What Should Be Known About Transforming One’s Disposition

Over the years of experiencing God’s work and listening to sermons, there are some people who have some understanding of themselves, who are able to talk about some real experiences, and fellowship their own real states, their personal entries, their personal progress, their shortcomings, and how they plan to enter. But there are some people who have no understanding of themselves and who are unable to talk about any real experiences. They are only able to speak about outward matters such as words and doctrines, outward work, current situations, and the progress of spreading the gospel, but nothing about concrete life entry or personal experiences. This shows that they have still not gotten on the right track for life entry. Transformation in one’s disposition is not a change in behavior, nor is it a feigned outward change or a temporary alteration made out of zeal. No matter how good these changes are, they cannot take the place of changes in life disposition, because these outward changes can be achieved through human efforts, but changes in life disposition cannot be achieved through one’s own effort alone. Experiencing God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement is required to achieve this, as well as the perfection of the Holy Spirit. Although people who believe in God exhibit some good behavior, not a single one of them truly obeys God, truly loves God, or can do God’s will. Why is this? It is because this requires a change in life disposition, and a mere change in behavior is far from sufficient. A change in disposition means that you have knowledge and experience of the truth, and that the truth has become your life, that it can direct and dominate your life and everything about you. This is a change in your life disposition. Only people who possess the truth as life are those whose dispositions have changed. In the past, there may have been some truths that you could not put into practice when you understood them, but now you can practice any aspect of the truth you understand without obstacles or difficulty. When you practice the truth, you find yourself filled with peace and happiness, but if you can’t practice the truth, you feel pain and your conscience is disturbed. You can practice the truth in everything, live by God’s words, and have a foundation for living. This means that your disposition has changed. You can now easily let go of your notions and imaginings, your fleshly preferences and pursuits, and those things that you couldn’t let go of before. You feel that God’s words are genuinely good, and that practicing the truth is the best thing to do. This means your disposition has changed. A change in disposition sounds very simple, but it is actually a process that involves a lot of experience. During this period, people need to suffer many hardships, they need to subdue their own bodies and forsake their flesh, they also need to suffer judgment, chastisement, pruning, being dealt with, trials, and refinement, and they also need to experience many failures, falls, internal struggles, and torments within their hearts. Only after these experiences can people have some understanding of their own nature, but some understanding does not produce a complete change right away; they have to go through a long period of experience before they are finally able to rid themselves of their corrupt dispositions little by little. This is why it takes a lifetime to change one’s disposition. For example, if you reveal corruption in a matter, can you immediately practice the truth once you realize it? You cannot. At this stage of understanding, others prune you and deal with you, and then your environment compels you and forces you to act in accordance with the truth principles. Sometimes, you’re still not reconciled to doing so, and you say to yourself, “Do I have to do it like this? Why can’t I do it how I want? Why am I always being asked to practice the truth? I don’t want to do this, I’m tired of it!” Experiencing God’s work requires undergoing the following process: from being reluctant to practice the truth, to willingly practicing the truth; from negativity and weakness, to strength and the capacity to forsake the flesh. When people reach a certain point of experience and then undergo some trials, refinement, and ultimately come to understand God’s will and some truths, then they will be somewhat happy and willing to act in accordance with the truth principles. At the outset, people are reluctant to practice the truth. Take devotedly fulfilling one’s duties as an example: You have some understanding of fulfilling your duties and being devoted to God, and you also have some understanding of the truth, but when will you be able to completely devote yourself to God? When will you be able to fulfill your duties in both name and deed? This will require a process. During this process, you could suffer many hardships. Some people might deal with you, and others might criticize you. Everyone’s eyes will be on you, scrutinizing you, and only then will you begin to realize that you are in the wrong and that you are the one who has done poorly, that lacking devotion in the fulfillment of your duty is unacceptable, and that you must not be careless or perfunctory! The Holy Spirit will enlighten you from within, and reproach you when you make a mistake. During this process, you will come to understand some things about yourself, and will know that you have too many impurities, harbor too many personal motives, and have too many immoderate desires when fulfilling your duties. Once you have understood the essence of these things, if you can come before God in prayer and have true repentance, you can be cleansed of those corrupt things. If, in this manner, you frequently seek the truth to resolve your own practical problems, you will gradually set foot upon the right path of faith; you will begin to have true life experiences, and your corrupt disposition will start to be gradually purified. The more your corrupt disposition is purified, the more your life disposition will transform.

Although many people are now performing their duties, in essence, how many people are muddling through their duties? How many people can accept the truth and perform their duties according to the truth principles? How many people fulfill their duties according to God’s requirements after their dispositions have changed? By examining these things more, you will be able to know whether you are really up to standard in fulfilling your duty, and you will also be able to see clearly whether your disposition has changed. Achieving transformation in one’s disposition is no simple matter; it does not mean just having a few changes in behavior, gaining some knowledge of the truth, being able to talk a bit about one’s experience with every aspect of the truth, or having some changes or becoming a little obedient after being disciplined. These things do not constitute transformation in one’s life disposition. Why do I say this? Though you may have changed somewhat, you are still not truly putting the truth into practice. Perhaps because you are temporarily in a suitable environment, and the situation permits it, or your current circumstances have compelled you, you behave in this way. In addition, when you are in a good mood, when your state is normal, and when you have the work of the Holy Spirit, you can practice the truth. But suppose you are in the midst of a trial, when you are suffering like Job amidst your trials, or that you face the trial of death. When this comes, will you still be able to practice the truth and stand firm in testimony? Can you say something like what Peter said, “Even if I were to die after knowing You, how could I not do so gladly and happily?” What did Peter value? What Peter valued was obedience, and he regarded knowing God to be the most important thing, so he was able to obey until death. Transformation in disposition does not happen overnight; it takes a whole lifetime of experience to achieve. Understanding the truth is a little easier, but being able to practice the truth in various contexts is hard. Why do people always have trouble putting the truth into practice? In fact, these difficulties are all directly related to people’s corrupt dispositions, and they are all hindrances that come from corrupt dispositions. Therefore, you have to suffer much and pay a price to be able to put the truth into practice. If you didn’t have corrupt dispositions, you wouldn’t have to suffer and pay a price to practice the truth. Isn’t this an obvious fact? Sometimes it might seem as though you are putting the truth into practice, but in reality, the nature of your actions does not show that you are doing so. In following God, many people are able to cast aside their families and careers and fulfill their duties, and therefore they believe they are practicing the truth. However, they are never able to offer true experiential testimony. What is going on here, exactly? To measure them by man’s notions, they seem to be practicing the truth, yet God does not recognize what they are doing as practicing the truth. If the things you do have personal motives behind them and are adulterated, then you are liable to deviate from principles, and cannot be said to be practicing the truth; this is just a type of conduct. Strictly speaking, this type of conduct of yours will probably be condemned by God; it will not be praised or commemorated by Him. To go on dissecting this to its essence and root, you are someone who does evil, and these outward behaviors of yours constitute opposition to God. From the outside, you are not disrupting or disturbing anything and you have not done real damage. It appears to be logical and reasonable, yet within, there are human contaminants and intents, and its essence is that of doing evil and resisting God. Therefore, you should determine whether there has been a change in your disposition and whether you are putting the truth into practice using God’s words, and by looking at the motives behind your own actions. It does not depend on whether your actions conform to the human imaginings and human thoughts, or whether they are suited to your taste; such things are not important. Rather, it depends on God saying whether or not you are conforming to His will, whether or not your actions possess the truth reality, and whether or not they meet His requirements and standards. Only measuring yourself against God’s requirements is accurate. Transformation in disposition and putting the truth into practice are not as simple and easy as people imagine. Do you understand this now? Do you have any experience with this? When it comes to a problem’s essence, you might not understand it; your entry has been overly superficial. You run about all day long, from dawn until dusk, rising early and going to bed late, yet you have not achieved transformation in your life disposition, and you cannot grasp what dispositional transformation is. This means your entry is too shallow, does it not? Regardless of how long you have believed in God, you might not sense the essence and deep things to do with transformation in disposition. Can it be said that your disposition has changed? How do you know whether God praises you or not? At the very least, you will feel exceptionally steadfast regarding everything that you do, and you will feel the Holy Spirit guiding and enlightening you and working in you while you are fulfilling your duties, doing any work in God’s house, or in general. Your conduct will fit hand-in-hand with God’s words, and once you have gained a certain degree of experience, you will feel that how you acted in the past was relatively suitable. If, however, after gaining experience for a period of time, you feel that some of the things you did in the past were not suitable, and you are dissatisfied with them, and feel that they were not in accordance with the truth, then this proves that everything you did was done in resistance to God. It is evidence that your service was full of rebelliousness, resistance, and human ways of acting, and that you have utterly failed to achieve changes in disposition. With this fellowship, are you now clear on how you should understand dispositional change? You might not usually discuss transforming your disposition and rarely fellowship personal experiences. At best, you fellowship: “I was passive some time ago. Then, I prayed to God, and He enlightened me to the fact that believers must be tested. I pondered this for a while, and figured that is what it is. Also, there are aspects in which I am disloyal while performing my duty, so I just accepted it. After a while, my motivation returned, and I was not passive anymore.” After fellowshiping, others also say, “Our state is pretty much the same, as is our corrupt disposition.” If you always fellowship on these things, it will be an issue—you will not grasp the essence of things or see them clearly. No matter how many years you believe, your life disposition will be unable to change.

Transformation in disposition mainly refers to the transformation of a person’s nature. The things of a person’s nature cannot be perceived from external behaviors. They are directly related to the worth and significance of their existence, to their outlook on life and their values, they involve the things in the depths of their soul, and their essence. If a person cannot accept the truth, they will undergo no transformation in these aspects. Only by experiencing God’s work, fully entering the truth, changing one’s values and one’s outlooks on existence and life, aligning one’s views on things with God’s word, and becoming capable of completely submitting to and being devoted to God, can one’s disposition be said to have transformed. Presently, you may appear to put forth some effort and be resilient in the face of hardship while performing your duty, you may be able to carry out work arrangements from the Above, or you may be able to go wherever you are told to go. On the surface, it may look like you are somewhat obedient, but when something happens that is not in line with your notions, your rebelliousness comes to the fore. For example, you do not submit to being pruned and dealt with, and you are even less submissive when disaster strikes; you even find it within yourself to blame God. Therefore, that little bit of obedience and change on the outside is just a small change in behavior. There is a little bit of change, but this is not enough to count as the transformation of your disposition. You may be able to run down many paths, suffer many hardships, and endure great humiliation; you may feel very close to God, and the Holy Spirit may do some work on you. However, when God asks you to do something that does not conform to your notions, you still might not submit, rather, you might look for excuses, rebel against and resist God, and on dire occasions even question and fight back against Him. This would be a serious problem! It would show that you still have a nature that resists God, that you do not truly understand the truth, and that you have had no change in your life disposition at all. After they are dismissed or cleared out, some people still find it within themselves to judge God and say God is not righteous. They even argue with God and fight back, disseminating their notions about God and dissatisfaction with God everywhere they go. People such as this are devils who resist God. People who have devilish natures will never change and should be abandoned. Only those who can seek and accept the truth in every situation, and submit to the work of God, have a hope of gaining the truth and achieving a change in disposition. In your experiences, you must learn to discern between states which outwardly appear normal. You may sob and cry during prayer, or feel that your heart loves God so much, and is so close to God, yet these states are only the work of the Holy Spirit and do not signify that you are someone who loves God. If you can still love and obey God even when the Holy Spirit is not at work, and when God does things that do not line up with your own notions, only then are you a person who truly loves God. Only then are you a person whose life disposition has changed. Only this is a person who has the truth reality.

Where do you begin in transforming your disposition? It starts from understanding your own nature. This is the key. So, how do you understand your nature? By discerning what corrupt dispositions you have. Once you have clearly discerned these corrupt dispositions, you will understand your nature essence. There are some who ask, “How do I understand my corrupt disposition?” Of course, you must understand it in accordance with God’s words, and discern it in accordance with the truth. So how do you put this into practice? By comparing the corrupt disposition you display with the words God has revealed. However much you can match up, is how much you should discern. If you can match up a lot and discern a lot, then you will be able to understand your corrupt disposition. Do those of you who have believed for a long time and practiced this way for many years now have an understanding of your own nature? Probably far from it! Your comparison must follow a path; one cannot say things based on nothing. You must read more of God’s words about how He reveals man’s corrupt essence. You must search out all of these words, then read them often and reflect on yourself often, comparing your state to the words. Once your corrupt disposition matches up completely, and you feel that God’s words reveal your state exactly, and with great accuracy, and that it is not incorrect in any way, then will you not be convinced? Some people say, “By understanding your own nature, you can change it.” It is easy for anyone to say this. But how do you understand it? There must be a path. If there is a path, then you will know how to experience. Without a path, then you are merely calling out the slogan, “We all must understand our natures. Our natures are no good and they are of Satan. When we understand our nature essence, then we can transform our dispositions.” After you are done calling out, nothing more has been done, and no one has any understanding. This is speaking doctrines without a path. Is working this way not creating problems? What will the outcome of working this way be? You usually all call out the slogan, “We must understand our natures! We all must love God! We all must submit to God! We all must prostrate ourselves before God! We all must worship God! Whoever does not love God is unacceptable!” Talking about these doctrines is of no use and does not solve problems. How do you understand human nature? Understanding your nature actually means dissecting the things deep within your soul—the things within your life, and all the logic and philosophies of Satan you have been living by—which is the life of Satan that you have been living by. Only by unearthing the deep-down things within your soul can you understand your nature. How can these things be unearthed? They cannot be unearthed or dissected through a mere one or two matters. Many times, after you are finished doing something, you still have not come to an understanding. It could take three or five years before you are able to gain even a tiny bit of realization or understanding. So, in many situations you must self-reflect and come to know yourself. You must dig deep and dissect yourself, in accordance with God’s words, in order to see any results. As your understanding of the truth grows more and more profound, you will gradually come to know your own nature essence through self-reflection and self-knowledge.

To know your nature, you must gain understanding of it through a few things. First, you must have a clear understanding of what you like. This does not refer to what you like to eat or wear, rather, it means the kinds of things you enjoy, the things you envy, the things you worship, the things you seek, and the things you pay attention to in your heart, the types of people you enjoy coming into contact with, and the types of people you admire and idolize in your heart. For example, most people like people of great standing, people who are elegant in their speech and deportment, or like those who speak with eloquent flattery or those who put on an act. The aforementioned is about what people they like to interact with. As for the things people enjoy, these include being willing to do certain things that are easy to do, enjoying doing things that others think are good and that would cause people to sing praises and give compliments. In people’s natures, there is a common characteristic of the things they like. That is, they like people, events, and things that others are envious of due to outward appearances, they like people, events, and things that look very beautiful and luxurious, and they like people, events, and things that make others worship them. These things that people are fond of are great, dazzling, gorgeous, and grand. People all worship these things. It can be seen that people do not possess any of the truth, nor do they have the likeness of genuine human beings. There is not the slightest degree of significance in worshiping these things, yet people still like them. These things that people like seem especially good to those who do not believe in God, and they are all things that people are especially willing to pursue. To give a simple example: There are groupies among unbelievers. They chase actors or singers, have them sign their autographs and leave messages, or shake hands and hug them. Do these things exist in the hearts of believers? Do you occasionally sing the songs of the celebrities whom you worship? Or do you occasionally emulate them and dress up in their styles that you yearn for? You make these celebrities and famous people the objects of your worship and the models for your worship. These are the common things that people are fond of. Do believers truly not worship these things, which the unbelievers worship? Deep down, the majority of people still have the heart to worship them. You believe in God, and it seems like you are no longer clearly pursuing those things. However, in your heart you still envy those things, and you are still fond of those things. Occasionally you think: “I still want to listen to their music, and I still want to watch the TV programs they’re acting in. How do they live? Where are they right now? If I could see them and shake their hands, then that would be great, and even if I died it would still be worth it.” Regardless of who they worship, people all like these things. Perhaps you do not have the opportunity or you are not in the conditions to come into contact with these people, things, or objects, but these things are within your heart. The things that people pursue and yearn for belong to worldly trends, these things are of Satan and the devils, they are detested by God, and devoid of any truth. The things that people are inclined to yearn for allow their nature essence to be unearthed. People’s preferences can be seen in the way they dress. Some people are willing to wear attention-grabbing, colorful clothing, or bizarre outfits. They are willing to wear accessories no one else has worn before, and they love things that can attract the opposite sex. That they wear these clothes and accessories shows the preference they have for these things in their lives and deep within their hearts. The things they like are not dignified or decent. They are not things a normal person should pursue. In their affection for them, there is unrighteousness. Their outlook is exactly the same as that of worldly people. One cannot see any part of this that coheres with the truth. Therefore, what you like, what you focus on, what you worship, what you envy, and what you think about in your heart every day are all representative of your nature. Your predilection for these worldly things is enough to prove that your nature is fond of unrighteousness, and in serious situations, your nature is evil and incurable. You should dissect your nature in this way: Examine what you are fond of and what you forsake in your life. You might be good to someone for a time, but this does not prove that you are fond of them. What you are truly fond of is precisely what is in your nature; even if your bones were broken, you would still enjoy it and could never forsake it. This is not easy to change. Take finding a partner, for example, people seek out people of the same type as themselves. If a woman really fell in love with someone, then no one would be able to stop her. Even if her legs were broken, she would still want to be with him; she would want to marry him even if it meant she had to die. How can this be? It is because no one can change what is deep within people’s bones, deep within their hearts. Even if a person died, their soul would still like the same things; these are the things of human nature, and they represent a person’s essence. The things people are fond of contain some unrighteousness. Some are obvious in their fondness for those things, while some are not; some have a strong liking for them, while others do not; some people have self-control, while others cannot control themselves. Some people are liable to sink into dark and evil things, which proves that they do not possess life. Some people can overcome the temptations of the flesh and not be occupied or constrained by those things, which proves that they have a little stature and that their dispositions have been transformed a little. Some people understand some truths and feel that they have life and that they love God, but really, it is still too early, and undergoing transformation in one’s disposition is no simple matter. Is a person’s nature essence easy to understand? Even if someone understands a little bit, they must go through many twists and turns to achieve that understanding, and even with a little bit of understanding, change is not easy. These are all the difficulties people face, and people cannot know themselves without the will to pursue the truth. Regardless of how people, matters, or things around you may change and regardless of how the world may be turned upside down, if the truth is guiding you from within, if it has taken root within you and God’s words guide your life, preferences, experiences, and existence, at that point you will have truly transformed. Currently, people’s so-called transformation is just cooperating a little, being able to reluctantly accept being pruned and dealt with, actively performing their duties, and having a little bit of enthusiasm and faith, but this cannot be considered dispositional transformation and it does not prove that people have life. This is just people’s preferences and inclinations—nothing more.

To reach an understanding of natures, in addition to unearthing the things people are fond of in their natures, several of the most important aspects pertaining to their natures also need to be unearthed. For example, people’s viewpoints on things, people’s methods and goals in life, people’s life values and outlook on life, as well as views and ideas on all things relating to truth. These are all things deep within people’s souls and they have a direct relationship with the transformation of disposition. What, then, is corrupt mankind’s outlook on life? It can be said to be this: “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” People all live for themselves; to put it frankly, they are living for the flesh. They are living just to put food in their mouths. How does this existence differ from that of the animals? There is no value whatsoever in living like this, let alone any meaning. One’s outlook on life is about what you rely on to live in the world, what you live for, and how you live—and these are all things to do with the essence of human nature. Through dissecting people’s natures, you will see that people all resist God. They are all devils and there is no genuinely good person. Only by dissecting people’s natures can you truly know the corruption and essence of man and understand what people actually belong to, what people truly lack, what they should be equipped with, and how they should live out a human likeness. Truly dissecting a person’s nature is not easy, and cannot be done without experiencing God’s words or having true experiences.

Spring, 1999

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Next: How to Know Man’s Nature

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