The Importance of Pursuing the Truth and the Path of Its Pursuit

Just now, the brother fellowshipped on the topic of pursuing the truth. Having fellowshipped this much, do you feel how pursuing the truth is the most important thing, and that if you believe in God but do not pursue the truth, you will not gain a thing? Perhaps now some of you are ready, and have made up your minds to pursue the truth diligently, to work hard on God’s word, and to strive to understand the truth more and to practice it more. Is this the right mentality? Of course it is. If, having fellowshipped so much, you still have absolutely no reaction, then that is not normal, and these words will be in vain. The truth is the most important thing to everyone who sincerely believes in God and longs for Him to appear and to everyone who loves the truth and hopes to gain God’s salvation in the last days. Pursuing the truth is more important than any other thing: It is much more important than our jobs, our lives, or our fleshly prospects. Do you now recognize the importance of pursuing the truth? You are undoubtedly experiencing certain feelings in your hearts, recognizing that pursuing the truth is the most important thing in your lives—a lifelong event for each and every one of you, so to speak. After listening to so much fellowship, each of you may now have such a foundation in your hearts, such knowledge, feeling, and realization. Knowledge and feelings such as these are right and accurate, and they prove that what you have understood is completely in accordance with God’s word, with what He will do on each of you, and with His will.

Most people believe in God for the sake of obtaining blessings. Even if they understand a little of the truth, they cannot relinquish their intent to be blessed. What is man’s attitude toward the truth? In their hearts, most people are averse to the truth and they don’t even care about it. For man is a stranger to the truth. He does not understand what the truth is, much less where it comes from, why he should pursue it, why he should accept it, why he should practice it, or why God expresses so much of it. All these questions are foreign to every person, and they have never considered them, nor have they ever been exposed to them. Now that God is doing the work of judgment in the last days and has expressed many words, we come into contact with many matters involving every aspect of the truth on the path of belief in God. There is no way out without seeking the truth, so we need an understanding of the truth and must read God’s words in light of reality. Every sentence of God’s word is the truth, and one needs to experience it personally for them to understand it. Because from birth to adulthood, to getting a job, getting married and settling into a career, everything in the environment in which a person lives—including the people, events, and things they come into contact with and all the things that happen around them—is in fact related to the truth, but not a single person sees these things in terms of the truth. That is why it is said that everyone is a stranger to the truth. No one in all mankind understands the truth, so this requires that you start facing, accepting, and pursuing the truth from now on. This is necessary. If you have not yet understood that believing in God requires pursuing the truth, and that only the truth can change you, perfect you, bring you salvation, and make you truly come to God—if you cannot understand these things, then you will not be interested in the truth, you will not be able to pursue it, and you will lose your enthusiasm as you go along. Some people say, “For belief in God it is good enough to live a church life and do one’s duty, so why do we still need to pursue the truth? We do no evil, nor do we follow others, much less follow false leaders or antichrists in resistance to God. We all understand some of the doctrines about believing in God and can uphold our faith in God to the end, so there’s no need for us to understand much deeper truths.” Is this point of view correct? (It is not.) Why not? (Because it is only when people have obtained the truth that they can be saved by God.) That’s right. In their hearts, some people are now vaguely aware of the importance of the truth to mankind’s salvation. They may still be far from seeing clearly the value and significance of the truth becoming man’s life, but this feeling and awareness in their hearts is very valuable. What is key is whether this feeling and awareness can take root in people’s hearts, and that depends on people’s future pursuits. That you now have this awareness is a good thing. It gives hope that you may walk the road to salvation. Pursuing the truth is indeed important. For example, when you are negative and weak, can you become strong without the support and provision of the truth? Can you overcome your weaknesses? Can you recognize and dissect what it is that makes you weak and negative? You certainly cannot! When you are perfunctory in the performance of your duties, can you fix this corrupt disposition if you do not pursue the truth? Can you achieve loyalty to God in doing your duties? Without seeking the truth, can man know himself and fix his own corruption, his own arrogance? Man always has notions about God and is always measuring God with his own notions and imaginings. Can this be fixed in the absence of the truth? It cannot. We face choices in the many things that befall us in life. If we do not understand the truth, if we do not know what God’s will is and what He requires of us, then we have no way of practice. We will then reveal our corrupt dispositions, and we will easily make mistakes and take the wrong path. Can the existence of man’s corrupt disposition be fixed by the words and doctrines that he understands? If you do not seek the truth, one might say that there are no principles to anything you do in life, no paths to follow, and no goals or directions. If this is the case, then everything you do is contrary to the truth principles, a sign of resistance to God and a betrayal of Him, and your actions will be abhorred and cursed by God. If you live by your corrupt dispositions, not one of you will be saved unless you accept God’s judgment and chastisement. Therefore, before genuinely understanding the truth, everyone will have to face some judgment and chastisement, some chastening and discipline. These are all for the purpose of enabling people to obtain the truth and cast off their corrupt dispositions.

Although you understand some of the doctrines of believing in God, you often feel confused when experiencing everything. You feel at a loss and unable to get a grasp of God’s will, you do not know what to practice, and no amount of worrying offers up a solution. You want to seek fellowship but you do not know what the problem is, you want to look for answers in God’s word, but His word is boundless and you have no goals. Is it not often like this? This is a sign that new believers do not know how to seek the truth in all things. Therefore, most of the questions you ask in gatherings are unrelated to the truth, as are most of the words of your fellowship. This shows that most people do not know how to practice the truth in real life, nor do they know how to seek the truth when events befall them, much less do they have the truth as a principle and a goal for their practice. Is this a difficulty for everyone? If you had grasped the principle of the truth and understood its essence in events that befall you, would you still be confused as often? You certainly would not. Even if you feel some confusion, it is either because your understanding of the truth is too shallow, or because your experience of the truth is limited. You cannot comprehend God’s will, your corruption has not been fixed, and you feel pain in your heart. What is your greatest difficulty in pursuing the truth now? Is it that you are afraid when a topic of truth is raised for you to fellowship on? Afraid of expressing words and doctrines and being unable to communicate reality? And more afraid that you will be at a loss when things happen to you? (Yes.) This is because you do not have the truth in your hearts. If you did, you would not find these things so difficult to handle. Some people do not know what to do when events befall them. They know to seek the truth in God’s word, but the right answer is not immediately forthcoming, so they take a compromise approach. That is, they content themselves with a literal understanding of the meaning of God’s word, and abide by the regulations. If they say their prayers and their hearts are peaceful and reassured, and if they ask their brothers and sisters and they haven’t any insights greater than their own, then they feel that to practice in this way is enough. In fact, such practice is too far from the standard of truth, too far from the reality of truth, and too far from God’s will. This is not the principle of practicing the truth. If you wish to practice and understand the truth, then first you must seek the truth when things happen to you in your everyday life. That is, you must view things based on God’s words and the truth; when the essence of the problem is clear to you, then you will know how to practice in accordance with the truth principles. And if you always view things according to God’s words, you will be able to see the hand of God—the deeds of God—in everything that happens around you. No matter what happens around them, some people think that it has nothing to do with their faith in God or the truth; they merely follow their own inclinations, reacting according to the philosophies of Satan. Can they learn any lessons like this? Certainly not. It is for this reason that many people have believed in God for ten or twenty years and still have no understanding of the truth or life entry. They are incapable of incorporating God into their everyday lives, or of approaching everything that happens around them based on God’s words, and so whenever anything happens to them, they cannot tell it for what it really is, nor are they able to handle it based on the truth principles. Such people do not have life entry. Some people only engage their minds when they are reading God’s words in assembly; at such times, they are able to speak of a little knowledge, but they cannot implement God’s words with anything that happens to them in real life, nor do they know how to practice the truth, and so they think that everything that happens in their everyday lives has no connection to the truth, no relationship with the words of God. In their faith in God, it’s as if they treat the words of God and the truth as an area of knowledge, as completely divorced from their everyday lives and utterly separate from their views of things, their life goals, and their life pursuits. What about such a form of belief in God? Will they be able to understand the truth and enter reality? When they believe in God in this way, are they a follower of God? They are not someone who truly believes in God, much less are they a follower of God. All of the problems in their daily lives—including everything involving family, marriage, work, or their prospects—they see as having no connection to the truth, and so try to solve using human methods. Experiencing thus, they will never gain the truth, will never be able to understand just what it is that God wants to accomplish in people, and the effect He wishes to achieve in them. God expresses the truth in order to save people, to cleanse and change their corrupt dispositions, but they are not aware that only if they accept and pursue the truth will they be able to solve their own corrupt dispositions; they are not aware that only when they experience and practice the words of God in their everyday lives can they gain the truth. Are such people not dim and ignorant? Are they not the most foolish, ridiculous people? Some people have never pursued the truth in their faith in God. They think that faith in God means going to assembly, praying, singing hymns, reading God’s words; they emphasize religious ceremony, and they never practice or experience God’s words. This is how the people of religion believe in God. And when people treat something so important as faith in God as religious conviction, do they not belong to the nonbelievers? Are they not unbelievers? Pursuing the truth requires experiencing many processes. There is a simple side to it, and there is also a complex side. Simply put, we should seek the truth and practice and experience God’s words in everything that happens around us. Once you begin to do this, you will see more and more how much truth you need to gain and pursue in your belief in God, and that the truth is so practical and the truth is life. God saves humankind so that they can gain the truth as life. All of created humankind should accept the truth as life, not just those who perform duties, who are leaders and workers, or who serve God. God’s words are directed to all humankind, and God speaks to all humankind. Therefore, all created beings and all humankind should accept God’s words and the truth, seek the truth in all things, and then practice according to the truth principles so that they can become able to practice and submit to the truth. If only leaders and workers were required to practice the truth, this would be completely contrary to God’s will, because the truth expressed by God is for the whole of humankind, and it is expressed for the purpose of saving humankind, not just to save a few people. If this were the case, the words expressed by God would have little meaning. Do you now have a path to pursue the truth? What is the first thing that must be practiced when pursuing the truth? Before all else, you must spend more time eating and drinking the words of God and listening to sermons and fellowships. When you encounter an issue, pray and seek more. When you have equipped yourselves with more truths, when you grow quickly and possess stature, you will be able to perform a duty, undertake a little work, and will thereby be able to make it through some trials and temptations. At that time, you will feel that you really have understood and gained some truths, and you will sense that the words spoken by God are all the truth, that they are the truths most necessary for the salvation of corrupt mankind, and that they are the truth of life given by the unique Creator. Right now, you have no experience; you only have a little longing in your heart. You feel that God’s words are profound, and that they contain too many things you cannot attain, and too many truths that you cannot comprehend. The essence of some things is still unclear, and you feel that your understanding of the truth is too superficial. It is just that you have such longing in your heart and such energy, but whether or not you can obtain the truth depends on how you practice and pursue it in the future.

In the work of judgment of the last days, imagine if God only expresses some simple truths: nothing too deep, much less relating too much to judging and exposing people, but only a little word according to what people can accept and what their minds can understand—just some words of promise and blessing or some words of exhortation. Even if people accept these words, can they achieve salvation? Take an example. Suppose God simply says, “The corruption in all of you runs too deep. All of you are without the truth, and you are all disloyal to Me. Your nature essence has become Satan’s nature; you have become living Satans. You are hostile to Me, and you have no love for the truth.” He then tells people, “Go and figure it out!” immediately followed by, “Blessed is he who loves the truth. He who is loyal to Me will be able to satisfy My will, walk the road till the end, and gain My promise.” Would people’s hearts be stirred if God simply told them this? Would they strive toward the truth? How would people feel? “We’ve read all of God’s words, and though we all have corrupt dispositions, we’re not evil people and won’t resist God. It’s just that we have rebellious dispositions, are morally somewhat corrupt and of inferior character, and prefer to follow worldly trends. Now that we understand some truths and can reflect on and know ourselves, we can surely cast off these corrupt things.” Are there many people in this state? They think that to understand the doctrine of belief in God is to understand the truth, and this is very dangerous. Those who proudly preach words and doctrines immediately fall down and are revealed once a trial befalls them. Can a corrupt disposition be cast off without pursuit of the truth and acceptance of judgment and chastisement? It is impossible. You should be clear that time is now running out, and if you cannot suffer and pay the price for gaining the truth, it will be easy to waste your time by believing in God based on notions and imaginings. Then, when the great tribulation comes, you will have no time to pursue the truth even if you want to, and you will have lost completely your chance at salvation. Although you believe in God now, you do not understand God’s will. Do you really know why God expresses the truth, and does the work of judgment? Every word, every topic, every truth that God expresses is of significance and extremely beneficial to you. Regardless of whether you can see it, experience it, or feel it today, and no matter how much you have really gained right now, after three to five years of your experience, you will feel that God’s words today are true, and how great it is for God to express these words! If God still coddled man as He did in the Age of Grace, calling him “the lamb in His bosom” and the one lost sheep which He would abandon the other ninety-nine to go and find, man would think, “God’s mercy and lovingkindness are so great; God’s love for man is so deep!” If man always thinks of and looks at God in this way, he will not truly seek God, he will not come to God, he will not submit to God, and he will not have a God-fearing heart. Without a true understanding of God, man’s corrupt disposition will not be cast off; he will treat God and the truth with an attitude of contempt, and he will resist God as do the devils and Satan. If that is the case, man will never understand what the truth is, he will never truly understand what it is to believe in and to follow God, and what it is to seek and obtain the truth. This is true. If God did not express these words; if He did not chastise and judge every last person and treat everyone with such harsh words, then people would think that believing in God means they have obtained the truth, that believing in God is to be raptured later on, to enter the kingdom and wield power as a king. Some people say, “A man like me could almost be a centurion!” Others say, “I don’t ask for much. In the kingdom, I can even watch the gates or sweep the streets!” This is the original intention, the ideal, and the desire of every person who believes in God. God has said so many things that thoroughly expose man’s notions and imaginings, his extravagant desires, and his corrupt disposition. Nothing that man thinks is in accordance with the truth or compatible with God, and nothing that man hopes for or ideally wants to achieve is in accordance with God’s will. It is all completely contrary to God. When people believe in God, they are confronted with God’s words of judgment and chastisement, with God’s words exposing man’s nature essence, with words that do not align with man’s notions, and with God’s way of working that does not align with man’s imaginings. Although many people acknowledge that God’s words are the truth, and they are willing to cooperate with God’s work and accept God’s judgment and chastisement, it is very difficult for them to meet God’s requirements. When it comes to pursuing the truth, many people become listless, and when it comes to fellowshipping about the truth, they doze off and do not care to listen. But when it comes to mysteries, blessings, and promises, they become animated. What is going on? Deep in their hearts, people do not love the truth. They find pursuing it too troublesome, laborious, too painful, and too high a price to pay. If pursuing the truth were as simple as reading a primary school textbook or a nursery rhyme, some people might be a little interested in it, because it would be simple, easy, and it would not call for a price to be paid or for much energy to be expended. Now, it is quite the opposite. Pursuing the truth is neither that easy, nor that simple. It is not that, if people are of a sufficient caliber to read God’s word and understand it, they then naturally enter into the truth reality; understanding words and doctrines does not mean entering into the truth reality. Some people are so energetic in their belief in God that they take notes at gatherings and when listening to sermons and fellowships. But after a while, they think it through and get nothing out of it: They forget it all and can’t remember anything, even if they want to, so they feel that obtaining the truth is not easy, and only then do they understand that believing in God is no simple matter. Other people feel that they have gained and understood a lot after gatherings, but after a night’s sleep they have forgotten all about it, which is not much different than had there been no gathering. And still others feel enlightened and illuminated after reading God’s word. They feel very pleased with themselves, but after talking with unbelievers for a while, their minds wander, and when they go home and pray to God, they can no longer sense Him. They forget all about pursuing the truth, changing their dispositions, and being saved by God. This is because they are too small in stature and only understand some words and doctrines. God’s word has not yet taken root in them, proving that they do not yet have a place for God in their hearts, and so, when dealing with outside matters, God is not in charge of their hearts. Experiencing God’s work is not a simple matter. Without experiencing some trials, failures, and setbacks, people will not truly make gains, and rote memorization alone will not work. Nowadays, most people only begin to understand some truths after having believed for a few years. Especially after experiencing some setbacks and failures, they feel the importance of pursuing the truth, and only then do they begin to focus on reading God’s word, on fellowshipping on the truth, and on practicing the truth. Only then do they begin to enter into reality.

Some people say, “Why is it that when there is some difficulty or obstacle, I feel constrained and don’t know what to do, and I feel that believing in God is too difficult? Why is it that when there are difficulties, I become negative and lack the energy to believe in God? Why is it that sometimes I am not interested in meetings or in reading God’s word, but if I talk about things of unbelievers, I get excited?” What is going on here? In fact, given man’s nature essence, it is because man does not love the truth. If people do not love the truth, can their faith in God be true? Can there be a place for God in their hearts? Is God in their hearts? No, that is certain. If you do not have God in your heart and have no place for God, it proves that you do not have the truth in your heart, you do not understand any truth, and you will not practice any truth. Therefore, when it comes to pondering God’s word and practicing the truth, people are listless and have no path. If you are asked to earn money and are told that you can make more money by doing a certain thing, then you will do everything possible to overcome all difficulties and succeed, and you will not be afraid of failure but will keep at it. There are interests attracting you, your heart is possessed by interests, those interests come first in your heart, and you feel that money and interests are too important and are not easily relinquished, so you will try to do everything you can to achieve your own desires and objectives, whatever the cost. Therefore, if you make the pursuit of the truth the number one priority in your life, I believe that you will not be without a path, nor will you be without time, much less experience any difficulties that hinder you in seeking and practicing the truth. Do you possess such resolve? It is like a parent who will pay any price to satisfy their children. When the children say how much it costs to go to college, if the family does not have that much money, then the parents will go around borrowing money, collecting money, or finding ways to do business or take on casual work if they cannot borrow it. No matter how much they suffer, they will manage to scrape together enough money to pay for their children to go to college, to cultivate their children’s success, and to give their children good prospects. If you really have such resolve in your pursuit of truth, I think there should be no difficulty that cannot be overcome by any one of you, unless you are mentally deficient or have a congenital brain disorder. Unless you were born with an intellectual disability, you should be able to achieve what a normal person’s mind can achieve, and any difficulty is not a difficulty. Because the pursuit of truth is not something that can be obtained by man’s imaginings; it requires the work of the Holy Spirit, and man merely cooperates. As long as we have the will to pursue it, the Holy Spirit will guide us, provide for us and enlighten us at any time, allowing us to pass through every difficulty and understand the truth that we do not understand. For what is impossible for man is possible for God, and man is nothing; if God does not work, then all of man’s great efforts and exertions are for naught.

In the Age of Grace, people also said they believed in God and followed God, but their goal was to enter heaven. They did not speak of the matter of practicing and experiencing God’s word, nor did they know what it meant to be saved. They just abided by the regulations, observed the religious services and then read the Bible, and after that they harbored a faint hope, feeling that that was more or less it, and that they would be able to enter heaven once they died. This stage of work in the last days is not that simple, and every item of work of God is a reality that requires us to pay the price in actuality, to seek and experience practically, so that we can obtain the truth from words expressed by God. If people’s beliefs still resemble those of the Age of Grace, merely gathering together every week, reading the Bible, and then praying, singing, and praising God, before waiting to be raptured up to heaven or waiting to ascend to the third heaven, then how wildly arrogant a person can become! Corrupt mankind is like this. No matter how God works, as long as He gives man a promise, man will hold on to it, always keeping it as a regulation and never seeking God’s work or His will in the slightest, but just waiting to be raptured up to heaven. People do not know what they are, they dream of nice things and aspire to great heights. None of them thinks they are of Satan’s kind, much less that they are the object of perdition. They all think that if they believe in God sincerely, have suffered a great deal in the performance of their duties, and have never betrayed God, then they are already saved by God and are surely able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. This point of view is wrong, and they really do not understand the truth at all. Especially when people first believe in God, they are disobedient, resentful, and particularly arrogant, seeing everyone else as an eyesore and considering no one—not even God—to be as good as themselves. Even if a person has accepted Christ, it does not mean that they can accept what Christ says or everything Christ has done. They accept this stage of God’s work in name only, and accept the incarnate God in name only, but it does not mean that they have no notions, no imaginings, and no resistance to what God has done. Some people are excited and thrilled when they see Christ, feeling honored in their hearts and that they have not lived in vain. However, because they lack truth and do not know God, they have notions when they see Christ speak, notions when they see Christ deal with things, and notions of what attitude Christ has toward someone; they even have notions, opinions, and ideas on what Christ eats and wears and on any one of His facial expressions or gestures. What is this? It is that the God of man’s imagination is fundamentally different from the real God, and for people who inherently have corrupt dispositions and arrogant natures, it is impossible not to have notions, not to resist, and not to judge the incarnate Son of man. If one does not recognize God’s divine essence, it is difficult to submit to God and even more so to love Him and fear Him. But how will people who have experienced God’s work for many years know and treat the incarnate God, especially those who have listened to a lot of God’s sermons and fellowship? They have personally experienced the process from having notions about God to having knowledge of God, from rebellion and resistance to true submission, and they have personally experienced that everything God does, every word He utters, and everything He handles contains within it truth principles. People should not have notions, much less resistance or aversion in their hearts. After a few years’ experience, when people understand a little of the truth, they will treat it correctly, and when they have within them a little of the truth as their life and have acquired the principles of practice, they will naturally not do anything foolish. Those who are new believers and those who have no experience in these matters are prone to rebelling against God and resisting Him, and they are prone to doing foolish and reckless things. Some of a serious nature can judge and blaspheme God and then fall down completely; others are constantly disrupting and disturbing the work of the church, and they are cast out. Are you all now full of notions and imaginings about God? Do you feel that believing in the incarnate God is too difficult? Some people say, “When we used to believe in the Lord, it was quite simple. We just gathered together, listened to sermons, and prayed to the Lord for things; no one asked us to practice the truth and submit to God, let alone led us to practice and experience the Lord’s words and pursue the truth. The pastors and preachers just explained the Bible, and we could understand it any way we wanted to. But now that we believe in Almighty God, there are so many truths expressed by Him that we feel that it is too difficult to practice the truth, and it is really hard to enter into reality!” Have you ever thought that if you still believed in God in the way you used to believe in the Lord, would you be able to obtain the truth and life? Can you be saved by God? (We cannot.) The fact that you are able to realize this shows that you have made progress.

Belief in God cannot be based on imaginings or on notions, and even less so on interest. If you believe in God on the basis of a momentary interest or on impulse, then you had better calm down and think carefully about whether you want to continue to believe, whether you really want to pursue the truth, whether you really are a true believer in God, whether you have already made up your mind to walk the path of believing in God, and whether you have already made up your mind to pursue the truth. Why emphasize these points? Because what we now believe in is the incarnate God, and God’s incarnation means that He came from heaven to earth and truly became a human, one whose appearance is exactly the same as that of man, but who is Christ, who is God Himself, and who is no simple man. God’s incarnation has actually carried out the work of judging and purifying people, actually expressed many words, done a lot of work, and selected many people, and He has been actually expanding His work and His gospel. Each bit of this practical work confirms that God’s desire to save and perfect people naturally requires that people actually experience His words and work, so that they can obtain the truth, and truly submit to and worship God. This is what God wants to make complete. From the time you started accepting God’s work until now, you may have experienced some things, no matter whether you thought they were transcendent, or whether they were visible to the naked eye or attainable by the human mind; in short, God does everything in a practical way, working on us, among us, and around us, so that we can see it and touch it. Therefore, the pursuit of truth is a practical lesson, and we must seek and practice the truth in everything that befalls us, relying on our efforts to cooperate in order to obtain the truth. Pursuing the truth is not what people imagine it to be. People think that reading God’s words and understanding their literal meaning is understanding the truth, and that as long as one can speak skillfully, they are practicing the truth. It is not that simple. The pursuit of truth requires us to actually seek and accept the truth, to suffer and pay the price, to experience, to seek, to ponder, to fellowship, to practice, and to work hard in real life. Only in this way can we gradually enter into and gain from God’s word and the truth. One day, when you understand what the truth is, and what the essence of the truth is, you will know that the words spoken by the incarnate God are the needs of our reality, that they are the principles of practice that we need to deal with all our problems, and that these words of God are the goal and direction of our lives. At that time, you will see how meaningful all that God does is, and how important and valuable God’s incarnation is to us! Every sentence that God utters, every step of His work, His every word and action, His thoughts, His ideas, and His viewpoints are all for the purpose of purifying and saving people, and none of them is empty; they are all realistic and practical. Therefore, whether one has come from a religion or has been converted from the unbelievers, one should no longer believe in God on the basis of notions and imaginings, and one should no longer engage in religious dreams, dreaming that one will suddenly be taken into the sky to meet with the Lord when the great disasters strike; this is daydreaming. God has come to expose and judge man, and purify man’s corruption by expressing the truth in a practical way, and to save man from Satan’s influence in a practical way. During this period, man will have to go through many persecutions and tribulations, and he will experience many prunings and many judgments and chastisements before he may be purified and changed; only through this experience of God’s work can he obtain the truth. Once you have obtained the truth, God will have a place in your heart, and you will have true fear and submission to God, which is what God wants done. Once you have understood the truth and know its value, and the truth has taken root in your heart, and you have practical experience and knowledge of the truth, then the word of God will have become the life in your heart. Is this process practical? (It is.) What, then, does this process require that people do? First of all, people must have a heart of submission to God, to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s word, and to submit to God’s pruning, trials and refinement, so that they may be purified from their corruption, so that they can practice the truth and achieve submission to God, and so that they can enter into the reality of God’s word. As long as one knows how to experience God’s work, they will know what God wants to complete in them and what results He wants to achieve. God’s word achieves two main effects on man: First, it allows man to know himself; and second, it allows man to know God. When these two effects have been achieved, then one will truly know God’s words, and truly understand the truth.

To know yourself, you must know your own revelations of corruption, your corrupt disposition, your own vital weaknesses, and your nature essence. You must also know, down to the very last detail, those things that are revealed in your daily life—your motives, your perspectives, and your attitude about every single thing—whether you are at home or out, when you are in gatherings, when you are eating and drinking of the words of God, or in every single issue you encounter. Through these aspects you must come to know yourself. Of course, to know yourself on a deeper level, you must integrate God’s words; only by knowing yourself based on His words can you achieve results. When accepting the judgment of God’s words, don’t be afraid of suffering or pain, and moreover, don’t be afraid that God’s words will pierce your hearts and expose your ugly states. It is so beneficial to suffer these things. If you believe in God, you should read more of God’s words judging and chastising people, especially those that expose the essence of humankind’s corruption. You should compare them to your practical state more, and you should connect them to yourself more and others less. The types of states God exposes exist in every person, and they can all be found in you. If you don’t believe this, try experiencing it. The more you experience, the more you will know yourself, and the more you will feel that God’s words are very accurate. After reading God’s words, some people are incapable of connecting them to themselves; they think that parts of these words are not about them, but are instead about other people. For example, when God exposes people as jezebels and whores, some sisters feel that because they have been unerringly faithful to their husbands, such words must not be in reference to them; some sisters feel that since they are unmarried and have never had sex, such words must not be about them, either. Some brothers feel that these words are only aimed at women, and have nothing to do with them; some people believe that God’s words of exposing man are too severe, that they do not conform to reality, so they refuse to accept them. There are even people who say that in some instances, God’s words are inaccurate. Is this the right attitude to have toward God’s words? It is obviously wrong. People all view themselves based on their external behaviors. They are incapable of reflecting upon themselves, and coming to know their corrupt essence, amid the words of God. Here, “jezebels” and “whores” refer to the essence of the corruption, filthiness, and promiscuity of mankind. Whether man or woman, married or not married, everyone has corrupt thoughts of promiscuity—so how can it have nothing to do with you? God’s words expose people’s corrupt dispositions; whether male or female, one’s level of corruption is the same. Is this not a fact? We have to first realize that everything God says is the truth, and in line with the facts, and that no matter how severe His words that judge and expose people are, or how gentle His words of fellowshipping the truth or exhorting people are, whether His words are judgment or blessings, whether they are condemnations or curses, whether they give people a bitter feeling or a sweet one, people must accept them all. Such is the attitude people should have toward God’s words. What sort of attitude is this? Is it a devout attitude, a pious attitude, a patient attitude, or an attitude of embracing suffering? You are somewhat confused. I tell you that it is not any of these. In their faith, people must firmly maintain that God’s words are the truth. Since they are indeed the truth, people should accept them with reason. Whether or not they are able to recognize or admit it, their first attitude toward God’s words should be one of absolute acceptance. If God’s word doesn’t expose one or all of you, who does it expose? And if it is not in order to expose you, why are you asked to accept it? Isn’t this a contradiction? God speaks to the whole of mankind, every sentence uttered by God exposes corrupt mankind, and no one is exempt—which naturally includes you, too. Not a single one of the lines of God’s utterances is about external appearances, or a kind of state, much less about an external regulation or a simple form of behavior in people. They are not like that. If you think every line uttered by God is just exposing a simple kind of human behavior or external appearance, then you have no spiritual understanding and you do not understand what the truth is. God’s words are the truth. People can sense the profundity of God’s words. How are they profound? God’s every word exposes people’s corrupt dispositions, and essential and deep-rooted things within their lives. They are essential things, not external appearances, and particularly not external behaviors. Viewing people from their external appearances, they might all seem to be good people. But why, then, does God say that some people are evil spirits and some are unclean spirits? This is a matter that is not visible to you. So, one must not treat God’s words in light of human notions or imaginings, or in light of human hearsay, and certainly not in light of the ruling party’s statements. God’s words alone are the truth; man’s words are all fallacy. After being fellowshipped to thusly, have you experienced a change in your attitude toward God’s words? No matter how great or small the change, the next time you read God’s words judging and exposing people, you at least should not try to reason with God. You should stop complaining about God, saying, “God’s words of exposing and judging people are really severe; I’m not going to read this page. I’ll just skip over it. Let me search for something to read about blessings and promises, so as to find some comfort.” You should no longer read the word of God by picking and choosing according to your own inclinations. You must accept the truth and the judgment and chastisement of God’s words; only then can your corrupt disposition be cleansed, and only then can you attain salvation.

Although you now know that God’s words are all truth, and you are willing to pursue the truth, you still have your own preferences and choices in dealing with God’s words, and you will still act according to your own will. You are most willing to read God’s words of promise and blessing, and you will particularly remember the words of God’s promise. You will feel comforted reading words such as these, or you will feel a little bit of hope and find that you have yet the strength and motivation to believe in God. But you are unwilling to read God’s words judging and exposing people, because if one always reads God’s words of exposing people and judging and chastising people, then one feels distressed, and the strength to believe in God will fade, so how can one move forward? Nowadays, most people cannot understand God’s words disclosing mysteries. They feel that they are too deep, and that the words of blessing are beyond their reach. When reading God’s words exposing man’s corrupt disposition, they can understand some of them, and even if they manage to connect those words to themselves and admit in their hearts that those words are the facts, they are still unwilling to accept them. You see, how troublesome people are! They know that God’s word is the truth, but they are still unwilling to accept it; they want to obtain blessings, but they still cannot gain them. So how should one eat and drink God’s word properly? First of all, one should read more of God’s words that disclose mysteries. When reading such words, one feels that God is in the third heaven and is lofty, and that one should have a God-fearing heart. Then they pray, “Oh God, You are so great! You are supreme! You have sovereignty over all things, and You can determine my destiny; I am willing to submit to all the things that You have arranged to happen around me.” Praying this way, people will have some fear of God. People are willing to believe in the lofty God, so before eating and drinking God’s word, the first step is to make sure that God is speaking to people from heaven, and people will be willing to read God’s word and will be less prone to having notions. The second step is to find some words of God’s promises and blessings to eat and drink. On seeing God’s words blessing man, people become so excited they begin to weep, saying, “Oh God, You are too lovely! You are so worthy of our worship! We are willing to accept the blessings You have for us, and we are even more willing to accept the promises You have given us. It’s just that we are now small in stature and are not yet grown, we lack the qualifications to receive Your promises and blessings, and beseech You to provide for us more!” How good it is to read the words of God’s blessing! Then they ponder, “What kind of blessings are there, then? God has said that when the time comes, no calamities will befall man, and that man will be freed from the annoyance of eating three meals a day and washing and cleaning—God has spoken of promises such as these.” The more one reads, the more excited one becomes. But no matter how enthusiastic you are, do not forget to pursue the truth. The third step is to read God’s words that expose mankind’s corrupt disposition and essence. When it comes to this, it is not necessary to eat and drink much each time; it is sufficient to eat and drink one or two items at a time. After eating and drinking, first put aside the things that you do not understand, the things that can’t be connected to you, and ponder carefully the things that can be linked to you, and you will slowly come to know your own state. When you have truly recognized your corrupt disposition, and have understood more and more truths, you will be able to see through to your own nature essence unconsciously. Do you think this is good? (It is.) It is like when giving a child medicine: You first give him something tasty to coax him, then, when he’s not paying attention, you give him a mouthful of medicine; if he finds it bitter, you give him two more pieces of candy to coax him, and he will take his medicine. But when he grows up, this is no longer necessary: He drinks the medicine of his own accord, with full knowledge of how bitter it is. This is a matter of stature. If you lack the stature, and you are asked to find in God’s word those words that expose man’s corrupt nature and related truths and compare yourself against them, and if you are made to eat and drink of these words all day long, at length you will tire of them, because your experience does not extend to them and is not up to it. And so, you have to add something similar to a sugar-coating in the middle of it, and those who are small in stature should eat and drink of God’s words in this way. If you are often weak and negative and have no real faith or hope, you should hurry to eat and drink some words on God’s blessings and promises, and find words on God disclosing mysteries to eat and drink. If you feel your strength increasing and your relationship with God getting closer, then you should strike while the iron is hot and find words to eat and drink on chastisement and judgment, and in this way, eating and drinking will take effect more easily, and you will not delay the growth of life. When eating and drinking of God’s words if you are small in stature, you must know how to make adjustments: eating and drinking in such a way as to put yourself in a good frame of mind and grow quickly; eating and drinking of that which is within your reach and setting aside that which is not; and trying to practice and experience what you have understood from eating and drinking. As long as you know how to practice and experience God’s words and the truths that you understand, you will be able to enter the right track of believing in God.

I recall someone once saying something like this: There was a man who made a great effort to study when God would leave the earth. This great effort was not thinking about it day and night; rather, it had been a matter of concern to him from when he began to believe in God. In order to find out an accurate answer, he gathered all the words on God’s departure, such as when God would leave the earth, what signs there would be, and how the people in the church would react. He then pondered over them with great vigor, making a comprehensive analysis and comparing them against each other, one by one and from front to back, as if consulting a reference Bible. Was this not a great effort? How much did this man “care” for God, and how much “love” did he have for God! God’s departure from the earth is a very significant event in God’s work, and when he discovered it, he regarded it as the most important thing—more important than his pursuit of truth to achieve salvation, and more important than seeking any items of truth in God’s words. So, he gathered all those words together and finally found the “answer.” Leaving aside the accuracy of the results of his research, what do you think about the views of this kind of person on the pursuit of faith in God and the way he pursued it? Was the effort he put in necessary? It was pointless to put in such hard work! What has God’s departure from the earth got to do with you? God did not inform you of His coming, so He is not going to let you know when He is leaving. There are many things that God does not let people know, and what is the reason for that? The reason is that there is no need for people to know, and if they do know, it will do them no good and will play no role in their future destinations, so there is no need for people to know. Now that God has become flesh, He knows all the mysteries and all aspects of the truth and all things, and He can tell people, but there are some things that people do not need to know, nor is there any need to tell them. Does it have any bearing on man when God departs from the earth, or when He concludes His work? One can say: None whatsoever! Some people say, “How come it doesn’t matter? What will I do if it’s too late for me to pursue the truth? I have to see how much time is left of God’s day, and I have to be certain of the day before I pursue the truth.” Is such a person foolish? Are they a pursuer of truth? Not at all! If a person truly pursues the truth, they will not care about this, nor will they wish to concern themselves with these things; they think that caring about these things does not help in the pursuit of the truth and is of no significance, so they are not willing to put thought and effort into these boring topics. Some people are ever concerned about when God’s day will come, but is this not a personal agenda? Does your constant concern over when God’s day will come prove that you love God? Can it prove that you are a person who follows God’s will? Can it prove that you bear witness for God? Can it prove that you have contributed to the expansion of the gospel of the kingdom of God? How is your preparation of good deeds going? How much of the truth have you understood? What truth realities have you entered into? These are the things you should be most concerned about. You are always inquiring about God’s news, always wanting to know a bit of gossip, always wanting to grasp a bit of mystery. But this is only a curious heart, and not at all a heart that pursues the truth or a heart that is considerate of God, and much less a heart that fears God. Your pursuit of understanding mysteries has not the slightest relation to the pursuit of the truth. How should these kinds of people be treated? Do you respect them? Do you admire them? Do you envy them? Would you help them seek such mysteries? No, you would certainly look down upon them, saying, “We’re still no good at the pursuit of truth, at knowing ourselves, and at knowing God—we haven’t achieved anything yet—and there are truths of every aspect waiting to be sought out, to be understood, and to be practiced, so there is no need for us to put in the effort to study such mysteries.” In fact, as long as you have God in your heart and the desire to pursue the truth, when the day comes, God will not leave you in ignorance; He will not abandon you. This is the faith and the understanding you must have. If you have this faith and understanding, you will not do anything foolish. If God intended to tell you, would He not say it directly? Would there be any need to beat around the bush? Would there be any need to hide words within words? Would there be any need to be secretive? Not at all. What God intends to let people know is the truth; everything His work, words, and will express is the truth, and He will not hide them from people at all. Therefore, there is no need for you to inquire about the things that God does not want people to know, nor do you need to mull over them, for the amount of effort you put into those things will be in vain, and it will be of absolutely no value, but it will be abhorrent to God. Why will it be abhorrent to God? First of all, you must understand that God has expressed many truths, and truths are expressed in all areas. If you do not seek the truth to fix your own real problems when things happen to you, you are not a lover of the truth: You are a person who is overly curious; a person who likes to split hairs; a person who treats God’s words without proper respect and always in a perfunctory manner. You do not have a place for God in your heart. All you have in your heart are a few things God does not want you to know, such as what His abode—the third heaven—is like and where it really is, what the future kingdom will be like, and when God’s incarnation will leave the earth. That is why I say that God abhors you. Is there any reason for God to abhor you? (There is.) Suppose your children did not study hard all day and did not do the homework they were meant to, but instead mulled over questions such as: “How did my father and mother meet? How did they give birth to me? After I was born, did they like me? How will my family fare in the future? Will we be able to make a fortune?” If they always studied these questions, would you dislike such a child? Would you abhor your children doing this? What would you like your children to do? To learn to read and write well and to study hard. This is your intention for your children, so what is God’s intention for man? How could God not prefer even more that man follow the right path and do proper work? God does not like people to study Him, or to always be secretly observing His every word and action, or to expend meaningless time and effort on Him. Many are those who are always studying when God’s day will come. Are they not doubting and resisting God in their hearts? What is the problem of man neither treasuring nor pursuing the many truths that God expresses? A devout person seeks the truth and feels God’s heart in all things, and after reading God’s words, they can be sure that these words are the truth, and that people should practice and submit to them. Only those who do not believe that God’s word is the truth will study God. These people do not care one bit about their responsibilities and their own duties; they do not pay attention to them at all and do not make any effort or pay any price for them. Instead, they are always concerned about things such as when God will leave the earth, when God will bring down disaster, and how much longer it will be until God’s day, and strange questions such as: “Will God still meet with us after He has left the earth? Will God’s work be like this after He has left the earth? After God has left the earth, how long will He stay in the third heaven? Will He come back? Will there be angels in the future Age of Kingdom? Do angels interact with people?” God abhors people constantly studying these kinds of topics. Then what should man focus on? How to know the incarnate God, how to know God’s work, and how to comprehend every word that God has spoken: These are man’s responsibilities, and they are the first things that man should seek to understand and to enter into. If you do not seek to understand and enter into these truths, then your belief in God is meaningless—an empty slogan with no real content. If you are always surreptitiously pondering things relating to mysteries and to when God leaves the earth, or if you are always talking among yourselves about where God’s flesh was born, what kind of family He was born into, what kind of family background He has, what kind of life He has, how old He is, what kind of education He had, whether He ever believed in God, whether He ever read the Bible, and how long He believed in Jesus, and so on—if you are always studying these things, then you are judging God and blaspheming God’s flesh! God wants you to know His disposition and His essence, so that you may understand His heart, be able to submit to Him, and be able to practice the truth to satisfy Him; He does not let you study Him and discuss Him behind His back. Therefore, since we have accepted God’s incarnation and this stage of God’s work, and we have accepted Christ as our life and our God, we should have a God-fearing heart and treat God’s possessions and being and the flesh in which He has become incarnate with a devout attitude; this is the reason and humanity we should have. If you feel that you do not have any knowledge of God now, then don’t speak of it. Instead, speak of knowing yourself, of how to pursue the truth, and of how to perform your duties well, and equip yourself with these aspects of the truth. One day, when you feel as if you have some real knowledge of God, you can fellowship together. But do not attempt to talk about information concerning God’s incarnate flesh or some unknown mysteries, for you may easily offend God’s disposition, be condemned by God, and become a blasphemer, and the Holy Spirit will forsake you. This is a matter you must see clearly. Can the pursuit of truth be replaced by always studying God and inquiring into gossip? Can it enable you to know God? If you are unable to see these things clearly, are you not a very foolish and ignorant person?

People must understand exactly what the pursuit of the truth is. Why does God express so many truths to save people? Why does God require people to understand so many truths? If one does not understand these truths, can one fix one’s corrupt disposition? Can one know God without understanding these truths? If one does not know God, can one achieve submission to God? Can one worship God? These truths are all related. How can one achieve salvation without understanding these truths? Is it easy to understand these truths? Can one achieve an understanding of the truth without experiencing judgment and chastisement? Can one know oneself without experiencing prunings? Can one have true repentance without knowing oneself? Can one achieve salvation without true repentance? All these truths are truths that should be understood by believers in God, and they are truths that must be understood in order to achieve salvation. If your belief in God has always been confused and you have not been pursuing the truth, then you will have lost the meaning of believing in God.

Autumn, 2007

Next: The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person

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