4. How does one resolve their notions and imaginings about God?

Relevant Words of God:

People’s notions must be resolved using the truth; they cannot be simply put aside with a man-made solution—it is not that easy. People have no commitment to righteous matters, but are liable to cling to notions or heretical and absurd things, which they find hard to put aside. What is the cause of this? It is because they have satanic corrupt dispositions. Whether people’s notions are large or small, serious or not, if they do not have a corrupt disposition, these notions are easy to solve. Notions, at the end of the day, are just a way of thinking. But because of people’s corrupt dispositions, such as hardness, wickedness and arrogance, notions become a fuse which causes people to resist, misinterpret, and even pass judgment on God. They might not say it, but their behavior shows that they resist and do not accept your perspective. Governed by a corrupt disposition, they cling to their notions—this is caused by their disposition. And so, as notions are solved, so too are people’s corrupt dispositions. If people’s corrupt dispositions are solved, then many of their immature, childish thoughts—even the notions that have already taken shape—are not an issue for them; they are just thoughts, and do not affect the performance of your duty, or your obedience to God. Notions and corrupt dispositions are connected. Sometimes a notion is in your heart, but it does not direct your actions. When it does not infringe upon your immediate interests, you ignore it. Ignoring it, however, does not mean there is not a corrupt disposition within your notion, and when something happens that is in conflict with your notions, you cling to them with a certain attitude, an attitude dominated by your disposition. This disposition could be hardness, it could be arrogance, and it could be viciousness; you shoot your mouth off to God, saying, “My point of view has been academically ratified many times. People have held such views for thousands of years, so why shouldn’t I? If You are not right, how can You still say it is the truth, and above all else? My perspective is the highest of all mankind!” One notion can lead to you behaving like this, to such bluster. What causes this? It is caused by corrupt dispositions. The relationship between notions and people’s corrupt dispositions is great, and their notions must be resolved. Once people’s notions about faith in God have been addressed, it becomes easy for them to submit to the work arrangements of the house of God, and so they perform their duty more smoothly, they are not side-tracked, they do not meddle or interrupt, and they do not do anything that brings shame upon God.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks

I say all these words to you today so that you may know, so that this knowledge may lead you to a newer, accurate knowledge; I also say these words in order to eradicate the old notions and the old way of knowing in you, so that you may possess new knowledge. If you truly eat and drink My words, then your knowledge will change considerably. As long as you eat and drink God’s words with a heart of obedience, then your perspective will be reversed. As long as you are able to accept the repeated chastisements, your old mentality will gradually change. As long as your old mentality is thoroughly replaced with the new, your practice will also change accordingly. In this way, your service will become increasingly on-target, increasingly able to fulfill God’s will. If you can change your life, your knowledge of human life, and your many notions about God, then your naturalness will gradually diminish. This, and nothing short of this, is the effect when God conquers people, it is the change that occurs in people.

Excerpted from “The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When people give rise to misunderstandings and notions about God, they first must acknowledge that God is the truth and that people do not have the truth, and it is certainly they who are mistaken. Is this a kind of formality? If you only adopt this practice as a formality, superficially, then can you come to know your own mistakes? Never. It takes several steps. First, you must determine whether your actions are in line with principles. Do not look at your intents at first; there are times when your intents are correct but the principles you practice are wrong. Why do I say the principles you practice are wrong? You may have sought, but perhaps you have no understanding at all of what principles are; perhaps you have not sought at all, and have based your actions solely on your good intentions and enthusiasm, and on your imagination and experience, and you have therefore made a mistake. Can you imagine that? When you fail to anticipate something, you make a mistake—and have you not then been exposed? Once you are exposed, if you keep competing with God, then how are you mistaken? Your greatest mistake was not that you did something wrong and violated the principles, thereby causing a loss or other consequences, but that, having done something wrong, you yet persist and cannot acknowledge your error; you still resisted God with your notions and imaginings, denying that His work was right. This was your greatest and most serious mistake. Why would such a state in a person be one of resistance to God? Whether or not people recognize that everything God does and His sovereignty are right, and what their significance is, if they cannot first recognize that they themselves are wrong, then their state is one of resistance against God. What is to be done to rectify this state? Seeking God’s will, as has been mentioned, is not so practical for people. Some say, “If seeking isn’t so practical, then does that mean it isn’t necessary, and that there’s no need to seek what can be sought and understood? I can just skip that step.” Will this do? Is one who acts in this manner not beyond saving? Such people are really skewed and erroneous in their interpretations. Seeking God’s will is a somewhat roundabout task for people; if they wish to take a more realistic shortcut, then they should start by denying themselves, setting themselves aside, knowing that their actions are wrong and not in line with the truth, and then seeking the truth principle. These are the steps. They may seem simple, yet putting them into practice presents many difficulties, for humans have corrupt dispositions as well as all manner of imaginings, all manner of demands, and they have desires, as well, all of which interfere with people denying themselves and setting themselves down. These are not easy things to do.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (3)” in Records of Christ’s Talks

When something happens to you that has no bearing on your notions, you are able to carry on eating and drinking the words of God and performing your duty as normal. But when something happens that conflicts with your notions, and goes beyond them, and that causes contradictions to arise, how do you resolve them? Do you give free rein to your notions and let them run their course, or do you deal with them, try to contain them, and forsake them? There are some people who have notions when they encounter an issue, who not only do not put them aside, but seek out others to spread them to. They look for a chance to give vent to these notions, so that others can have these notions, too. Some try to justify themselves: “You say that everything God does has meaning, but as far as I can tell, there is no meaning in what happened. This is at odds with the truth, and when I encounter things that are at odds with the truth, I have to say something, I have to stand up for righteousness!” Is such behavior appropriate? What should you do to follow the right path? There are some people with notions who think things over and realize that their relationship with God is not normal, that misunderstandings about God have arisen within them, and their having such notions is a serious problem. They think that, if their notions are not solved, they could be in a lot of danger, and they may become liable to resist, doubt, and even turn their back on God. They therefore pray to God, and put aside their notions. First they refute their own fallacious viewpoints, and then they seek the truth. As a result, as time goes by, though they may not have fully dissected their notions, or completely put them aside and resolved them, the truth directs their thoughts and behavior from within, and it also guides them in their performance of their duty, so their duty is not affected. It may be that a day comes when something happens to them and their notions are resolved. Is this not the correct way to practice? Some people may be somewhat disgruntled with an arrangement God has made for them, or with something God has done, which engenders notions in them, and they subsequently become apathetic about performing their duty, and do not perform it properly. They constantly exist in a kind of negative state, with resistance, dissatisfaction, and resentment in their hearts. Is such behavior correct? Are such things easy to solve? Say, for example, you think yourself very smart, and then I say you are foolish and do not understand spiritual matters. Hearing this makes you angry and antagonistic: “No one would dare say I do not understand spiritual matters. Today is the first time I’ve heard that. I cannot accept these words. Could I lead the church if I did not understand spiritual matters? Could I do such great work?” A conflict arises, yes? So what should be done? Is it easy for people to reflect on themselves when such things happen to them? What kind of people are able to reflect on themselves? People who accept and seek the truth. First, you must refute yourself. Even if you lack an accurate knowledge of yourself, and cannot sense whether you are right or wrong, or you have some degree of ignorance, as soon as you hear God say that you are foolish and do not understand spiritual matters, though you are not aware of it yourself, this is God’s definition regarding your nature essence—you must embrace these words as the truth, and apply them to yourself, even if you think differently. Afterward, while working and interacting with others, through comparing yourself with them, you see that not only do you not understand spiritual matters, but you are also very ignorant. Having discovered that you have a serious problem, are you not able to completely accept what God said? You must accept these words. First accept them as a rule, a definition, or a concept, and then think of a way to apply it to yourself in your actual life, think of a means to know and experience it. As time goes on, you will come to have the correct evaluation of yourself. Will you then still have misunderstandings about God? When there is no disagreement between you and God on this matter, will you still be capable of objecting to God’s assessment of you? You will accept it and cease to disobey. If you are able to accept the truth and fully understand this matter, you will take a step forward; if you do not accept it, you will forever remain stuck where you are, and will not make any progress.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks

God’s salvation of man is not just empty words. He expresses all these truths in order to address the things of corrupt mankind that are at odds with the truth—their notions, imaginings, knowledge, philosophies, traditional culture, etc.—and, by dissecting these things, to make man understand what constitutes positive things, what constitutes negative things, which things come from God, which things come from Satan, what the truth is, and what the philosophies and logic of Satan are. When people are able to see these things for what they really are, they will naturally choose to pursue the correct path of life, and they are able to practice the truth, to do as God asks, and discern negative things. This is what God asks of man, and so, too, is it the standard by which He perfects and saves people. Some people say, “God dissects man’s notions, but I have no notions. People who have notions are usually wily old foxes, or else theologians and hypocritical Pharisees. I’m not like that.” What is the problem here? They do not know themselves. No matter what is fellowshiped to them, they are incapable of applying it to themselves, thinking that they are not like that. This is ignorance, and they have no understanding of spiritual things. Are you able to think in this way? Today, most people do not think like that. They have heard many sermons, they sense that everyone has corruptions and notions that are passive and negative, and that there is nothing shameful in dissecting them; after dissecting them, furthermore, they believe that it will help others develop discernment, and they themselves will grow, and be able to understand the truth more quickly. For this reason they are all able to openly dissect themselves. Well, in that case, what is the aim of dissecting notions? It is to put aside these notions, to address misunderstandings between man and God, and then enable people to focus on what God asks of man, to know how to enter onto the path of salvation, and to know what to do to practice the truth. Ultimately, by continually practicing in this way, the intended effect is achieved: On the one hand, people will come to understand the will of God and become able to submit to God, and on the other, they will have the immunity to reject and resist many negative things, such as wicked notions and imaginings, and things that arise from knowledge. When faced with a religious intellectual, a theologian, or a religious pastor or elder, you can see through them as soon as you start to talk with them, and are able to use the truth to refute their myriad notions, imaginings, heresies, and fallacies. This shows that you are able to identify negative things, that you have understood some truths, that you are possessed of a certain stature, and so are not intimidated when faced with these religious leaders and figures. The knowledge, the learning, and the philosophies they talk about—even all of their ideologies and theories—are untenable, for you have seen through the letters and doctrine, the notions and imaginings, of religion, and the things of religion can deceive you no longer. But you are not there yet. When you encounter these religious fraudsters and Pharisees, or anyone with a little status, you are intimidated; you know what they are saying is wrong, that it consists of notions and imaginings, born of knowledge, but you do not know how to repudiate it, you do not know from where to start dissecting it, or which words to expose these people with. Does this not show that you still have not understood the truth? So you must equip yourselves with the truth and learn to dissect yourselves. When you have understood the truth, you will be able to see through other people, but if you do not understand the truth, you will never see through them. To see through people and things, you must understand the truth; without the truth as your foundation, as your life, you will not be able to deeply penetrate anything.

When people have resolved various notions and imaginings, they have knowledge and experience of God’s words, and at the same time they have also entered the reality of God’s words. In the process of entering the reality of God’s words, the various notions and imaginings that arise in people are resolved, one-by-one, and there is a change in people’s knowledge of God’s work, God’s essence, and the various attitudes God has toward people. How is this change brought about? It is brought about when people put aside their various notions and imaginings, when they put aside the various ideas and perspectives that come from knowledge, philosophy, traditional culture or the outside world, and instead accept the various points of view that come from God and that are connected to the truth. And so, when people accept the words of God as their life, they also enter into the reality of God’s words, and are able to regard and think about questions using the truth, and resolve issues using the truth; these are the changes that resolving notions brings to people’s lives and their existence. When people achieve such changes, their relationship with God becomes one of created beings and Creator. In relationships at this level, there is no competition, no temptation, and very little rebellion; people are much more obedient, understanding, worshipful, faithful, and honest toward God, and they truly fear God. But resolving people’s notions is a very painful process. People must deny themselves, they must put aside their notions, put aside the things they believe to be right, put aside the things that they cling to, put aside the things they have believed to be correct and which they have pursued and longed for their whole lives. This means that people must forsake themselves, must put aside the knowledge, philosophies—even their way of existence—that were learned from the world of Satan, and replace them with another way of living, the foundation and the root of existence of which is the truth. As such, people must endure great suffering. Such suffering may not be physical illness or the hardship and difficulties of daily life, but it may come from a change in all types of views of different things and of mankind in your heart, or it may even come from a change in the various aspects of the knowledge you have of God, which turns upside down your knowledge and view of the world, human existence, mankind, and even God.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Previous: 3. What harm and consequences will ensue if notions and imaginings remain unresolved?

Next: 1. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? What are the manifestations of the work of the Holy Spirit?

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