Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition
As a church leader, you do not merely need to learn to use the truth to resolve problems, you also need to learn to discover and cultivate people of talent, whom you absolutely must not envy or suppress. Practicing in this way is beneficial to the work of the church. If you can cultivate a few pursuers of the truth to cooperate with you and do all the work well, and in the end, you all have experiential testimonies, then you are a qualified leader or worker. If you are able to handle everything according to the principles, then you are committing your devotion. Some people always fear that others are better than they are or above them, that other people will be recognized while they get overlooked, and this leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being envious of people with talent? Is that not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is maliciousness! Those who only think about their own interests, who only satisfy their own selfish desires, without thinking about others or considering the interests of God’s house, have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them. If you are truly capable of showing consideration for God’s will, you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you recommend a good person and allow them to undergo training and fulfill a duty, thereby adding a person of talent to God’s house, will that not make your work easier? Will you not then be showing devotion in your duty? That is a good deed before God; it is the minimum conscience and sense that those who serve as leaders should possess. Those who are capable of putting the truth into practice can accept God’s scrutiny in the things they do. When you accept God’s scrutiny, your heart will be set straight. If you only ever do things for others to see, and always want to gain others’ praise and admiration, and you do not accept God’s scrutiny, then is God still in your heart? Such people have no reverence for God. Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; do not consider the interests of man, and give no thought to your own pride, reputation, and status. You must first consider the interests of God’s house, and make them your priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not there have been impurities in the performance of your duty, whether you have been devoted, fulfilled your responsibilities, and given it your all, as well as whether or not you have been wholeheartedly thinking about your duty and the work of the church. You must consider these things. If you think about them frequently and figure them out, it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, if your experience is shallow, or if you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and you may not get good results—but you will have done your best. You do not satisfy your own selfish desires or preferences. Instead, you give constant consideration to the work of the church and the interests of the house of God. Though you may not achieve good results in your duty, your heart will have been set straight; if, on top of this, you can seek the truth to solve the problems in your duty, you will be up to standard in the performance of your duty, and, at the same time, you will be able to enter into the reality of the truth. This is what it means to possess testimony.
Some people believe in God but do not pursue the truth. They always live by the flesh, coveting fleshly pleasures, always sating their own selfish desires. No matter how many years they believe in God, they will never enter into the reality of the truth. This is the mark of having brought shame to God. You say, “I haven’t done anything to resist God. How have I brought shame upon Him?” All of your ideas and thoughts are evil. The intents, goals, and motives behind what you do, and the consequences of your actions always satisfy Satan, make you its laughingstock, and allow it to get something on you. You have borne none of the testimony that a Christian should. You are of Satan. You bring shame to God’s name in all things and you do not possess genuine testimony. Will God remember the things that you have done? In the end, what conclusion will God draw about all of your actions, behavior, and the duties that you have performed? Does something not have to come of that, some sort of statement? In the Bible, the Lord Jesus says, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22–23). Why did the Lord Jesus say this? Why did so many of those who preached, cast out demons, and performed many miracles in the name of the Lord become evildoers? It was because they did not accept the truths expressed by the Lord Jesus, they did not keep to His commandments, and they had no love for the truth in their hearts. They only wanted to exchange the work they had done, the hardships they had endured, and the sacrifices they had made for the Lord for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. In this, they were attempting to strike a deal with God, and they were trying to use God and trick God, so the Lord Jesus felt sick of them, hated them, and condemned them as evildoers. Today, people are accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, but some still pursue reputation and status, and always wish to distinguish themselves, always wanting to be leaders and workers and to gain reputation and status. Although they all say that they believe in God and follow God, and they renounce and expend for God, they perform their duties to gain prestige, profit, and status, and they always have their own schemes. They are not obedient or devoted to God, they can run amok doing evil without reflecting on themselves at all, and so they become evildoers. God hates these evildoers, and God does not save them. What is the standard by which a person’s actions and behavior are judged to be good or evil? It is whether or not they, in their thoughts, outpourings, and actions, possess the testimony of putting the truth into practice and of living out the reality of the truth. If you do not have this reality or live this out, then without doubt, you are an evildoer. How does God regard evildoers? To God, your thoughts and external acts do not bear testimony for Him, nor do they humiliate and defeat Satan; instead, they bring shame to Him, and they are riddled with marks of the dishonor that you have brought upon Him. You are not testifying for God, you are not expending yourself for God, nor are you fulfilling your responsibilities and obligations to God; instead, you are acting for your own sake. What does “for your own sake” mean? To be precise, it means for Satan’s sake. Therefore, in the end, God will say, “Depart from Me, you that work iniquity.” In God’s eyes, your actions will not be seen as good deeds, they will be considered evil deeds. Not only will they fail to gain God’s approval—they will be condemned. What does one hope to gain from such a belief in God? Would such belief not come to naught in the end?
For all who perform a duty, no matter how profound or shallow their understanding of the truth is, the simplest way to practice entering into the reality of the truth is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything, and to let go of one’s selfish desires, personal intents, motives, pride, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least one should do. If a person who performs a duty cannot even do this much, then how can they be said to be performing their duty? That is not performing one’s duty. You should first think of the interests of God’s house, be considerate of God’s will, and consider the work of the church. Put these things first and foremost; only after that can you think about the stability of your status or how others regard you. Do you not feel that this becomes a little easier when you divide it into two steps and make some compromises? If you practice like this for a while, you will come to feel that satisfying God is not such a difficult thing. Furthermore, you should be able to fulfill your responsibilities, perform your obligations and duty, and set aside your selfish desires, intents, and motives; you should have consideration for God’s will, and put the interests of God’s house, the work of the church, and the duty that you are supposed to perform first. After experiencing this for a while, you will feel that this is a good way to comport yourself. It is living straightforwardly and honestly, and not being a base, vile person; it is living justly and honorably rather than being despicable, base, and a good-for-nothing. You will feel that this is how a person should act and the image that they should live out. Gradually, your desire to satisfy your own interests will lessen. Right now, regardless of how long you have believed in God, your entry into, exposure to, and experience of lessons that concern pursuing the truth, practicing the truth, and entering into the reality of the truth lack depth, and you have no genuine experience of or exposure to them, so you cannot produce true testimony. I have now told you this simple approach: Begin by practicing in this way, and once you have done so for a while, the state within you will begin to change, without you knowing it. It will turn from that ambivalent state, in which you are neither terribly interested in believing in God nor terribly fed up with it, into a state in which you feel that believing in God and being an honest person are good things, and in which you are interested in being an honest person and feel that there is meaning and nourishment in living this way. You will feel grounded, at peace, and enjoyment in your heart. That is how your state will become. That is the result that comes from letting go of your own intents, interests, and selfish desires. That is the outcome. This is in part the result of human cooperation and in part, the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not work without people’s cooperation. All people have some incorrect states within them, like passiveness, weakness, despondency, and fragility; or they have base intents; or they are constantly troubled by their pride, selfish desires, and self-interest; or they think that they are of poor caliber, and they experience some passive states. It will be very hard for you to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit if you always live in these states. If it is hard for you to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, then the active elements within you will be few, and the passive elements will come out and disturb you. People always rely on their own will to repress those passive and negative states, but no matter how they repress them, they cannot shake them off. The main reason for this is that people cannot thoroughly discern these passive and negative things; they cannot see their essence clearly. This makes it very hard for them to forsake the flesh and Satan. Also, people always get stuck in these passive, melancholic, and degenerate states, and they do not pray or look up to God, instead they just muddle through them. As a result, the Holy Spirit does not work in them, and they are consequently unable to understand the truth, they lack a path in everything they do, and they cannot see any matter clearly. There are too many passive and negative things within you, and they have filled your heart, so you are often passive, melancholic in spirit, and you stray farther and farther from God, and become weaker and weaker. If you cannot gain the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and work, you will not be able to escape these states, and your passive state will not change, because if the Holy Spirit is not working in you, you cannot find a path. Because of these two reasons, it is very hard for you to cast off your passive state and enter into a normal one. Though when you perform your duty now, you withstand hardship, work hard, put in a lot of effort, and you are able to renounce your family and career, and give up everything, the passive states within you still have not been truly transformed. There are too many entanglements that bind you from pursuing and practicing the truth, such as your notions, imaginings, knowledge, philosophies for living, selfish desires, and corrupt dispositions. These negative things have filled your heart. Although you are young, your thoughts are very complicated. You observe and study My every word and expression, then overthink them endlessly. Why is this? You have been following God for several years, but I have yet to see any progress or change in you. People’s hearts are completely occupied by satanic things. This is clear for all to see. If you do not cut these things out, if you are unable to cast off these passive states, you will be unable to transform yourself into the likeness of a child and come before God in a vibrant, lovely, innocent, simple, truthful, and pure way. Then, it will be difficult for you to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit or the truth.
Right now, you all have a few good qualities to recommend you, namely, the will to suffer and faith. These good qualities have saved you all. If you did not have these qualities—your will to suffer hardships, and the true faith to expend yourself for God—then you would have no drive to perform your duty, and you would have been unable to hold firm to this day. Some people do their duty for a while, but because they are uninterested in the truth and because they receive no benefit from it, they return to the secular world to work, make money, and get married. They think that dawdling here without seeing any results is a waste of their youth, their best years, and their life. These people are exposed nonbelievers. Only those who sincerely expend themselves for God can hold to their duty and stand firm. Right now, all of you perform your duties full-time. You are not constrained or tied down by family, marriage, or wealth. You have already emerged from those things. However, the notions, imaginings, knowledge, and personal intents and desires that fill your head remain completely intact. So, when it comes to anything that involves reputation, status, or an opportunity to shine—when you hear that the house of God plans to nurture various kinds of talented individuals, for example—every one of your hearts leaps in anticipation, each of you always wants to make a name for yourself and to step into the spotlight. You all want to fight for status and reputation. You are ashamed of this, but you would feel bad if you don’t do so. You feel envy, hatred, and resentment whenever you see someone stand out, and think that it is unfair: “Why can’t I stand out? Why do other people always get the spotlight? Why is it never my turn?” And after you feel resentment, you try to repress it, but you cannot. You pray to God and feel better for a while, but when you encounter this sort of situation again, you still cannot overcome it. Is this not a manifestation of an immature stature? When people are caught in such states, have they not fallen into Satan’s trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans. If people cast off these corrupt dispositions, will they not then feel free and liberated? Think about it: If you wish to avoid getting caught in these states of vying for status and profit—to free yourself from these corrupt states, and to release yourself from the distress and bondage of prestige, profit, and status—which truths must you understand? Which realities of the truth must you possess in order for you to gain freedom and liberation? First, you must see that Satan uses prestige, profit, and status to corrupt people, to ensnare them, to abuse them, to degrade them and plunge them into sin. Furthermore, it is only by accepting the truth that people can forgo and put aside prestige, profit, and status. Setting aside these things is very difficult for anybody, no matter if they are young or old, or new or long-time believers. Though some people are introverted, and they appear not to say much, they actually harbor more difficulties in their hearts than others do. Giving up prestige, profit, and status is difficult for everyone; no one can overcome the temptation of those things—people’s internal states are all the same. Satan has corrupted man using nothing other than prestige and profit; several thousands of years of traditional culture have just instilled these things in people. Therefore, man’s corrupt nature loves and pursues prestige, profit, and status, it is just that the ways different people pursue and express it differ. There are some who never speak of it, and conceal it in their hearts, while there are others who reveal it in their words. There are some who will fight for these things, with no scruples at all, while there are others who do not fight for them, but in private, they complain, grumble, and break things. Although it manifests differently in different people, their natures are exactly the same. They are all corrupt humans who resist God. If you always focus on prestige, profit, and status, if you value these things too highly, if they occupy your heart, and if you are unwilling to give them up, then you will be controlled and bound by them. You will become their slave, and in the end, they will utterly ruin you. You must learn to let go and set these things aside, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage of opportunities to stand out and shine. You must be able to put these things aside, but you must also not hold up the performance of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity and does not show off to others while you devotedly perform your duty. The more you let go of your pride and status, and the more you let go of your interests, the more at peace you will feel, the more light there will be in your heart, and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will become. If you do not believe Me, try it and see! If you want to reverse this sort of corrupt state, and to not be controlled by these things, you must seek the truth, and clearly understand the essence of these things, and then put them aside and relinquish them. Otherwise, the more you struggle, the darker your heart will become, and the more envy and hatred you will feel, and your desire to obtain these things will only grow stronger. The stronger your desire to obtain them, the less you will be able to obtain them, and as this happens, your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases, you will grow darker inside. The darker you are inside, the worse your performance of your duty will become, and the worse your performance of your duty becomes, the less useful you will be to the house of God. This is an interlinked, vicious cycle. If you never perform your duty well, you will gradually be cast out.
For the Holy Spirit to work within a person and transform their various passive states, that person must actively cooperate and seek, at times suffering, paying a price, renouncing things, and forsaking the flesh, reversing their course step-by-step. It takes a long time for this to get results, and for them to set foot on the right path—but it only takes seconds for God to expose someone. If you do not perform your duty well, but always try to distinguish yourself, and always try to compete for status, to stand out and shine, fighting for your reputation and interests, then while living in this state, are you not just a service-doer? You can serve if you want to, but it is possible that you will be exposed before your service is done. When people are exposed, their day of being condemned and cast out arrives. Is it possible to reverse that outcome? It is not easy; it could be that God has already determined their outcome, in which case, they are in trouble. People usually commit transgressions, reveal corrupt dispositions, and make a few small mistakes, or they satisfy their selfish desires, harbor their own intents while they speak and play tricks, but so long as they do not disrupt or disturb the work of the church, or make a huge mess of things, or offend God’s disposition, or cause any obviously evil results, then they will still have a chance to repent. But if they commit some great evil or cause a big catastrophe, can they still redeem themselves? It is very dangerous for a person who believes in God and performs a duty to get to this point. It is like a married couple living their lives together. If there is a bit of friction between the two of them, and they occasionally say something that hurts the other, they can continue to live together as long as they are tolerant of one another. But if one of them has an affair, and no matter what, their partner cannot bring themselves to take that person back, and if that person is unwilling to go back, then can the two of them stay together? Being more tolerant of that person would be of no avail, it would be futile. A marriage like this is broken, all they can do is divorce. If two people get to this point, then even if they still live under the same roof, their marriage exists in name only. It makes no difference whether they divorce or not. If you believe in God, do your duty, and you reach that same point—when you miss the opportunities to pursue the truth and be perfected, your heart is hardened, and you never repent or go back, and you continue stubbornly pursuing status, without accepting the slightest shred of truth, though God has given you many opportunities—then sooner or later there will come a day in which you are revealed and cast out. Most likely, a matter, or a situation, or a word or attitude will completely expose you. Therefore, if a person does not obtain the work of the Holy Spirit or gain the truth, if they are always bound and controlled by their corrupt, satanic disposition, if they live with all kinds of selfish desires and intents and are not able to emerge from them, then they are in great danger. Sooner or later, they will stumble and be exposed. Maybe you have not stumbled yet, but that does not mean that you will not stumble later on. Maybe you are still able to do your duty now, maybe you still have some will to expend yourself for God and suffer hardships, maybe you have some will to pursue being perfected, but that is no replacement for understanding the truth, or for entering into the reality of the truth, nor does it mean that you will not stumble later on, or that you will be able to stand firm. Some people believe in God for several years but do not understand the least bit of the truth. Their outlook on things remains the same as that of unbelievers. When they see a false leader or antichrist being exposed and cast out, they think, “Believing in God, following God, living before God is like walking on thin ice! It’s like living on the edge of a knife!” And others say, “Being a leader and worker and serving God is risky. It’s just like people say: ‘Being close to a king is as dangerous as lying with a tiger.’ If you do or say something wrong, you’ll offend God’s disposition, and you’ll be cast out and punished!” Are these remarks correct? “Walking on thin ice” and “living on the edge of a knife”—what do these words mean? These words mean that there is great danger, that there is great danger at every moment, and that the least bit of carelessness will lead one to lose their footing. “Being close to a king is as dangerous as lying with a tiger” is a common saying among unbelievers. It means that it is dangerous to get close to a devil king. If one applies this saying to serving God, where is their error? To compare a devil king to God, to the Lord of creation—is this not blasphemy against God? That is a serious problem. God is a righteous and holy God; that man should be punished for resisting God or for being hostile to Him is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth. Satan and devils do not have a shred of the truth; they are filthy and evil, they slaughter innocents, and devour good people. How can they be likened to God? Why do people distort the facts and slander God? This is tremendous blasphemy against God! When some people who are often passive and do not perform their duties sincerely are pruned and dealt with, they worry that they will be cast out, and they often think to themselves, “Believing in God really is like walking on thin ice! As soon as you do something wrong, you get dealt with; as soon as you’re labeled a false leader or antichrist, you get replaced and cast out. In God’s house, it’s not uncommon for God to get angry, and when people have done a few bad things, they’re cast out with a word. They’re not even given a chance to repent.” Is that really how things are? Does God’s house really not give people a chance to repent? (That’s wrong.) Those evil people and antichrists are only cast out because they have committed multifarious evils, and been pruned and dealt with, and yet, despite repeated admonitions, they do not change their ways. What is the problem with people thinking this way? They are making specious justifications for themselves. They do not pursue the truth, nor do they render service properly, and because they are afraid of being cleared out and cast out, they complain bitterly and spread their notions. Clearly, they are of poor humanity, and they are often careless and perfunctory, and passive and slack in their work. They fear being exposed and cast out, so they put all the blame on the church and on God. What is the nature of this? It is passing judgment on God, complaining about Him, and resisting Him. These remarks are the most obvious fallacies and the most absurd claims. The fact that these people can say such things is proof that despite believing in God for years, they have never pursued the truth at all. Only this would cause them to sink to the level of passing judgment on God, of resisting Him, and of blaspheming Him. It is evident that those who are often passive and do not pursue the truth are truly living in danger. So, how should believers in God practice in order to make themselves safe and free themselves of these dangerous circumstances? The key is to walk the path of pursuing the truth. If a person can understand some of the truth, if they can submit to God on a basic level, then they will be relatively safe and secure. Those who do not pursue the truth, who do not have any of the reality of the truth, and who are often passive, they are always in danger of being cast out. People who are sick of the truth in their hearts, who always feel that it is too difficult or stupid to practice the truth, those are the people who are in the most danger. Sooner or later, they will be exposed and cast out.
Regardless of whether a person is deceitful or relatively guileless and honest, people’s intents, desires, and impurities are all more or less the same. If all of you can reverse your course, cast off these corrupt states, and, at the very least, do your duty properly, you will have human likeness. If you carry around your personal intents, motivations, and desires while doing your duty, you are very likely to cause deviations and mistakes, and it will be very difficult for you to handle matters according to the principles, or to do your duty well and conform with God’s will. This is because people are too careless and perfunctory, and filled with too many impurities. If you want to do your duty well, you must first resolve your personal intents and desires. Then, your internal state will slowly change, your mindset will improve, the active elements within you will increase, your impurities will lessen, your heart will become purer and simpler, and you will only want to do your duty well to satisfy God. That way, you will not be easily controlled by satanic thoughts and views, or philosophies for living. You will naturally obtain freedom and liberation, and everything you do will be easy and pleasant. It is just like when people are walking–if they carry many burdens, then walking will be very tiring, and they will walk slower and slower, until they collapse and break down from exhaustion. If they unload those burdens, then walking will be much easier, and they will also feel liberated and free. You should all write a journal or a testimony essay about whichever aspect of liberation and freedom you obtain. You should write about how you sought the truth and laid down your burdens when things befell you, and which of your own intents and motivations you forsook, and what kind of enlightenment you received, and what pleasant feelings you experienced—write about these states and knowledge. This is experiential testimony, and it is of great benefit to both you and other people. In this way, your experience will increase, your understanding of the truth will improve, and your days of freedom and liberation will multiply. You will become a free person, a person like Job. Why was Job able to so easily speak the famous words: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21)? Did he come to speak them so easily overnight? Absolutely not. Those words were the summation of days, years, and decades of experience. They were the fruits of decades of accumulated life experience. It is not a simple matter to obtain the truth and speak words of testimony. The only way to achieve results in one’s belief in God is to walk the path of pursuing the truth. After giving up the pursuit of prestige, profit, and status, things will be much easier for you. It will be easy for you to embark onto the path of pursuing the truth. When your experience reaches the point where you understand the truth and enter into reality, you will have obtained the truth, and gained freedom and liberation. At that point, you will think that you have obtained a great deal from following Christ and pursuing the truth. To obtain the truth, you will have given up your pursuit of prestige, profit, and status, and the entanglements of your family affairs. You will have followed God and fulfilled the duty of a created being, you will have gradually come to understand the truth, and seen through to many things. You will not be confused or bound by Satan again. Obtaining the truth and the life is the most valuable thing; the truth is the thing most worthy of your love. When you see that the truth is the most precious thing, you will realize that prestige, profit, status, money, vanity, and pride are worthless, and that these things have been harming you. Therefore, you will come to detest and reject these things, and will be able to give them up. It is extremely meaningful. Nevertheless, there are still some people who are unable to cast off the constraints of reputation and status. All day long, they rack their brains and fight with others for prestige, profit, and status. They will even fuss and quarrel over a few matters of vanity and pride. They do not seek the truth, nor do they pay any mind to God’s will. They regard prestige, profit, and status higher than anything else, and as a result, they bustle about for years for the sake of these things, without possessing the slightest bit of the reality of the truth. Whatever duty they perform, they do so badly, and they forfeit the best years of their lives. This is the pitiful state of those who do not pursue the truth. These people carelessly muddle through their belief in God in this way. Ten or twenty years have passed, and they still have not obtained the truth or the life, and they are still unable to testify for God. When the disasters come, they will be dumbfounded, not knowing what day they will end up dying in a disaster, and it will be too late for regrets then. That is why, sooner or later, those who believe in God but do not pursue the truth will have a day of regret. Right now, there are many people who are still blindly pursuing prestige, profit, and status, and when they are dealt with and pruned they feel that they have suffered a great humiliation. They do their utmost to create specious justifications and explanations for themselves in order to protect their vanity and pride. They do not accept the truth to resolve their own corrupt dispositions, and they still regard prestige, profit, and status higher than anything else. This kind of person lives such a pitiable life! They are the most foolish and ignorant people.
Right now is the best opportunity for you to do your duty, to experience how to cast off your corrupt dispositions, how to obtain God’s guidance, how to perform your duty devotedly, how to satisfy God’s will, how to fulfill your responsibilities and avoid being careless and perfunctory in your duty, and how to give your heart to God, to experience and gain knowledge of God’s words while you do your duty, and to see the deeds of God. What an excellent opportunity! Someday, when you have changed, you will no longer fight over pride and status. Whatever is required of you, you will not think it is very difficult, and it will be easy for you to do it. It will be easy for you to put the truth into practice, to act according to the principles, and to see through many things. You will be entirely capable of doing your duty normally, and you will never again be constrained by any person, event, or thing. This is wholly entering into the reality of the truth.
July 16, 2015