101. The Principles of Identifying Whether One Is of Caliber
(1) Look to how one is able to understand God’s words, and whether they are able to realize the truth through the synthesis of their own state and practical problems, and thus find the principles of practice;
(2) Look to whether one’s self-knowledge is practical, true, and specific. Those of poor caliber will speak only of hollow doctrine, and cannot enter into reality;
(3) Look to how capable one is of working. Those of good caliber can grasp accurate principles of practice based on the truth and resolve all manner of problems;
(4) Look to how capable one is of discerning, whether they can identify each sort of person based on the truth the principle, and whether they can see to the heart of every manner of event and social dynamic.
Relevant Words of God:
How do we measure people’s caliber? The most accurate way is to measure their caliber based on the degree to which they understand the truth. Some people can learn some specialism very quickly, but when they hear the truth, they become muddled and they doze off, it baffles them, nothing they hear goes in, nor do they understand what they’re hearing—that’ s what poor caliber is. With some people, you tell them they’re of poor caliber and they disagree. They think that being highly educated and knowledgeable means they are of good caliber. Does a good education demonstrate high caliber? It does not. People’s caliber is measured based on the degree to which they understand God’s words and the truth. This is the most standard, the most accurate way of doing it. There’s no use in trying to measure someone’s caliber by any other means. Some people are silver-tongued and quick-witted, and they’re really good at getting on with others—but when they read God’s words and listen to sermons, they understand nothing. When they speak of their own experiences and testimony, they reveal themselves to be mere amateurs, and all can feel that they have no spiritual understanding. These are not people of good caliber. So would such people be competent to handle some external matter for the house of God? Handling things for the house of God—in other words, performing one’s duty: Performing one’s duty involves the truth, it involves the interests of the house of God, it involves principles of conduct and the ways and methods by which one treats unbelievers, and it involves whether or not this duty is effective, and up to standard. It involves the truth, so if people don’t understand the truth, and rely on their own minds, facility with words, and the way they conduct themselves, will they be able to perform this duty properly? Will they be able to do it in accordance with God’s will? No. Even if they do stay on track in some things, that could be because what they’re doing does not involve the truth, and is purely a matter of the outside world. If they are asked to go and do something according to principle, and an unexpected situation occurs, they don’t know what to do; they think they should be able to handle it based on their own experiences, but doing so causes disturbances and interruptions; it messes things up. Is there not something wrong here? And what is the cause of it? This is because their understanding is not pure, they do not understand the truth, and they haven’t grasped the principles. When they encounter something that involves the truth or principles, they don’t know what to do; their own human ideas appear, and they end up harming the work and the interests of the house of God and are disgraced.
Excerpted from “Understanding the Truth Is Crucial to Fulfilling One’s Duty Properly” in Records of Christ’s Talks
And what is manifested in people of good caliber? Regardless of how long they’ve believed in God, when they hear a sermon, they can tell the difference between this sermon they are listening to today and what was said in the Bible—this sermon is more profound, more detailed, and afterward, they start to apply it in their real lives. For example, God says to be honest. At the start, they do nothing more than follow this rule, saying whatever’s in their heart. But gradually, as they listen to sermons, they continually distill things from their own real-life experiences until finally, from what they undergo and experience, they figure out just what this aspect of the truth—being honest—is, and just what the reality of it is. They are able to apply the words spoken by God and the truths touched upon in sermons to their real lives, and they make them their reality, and use these real experiences to gradually take themselves deeper. That is, they are able to realize the truth contained within God’s words and the sermons they hear, and this truth is not some empty doctrine, it is not some interpretation or theory, but relates to the difficulties they encounter in their actual lives, and the states that they reveal. They are able to examine these states, compare them to what is revealed by God, and then practice in accordance with God’s words. This is what good caliber is. What is the chief manifestation of good caliber? When they listen to sermons, they are able to understand what’s being said, and can understand what the relationship is between these words and their own actual states, what role these words play in them, and they are able to hold themselves up against these words. In addition, in their real lives, they are able to grasp the principles of practice and apply these principles to every difficulty or issue that they encounter. This is what it means to be insightful. Only people with such insights are truly of good caliber.
Excerpted from “Understanding the Truth Is Crucial to Fulfilling One’s Duty Properly” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When measuring whether a person’s caliber is good or bad, look at their attitude toward everything in their daily lives—or, when things happen to them, whether they are able to grasp the will and attitude of God, the principles they should follow, the position they should take, and the attitude they should have. If you are able to grasp all these things, then you have caliber. If what you grasp has nothing to do with all that God arranges for you in your real life, then you either have no caliber or are of poor caliber. How did the true stature of Peter and Job come about, and how did they ultimately gain what they gained and reap what they reaped from their faith in God? They didn’t enjoy what you do today; you always have someone to provide for you, to support you, to help you, there’s always someone to make the final checks for you. Most of the truths they understood were gained from what they had realized, what they had experienced, what they had gradually figured out and gone through in their daily lives. This is what being of high caliber is. When people are not possessed of such caliber, and don’t have this attitude toward the truth and salvation, then they are incapable of gaining the truth.
Excerpted from “Understanding the Truth Is Crucial to Fulfilling One’s Duty Properly” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Peter was of good caliber, but his circumstances were not like those of Paul: His parents persecuted Me, they were demons that had been possessed by Satan and, as a result, they taught nothing of God to Peter. Peter was clever, gifted, and doted on by his parents from a young age. Yet as an adult, he became their enemy because he never stopped pursuing the knowledge of Me, and subsequently turned his back on them. This was because, above all else, he believed that heaven and earth and all things are in the hands of the Almighty and that all positive things come from God and are directly issued from Him without being processed by Satan. The contradistinction of Peter’s parents gave him a greater knowledge of My lovingkindness and mercy, thus heightening his desire to seek Me. He focused not just on eating and drinking My words, but, moreover, on grasping My will, and was ever vigilant in his heart. As a result, he was always sensitive in his spirit, and hence he was after My own heart in all he did. He maintained a constant focus on the failures of people in the past to spur himself on, profoundly fearful of becoming ensnared in failure. So, too, did he concentrate on assimilating the faith and love of all those who had loved God throughout the ages. In this way—not only in negative aspects, but much more importantly, in positive aspects—he grew more quickly, such that his knowledge became the greatest of all in My presence. It is not difficult to imagine, then, how he put everything he had in My hands, how he even surrendered making decisions about food, clothing, sleeping and where he lived, and instead enjoyed My riches upon the basis of satisfying Me in all things. I subjected him to countless trials—trials, naturally, that left him half-dead—but amidst these hundreds of trials, he never once lost faith in Me or felt disappointed in Me. Even when I said I had forsaken him, still he was not discouraged, and continued to love Me in a practical way and in accordance with past principles of practice. I told him that I would not praise him even though he loved Me, that I would ultimately cast him into Satan’s hands. But amid such trials, trials that did not come upon his flesh, but were of words, he still prayed to Me and said, “O God! Among heaven and earth and all things, is there any human, any creature, or any thing that is not in the hands of You, the Almighty? When You are merciful toward me, my heart greatly rejoices with Your mercy. When You judge me, unworthy though I may be, I gain a greater sense of the unfathomableness of Your deeds, because You are filled with authority and wisdom. Though my flesh suffers hardship, my spirit is comforted. How could I not give praise to Your wisdom and deeds? Even if I were to die after knowing You, how could I not do so gladly and happily? Almighty One! Do You really not wish to let me see You? Am I really unfit to receive Your judgment? Could it be that there is something in me You do not wish to see?” During such trials, even though Peter was not able to accurately grasp My will, it was evident that he was proud and honored to be used by Me (even though he received My judgment so that humanity might see My majesty and wrath), and that he was not distressed by these trials. Because of his loyalty before Me, and because of My blessing of him, he has been an exemplar and model to man for thousands of years. Is this not precisely what you should emulate?
Excerpted from “Chapter 6” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
And what is manifested in people of ordinary caliber? Hearing a sermon once leaves no impression on them. When things happen to them, they still don’t know how to handle them or what to do. All they can do is speak empty doctrine and follow rules. Hearing a sermon twice does leave some impression on them, but when things happen to them, they still don’t know what to do, they still cling to rules, and they speak a few letters and use doctrine to lecture people and do their work. After listening to sermons for many years, they’ve equipped themselves with more and more doctrine. Before, they would only speak for two or three minutes of some experiences and knowledge, based on doctrine before running out of things to say. As the years increase, they can speak for twenty or thirty minutes—but they still don’t understand what the truth is, or what reality is. They think the doctrine they speak is the truth. They hear none of what others say about reality, or about the experiences, knowledge, and path connected to the reality of the truth; they think that the truth and doctrine are one and the same. That is, no matter how many sermons they hear, they come to no realization about truths related to changes in their disposition or to their own nature and substance from within these sermons. After that, in their real lives, beyond clinging to rules and ceremony, beyond consistently going to assemblies, speaking doctrine to people, and toiling somewhat when performing their duty, they generally do not enter into, nor go any deeper into, the truths related to changes in disposition, to knowing their own corrupt dispositions, and to entry into life. People of ordinary caliber can get no further than that. There are some people who have believed in God for twenty or thirty years, and they still only speak doctrine. This is what being of average caliber is.
What is manifested in people of poor caliber? After years of listening to sermons, they think it’s all the same, the same old things. They can’t even hear the thread of doctrine, to say nothing of the truth. No matter how hard they try when listening to sermons, or how many years they listen to sermons, they still don’t understand what they’re hearing; they cannot fathom what the truth is and what it means to know themselves. Whether they are listening to fresh content, in-depth content, or new words and work from the Holy Spirit, all they hear is the simple stuff. That’s all they can remember, too—they can’t remember any more than that. And because their caliber is such that they are incapable of understanding so many things, what then are they able to achieve? “I’ve believed in the Lord since I was in my mother’s womb, I was baptized and cleansed long ago. You say I don’t know myself—it’s you who doesn’t know yourself. I’ve long been holy.” That’s what people who’ve accepted God’s new work for a few years still say. Are they not of poor caliber? These are the people of worst caliber. What sermons can you preach to such people? No matter how many sermons they hear, they still don’t understand what the truth is, what practicing the truth is—they cannot comprehend these things, they’re beyond them. When things happen to them, they just stick to those few rules, they pray, they seek God, they depend on God, they don’t reject God, they don’t mix with unbelievers, and they isolate themselves from the secular world—basically, they don’t go any further than these formalities of religious faith. They don’t accept God’s new words or the truths of this age no matter how much they hear of them. If you ask them what is required of man during this stage of God’s work, they can’t tell you, and can only speak of some simple doctrine. This is what poor caliber is.
When something happens to them, they find some external phenomenon to blame, or attribute it to their own behavior, believing that they have made a mistake, nothing more. At no point do they understand that they must seek the truth and know themselves. No matter what faults are pointed out to them, what within themselves is revealed to them, or fellowshiped to them, they still don’t recognize what principle of the truth they have violated nor what the truth they should practice is—they are utterly incapable of understanding the truth. This is what poor caliber is. No matter how clearly you fellowship the truth, they still don’t realize that it is the truth, they still use their own reasons and excuses to cover the truth, deny the truth, and deny that they have a corrupt disposition. Which is to say, no matter how many mistakes they make, how many corrupt dispositions they reveal, or how many states connected with these corrupt dispositions they produce, they still don’t realize that this is their corrupt disposition, they don’t realize what their substance is, nor do they realize how they should understand this issue, how they should seek the truth, and which aspect of the truth they should gain. Their souls are numb, and they have not the slightest sense of these things. This is what poor caliber is.
Would you say Paul had caliber? Which class did Paul’s caliber belong to? (It was very good.) You’ve heard so many sermons but still can’t tell the difference. Could Paul’s caliber be considered good? (No, it was bad.) Why was Paul’s caliber bad? (He did not know himself and had a poor understanding of God’s words.) It was because he did not understand the truth. At the time, he, too, had heard the sermons given by the Lord Jesus, and during the period he worked there was, of course, the work of the Holy Spirit. So how, when he did all that work, wrote all those epistles, and walked among all those churches, did he still understand nothing of the truth? Everything he spoke was doctrine. This is someone of poor caliber. What’s more, Paul persecuted the Lord Jesus and His disciples, after which the Lord Jesus appeared to him and struck him down. Yet after undergoing such a momentous event, what approach did he take to it and how did he understand it? He thought, “The Lord Jesus struck me down, I have sinned, so I must work harder to make up for this, and once my merits have balanced out my demerits, I shall be rewarded.” Did he know himself? He did not. He did not say that his opposition to the Lord Jesus was because of his malicious nature, his nature of an antichrist; he did not possess such knowledge of himself. And how did he record this event in his epistles? What was his view of it? He believed that God had called upon him with a great light, and that God would start to make great use of him. Not having the slightest knowledge of himself, he believed that this was the most powerful proof that he would be rewarded and crowned, as well as the greatest capital that he could use to gain rewards and a crown. Also, he felt there was a “thorn” deep within him: his previous defiance of the Lord Jesus. And how did he approach this? He felt it was one of his life’s great mistakes, and it put his going to heaven and being crowned at risk. In his heart, he always felt uneasy about it. “How can I make up for this egregious mistake? How can I cancel it out, so it doesn’t affect my prospects and me being crowned? I must do more of the Lord’s work, pay a greater price, write more epistles, and spend more time running about, battling Satan, and bearing beautiful testimony.” That’s how he approached it. He had not the slightest regret, much less any knowledge of himself; he had neither of these things. Such was the caliber of Paul. Partly because of his humanity and what he pursued, and partly because of his caliber, he couldn’t grasp these things, nor did he realize, “This is the nature of man, man’s nature is too bad, too evil. Man’s nature is the nature of Satan and the antichrist, and man should accept God’s redemption; this is the root of man’s need of God’s redemption. So how should man come before God to accept His redemption?” He never said such things. He did not have any knowledge of his defiance at all, and all he thought about was how to cancel it out, how to make it not a transgression, how to earn enough merit to redeem his sins and atone for his misdeeds through good service, and ultimately receive the crown and reward that he expected. He never understood the truth or the will of God from anything that happened to him, which is someone of the poorest caliber.
People are all different. Their difference lies in their caliber and their attitude toward the truth. People who love the truth and are of good caliber enter the reality of the truth quickly and are able to gain life. People of ordinary caliber are obstinate and numb; their entry into the truth is slow, and progress in their lives is also slow. People of poor caliber are not just ignorant, stubborn and arrogant; they also have numbness and dull-wittedness written all over their faces, their spirits are numb, and they’re slow to understand the truth. Such people are devoid of life, for they do not understand the truth, and do nothing but speak doctrine, shout slogans, and stick by the rules. If they don’t understand the truth, they can’t enter the reality of the truth—and is there life within those who cannot enter the reality of the truth? (No.) When things happen to people who are devoid of life, they act blindly, they never hit the mark, they show themselves to be pathetic and helpless, they’re always at a loss. Over the years I’ve constantly heard people say that they don’t know what to do when things happen to them. How can that still be so after they’ve listened to so many sermons? And one look at them shows that they really are at a loss; they have numbness and dull-wittedness written all over their faces. Some people say, “How am I numb? I’m pretty sensitive to what’s going on in the world: I know how to use software, mobile phones and electronic goods, and you don’t. How can your caliber be so poor?” But their little bit of cleverness is just one skill—it doesn’t count as caliber. When they hear a sermon or something happens to them that relates to the truth, these people are exposed: In their spirits, they are awfully numb. How numb are they? They’ve believed in God for years, but they still can’t tell if they’ll be saved, nor are they clear about what type of person they are. If you ask them what they think of their caliber, they’ll say a bit below someone of good caliber, but a lot better than people of ordinary caliber. That’s how poor their caliber is. Isn’t this a bit silly? No matter what it is, if something involves the truth or principle, they understand nothing of what they hear, and this is what poor caliber is.
Whether it’s understanding one aspect of the truth or learning a profession, people of good caliber are able to grasp the principles within, to get to the root of things, and to identify the reality and substance so that, in everything they do, every job they’re engaged in, they make the right judgments, and determine the correct standards and principles. This is what good caliber is. People of good caliber are able to make the final checks on the various work of the house of God. Those of ordinary or poor caliber are incapable of such work. This is by no means a case of the house of God favoring some people or looking down on certain people—it’s just that many people are incapable of this work because of their caliber. And the root cause of why they’re unable to make the final checks is that they don’t understand the truth. The reason why they don’t understand the truth is because their caliber is too ordinary, or even poor; the truth is beyond them, and they are unable to understand the truth when they hear it. Some people may not understand the truth because they do not listen attentively, or it could be that they’re young and haven’t yet put down roots in their faith in God, and it’s of no great interest to them. But these aren’t the main reason; the main reason is that their caliber is not up to the task. For people of inferior caliber, no matter what their duty is, or how long they’ve been doing work, no matter how you try and teach them, or how many sermons they hear, they still can’t get their head around it, they drag out their work, make a complete mess of things, and achieve nothing.
Understanding what good and bad caliber is, and being clear about one’s own caliber, nature and substance, are all beneficial to knowing oneself. When people know where they stand, they’ll make less mistakes. When people have the measure of themselves, they’ll stop being arrogant, and their behavior will be more honest and proper. Not knowing oneself can cause a lot of trouble. There are some people who are of ordinary caliber, but think they are of high caliber. They believe they have a gift for leadership; inside, they’re chomping at the bit to be a leader, to head up the team, but no one ever chooses them. And does this not agitate them? When people are agitated by such things and they feel unsettled, they don’t perform their duty well, and are liable to do foolish things that cause embarrassment, senseless things that are despised by God. As such, before anything else, they must address these fundamental revelations of their corrupt dispositions by knowing themselves. That includes being arrogant, senseless, always thinking their caliber is good, that they are better than other people, that they should coach others, and so on. Once these issues have been resolved, you will be steadfast in performing your duty well, more proper in your behavior, and such external thoughts and behaviors as aggressiveness, conceitedness, haughtiness, and thinking you’re special won’t bother you, and you will have become much more mature.