Knowing One’s Disposition Is the Foundation of Changing It
Mankind is so deeply corrupted by Satan that all of them have a satanic nature and an arrogant disposition; even fools and idiots are arrogant, and think they’re better than other people and refuse to obey them. It is clear to see that mankind is so deeply corrupted and that it is very difficult for them to submit to God. Because of their arrogance and self-righteousness, people have become completely lacking in reason; they won’t obey anyone—even if what other people say is right and conforms to the truth, they won’t obey them. It is because of arrogance that people dare to judge God, condemn God, and resist God. So, how can an arrogant disposition be resolved? Can it be resolved by depending on human restraint? Can it be solved by merely recognizing and acknowledging it? Absolutely not. There is only one way to resolve an arrogant disposition, and that is to accept God’s judgment and chastisement. Only those who are able to accept the truth can gradually shed their arrogant dispositions; those who do not accept the truth will never be able to resolve their arrogant dispositions. I see many people who let it go to their head when they show some talent in their duty. When they show they have some abilities, they think they are very impressive, and then they live off these abilities and do not push themselves further. They do not listen to others no matter what they say, thinking that these small things they possess are the truth, and that they are supreme. What disposition is this? This is an arrogant disposition. They are far too lacking in reason. Can a person perform their duty well when they have an arrogant disposition? Can they be obedient to God and follow God to the very end? This is even more difficult. To fix an arrogant disposition, they must learn how to experience God’s work, His judgment and chastisement while performing their duty. Only in this way can they truly know themselves. Only by seeing your corrupted essence clearly, seeing the root of your arrogance clearly, and then discerning and dissecting it can you truly know your nature essence. You must dig up all of the corrupt things inside of you, and hold them up against and come to know them based on the truth, then you will know what you are: Not only are you filled with a corrupt disposition, and not only do you lack reason and obedience, but you will see that you are lacking in too many things, that you have no truth reality, and how pitiful you are. Then, you will be incapable of arrogance. If you do not dissect and know yourself in this way, then when you perform your duty you will not know your place in the universe. You will think you are great in every way, that everything about others is bad, and that only you are the best. Then, you will show off to everyone all the time, so that others look up to you and worship you. This is completely lacking in self-awareness. Some people are always showing off. When others find it distasteful, they criticize them as being arrogant. But they do not accept it; they still think they are talented and skilled. What disposition is this? They are too arrogant and self-righteous. Are people who are this arrogant and self-righteous capable of thirsting for the truth? Can they pursue the truth? If they are never able to know themselves, and do not shake off their corrupt disposition, then can they perform their duty well? Certainly not.
Many people perform their duty however they please and never listen to the suggestions of others. If someone gives them a plan, they will write it down at the time and agree to do it, but afterward they will put it in the back of their mind and continue to do whatever they want. What kind of disposition is this? (A self-righteous and arrogant disposition.) Is there any intransigence in this? (Yes.) Intransigence and arrogance can be found in every person. When people hear someone else say something that is right and reasonable, if they were to approach the matter with conscience and sense, they would think that it should be accepted, but would they be able to put this into practice? (Not necessarily.) What kind of attitude is needed in order for them to practice it? First of all, they must have the right attitude: They must let go of their own imaginings, judgments, or erroneous understandings, and then ponder on that person’s good suggestion and seek the truth, and if they determine that their suggestion is right and conforms to the truth principles, they should accept and obey it. Isn’t this the attitude they ought to have? Is there any arrogance in this attitude? There isn’t any arrogance in it; it is a serious, responsible attitude, an attitude of accepting the truth, and an attitude of loving positive things. If, when you hear someone else make a good suggestion, a suggestion that you think conforms to the truth principles, you say that you accept it in order to save face or out of a momentary understanding, but when it comes time to do something, you just act based on your own will, do whatever you want, and set aside that suggestion which your heart acknowledged as right, what kind of person are you? Is this an attitude of accepting the truth? What kind of disposition is this? This is arrogance and rebelliousness, it is not accepting the truth, it is prioritizing one’s own will, and letting one’s own opinions and ideas dominate, and putting the truth principles, positive things, and the word of God in the back of one’s mind. There are other people who make nice promises in person, but when something happens, they’re unwilling to carry them out, and they make their own calculations: “If I do this according to the principles, I’ll have to fellowship on the truth clearly, and I’ll have to reverse people’s notions, and that’ll be very hard. I’ll have to do a lot of talking and I’m worried that I may not speak clearly, which will be a waste of time and energy and too troublesome! In order to save trouble, I have to do it this way, and everyone must listen to me even if they don’t agree, I’ll have the last say on this.” What kind of attitude is this? This is a treacherous attitude. When they made their promises, they seem sincere, faithful, obedient, and pious, and capable of accepting the opinions of others and the truth, but when it comes time to act, they are completely different and their attitude changes. Why does it change? Why does their attitude do a complete 180-degree turn? What prompts this? They feel that acting in this way is too physically taxing and too troublesome, so they are reluctant and unwilling to suffer that hardship. The vows or promises they made before no longer matter to them, and neither does handling things according to the truth principles. The most important thing to them is satisfying their flesh, that comes first, and they push God’s commission to the back and don’t take it seriously. Is this a responsible person? Is this a person of integrity? Is it a person who loves the truth? No. There are also people who promise others that they will handle a matter properly when they are face-to-face with them, and make those people feel thoroughly at ease, but when they encounter difficulties in the process of handling it, they just set it aside and give up. Is this a trustworthy person? Is this a principled way of doing things? Especially when performing one’s duty and doing things for God’s house, they must adhere to the truth principles even more, and defend the interests of God’s house even if it means sometimes suffering loss and humiliation, and they must never allow the work of the church to suffer. People who do this are honest, they are attentive to God’s will, and they think of God’s house at every turn. Those who are deceitful constantly think of their own interests while performing their duty, and are never willing to suffer the slightest loss in anything they do; they would rather let the interests of God’s house suffer than lose out themselves. God knows whether a person is performing their duty in accordance with the truth principles or not—God examines people’s thoughts and ideas. If God detects that a person’s heart is deceitful and evil, that they act out of greed for their fleshly interests, that they don’t love the truth and are sick of the truth, He will give up on that person as soon as He detects those things. So, will that person themselves be able to sense all this? (No.) Why won’t they be able to sense it? (Because when a person’s nature controls their actions, as long as their fleshly interests are satisfied, they won’t examine themselves. Consequently, they won’t sense that doing things in this way does not align with the truth.) So, what is it that man survives on, internally? It is Satan’s corrupt disposition. The essence of man is the essence of Satan, and man lives by his satanic disposition, defending only his own vanity, pride, and fleshly interests. This kind of selfish and despicable thinking has become people’s nature, so they feel it is very strenuous and laborious to practice the truth, to obey God, to absolutely listen to God’s words, and to act according to the truth principles and God’s standards. What is the problem here? It is that man is bound and controlled by a satanic disposition, and there are too many negative things in his heart, so practicing the truth feels too hard and not easy at all. If people’s corrupt dispositions are cleansed, and they are able to understand the truth and be attentive to God’s will, then they will face no obstacles or difficulties in practicing the truth, and it will not feel laborious.
If a person does not yearn for the truth at all, and does not want to accept it, then they have nothing of merit within them, and whenever something befalls them, they will just live by Satan’s philosophies, appearing incredibly poor, pathetic, and blind. In other words, they are destitute and have nothing within them; they have no capacity to overcome sin, no ability to forsake their own flesh, no motivation to practice the truth, no determination to change their own views, and no resolve to completely obey God. They are simply poor, pitiful, and blind, and they are nothing. When it comes to willfully running amok they have a great deal of energy, but they are incapable of acting according to God’s requirements and the truth principles. If you look at how they appear, some of these people are articulate, they are educated and have a few gifts and strengths, and they are capable people, so why do I say that they are poor and pitiful? How is that measured? Someone who possesses no truths at all is poor and pitiful. Can education and knowledge, or gifts and talents stand in for the truth? Can they help someone understand the truth and get through difficult times? Can they make someone stand firm in their witness and gain God’s approval? Absolutely not. People like to act based on their own preferences, desires, notions, and imaginings, no matter what they do, and they feel very happy, pleased, and relaxed about this. And yet, if they were to practice the truth and obey God, they would feel powerless and completely uninterested in doing so, or even as if they were paralyzed. What is going on there? Where are their hearts? Whom do they serve? Why is it that when people do things using their gifts and knowledge, and according to their good intentions and preferences, they’re very capable, they have many tricks, and simply possess boundless energy, but when they’re asked to practice the truth, enter into truth reality, and do things according to truth principles, no matter how prominent a figure they are, they become helpless and powerless? What is at the root of this? Why is it that in practicing the truth and seeking the truth principles, people are like idiots, so poor and pitiful, and yet they boast and brag, and think that they’re better than everyone else, and refuse to obey anyone? Why is this? (People don’t know themselves.) Not knowing themselves is one aspect of this—the main reason is that people have corrupt dispositions. Before they come to understand the truth, this is their ugly state, their character, and their pitiful appearance—they are nothing. Those who don’t possess the truth are all like this; no matter how elevated their knowledge or status, all that they display is an ugly state and an impoverished appearance. Before God and the truth, this is how poor and pitiful man is, possessing nothing and being nothing. I’ve come into contact with some people, and when I talk with them and work with them, I see their apathetic, dull-witted, poor, and pitiful appearance. They can talk a little about external things, but when something involves the truth principles, their views are slanted either to the left or the right, or they have no views on it at all. When someone has believed in God for so long, has read so much of God’s word, has listened to so many sermons, and lives a spiritual life every day, how can they be so apathetic, dull-witted, poor, and pitiful? When something happens, why don’t they have the right viewpoint? Why does their perspective on things never change? (They haven’t accepted or practiced the truth.) That is correct. They’ve heard a lot of sermons, but all they’ve heard are doctrines; they’ve read quite a lot of God’s word, but they’ve only understood doctrines from it; they’ve gone to quite a few gatherings, but what they’ve obtained are only some literal things and rules. What is this related to? Why are these the things they obtain? What God provides to man is the truth, the life, and the truth reality, so why are those the fruits that are borne in these people? Have you ever pondered on this question? This is a serious problem, a big problem. So, how can this problem be solved? You must eat and drink the word of God and take it into your heart and let it become your reality; you must change your inner condition and state, and have the right view and the right attitude toward everything you encounter. Isn’t this the path that you should practice? Isn’t this the direction in which you should seek? Think about it, how can you embark upon this path? What do you all think? (God, I feel that when things befall me, I have to reflect on my own intents, motives, and the outpourings of my corrupt disposition, and then consciously forsake my wrong intents and corrupt outpourings, and act according to the truth in God’s word.) This is the right path, but in the process of carrying it out, are you able to discover your own problems? (Sometimes I can discover them, but sometimes not.) This requires you to pray to God, reflect on yourself, and examine your own actions frequently. The Holy Spirit will enlighten people about the things that they don’t understand, and once you have the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, won’t your problems be solved? When one relies on God, there are no problems that cannot be solved.
I’ll give an example for you all to analyze and see if you know how to reflect on yourselves, and if you can recognize your own issues through the problems of others. I once spent time with someone, and at first, he was careful and cautious, asking what My intentions were when doing anything, and whatever I said, he’d nod and bow and listen carefully. He had an internal boundary: “You’re God, I can’t offend You, I can’t cross this boundary, I’ll listen to what You say, I’ll do whatever You tell me to do.” Basically, there were no problems to be seen in him. But after we spent a certain amount of time together, and had some exchanges, he became used to My manner of speech and tone of voice—these things became familiar to him, and he thought, “Although the two of us aren’t equals, and our identities and status are not the same, I’m comfortable talking to You, I don’t have to hide anything, I can say whatever I want.” Over time, the relationship between man and God was broken, and he thought, “I know what kind of character You have, I know what kind of person You are. I know what things won’t anger You and make You deal with me, and I’ll avoid doing the things that You’ll deal with me for. Even if I do them, I won’t let You see or learn of it. In order to prevent You from finding out, I won’t even tell the people close to You what I’m doing behind Your back. That way, You won’t find out about it, right? If You don’t find out about it, You won’t deal with me, will You? I won’t have to lose face and suffer for it, will I? That’s great! I’ll do whatever else You tell me to do, and I’ll obey, but I have to have relative freedom.” Has a problem not emerged here? (Yes.) What problem has emerged? Is there not the deceitfulness of man’s heart here? (There is.) Whether it is before other people or before God, people always try to hide the things deep in their hearts that they don’t want to tell others, and this state of mind and disposition is that of deceitfulness, which every person possesses. There’s another disposition here—arrogance. Where does arrogance manifest here? This person thought to himself, “So, You chat and talk like this too. There’s nothing so impressive about how You talk, You can just say these things, and if I get to know You better, I’ll be able to say them even better than You. That’s how You dress? I have a better dress sense than You, I’m more attractive than You, You just possess more truths than I do. So, over time, after I get to know You better, I’ll dare to blurt out whatever I want to say, and I won’t be misspeaking.” Is this not arrogance? (Yes.) These are two dispositions. There’s another hidden disposition, have you discovered it? When someone reveals arrogance, deceit, and hypocrisy before God, do they have any awareness of this deep in their heart? (Yes.) When they do have this awareness, what do they do with it? Do they restrain themselves? Do they refrain? Do they reflect on themselves? (No.) What kind of disposition is it when a person knows that they have revealed an arrogant disposition but still doesn’t reflect on or try to know themselves, and if someone points it out to them, they still don’t accept it and they instead try to defend themselves? (Intransigence.) That’s right, this is intransigence. No matter how this kind of intransigent disposition manifests before other people, and regardless of the contexts in which such an attitude is revealed, this is a person with an intransigent disposition. No matter how cunning and disguised people are, this intransigent disposition is easily exposed. Because people don’t live in a vacuum, and no matter if they are in front of other people or not, all people live before God, and every person is under God’s scrutiny. If someone is usually willful, dissolute, unrestrained, and has these inclinations, and these outpourings of corruption, and if, even when they sense this, they don’t turn back, and when they recognize it, they don’t repent, open up to fellowship, or seek the truth to solve this problem, this is intransigence. In terms of the manifestations of intransigence, there are two different kinds: “obstinacy” and “hardness.”[a] “Obstinacy” means being very stubborn, not reversing one’s course, and not being soft. “Hardness” means that other people don’t dare to brush up against it, and feel pain when they do so. Usually people are unwilling to come into contact with those who have an intransigent disposition, just as people are unwilling to come into contact with hard things and will feel uncomfortable when they do so; people like soft things, the texture of soft things makes people feel comfortable, and it brings pleasure to them, while intransigence is exactly the opposite. Intransigence makes people display an attitude, and this attitude is pigheadedness and stubbornness. What disposition is at play here? It is the intransigent disposition. This means that, when a person encounters something, although they are aware or have a faint feeling that this attitude of theirs is not good and not right, they are prompted by their intransigent disposition to think, “So what if someone finds out? This is how I am!” What kind of attitude is this? They deny the issue, they do not think that this attitude is bad, or rebellious against God, that it comes from Satan, or that it is an outpouring of Satan’s disposition; they do not sense or realize how God sees it and how God detests it—that is the severity of this problem. Is the disposition of intransigence good or bad? (It’s bad.) It is a satanic disposition. It makes it difficult for people to accept the truth, and it makes it even more difficult for them to repent. All satanic dispositions are negative things, they all are hated by God, and none of them are positive things.
The three kinds of dispositions that I just mentioned, deceitfulness, arrogance, and intransigence, are all deadly things. If you reveal arrogance, deceitfulness, or intransigence to other people, you merely have a bad disposition or poor humanity; if you reveal arrogance, deceitfulness, or intransigence to God, this is a manifestation of resisting God, and it is liable to offend His disposition—if you do not repent, it will be very dangerous. If you reveal these dispositions before other people, they don’t take it seriously; if you reveal these corrupt dispositions in the same way before God, then you will be resisting God and offending His disposition. Although it will not be intentional or deliberate, you will do this involuntarily under the domination of your satanic nature. Therefore, when your corrupt disposition pours forth, if you cannot reflect on yourself and resolve it with the truth, sooner or later it will become a disease, and as soon as this old disease recurs, it will be very troublesome. If you repeatedly offend God’s disposition, you will certainly be cast out.
In the example I just gave, what other disposition does that person display? (Being sick of the truth.) Which part shows that he is sick of the truth? Outwardly, he loves the truth, he feels that it is incumbent on him to do whatever God requires, whatever is his duty, and whatever falls within the scope of the work of the church, so how can he be said to be sick of the truth? (He never sought the truth.) He never sought the truth; that is clear evidence. So, in terms of details, what manifestations show that he is sick of the truth? (When what God required conflicted with his own will, he chose to follow his own will instead of seeking God’s.) Those are the details. How does the disposition of being sick of the truth mainly manifest in people? When they see a positive thing, they don’t measure it by the truth—what do they use to measure it? They use Satan’s logic to measure it and to see if this thing is done with style, what its form is, and how impressive it is. They measure everything with the methods that Satan uses to evaluate people, that is, the principles and methods that unbelievers use to evaluate people. They don’t seek the truth when doing things, and the starting point for all of their actions is to measure them using their own imaginings and viewpoints, and the philosophies for living and knowledge that they have grasped, casting the truth aside—that’s how they do everything. They use human points of view and Satan’s logic as their measure, and after measuring and measuring, they find that, in their eyes, no one else is ever as good as them—they are the best. Do they have God’s requirements for mankind in their hearts? Are there any principles of the truth there? No, there are none. They don’t see God’s requirements for mankind, they don’t see that the truth is the reality of all positive things, they don’t see that the truth is above all things, so they naturally look down on the incarnate God, and they always have notions about the manner of dress, and the speech and deportment of God’s incarnation. And so, after extended contact, they think, “You are not as dignified, majestic, and profound as I imagined, and You don’t even have as much class as I do. As I stand here, don’t I have the class of a great figure? Although You speak the truth, I don’t see anything about You that looks like God. You always talk about the truth, You always talk about entering into reality, why don’t You reveal some mysteries? Why don’t You speak a bit in the language of the third heaven?” What kind of logic and viewpoint on things is this? (It is Satan’s viewpoint on things.) This comes from Satan. How do you think I approach these things? (You loathe this kind of person and You are unwilling to interact with them.) You are wrong. On the contrary, when I encounter such a person, I will draw near to them and fellowship with them normally, and I will provide what I can and help how I can. If they are obstinate and stubborn, I’m not only able to get along with them normally, I will also discuss things with them as much as possible. I’ll say, “Do you think it works to do things this way? Use whichever of these methods you feel is appropriate, and if you feel that none of them are appropriate, think of your own way to solve this problem.” The greater this kind of person thinks they are, the more I get along with them in this manner; I won’t put on airs before anyone. If there are two stools, one higher and one lower, I will let them sit on the high one, and I will sit on the low one. I will talk to them with My head tilted upward, and finally make them feel ashamed, and make them realize, little by little, that they possess no truths, that they are impoverished and pitiful, numb and dull-witted. What do you think of this method? (It is good.) So, if I were to brush them off, would that be good for them? Actually, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it won’t do them any good. If they believe in God with some sincerity, possess some humanity, and they can be saved, then it is alright for Me to interact with them. Eventually, one day, if they understand the truth, they themselves will choose to sit on the lower stool, and no longer be proud. If I brush them off, they will remain this ignorant and foolish forever, saying and doing stupid things, and they will always be a foolish person, impoverished and pitiful—that is the ugly state of people who don’t pursue the truth. People look down on and despise positive things, and when they see someone who is honest, loving, and who always practices the truth but sometimes lacks wisdom, they disdain them from their hearts. They think that such a person is useless and a good-for-nothing, while they themselves are shrewd, good at calculating, adept at plotting and scheming, have means and gifts, and are capable and well-spoken. They think that this makes them the object of God’s salvation, but it is actually the opposite—this is the kind of person that God is sick of. This is the disposition of disliking and being sick of the truth.
Some people have been in contact with Me for a long time and are more familiar with Me, and although they do not treat Me like their buddy, or someone who is on equal footing with them, they don’t feel restrained at all, and as time passes, they become increasingly emboldened, and the boundaries in their hearts disappear progressively. They always think that they comprehend everything and they often tell Me the things that they understand, thinking that nobody but them understands anything. What disposition is this? (Arrogance.) This is arrogance. Those external things can be understood at a glance, and yet these people think themselves very clever, which is sickening. If a person’s arrogant disposition reaches a point where they lose all reason, it can lead them to do evil, and their arrogant disposition will then become a vicious disposition. If someone is smart, if their words and actions are always full of schemes, if they are a formidable character, and when you are with them, they always want to control and take charge of you, do you feel that this person is kindhearted or vicious? (Vicious.) You fear them, and think, “This person always wants to control me. I have to get away from them as soon as I can. If I don’t do what they say, they’ll think up a way to get revenge on me, and who knows what methods they’ll use to punish me.” You can sense that their disposition is vicious, can’t you? (Yes.) How can you sense it? (They always make people do things according to their demands and ideas.) Is it wrong for them to demand that others do things in a certain way? Is it necessarily wrong if other people make demands of you? Is this logic correct? Is this in accordance with the truth? (It is not.) Is it their methods or disposition that makes you feel uncomfortable? (Their disposition.) That’s right, their disposition makes you feel uncomfortable. It makes you feel that this disposition comes from Satan, that it does not accord with the truth, and that it is disturbing, controlling, and binding you. Not only does it make you feel uncomfortable, but it makes you feel afraid, and it makes you think that if you don’t do what they say, there is a possibility that they could punish you. The disposition of this kind of person is so vicious! They don’t just casually say something—they want to control you. They make such strong demands of you to do things, and demand that you do them a certain way, and this is laden with a certain type of disposition. They don’t merely demand that you do something, they want to control you. If they control you, you will become their puppet, a doll in their hands. If you listen to them completely in whatever you say, whatever you do, and how you do it, then they will be happy. When you sense this disposition, what do you feel in your heart? (I feel afraid.) And when you feel afraid, how do you define this disposition of theirs? Is it responsible, is it kindhearted, or is it vicious? You feel that it is vicious. When you perceive someone’s disposition to be vicious, do you feel pleased, or do you feel hatred, aversion, and fear? (Hatred, aversion, and fear.) These bad feelings arise in you. When you feel hatred, aversion, and fear, do you feel liberated and free, or do you feel bound? (Bound.) Where do these kinds of sentiments and feelings come from? They come from Satan. And what feelings do people enjoy from the things that come from God? (Liberation and freedom.) Your heart is very liberated and free. Even if you are dealt with, pruned, reproached, disciplined, or judged and chastised, what is that sentiment and feeling like? (There is a sense of indebtedness and remorse in my heart, and the feeling that I have done something wrong, and then I am able to truly repent and head in the right direction. Although I feel some pain in my heart, my spirit enjoys God’s love and peace and joy.) The result that’s attained is positive, and this is God’s doing. What are the consequences of Satan’s actions? (It puts people in bondage, and they cannot find release. They suffer in their hearts and don’t know how to free themselves.) It constrains people, it imbues them with an inexplicable, strange fear, it binds and constrains their hearts. As soon as they try to act, it binds them hand and foot, and it scares them out of their wits. That is Satan’s doing, and this comes from Satan. What disposition is revealed when Satan and antichrists act in this way? It is a vicious disposition.
People who have a vicious disposition always want to control others. What does it mean to control people? Is it just forbidding you from saying certain words? Is it just forbidding you from thinking in a certain way? Certainly not—it’s not a problem of a word or a thought, it’s that their disposition is vicious. Based on the word “vicious,” what are the things that a person might do when this disposition pours forth from them? First of all, they will want to manipulate people. What does it mean to manipulate? It means that whatever happens in the church, they will want to intervene, interfere, and make arrangements. They will set a rule for you, and you must then keep to it. If you don’t, they will get angry. They want to manipulate you: If they tell you to go east, you have to go east, and if they tell you to go west, you have to go west. They have this desire, and then they act in this way—this is called manipulation. These people want to take charge of a person’s destiny, to take charge of and control a person’s life, mind, behavior, and preferences, so that this person’s mind, ideas, preferences, and wishes accord with what they say and what they want, rather than according with what God says—this is called manipulation. They always want to arrange for people to do this or that according to their own will, they do not act based on the principles, but based on their own intentions and preferences. They don’t care how you feel, they forcibly order you, and you have to do whatever they tell you to; if you don’t act according to their will, they’ll handle you and make you feel that you really have no choice and that nothing can be done. You know in your heart that you’re being duped and controlled, but you still don’t know how to discern it, much less dare to resist. Are their actions not the behavior of Satan? (Yes.) This is Satan’s behavior. Satan fools people like this and controls people like this, so a satanic disposition manifests itself in people as always trying to control and manipulate others. Regardless of whether or not they can achieve this objective of controlling and manipulating others, all people have this kind of disposition. What is this disposition? (Viciousness.) This is viciousness. Why is it called viciousness? What are clear outpourings of this disposition? Does it carry a sense of coercion? (Yes.) It carries a sense of coercion, which means that no matter whether you listen or not, no matter how you feel, whether you enjoy it or understand it, they forcibly demand that you listen to them and do what they say, without any discussion, without giving you the opportunity to speak, and without giving you any freedom—does it not have this layer of meaning? (Yes.) This is called “ferociousness,” which is one aspect of viciousness.[b] The other aspect of viciousness is “evil,”[c] what does “evil” refer to? It refers to people using methods of coercive indoctrination and suppression to achieve the result of controlling you and making you heed their manipulation, and thereby satisfying themselves. This is called “evil.” In its actions, Satan wants to stop you from having free will, from learning to ponder and discern, and from understanding the truth so that your life can mature. Satan doesn’t let you do those things, and it wants to control you. Satan doesn’t let you seek the truth and understand God’s will, and it doesn’t bring you before God, instead it brings you before itself and makes you listen to it, as if it is the truth, and whatever it says is right, and as if it is the center of all things, so you have to listen to it and not try to analyze whether its words are right or wrong. The disposition of coercively and violently manipulating and controlling people’s behavior and minds is called viciousness. Do you not see these manifestations often in your daily lives? (Yes.) When you come into contact with them, do you realize that they are outpourings of a vicious disposition? (I didn’t realize it before, but now I understand.) If other people do such things to you and reveal such a disposition, you can sense and discern it, but if you yourselves do such things and reveal such a disposition, will you realize that this is a problem? Will you realize that “This kind of disposition is vicious! Acting in this way is a very big deal! Always having the desire and ambition to dominate people, to forcibly control people is wrong, it is of Satan, it’s a satanic disposition. I can’t act like this, I have to seek out a way to treat and interact with people that conforms to the truth”? Will you come to this realization? (No.) If you are incapable of realizing this, and you often reveal this disposition, what will be the consequences? Do you know? (Brothers and sisters will be unwilling to spend time with me, and they will reject me.) That’s one of the consequences. A person like this cannot get along harmoniously with others, and people will have a great aversion toward them. They’re like a plague; as soon as they arrive, everyone has to leave, and why is this? No one wants to be controlled by them. People believe in God and are willing to follow God, and they are unwilling to follow Satan, and yet this kind of person always wants to control others, so how can people not reject them? First of all, they will often be rejected by the brothers and sisters and make people sick of them. If they cannot repent, such a person may not even be able to fulfill their duty properly, or for a long period of time, because they cannot work harmoniously with others. So, they will have to be cast out. In addition to this, what are the other consequences? (The life of the church will be disturbed.) This is another consequence. That person will become a black sheep among the brothers and sisters, and they will disturb the life of the church. What will they lose out on personally because of this? (They will be unable to grow in life.) They will definitely be unable to grow in life, so what will be the ultimate result? They will certainly be punished and cast out. Someone who is always rejected by their brothers and sisters, who never grows in life, and who always wants to control people, to make people listen to them, to take God’s place in their hearts, and is ultimately isolated, and who still doesn’t repent and never changes, how will God handle such a person? Tell Me, does God save human beings or non-human beings? (Human beings.) So how does God define a person like this? (As a non-human.) God defines such a person as a non-human, and God doesn’t save them. Then is their ending not then set? Such a person has no hope, no value in living. Being defined by God as a non-human is so pitiful!
Pursuing life entry requires examining one’s words, deeds, thoughts, and ideas in all matters of daily life, grasping one’s own state, and then holding it up against God’s word for comparison, seeking the truth, and carrying out as much of it as one understands. In the process of practicing and experiencing, one also needs to constantly examine their own state, looking to see what other negative states and things that obstruct them from practicing the truth remain in their heart, and after digging them out, they need to pray to and beseech God to resolve these abnormal states—this will ensure that they can put the truths that they understand into practice. Constantly resolving negative states, notions, and imaginings is the only way of ensuring that one can put the truth into practice. No matter which aspect of the truth is being put into practice, there will be certain difficulties, and when the environment and context changes, new difficulties will arise. Furthermore, people’s various notions, imaginings, and adulterated intentions can prevent them from practicing the truth, so they must open up and fellowship with those who understand the truth often, and seek a path for entering into the truth reality, and seek the truth principles, in order to ensure that they can practice the truth in accordance with the truth principles in various environments and contexts, and in all sorts of matters. Entering into the truth reality can only be achieved by seeking and practicing entry in this way. If people don’t reflect on themselves often, they won’t be able to grasp their own states, and they won’t know where the difficulties lie in practicing the truth and how great the hindrances to it are, so they won’t be able to ensure that they can put the truth into practice. Only those who know themselves and have a grasp on their own states can rely on God and look to Him, and easily put the truth into practice. Those who do not know themselves always follow rules based on their notions and imaginings, so the obstacles they face are numerous and their difficulties are great. In fact, the greatest difficulty that people face lies in their corrupt disposition, followed by not understanding the principles of practice. Once these two problems have been solved, it is easy for people to put the truth into practice. In order to become someone who is obedient to God, and to enter into the truth reality, one should first work on putting the truth into practice; if one is able to put several aspects of the truth into practice in the different matters they encounter each day, then they have already entered into the truth reality. If you constantly train in this way, and reflect on yourself and find a path of practice in God’s word, you will gradually be able to solve your own corrupt state, and you will have a path for practicing and entering into the truth. At the same time, you will gain a basic grasp of the principles for putting all aspects of the truth into practice. When a person has a true understanding of these states and of all aspects of the truth, their heart feels fulfilled, and they become increasingly enriched; they no longer appear numb and dull-witted, or poor and pitiful. Nowadays, most people can talk a bit about external matters, but when asked to express correct viewpoints on matters of right and wrong, and to talk of their understanding of these matters, as well as their methods for dealing with them, and paths of practice, most people lack a clear understanding and are completely blank inside. Some people may say, “You’re wrong, we’re not completely blank inside. We know that God has sovereignty over the rain, that God arranges for the trees to bud in the spring, that God’s ordained laws determine when the birds build their nests, and why various flowers are different and come in so many colors, and why the leaves of trees are green—these are the laws of God’s creation of all things, and they are ordained by God. We know that we should live according to God’s ordained laws, getting up in the morning, going to bed at night, and eating three meals a day, and we also know that there are laws of birth, aging, sickness, and death for human beings, and that no one can break them. Moreover, we don’t complain about God—we thank God for being able to live today, and we will likewise thank God if we were to die tomorrow. We’re not impoverished, numb, and dull-witted.” Is merely understanding these doctrines the same as understanding the truth? Is it entering into the truth reality? (No.) Understanding these things is only the first step, and they’re also things that people must understand, but what they need to understand most of all is how they should live, what they should live by, and what duties they should fulfill. If you can’t seek the truth to solve your corrupt dispositions, you will have no life entry, and you won’t gain the truth and life, and isn’t this kind of faith in God empty? This means that you are completely blank inside. Others say, “In the past, I was small in stature and didn’t know that everything that befalls me is orchestrated by God, and I didn’t know how to view or deal with these things, and when these things happened, I felt at a loss and dealt with them using human methods. Now I understand that the things that occur every day, no matter how minor, are all orchestrated by God, and that everything is ordained by God, and I will say, ‘God, I thank You for Your sovereignty, and I’m willing to put my fate in Your hands and at the mercy of Your orchestration; I don’t want to rebel, I want to listen to Your words, and I’ll certainly fulfill my duty well and give my devotion and all my effort to it!’ I understand all this, so how could I still be poor and pitiful?” In fact, they are poor and pitiful. Why do I say this? (Because they lack knowledge of their satanic disposition and their nature essence; they can talk about so many spiritual doctrines, but when something happens, they still live according to their satanic disposition, and after years of believing in God, their life disposition hasn’t changed a bit.) What they understand is just a false spiritual cloak that they wear; they appear to have the likeness of a believer in God and the propriety of a saint, and they seem to have mastered some profound and spiritual theological theories, but what they understand is not the truth, but only a kind of theological theory. It can’t change the direction of a person’s life, or a person’s views on things or principles for dealing with the world, much less can it change a person’s corrupt disposition. These theological theories, these spiritual doctrines, absolutely cannot make a person’s relationship with God normal, or enable them to recognize their own corrupt dispositions, or make them cast off these corrupt dispositions, much less enable them, through experiencing God’s work, to reach the point of knowing and obeying God. Therefore, these so-called spiritual words and doctrines bring not the slightest benefit to people, but only make them arrogant and conceited, and increasingly disobedient and resistant to God, for these rotten things have nothing to do with the truth and are all hypocrisy that should be thoroughly relinquished and renounced.
Right now, what is the crucial thing that believers in God need to pursue? (A change of disposition.) Can talking about a lot of doctrines change a person’s disposition? (No.) What exactly is a change in disposition? Does a change in disposition mean that a person’s character changes, and that they become incredibly easy-going, easy to get along with, and liked by everyone? Does a change in disposition mean that a person becomes silent and reluctant to speak or laugh? Does a change in disposition mean that a person becomes weather-beaten, seasoned and mature? (No.) So what is a change in disposition? What is the first thing that must be understood in order to change one’s disposition? First of all, one must understand what the basis for achieving a change of disposition is, that is, they must first recognize what man’s nature essence has become and what man’s disposition has become after being corrupted by Satan. This will enable them to recognize the truth of their own corruption. For instance, some people are especially deceitful, and this deceitfulness is their nature and also their disposition; some people are especially arrogant, and this arrogance is their nature and also their disposition. I will give an example. Say that when something befalls you, you have your own intentions. When these intentions appear, what is it that is in control? Firstly, it is certainly not your personality that is in control, nor is it your family background, and much less is it any other person. Your intentions are under the control of your disposition. So, first of all you must examine yourself to find out which disposition this is, whether it is arrogance, wickedness, viciousness, or intransigence. When you have understood it, examine yourself further to discover what states this disposition will cause. Say, for example, it is deceitfulness. When people engage in deceit, what intentions does this come from? What aim are they trying to achieve? Without exception, it is to gain prestige, profit, and status; in a nutshell, it is for the sake of their own interests. And what lies at the root of the pursuit of self-interest? It is that people see their own interests as being more important than everything else. They engage in deceit in order to benefit themselves, and their deceitful disposition is thereby revealed. How should this problem be resolved? First you must discern and know what interests are, what they bring to people exactly, and what the consequences of pursuing them are. If you can’t figure this out, then forsaking them will be easier said than done. If people don’t understand the truth, then nothing is harder for them to give up than their own interests. That’s because their life philosophies are “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” and “Man dies for wealth as birds do for food.” Clearly, they live for their own interests. People think that without their own interests—that if they were to lose their interests—they wouldn’t be able to survive. It’s as if their survival is inseparable from their own interests, so most people are blind to all but their own interests. They see their own interests as higher than anything else, they live for their own interests, and getting them to give up their own interests is like asking them to give up their own lives. So, what should be done in such circumstances? People must accept the truth. Only when they understand the truth can they see through to the essence of their own interests; only then can they begin to relinquish and forsake them, and be able to endure the pain of letting go of that which they love so much. And when you can do this and forsake your own interests, you will feel more at ease and more at peace in your heart, and in so doing you will have overcome the flesh. If you cling to your interests and refuse to give them up, and if you are not in the least bit accepting of the truth, in your heart, you may say, “What’s wrong with trying to benefit myself and refusing to suffer any losses? God hasn’t punished me, and what can people do to me?” No one can do anything to you, but with this faith in God, you will ultimately fail to gain the truth and life. This will be a huge loss for you—you will not be able to attain salvation. Is there any greater regret? This is what ultimately comes from pursuing your own interests. If people only pursue prestige, profit, and status—if they only pursue their own interests—then they will never gain the truth and life, and ultimately, they will be the ones who suffer a loss. God saves those who pursue the truth. If you do not accept the truth, and if you are incapable of reflecting upon and knowing your own corrupt disposition, then you will not truly repent, and you will have no life entry. Accepting the truth and knowing yourself is the path to growth in life and to attaining salvation, it is the chance for you to come before God to accept His scrutiny, judgment, and chastisement, and to gain the truth and life. If you give up on pursuing the truth for the sake of pursuing reputation and status and your own interests, this is tantamount to giving up on the opportunity to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and to attain salvation. You are choosing prestige, profit, and status and your own interests, but what you are giving up is the truth, and what you are losing is the life, and the chance to be saved. Which means more? If you choose your own interests and give up on the truth, is this not foolish? To put it in vernacular terms, this is suffering a great loss for the sake of a small advantage. Prestige, profit, status, money, and interests are all temporary, they are all ephemeral, whereas the truth and life are eternal and immutable. If people resolve the corrupt dispositions that cause them to pursue prestige, profit, and status, then they have hope of attaining salvation. Moreover, the truths that people gain are eternal; Satan cannot take these truths away from people, nor can anyone else. You relinquish your interests but what you gain are the truth and salvation; these results are yours, and you gain them for yourself. If people choose to practice the truth, then even though they have lost their interests, they are gaining God’s salvation and eternal life. Those people are the smartest ones. If people give up the truth for the sake of their interests, then they lose the life and God’s salvation; those people are the most foolish ones. What a person chooses—their interests or the truth—is incredibly revealing. Those who love the truth will choose the truth; they will choose to submit to God and to follow Him. They would rather abandon their own interests to pursue the truth. No matter how much they have to suffer, they are determined to stand firm in their testimony to satisfy God. This is the fundamental path for practicing the truth and entering the truth reality.
Corrupt dispositions are deeply rooted in all people, and no one is more corrupt than any other. People’s views on things, notions, imaginings, and degree of disobedience do not differ greatly and are largely the same. All people live under the power of Satan, and all of them live by satanic dispositions. What is equal is that God gives each person the same opportunity, God has the same attitude toward everyone, and God’s provision of the truth and the life is the same for everyone, so God’s standards and requirements for each person are also the same. If you think you’re irredeemable, that you’re more corrupt than others, and that God will not save you because you’ve revealed some corrupt dispositions that others have seen and are sick of, and you write yourself off as a lost cause and can’t work up any enthusiasm, and don’t have the heart to do anything, and think there’s no point in living, and that it would be better for you to die, what kind of attitude is this? This isn’t a manifestation of maturity and it isn’t what God wants to see; God doesn’t like this kind of person or this kind of attitude. In the process of pursuing the truth, people need to reverse many incorrect states, and they need to constantly correct their views on their pursuit, and constantly come before God and ask Him to scrutinize them, and ask Him to enlighten and guide them. God will give help and grace to them, and God will lead each and every person with enormous patience, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. So, you should not doubt people’s correct attitudes and desire to pursue the truth and to yearn for justice and light, and you should also not doubt that God’s essence is that of saving mankind and of compassion and forgiveness toward mankind. You must remember these words! What is the meaning of telling people these words? It means that they should not give up pursuing the truth at any time, that they should not write themselves off as lost causes, or be negative. When you fall into negativity, you have to think to yourself: Why has God expressed so many truths? It is to supply even more people in understanding the truth, and in solving their own real problems. Not only do you directly gain a lot from God’s words, but you also gain a lot when you fellowship on the truth with your brothers and sisters—isn’t that the same as God supplying you at that time? If you think so, and you can sense this, then why do you want to give up? Why do complaints arise in your heart? Why do you doubt God’s sincerity in saving you? People can be foolish, small in stature, and weak, but they cannot lose faith when it comes to salvation. I hope that one day when I talk to you and interact with you again, I will see that you do not appear poor and pitiful, or numb and dull-witted, but that you have obtained and gained something. You’ve heard a lot, you’ve seen a lot, you’ve understood a lot, but whether you’ve obtained the truth or not, and whether you can be made perfect or not, depends on your pursuit. It is a fact that if someone pursues it, they can obtain it, but if they don’t listen and pursue it, they’ll never receive it. As long as you truly pursue the truth, and pursue love for God and a change of disposition as Peter did, you will win God’s commendation; that is certain.
February 6, 2018
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “there are two different kinds: ‘obstinacy’ and ‘hardness.’”
b. The original text does not contain the phrase “which is one aspect of viciousness.”
c. The original text does not contain the phrase “The other aspect of viciousness is ‘evil.’”