Therefore, they are constantly revealing their satanic nature, and they are constantly living by Satan’s philosophies. Satan’s nature is humanity’s life, and it is humanity’s nature essence. What nature is can be completely expressed through a verbal summary. In man’s nature, there is arrogance, conceit, and a desire to be outstanding. It also contains a mercenary greed which puts profit before everything and has no regard for life. Within there is also deceitfulness, crookedness, and a tendency to cheat people at every turn, as well as unbearable wickedness and filth. This is a summary of man’s nature. If you are able to discern many aspects that come to be revealed within your nature, then you have gained an understanding of it. However, if you have no understanding whatsoever of the things revealed within your nature, then you do not have any understanding of your own nature. Peter sought to know himself and examine what had been revealed in him through the refinement of God’s words and within the various trials that God had provided for him. When he truly came to understand himself, Peter realized just how deeply corrupt humans are, how worthless and unworthy of serving God they are, and that they do not deserve to live before God. Peter then fell prostrate before God. Having experienced so much, Peter ultimately came to feel, “Knowing God is the most precious thing! If I died before knowing Him, it would be such a pity. Knowing God is the most important, most meaningful thing there is. If man does not know God, then they do not deserve to live, are the same as animals, and have no life.” By the time Peter’s experience had reached this point, he had come to know his own nature and he had gained a relatively good understanding of it. Although he perhaps would not have been able to explain it as clearly as people would nowadays, Peter had indeed reached this state. Therefore, walking the path of pursuing the truth and attaining perfection by God requires knowing one’s own nature from within God’s utterances, as well as comprehending the various aspects of one’s nature and accurately describing it in words, speaking clearly and plainly. Only this is truly knowing yourself, and only in this way will you have attained the result God requires. If your knowledge has not yet reached this point, but you claim to know yourself and say that you have gained life, then are you not simply bragging? You do not know yourself, nor do you know what you are in front of God, whether you have truly met the standards of being human, or how many satanic elements you still have within you. You are still unclear about who you belong to, and you do not even have any self-knowledge—so how can you possess reason in front of God? When Peter was pursuing life, he focused on understanding himself and transforming his disposition over the course of his trials, and he strove to know God. In the end, he thought, “People must seek an understanding of God in life; knowing Him is the most critical thing. If I do not know God, then I cannot rest in peace when I die. Once I know Him, if God then has me die, then I would have felt most gratified. I will not complain in the slightest, and my entire life will have been fulfilled.” Peter was not able to gain this level of understanding or reach this point immediately after he had begun to believe in God; he underwent a great many trials instead. His experience had to reach a certain milestone, and he had to completely understand himself, before he could sense the value of knowing God. Therefore, the path Peter took was the path of pursuing the truth, and was one of gaining life and of being perfected. This was the aspect upon which his specific practice was primarily focused.

In your faith in God, what path are you walking now? If you do not, like Peter, seek life, understanding of yourself, and knowledge of God, then you are not walking the path of Peter. These days, most people are in this sort of state: In order to gain blessings, I must expend myself for God and pay a price for Him. In order to gain blessings, I must abandon everything for God; I must complete what He has entrusted me with, and I must perform my duty well. This state is dominated by the intention to gain blessings, which is an example of expending oneself for God entirely for the purpose of obtaining rewards from Him and gaining a crown. Such people do not have the truth in their hearts, and it is certain that their understanding merely consists of a few words and doctrines which they show off everywhere they go. Theirs is the path of Paul. The faith of such people is an act of constant toil, and deep down they feel that the more they do, the more it will prove their loyalty to God; that the more they do, the more He will certainly be satisfied; and that the more they do, the more they will deserve to be granted a crown before God, and the greater the blessings they gain will be. They think that if they can endure suffering, preach, and die for Christ, if they can sacrifice their own lives, and if they can complete all of the duties with which God has entrusted them, then they will be those who gain the greatest blessings, and they will be certain to be granted crowns. This is precisely what Paul imagined and what he sought. This is the exact path that he walked, and it was under the guidance of such thoughts that he worked to serve God. Do those thoughts and intentions not originate from a satanic nature? It is just like worldly humans, who believe that while on earth they must pursue knowledge, and that after obtaining it they can stand out from the crowd, become officials, and have status. They think that once they have status, they can realize their ambitions and bring their businesses and family practices up to a certain level of prosperity. Do not all nonbelievers walk this path? Those who are dominated by this satanic nature can only be like Paul in their faith. They think: “I must cast off everything to expend myself for God. I must be loyal before God, and eventually, I will receive great rewards and great crowns.” This is the same attitude as that of worldly people who pursue worldly things. They are no different at all, and they are subject to the same nature. When people have this sort of satanic nature, out in the world, they will seek to obtain knowledge, learning, status, and to stand out from the crowd. If they believe in God, they will seek to obtain great crowns and great blessings. If people do not pursue the truth when they believe in God, they are sure to take this path. This is an immutable fact, it is a natural law. The path that people who do not pursue the truth take is diametrically opposed to that of Peter. Which path are you all currently on? Though you may not have planned to take the path of Paul, your nature has ruled that you walk this way, and you are going in that direction in spite of yourself. Though you want to set foot upon the path of Peter, if you are not clear on how to do that, then you will take the path of Paul involuntarily: This is the reality of the situation. How exactly should one walk the path of Peter these days? If you are unable to distinguish between the paths of Peter and Paul, or if you are not at all familiar with them, then no matter how much you claim to be walking Peter’s path, those words of yours are just empty. First, you need to have a clear idea of what the path of Peter is and what the path of Paul is. Only when you truly understand that Peter’s path is the path of pursuing life, and the only path to perfection, will you be able to walk Peter’s path, pursuing as he pursued, and practicing the principles that he practiced. If you do not understand Peter’s path, then the path you take is certain to be that of Paul, for there will be no other path for you; you will have no choice in the matter. People who do not understand the truth and who are not able to pursue it will find it difficult to walk the path of Peter, even if they have resolve. It can be said that it is God’s grace and elevation that He has now revealed to you the path to salvation and perfection. It is He who guides you onto the path of Peter. Without God’s guidance and enlightenment, no one would be able to take Peter’s path, and the only choice would be to go down the path of Paul, following in Paul’s footsteps to destruction. Back then, Paul did not feel it was wrong to walk down that path; he fully believed that it was correct. He did not gain the truth, and he especially did not undergo a change in disposition. He believed too much in himself, and felt that there was not the slightest issue with believing that way. He continued onward, full of confidence and with the utmost self-assurance. By the end, he never came to his senses. He still thought that to him to live was Christ. As such, Paul continued down that path to the very end, and by the time he was ultimately punished, it was all over for him. Paul’s path did not involve coming to know himself, much less seeking a change in disposition. He never dissected his own nature, nor did he gain any knowledge of what he was. He simply knew that he was the chief culprit in the persecution of Jesus. But he had not had the slightest understanding of his own nature, and after finishing his work, Paul felt that he was living as Christ and should be rewarded. The work that Paul did was merely service rendered for God. For Paul personally, though he received some revelations from the Holy Spirit, he had obtained no truth or life at all. He was therefore not saved by God. Instead, he was punished by God. Why is it said that Peter’s path is the path to perfection? It is because, in Peter’s practice, he placed particular emphasis on life, on seeking to know God, and on knowing himself. Through his experience of God’s work, he came to know himself, gained an understanding of man’s corrupt states, learned of his own deficiencies, and discovered the most valuable thing that people should pursue. He was able to sincerely love God, he learned how to repay God, he gained some truth, and he possessed the reality that God requires. From all the things that Peter said during his trials, it can be seen that he was indeed the one with the most understanding of God. Because he came to understand so much truth from God’s words, his path grew brighter and brighter, and more and more in alignment with God’s intentions. If Peter had not possessed this truth, then the path he took could not have been so correct.

Right now there is still the question: If you know what Peter’s path is, can you walk along it? This is a realistic question. You must be able to clearly distinguish what kind of person can go along Peter’s path and what kind of person cannot. Those who go on Peter’s path must be the right kind of person. Only if you are the right kind of person can you be perfected. When people are not the right kind of person they cannot be perfected. Those who are like Paul cannot go on Peter’s path. A certain kind of person will go on a certain kind of path. This is entirely determined by their nature. No matter how clearly you explain Peter’s path to Satan, it cannot walk it. Even if it wanted to, it wouldn’t be able to get on it. Its nature has determined that it cannot take Peter’s path. Only those who love the truth are able to take Peter’s path. “A leopard can’t change its spots,” this is true. If there are no elements of love for the truth within your nature, then you cannot walk the path of Peter. If you are a person who loves the truth, if you are able to accept the truth in spite of your corrupt disposition, and you can receive the work of the Holy Spirit and can understand God’s intentions, then in this way you will be able to rebel against the flesh and submit to God’s plan. When you have changes in your disposition after undergoing some trials, this means that you are slowly stepping onto Peter’s path of being perfected.

Winter, 1998

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