In Believing in God, Gaining the Truth Is Most Crucial
Some people have believed in God for years but still cling to the pleasures of food, dress, and other enjoyments of the flesh. Can these things meet the needs of man’s heart? What people need the most is even unclear to some who have believed in God for many years. Some people see Me give something to someone and start making a fuss, saying, “How come God is taking care of them and not me? I don’t have it yet.” In actuality, you are not going hungry, and you do not lack clothing. You are just being greedy; you do not know contentment, and you like competing for things. Taking care of you is not My obligation. You must comport yourself with principles. Do not ever fight over your interests or over advantages. These things are all external; they are no substitute for your gaining the truth and the life. No matter how well dressed you are on the outside, your heart will still be empty if you have not gained the truth. People understand these things when it is just talk, but they cannot help themselves when actually confronted with them. They cannot know them for what they are. There are many people in this world with wealth and power, and what kind of lives do these people lead? It is all eating, drinking, and diverting themselves; wining and dining every day; entertaining guests and presenting gifts; and acting recklessly. This is how they live. Do they have human lives? They do not. What they focus on all day long is gorging themselves silly, wearing designer brands, showing off everywhere they go, and throwing their weight around. What are such people? They belong to the devil Satan; they are brutes. When some wealthy people have had enough of their pleasures, they lose interest in living and kill themselves. They may have had enough of the pleasures of food, dress, and diversions, but why do they go on to kill themselves? From this one can see that fame and gain, status, wealth, food, dress, and enjoyments are not what people really need at all. You must not pursue those things. If you wait to reverse until you have degenerated beyond saving, it will be too late! When an intelligent person sees another person fail, they derive experience from it directly, with no need to experience it themselves. An ignorant person, on the other hand, can experience failure after failure and still be unable to draw lessons from them. They must be dealt with and pruned before they begin to have some awareness, but by then, it is too late. Those who are too ignorant are unable to gain the truth. Only intelligent people who experience God’s work are able to gain the truth. The fact is that all humanity needs the truth, and only by pursuing the truth can they be saved. Whether you are one of God’s chosen people or an unbeliever, you need the provision of the truth, and you need the salvation of God. Some people have no humanity at all and do not accept the truth in the slightest—such people are brutes. They may attend gatherings, but what they pursue in their hearts are sinful pleasures, the pleasures of food, dress, and diversions, and they are filled with these things. They do not seek the truth at all, and their hearts are filled with atheistic views, and ideas on the theory of evolution. They do not hear you no matter how you fellowship with them on the truth, and even though they know that believing in God is a good thing and are able to persevere in their belief, they are unable to embark on the path of pursuing the truth. That is why those who have no love for the truth are not those whom God has ordained for His salvation.
Many people currently have a terribly confused belief in God. They do not know what should be gained in believing in God; they do not understand what believing in God is for—they have no idea. They know nothing at all about what man should live for, what they should live by, or how to live in a way that is valuable and significant. If you are unsure in your heart about why you must believe in God, then the persecution and pain you suffer for your belief in God have no value or significance. What, exactly, do people mean to gain by their belief in God? If your belief is not to gain the truth and life, will you not be filled with regret when God’s work is finished and people’s ends are decided? When you first resolved to follow God, was that just a moment’s impulse, or did you think through the matter of believing in God and figure it out before you made your decision? What exactly are you living for? What is your direction in life, and what are your goals? Do you have the resolve to follow God till the end and ultimately gain the truth? Can you ensure you will not give up halfway? Are you able to faithfully perform your duty no matter what situations may arise or what tribulations, trials, difficulties, or troubles you face? Some people do not even have this little bit of faith or the determination to pursue the truth. Gaining the truth will not be easy, then. When people are not interested in the truth, they are unable to perform their duty willingly and do not sincerely expend themselves for God. How can people like that follow God till the end? If you asked them, “Why do you believe in God? What do you want out of believing in God? What path should you walk?” they would not know and would be unable to answer. This proves that they are not following God to gain the truth and life, but looking for an opportunity to gain blessings. How can someone like that perform their duty sincerely? The more those who truly love the truth understand it, the more enthusiastic they are in performing their duty. Those who do not understand the truth often get negative when performing their duty. If they cannot accept the truth, they will drop out. Those who pursue the truth are different: The more they perform their duty, the more they understand the truth, and as they do, their corruption is cleansed. The more someone understands the truth, the more they feel that what they gain in following God is all the greater, and they can sense that the path of following God grows brighter the longer they follow it. These are the people who have gained the truth. If people truly understand the truth, they will be confident in following God and remain faithful to the end.
When some people face sickness and their lives are hanging in the balance, they ask God to save them, and once they get through it, they come to understand a little of the truth. But it is not necessary for everyone to experience calling on God in a life-or-death situation. Just look at the experiences some people have and listen to their fellowship and their feelings, and you will be able to gain from it. Even if you have not had an experience yourself, you can apprehend some of it from the experiences of others. Some people, when they are approaching death, feel that they have not changed a great deal, that they know little of God, and that what they have done and expended for God is limited. They feel that they have not pursued the truth during their years of believing in God, that they have gained too little and owe God too much. If they do happen to die, they will not do so willingly, as they would no longer have a chance to repent. When Job faced trials, his body became covered in sores; his wife did not understand him and mocked him, and his friends did not understand him and even judged and condemned him, believing that he must surely have done something bad and offended Jehovah God. They spoke to Job, saying, “How have you offended Jehovah God? Go ahead and confess your sins. Jehovah God is righteous.” But Job understood in his heart and did not feel that he had done anything bad. Yet still, it was painful for him to face such a trial! He sought death over life in his suffering; he suffered so much that he thought death was his only escape from it, that death would be the end of it, and yet he was still able to praise God in his heart. This is not something an ordinary person can achieve. Most people do not praise God when they are in pain. They just make demands of Him, saying, “God, give me just one more breath. Hurry up and make me well again! I’ll do whatever You want of me when I’m better.” They begin trying to bargain. How should you experience sickness when it comes? You should come before God and pray, seek and grope for God’s intention; you should examine yourself to find what it is you have done that went against the truth, and what corruption in you has not been resolved. Your corrupt disposition cannot be resolved without undergoing suffering. Only in being tempered by suffering can people not be dissolute, and able to live before God at all times. When someone suffers, they are always at prayer. They have no thought for the pleasures of food, dress, and other enjoyments; they pray constantly in their hearts, examining themselves to see whether they have done anything wrong or where they may have gone against the truth. Normally, when you face a serious illness or strange malady that makes you suffer very badly, this does not happen by chance. Whether you are ill or in good health, God’s will is there in that. When the Holy Spirit works and you are physically well, you can usually seek God, but you stop seeking God when you get sick and suffer, nor do you know how to seek Him. You live in sickness, always pondering what treatment will make you better faster. You envy those who are not sick at times like these, and you want to get rid of your sickness and pain as soon as you can. These are negative and resistant feelings. When people get sick, they sometimes think, “Did I bring about this sickness through my own ignorance, or is it God’s will?” They just cannot figure it out. In fact, some illnesses are normal, things such as chills, inflammation, or the flu. When you are afflicted with a major illness that suddenly knocks you down, that you would rather die than suffer, such an illness does not happen by chance. Do you pray to God and seek from Him when sickness and suffering come your way? How does the work of the Holy Spirit guide you and lead you? Does He only enlighten and illuminate you? That is not His only method; He will also test you and refine you. How does God test people? Does He not test people by making them suffer? Suffering goes hand in hand with being tested. Why would man suffer if it were not a test? How can people change without suffering? Suffering goes hand in hand with being tested—that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes God gives people some suffering because they would otherwise not know their place in the universe, and become insolent. A corrupt disposition cannot be completely resolved through fellowship on the truth alone. Others may point out your issues, and you may know about them yourself, but you cannot change them. No matter how much you rely on your willpower to restrain yourself, even slapping your own face, hitting yourself on the head, banging yourself against the wall, and harming your own flesh will not resolve your issues. Because there is a satanic disposition inside you that constantly torments you, disturbs you, and gives you all kinds of thoughts and ideas, your corrupt disposition will pour forth. So, what do you do if you cannot resolve it? You must be refined through ailment. Some suffer so much in this refinement that they cannot take it, and they begin to pray and seek. When you are not sick, you are so dissolute and wildly arrogant. When you get sick, you come to heel—can you still be wildly arrogant then? When you barely have enough energy to speak, can you lecture others or be arrogant? At times like those, you make no demands; you wish only to be rid of your suffering, without a thought for any food, clothing, or enjoyment. Most of you have not experienced that feeling, but you will understand when you do. There are some now who fight for position, for the pleasures of the flesh, and for their own interests. This is all because their ease is too great, their suffering is too slight, and they are demeaned. These people have hardship and refinement ahead of them!
Sometimes God will arrange some situations for you, dealing with you through the people around you and causing you to suffer, making you learn the lessons and allowing you to understand the truth and see things for what they are. God is doing this work right now, in having your flesh accompanied by suffering, so that you can learn your lesson, resolve your corrupt disposition and fulfill your duty well. Paul often said he had a thorn in his flesh. What was this thorn? It was an illness, and he could not escape it. He knew all too well what that illness was, that it was directed at his disposition and his nature. If he had not been stuck with this thorn, if he had not been followed with this illness, he might, at any place and time, establish his own kingdom, but with his sickness he did not have the energy. Therefore, much of the time sickness is a kind of “protective umbrella” for people. If you are not ill, but are bounding with energy, you may well do evil of some sort and bring about some kind of trouble. People can easily lose their senses when they are wildly arrogant and dissolute. They will regret it when they have done evil, but by then they will be unable to help themselves. That is why having a little illness is a good thing, a protection for people. You may be able to solve all of other people’s problems and you can fix all the problems in your own thinking, but there is nothing you can do when you are not recovered from an illness. Falling ill is really beyond your control. If you get sick and there is no way to cure it, then that is the suffering you should endure. Do not try to be rid of it; you must first obey, pray to God, and seek God’s intentions. Say: “Oh God, I know I am corrupt and my nature is bad. I’m capable of doing things that are rebellious and resistant against You, things that hurt You and cause You pain. How wonderful that You have given me this illness. I should submit to it. Please enlighten me, allow me to understand what Your will is, and what in me You wish to change and make perfect. I ask only that You guide me, so that I may understand the truth and set off on the right path of life.” You must seek and pray. You cannot be in a muddle, believing that there is nothing to being sick, that it could not be the discipline you face for offending God. Do not make hasty judgments. If you are truly someone with God in their heart, then whatever you encounter, do not let it pass you by. You should pray and seek, feel for God’s will in every matter, and learn to obey God. When God sees that you can submit and that you have a heart of obedience to Him, He will ease your suffering. God achieves such effects by means of suffering and refinement.
Throughout history, devout Christians, disciples, apostles, and prophets have been stoned to death, dragged to their deaths by horses, cut to pieces, boiled in oil, crucified…. They have died in all kinds of ways. What I mean by this is, do not plan on the company of ease when you follow God. Do not ask for this; do not have the extravagant wish for it. Why do I say that it is wrong for people to make demands of God? It is because any little demand amounts to an extravagant wish, and you should not have these. Do not wish for things, saying, “Oh God, You clothe me well, as I have reason to wear nice things. Oh God, I am fulfilling my duty now, so I have good reason to ask that You bless me and give me good health.” If you become sick one day, will you become negative? Will you stop believing in God? Would you still perform your duty if you were not healthy? Is performing your duty not what you should be doing anyway? It is a heaven-sent vocation, a responsibility that cannot be thrown off. You should perform your duty, even if no one else does. This is the determination you must have. Many people think, “If I still have to suffer when I believe in God, then what do I follow Him for? I follow God to enjoy His blessings. Without blessings to enjoy, I won’t follow Him!” Is this not a mistaken way of looking at it? You have all seen, in your experience over all these years, that for those who truly pursue the truth, there are no clearly visible blessings on them like people imagine. Being in good cheer and carefree every day, being well dressed, having everything go smoothly, and prospering in the world—things are not like this for anyone. They all get through life day by day, hitting obstacle after obstacle. Some people are discriminated against and bullied at their jobs elsewhere; some people are followed always by illness; still others are unsuccessful in business, and their nonbelieving family members abandon them. Life has its ups and downs; it is never just smooth sailing. The more someone pursues the truth, the more they suffer, whereas those who do not pursue the truth at all live comfortable lives. They have no ailments or troubles; everything goes smoothly for them, and others envy them. Yet they do not have the slightest entry into life, and they live like unbelievers. Those who sincerely follow God must inevitably suffer persecution and hardship. And what does it prove when you suffer persecution and hardship? That God has not left you, that God has not abandoned you, that God’s hand is always on you and does not let go. If He did let go, and you fell into Satan’s snare, would you not then be in danger? If you live every day in sin seeking fame and fortune, coveting pleasures, and degenerating into drink, gambling, and promiscuity, then God will abandon you. He will take no more notice of you, and you will surely be cast out. You may gain worldly wealth and status, but in fact, you will have lost the most precious thing of all—the truth, which is everlasting life—and you do not even know it!
Some people say, “Why is God always disciplining me? Why are other people so healthy while I am always ill? Why am I always suffering? Why is my family so poor? Why can’t we get rich? Why can’t I ever wear nice clothes? How come other people can wear nice clothes?” Do not be jealous of how much of God’s grace and blessings other people enjoy. It may be because their statures are small and God understands their weakness, so He bestows some grace on them to enjoy, letting them experience it little by little, so that they gradually come to understand His deeds. For you, God has extremely strict requirements. Your life, as seen by man, is not at all happy, and you are constantly suffering, yet you have understood many truths, and you should give God great thanks and praise. This is someone who knows God’s deeds. So long as someone can understand the truth, that is God’s greatest blessing, whatever they may suffer. To be disciplined often by God and to be faced often with trials, such that you may often learn lessons and understand truths—this means that God’s love follows you. If you are always dissolute and have not yet been disciplined, and are not disciplined, however long your dissolution goes on, with no one dealing with you or taking notice of you, then you are finished. This means God has abandoned you. There are some people who perform no duty and take on no responsibilities. They live leisurely and carefree lives, in great comfort. They cannot learn any lessons, and they gain nothing. Is this happiness? What could they gain from their own willingness to be dissolute, from their pursuit of freedom and their fleshly enjoyments? You suffer and tire yourself performing your duty, and everyone cares for you; sometimes they prune and deal with you. This shows that God loves you and takes responsibility for you. With many matters, you must seek, and you must pray to God more. You will then be able to understand His will. No matter what duty you perform, you must not under any circumstances be wayward, or dissolute, or careless and perfunctory, or obstinate in your errant ways. Hurry and seek the truth when you have a problem. To be able to fulfill your duty and satisfy God is what is foremost, and your heart will naturally be able to enjoy peace and good cheer. If you are too willful or dissolute, and do not accept discipline, and are quite stubborn, too, then you will be in danger. Once you have been cast out, you will have no more chances, and it will be too late for regret. Some people pray all the time when they first fall ill, but later, when they see their prayers have not cured them, they sink into their sickness, complain all the time, and say in their hearts, “Believing in God hasn’t done me any good. I’m sick, and God won’t heal me!” This is not true faith. There is no obedience at all in it, and what comes of it is their death, once they are done complaining. This is God’s revocation of their flesh and sending them to hell; it is the end of everything for them. They have no chance to gain salvation in this life, and their soul must go to hell. This is the last stage of God’s work of saving humanity, and if someone is cast out, they will never have another chance! If you die while God is doing His work of salvation, this death is a punishment, not a normal death. Those who die as punishment have no chance to be saved. Is Paul not being constantly punished in Hades? It has been two thousand years, and he is still there, being punished! It is even worse when you knowingly do something wrong, and the punishment will be even more severe!
Some people say, “I’ve always been sick, always suffering and in pain. There have always been some circumstances around me, but I never felt the work of the Holy Spirit.” This is right. This is how the Holy Spirit works most of the time—you cannot sense it. This is refinement. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and allow you to understand some truth through fellowship. Sometimes He will have you realize something through your environment, and test you, temper you, and train you in that environment, making you grow—this is how the Holy Spirit works. You had no knowledge when you went through things before because you did not focus on seeking the truth in your heart. When a person does not understand the truth, they cannot see anything for what it is and are always skewed in their apprehension. It is just as when someone gets sick and believes it is God disciplining them, when in fact some illnesses are man-made, caused by a lack of understanding of the rules for living. When you eat with abandon and do not understand healthy living, then you get sick in all kinds of ways. Yet you say it is God’s discipline, when in fact it has come about due to your own ignorance. But then again, whether an illness has a human cause or it is bestowed by the Holy Spirit, it is a special kindness from God; it is meant to have you learn a lesson, and you must thank God and not complain. Each complaint you make leaves a stain, and that is a sin that cannot be washed away! When you make a complaint, how long will it take to turn your state around? If you are a little negative, you may come around after a month. When you give a complaint and you give voice to some negative feelings, you may not come around even after a year, and the Holy Spirit will not work on you. It will be terrible for you if you always complain, and it will be even harder for you to gain the work of the Holy Spirit. One has to make a great deal of effort in prayer to set their mindset aright and receive some of the Holy Spirit’s work. It is no easy thing to turn a mindset around completely. This can only be done by seeking the truth and gaining the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. There are in fact times in your own experience when you gain the work of the Holy Spirit. Most of these are when you are facing persecution and hardship or sickness and pain. Only then do you earnestly pray to God, asking Him to heal you, to grant you faith and strength. You pray for this one thing only. You may want to pray more and seek God’s will, but you do not know what to say. You want to communicate some words from your heart with God, but you have none to offer. Your stature is too small. Sometimes God will give you a hard time through the people around you. At those times, you can do nothing but come back before God and begin to reflect, “What exactly have I done wrong? Please God, enlighten me and allow me to understand. If God doesn’t enlighten me, I’ll just keep praying. If I’ve prayed and I still don’t understand, then I’ll keep seeking in this matter, and I’ll seek with someone who understands the truth.” This is what it is to take responsibility for yourself. Some people never seek the truth when things happen to them. They understand some words and phrases of doctrine and think they understand the truth. They deceive themselves, and that is foolishness. They are the most foolish and ignorant of people, and the only possible result is that they will harm and destroy themselves, without gaining any truth at all.
You do not pray much normally, do you? When people do not pray much, they do not seek much, and if they do not seek much, it is hard for them to understand the truth, and they have no obedience. If you do not have a seeking attitude, how can you have obedience? How will you be able to understand God’s deeds? You do not even know how God works on you, nor whom you should obey or whose words you should heed. Obedience is out of the question for you. Obedience is not a vague thing. It requires a purpose and an object. If you do not even know why God expresses the truth or what He does, how can you be obedient? Obedience becomes an empty word when you say it. When something happens to you, how should you pray, and how should you seek by saying what is in your heart? What should you seek? You must be clear on these things before you can have real prayer. Do not imitate what other people say when you pray, much less imitate Jesus’ words, “Your will be done.” Do not blindly copy these words. What you have in you is nothing more than enlightenment and illumination, and it cannot amount to achieving God’s will. When you are sometimes dealt with and pruned or you endure some suffering, do not say that this is God perfecting you or that it is His will. It is wrong to say this, and you must not pray like this. You are occupying the wrong status, and the Holy Spirit will not work on you. Some people imitate Jesus’ prayer, saying, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.” Will it do to put yourself on an equal footing with God? Christ, from the perspective of the flesh, spoke that prayer to the Spirit in heaven. They were on an equal footing, of the same status. They were one God, different only in perspective. Christ prayed in that way; if people also pray like that, it shows that they have no sense, and it is no wonder that the Holy Spirit does not enlighten them at all! Those words you say are words of imitation, not words spoken from the heart. They are totally empty and not real, which shows that your stature is too small to be capable of understanding God’s words or requirements. How will the Holy Spirit enlighten you? People are so confused! If they cannot even figure this out, then they will never understand the truth. Do not randomly imitate others when you pray. You must have your own thoughts and views. If you do not understand something, then you must seek the truth. You must often contemplate how to pray when matters of different sorts befall you, and if you find a way forward, you must lead your brothers and sisters to pray in that way, too. This is what God delights in. Everyone must learn how to come before God. Do not try to handle everything blindly by yourself, and do not base what you do on your imaginings. If in doing so, you do things that cause interruptions and disturbances and go against God’s will, then that will spell trouble. If you are asked to lead a church and you are always preaching words of doctrine, but do not fellowship on how to eat and drink of God’s words or how to pray to God, then you have gone astray. If you are always preaching words of doctrine and teaching people empty prayers, in which they only recite some words from the Bible and words of doctrine, then there will be no results, however they pray. Their life will not progress, their relationship with God will not be a normal one, and this means you will also lead them astray. What sort of prayer is it that achieves results? It is open-hearted fellowship with God. Most importantly, one must pray to God and seek the truth in accordance with His words and His requirements. This requires one to be wholehearted. Those who are not wholehearted will find this hard to achieve. What kind of people does the Holy Spirit enlighten? Those who are keen and subtle of thought. When the Holy Spirit gives them a feeling or enlightens them, they can sense that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, that it is God doing it. Or sometimes, when they are being enlightened or reproached by the Holy Spirit, they can tell right away and rein themselves in. These are the sort of people the Holy Spirit enlightens. If someone is careless and does not understand spiritual matters, they will not realize when they are given a feeling by the Holy Spirit. They pay no mind to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit may enlighten them three or four times, and still, they do not accept it, so the Holy Spirit will no longer work on them. Why is it that some people go on believing, yet cannot reach God or feel the Holy Spirit working, and are dark inside, and depressed, and have no energy? They have no enlightenment of the Holy Spirit at all. How could they have any energy, with those lifeless things and doctrines? One cannot last long on enthusiasm alone; one must understand the truth to have strength. Therefore, to believe in God, one must be subtle of thought, and they must focus on reading God’s words, on knowing themselves, and on understanding and practicing the truth. Only then can they gain the work and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Some people just have a capacity to apprehend the truth, but they have never observed or experienced the work of the Holy Spirit. Going forward, you must focus on the subtlest feeling and the subtlest light. Each time something happens to you, you should view it and treat it according to the truth. This is how you will gradually get on the right track of believing in God. If you view everything with your fleshly gaze; if you analyze everything using doctrine, logic, and rules; and if you analyze and handle everything based on human thought, that is not seeking the truth, and you will not be capable of obedience to God. No matter how many years you have believed in God, you will be outside of God’s words, you will be an outsider, and you will not be able to understand the truth. You must now gradually move your focus in this direction and strive toward the truth. After several years of experience, you will grow a little in stature and be able to understand some of the truth. Do not think that coming late to faith in God is not a problem, that you can also enter into the truth reality when others have, or that you will never fall behind. You must not think like this. If you do, you are sure to fall behind. If you have come late to faith in God, then you should be in even more of a hurry. You must do all you can to catch up, as only then will you be able to keep pace with the footsteps of God’s work and stop yourself from falling behind and being cast out.
No matter what happens to you, you must view things according to God’s words and handle them from the perspective of the truth. Problems are easy to spot in this way, and by viewing things according to God’s words, you will easily be able to see through to the essence of things. Some people always view things based on learning. They are always studying and analyzing things with their brains or viewing and regarding things with their fleshly gaze. They therefore cannot see through to the essence of problems and always go off course. This can go on for decades—they can go to their deaths without seeing things clearly. For example, sometimes you face an illness and think that it is just a normal sickness with objective reasons, that it is not God’s discipline and not a problem, when in fact, there is a big problem there in it. If you are subtle of thought in this matter and can pray to God and seek the truth, then sometimes, when the Holy Spirit conveys to you a meaning, you will be able to recognize some shortcomings in yourself or problems with your disposition. God gives you an illness to temper you, to make you suffer, to make you come back into the spirit for close examination and contemplation, seeing exactly what this illness is about. When you return deep into the spirit to examine yourself, you can find the root of the problem and come to some knowledge of your own corruption. Without a bit of suffering, you would always think that you are great, and you would fail to discover this corruption. Then you would not be able to understand the truth you need. Have you had experience of this? The Holy Spirit does everything in a very timely way, all according to what people need and all according to their current stature and state. It was said before that God’s work is punctual and measured, and very timely, without any delay. You have seen this in your actual experience. Every time you encounter something, the Holy Spirit promptly moves you and enlightens you, but you cooperate poorly. You are too numb. Sometimes you get a sense of what is happening and leave it there, without trying to understand it more deeply. You are satisfied with a mere perceptual understanding, and with that, you think you understand, but you have not actually reached a true understanding. Your perceptual understanding must be elevated to a rational understanding before you can have a way forward. If the Holy Spirit moves you again and you still ignore it and do not wish to write it down in your notes, then you will soon forget it. You will not have gained this light, this real thing, and that will be a great shame. Diligent people take things down in their notes and feel wonderful when they look at their notes again later. They are able to gain some light on this foundation. Someone who is careless and has no understanding of spiritual matters cannot feel this light—they do not even know what light is. This light flashes inside them and is gone, and if they are always like this, the Holy Spirit will not work in them. To pursue the truth, you must be sensitive and subtle of thought; you must not be lazy. You must also cooperate promptly. When you get a perceptual understanding, you should grab hold of it, hurry to contemplate it, and pray to God. How should you pray? Center your prayer on the enlightenment you have gained. Sometimes it may feel like your own thoughts, and that is fine. As long as you feel enjoyment and clarity, then you should pray and seek. Figuring out this new light and getting it right is what matters most. If the words flow particularly well while you pray, and you feel at ease, you are enlightened again, and your mind is illuminated, then you should make note of this new light. This is because sometimes you can remember when you are in a good state, but you forget when you are in a bad state. People can write several pages when they write an article, but they cannot write a single word when it comes to experiential testimony or their knowledge of God. They still lack reality. Those who love the truth focus on the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. Those who do not love the truth do not treasure the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, which shows that they do not know what is important, what is secondary, what is crucial, or what they should be gaining. Because of this, they lose the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. It is best to carry a small notebook with you, so that whenever the Holy Spirit enlightens you and you gain new light, you can immediately take hold of it and note it down. The Holy Spirit works at any time and in any place. Whatever situation someone is in, as long as they contemplate God’s words and can seek the truth, then the Holy Spirit enlightens them. Even when you are busy with work and feel very tired, the Holy Spirit enlightens you if you seek and pray. The Holy Spirit enlightens you when you read God’s words or fellowship on the truth. He enlightens you when you contemplate God’s words and reflect on yourself. When the Holy Spirit enlightens you, write it down and go on to contemplate it, and your heart will be made clear. When you truly come to understand the truth, you will be completely liberated. When you experience God’s work in this way, the harvest you reap will grow and grow. The fact is that much of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment is ruined by you. You are like children of a rich family squandering your inheritance, missing all the work the Holy Spirit does on you, losing so many chances to be made perfect by God! The Holy Spirit has done plenty of work, yet you fail to grab onto it. Can you really say that God is not kind to you? The fact is not that God has not shown you enough kindness—it is that you have not gained it.
There is a pattern to the work of the Holy Spirit, and conclusions need to be drawn about it. If one applies themselves to drawing conclusions, they will be able to conclude many things. There is surely something to be gained. Take prayer, for example. There are times when you can gain much enlightenment from prayer, but if you are inattentive, then you will not be aware. Though some words of enlightenment may come from your mouth, you will not notice if you do not pay attention. You will know only that you had a good prayer, when in fact there were words within your prayer that were enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. These were all new light, but you let them slip away. The way the work of the Holy Spirit helps people the most is by enlightening and illuminating them, allowing them to understand the truth and God’s will, to be able to do things according to God’s demands, and not to stray from the right path. What is the goal of the Holy Spirit’s work of enlightening people? Sometimes, its function is to guide the way; sometimes, it serves as a reminder, to make you have some sense; sometimes, it illuminates you and helps you understand the truth, and gives you a path to practice. When you have strayed onto your own path, He supports and helps you like a crutch, leading you onto the right path and guiding you. Whatever light and knowledge the Holy Spirit enlightens people with, which might vary because of people’s personal backgrounds, it does not contradict or conflict with the truth at all. If everyone were to experience in such a way as has true seeking and prayer, and genuine obedience, with the Holy Spirit continually working to enlighten and guide them, and if they are keen and subtle of thought, and able to practice and enter those things the Holy Spirit enlightens, then their stature would grow very quickly. They would then have seized the opportunity. One characteristic of the work of the Holy Spirit is that it is very fast. It is over in a flash, unlike the work of evil spirits, which is always urging and forcing people to do things, such that they cannot act in any other way. Sometimes the Holy Spirit works by giving people a feeling when they are on the verge of danger, making them feel uneasy and extremely anxious. This happens under special circumstances. Usually, whenever people draw near to God, and seek the truth, or when they read God’s words, the Holy Spirit gives them a feeling, or a subtle thought or idea. Or, He may convey to you a statement or a message. It is as if there is a voice, but as if it were voiceless, too; it is like a reminder, and you can understand what it means. If you go on to take the meaning you have understood and express it with the appropriate words, you will gain something, and it will edify others, too. If people always experience in this way, they will gradually come to understand many truths. If people always have the work of the Holy Spirit at their side, and there is always a new light leading them, then they are sure never to stray from the true way. Even if no one ever fellowships with you, and no one guides you, and you have no work arrangements, if you walk in the direction the Holy Spirit guides you to, then you are sure not to go astray. Peter saw the Lord Jesus after He resurrected and ascended to heaven, but only a scant few times. He could not, as people imagine, see the Lord Jesus often, or see Him whenever he wished, nor did he see Him whenever he prayed about anything he did not understand. It was not like this. Is it that easy to see God? God does not readily appear to people. Most of the time, God had Peter understand things through the work of the Holy Spirit. Why can’t you achieve what Peter could? What does this prove, when all is said and done? It proves that your caliber is insufficient, that you have no power of understanding, and that you are unable to figure things out through contemplation. No matter what you face, you must always regard it according to the truth in God’s words. If people always live inside their own thoughts and brains when things happen to them, and they handle those things with human means, then they will gain nothing. What did Peter think when something happened to him? He considered it and contemplated it according to the words of the Lord Jesus, and was thus able to figure out God’s will. And later, when the Lord Jesus had ascended to heaven, why was Peter still able to figure out God’s will? He managed to do that through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. If he had been unable to sense the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and the Lord Jesus had not appeared to him after His resurrection and ascent to heaven, how would he have been able to understand God’s will? God in the flesh does not work as people imagine, personally and unceasingly guiding people every day in order to perfect them. It is not like that. The work of the Holy Spirit is there in partnership. The partnered work of the Spirit does the majority. The flesh does the leading work, and when that work is done, the remaining minor issues are what the Holy Spirit enlightens people to understand. If people cannot take hold of this and are only able to gain a part, they will not be able to gain the further details—and if they cannot gain those, they will not change, and they will make no progress.
It is not easy for those who have not experienced the work or enlightenment of the Holy Spirit to understand those things. The fact is that there is a pattern to the Holy Spirit’s work and enlightenment. Whenever the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit are mentioned, people always misunderstand, thinking they have to suffer a great deal and pay a great price before they can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. Is this not a human notion? Because people are lazy and their hearts are so coarse, they ordinarily never focus on the feelings in their spirits, and when there is a bit of light and enlightenment there, they dismiss it as nothing. If you live all day amid your affairs, sticking to the words of doctrine and to rules, living a life of the flesh and of romantic love, then the Holy Spirit cannot enlighten and guide you. There is no way He can do this. You must pray more, seek the work of the Holy Spirit, seek how to take in the work of the Holy Spirit and not let it slip away. Pray to God: “Oh God! Please work on me, make me perfect and change me, allow me to understand Your will in all things and submit to Your intentions. Your great love and Your will are in Your salvation of me. Although people are disobedient and resist You, although they are rebellious by nature, I now understand Your will in saving people, and I wish to cooperate with You. May You give me more situations, trials, and hardships, allowing me to see Your hand in these hardships, and to see Your deeds, so that I may be someone who can understand Your will and submit to it. Let me not be dissolute, but be someone with their feet planted firmly on the ground.” Pray like this, and do so often; ask for the Holy Spirit to always work on you and lead you. When the Holy Spirit sees that you are walking the right path and attending to what you should, He first gives you some situations to test you and a weighty trial to see if you can overcome it. Some may not be able to withstand it. They will say, “Oh God, this situation is too much—I can’t bear it!” They will then have failed in this matter. If you truly feel that the situation you are in is too much for you, then pray to God like this: “Oh God, the situation You have given me is too much. I cannot bear it, but I am willing to strive. Please provide for me according to my stature and allow me to understand Your will, whether I’m going through severe suffering or light suffering, without betraying You or complaining. Make me able to submit completely, such that it satisfies You. Whether I’m going through severe suffering or light suffering, as long as it is Your will, then I am willing to submit to it, without any complaint. I’m not willing to go against Your intentions, and no matter how severe the suffering gets, as long as I can bear it, I ask that You give it to me.” You must pray confidently and boldly. Do not run away or cower. When the Holy Spirit sees that you are walking the right path, that you are very much doing what is yours to do, that you really want God in your heart, and that you pursue the truth, He may give you a weighty situation and great strength for you to overcome it—and then you will have won. For you to overcome an especially onerous situation is a much higher thing than just understanding some words of doctrine. It is a matter of bearing witness.
In everyday life, people come into contact with all kinds of people, events, and things, and if they do not have the truth and do not pray and seek it, then they will find it hard to cast off temptation. Take relations between men and women, for example. Some people are unable to resist such temptations, and they fall as soon as they face this kind of situation. Does this not show that they are too small in stature? People who do not have the truth are pitiful like this and they do not bear any witness at all. Some people fall into temptation when they encounter situations related to money. When they see someone else with money, they complain, “How come they have so much money and I’m so poor? It’s not fair!” They complain when this happens to them, and they cannot apprehend from God or submit to His orchestration and arrangement. There are also some people who are always focused on status, and when faced with this kind of temptation, they are unable to overcome it. For example, an unbeliever wants to hire them for an official position, giving them many advantages, and they are unable to stand firm. They think, “Should I do it?” They pray, and they contemplate, and then: “Yes—I have to!” They have made up their mind, and there is no point in their seeking anymore. They have clearly decided to take up this official position and gain its benefits, but they also want to come back and believe in God, fearful of losing the blessings of belief in God. So they pray to Him: “Please test me, God.” What’s left to test you about? You have already decided to take up your official position. You did not stand firm in this matter, and you have already fallen. Do you still need to be tested? You are not worthy of God’s testing. Would you, with your pitifully small stature, be up to it? There are even some despicable people who compete for any advantage they see. The Holy Spirit is right beside them, watching them to see what views they express and what their attitude is and begins to test them. Some people think to themselves, “I don’t want it, even if it is God’s kindness toward me. I have enough already, and God shows too much kindness to me. I don’t care about being well-fed and well-dressed, I only care about pursuing the truth and being able to gain God. The truth I have received was given to me by God for nothing. I’m not worthy of these things.” The Holy Spirit scrutinizes their hearts and enlightens them even more, allowing them to understand more, and to be more invigorated, and making the truth more transparent to them. Those despicable people, however, see a benefit being given out and think, “I’ll fight for it before anyone else can. If they give it to someone else and not me, I’ll give them a good scolding and give them a hard time. I’ll show them what I’m made of, and then we’ll see who they give it to next time!” The Holy Spirit sees that they are this sort and exposes them. Their ugliness is revealed, and this kind of person must be punished. However many years they may believe, it will do nothing for them. They can gain nothing! Many times, when the Holy Spirit shows kindness to people, they gain it when they do not expect it. If God does not show you kindness, your punishment will also happen when you do not expect it. This is how dangerous things are for those who do not pursue the truth.
When people lack insight into things that happen to them and do not know the appropriate thing to do, what is the first thing they should do? They should first pray; prayer comes first. What does prayer demonstrate? That you are devout, that you have a heart with some fear for God, and that you know to seek God, proving that you put God first. When God is in your heart and has a place there, and when you are able to obey God, you are then a devout Christian. There are many elderly believers who kneel down in prayer at the same time and place every day. They kneel for an hour or two each time, but however many years they have knelt like this, it hasn’t solved many of their problems of sin. Let us first put aside whether or not such religious prayer is useful. At least these elderly brothers and sisters are a little devout. They are much better than young people on this point. If you want to live before God and experience God’s work, then the first thing you should do when something happens to you is pray. Praying is not just a matter of mindlessly chanting memorized phrases, and nothing more; you won’t get anywhere like this. You have to train at praying with your heart. You might pray like this eight or ten times without much to show for it, but do not be discouraged: You must keep training. Pray first when something happens to you. First tell God and let Him take over. Let God help you, let Him guide you and show you the way. This will prove that you have a heart of fear for God and that you put God first. When something happens to you or you encounter some difficulty and you are negative and get angry, this is a manifestation of God’s absence in your heart and your lack of fear for God. Whatever difficulties you face in real life, you must come before God. The first thing to do is to kneel down in prayer. This is what is most crucial. Prayer demonstrates that God has a place in your heart. When you have trouble, looking up to God and praying to Him and seeking from Him show that you have some fear of God at heart; you wouldn’t do this if God were not in your heart. Some people say, “I prayed, but God still didn’t enlighten me!” That’s not the way to put it. You must first look at whether the intention behind your prayer is right. If you are sincerely seeking the truth and often pray to God, then there may well be a certain matter in which God enlightens you and allows you to understand. In any case, God will make you understand. If God does not enlighten you, you will not be able to understand on your own. There are some things human thought cannot achieve, whether or not you have power of understanding and however your caliber is. When you do understand, does that come from your thinking? With the intentions of God and of the work of the Spirit, if the Holy Spirit does not enlighten you, you will not find anyone who knows. You will only know when God Himself tells you what He means. And so, the first thing to do when something happens to you is pray. When you pray, you should express your thoughts, views, and attitude to God, and seek the truth from Him, with a mentality of obedience; this is what people should practice. You won’t achieve any results if you just go through the motions, and you should not then complain that the Holy Spirit has not enlightened you. I have found some people just observe religious ceremonies and do religious activities in their belief in God. There is no place for Him at all in their hearts; they even deny the work of the Holy Spirit. They don’t pray or read the words of God. They just keep going to assembly and nothing more. Is this faith in God? They go on believing as they do, yet there’s no God in their belief. God is not in their hearts, they no longer want to pray to God, and they are no longer willing to read the words of God. Have they not then become unbelievers? There are some leaders and workers in particular who often take care of general affairs. They never focus on entry into life but take the work of general affairs as their main job. They have become nothing more than task managers and do none of the essential work of leaders and workers. As a result, after believing in God for twenty or thirty years, they have no words to offer about their life experience and they have no true knowledge of God. They can only speak a few words and phrases of doctrine. Have they not thus become false leaders? This is because in their belief in God, they do not attend to their proper duties or pursue the truth. Merely relying on one’s understanding of some words of doctrine will not solve anything. They complain against God as soon as they are tested, hit by disaster, or get sick. They do not have any true knowledge of themselves, and they have no experiential testimony at all. This shows that they have not pursued the truth in these years that they have believed in God, that they have only been busying themselves with externalities, and ruined themselves as a result. No matter how many years people believe in God, they must at the very least come to understand some truths if they are to ensure that they will not fall, commit evil, or be cast out. This is the very least with which they should be equipped. Some people are half-hearted when they listen to sermons and do not contemplate God’s words. They do not seek the truth no matter what happens to them. They are content just with understanding the letters and words of doctrine, assuming they have gained the truth. Then, when a trial comes, they have no knowledge at all, and their hearts are full of grievances and complaints that they dare not say out loud, though they would like to. Aren’t such people just so pathetic? Many people are always careless and perfunctory in performing their duty. They do not reflect or try to understand themselves when they are pruned and dealt with. They are always rationalizing, and so their ugliness emerges in many different ways, and they are exposed and cast out, incapable of knowing themselves to the end. What is the point in their understanding those doctrines then? There is no point at all. No matter how many years people believe in God, merely understanding and being able to speak doctrine is useless. They have not gained the truth but gone astray. So then, when something happens to you and you pray to God, searching for His intentions, the key is to come to an understanding of the truth if the problem is to be solved. This is the correct path, and you should consistently persist in such practice.