74. The Principles of Approaching One’s Duty

(1) Duty is a commission from God and the mission of a created being. Its performance is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth; not to perform one’s duty is a heinous act of treason;

(2) The duties that God gives man are not split into major and minor ones, nor lofty and lowly ones. One should receive their duty from God; only to perform it well is to be possessed of a conscience and sense;

(3) One’s performance of their duty should not suffer the constraints of their prospects or destiny. One should approach their duty with a submissive mindset and a positive, cooperative attitude;

(4) While performing their duty, one should reflect frequently on the ways in which their own motives adulterate their performance. Seek the truth to address those adulterations at once, and get to where you can perform your duty satisfactorily.

Relevant Words of God:

As members of the human race and devout Christians, it is the responsibility and obligation of us all to offer up our minds and bodies for the fulfillment of God’s commission, for our entire being came from God, and it exists thanks to the sovereignty of God. If our minds and bodies are not for God’s commission and not for the righteous cause of mankind, then our souls will be unworthy of those who were martyred for God’s commission, and much more unworthy of God, who has provided us with everything.

Excerpted from “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

How you regard God’s commissions is a very serious matter! If you cannot complete what God has entrusted to you, then you are not fit to live in His presence and should be punished. It is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle for humans to complete whatever commissions God entrusts to them; this is their highest responsibility, just as important as their very lives. If you do not take God’s commissions seriously, then you are betraying Him in the most grievous way; in this, you are more lamentable than Judas, and should be cursed. People must gain a thorough understanding of how to view what God entrusts to them and, at the very least, must comprehend that the commissions He entrusts to humanity are exaltations and special favors from God; they are most glorious things. Everything else can be abandoned; even if one must sacrifice one’s own life, he must still fulfill God’s commission.

Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

There is no correlation between the duty of man and whether he is blessed or cursed. Duty is what man ought to fulfill; it is his heaven-sent vocation, and should not depend on recompense, conditions, or reasons. Only then is he doing his duty. To be blessed is when someone is made perfect and enjoys God’s blessings after experiencing judgment. To be cursed is when someone’s disposition does not change after they have experienced chastisement and judgment, it is when they do not experience being made perfect but are punished. But regardless of whether they are blessed or cursed, created beings should fulfill their duty, doing what they ought to do, and doing what they are able to do; this is the very least that a person, a person who pursues God, should do. You should not do your duty only to be blessed, and you should not refuse to act for fear of being cursed. Let Me tell you this one thing: Man’s performance of his duty is what he ought to do, and if he is incapable of performing his duty, then this is due to his rebelliousness. It is through the process of doing his duty that man is gradually changed, and it is through this process that he demonstrates his loyalty. As such, the more you are able to do your duty, the more truth you shall receive, and the more real your expression shall become. Those who merely go through the motions in doing their duty and do not seek the truth shall be eliminated in the end, for such people do not do their duty in the practice of truth, and do not practice truth in the fulfillment of their duty. They are those who remain unchanged and will be cursed. Not only are their expressions impure, but everything they express is wicked.

Excerpted from “The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

How does duty come into being? To speak broadly, it comes into being as a result of God’s management work of bringing salvation to humanity; to speak specifically, as God’s management work unfolds amongst mankind, various tasks arise that need to be done, and they require people to cooperate and complete them. This has given rise to responsibilities and missions for people to fulfill, and these responsibilities and missions are the duties God bestows on mankind. Therefore, in God’s house, the various tasks that require people’s cooperation are the duties they should fulfill. So, are there differences between duties in terms of better and worse, lofty and lowly, or great and small? Such differences do not exist; as long as something has to do with God’s management work, is a requirement of His carrying that work out, or is a requirement of the work of His house, then it is a person’s duty. This is the definition and origin of duty.

Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Christ’s Talks

The thing that most directly and perceptibly reflects the bond that links you to God is how you treat the matters God entrusts to you and the tasks He assigns you, and the attitude you have. What is observable most directly is this issue. When you have grasped this crucial point and fulfilled the commission God has given to you, your relationship with God will be normal. If, when God entrusts a task to you, or tells you to perform a certain duty, your attitude is cursory and apathetic, and you do not see it as a priority, is this not precisely the opposite of giving all your heart and strength? So, your attitude when performing your duty is of crucial importance, as are the method and path you choose. What is the result of performing your duty cursorily and hastily, and treating it lightly? It is the poor performance of your duty, though you are capable of performing it well—your performance will not be up to standard, and God will not be satisfied with your attitude toward your duty. If, originally, you had sought and cooperated normally; if you had devoted all your thoughts to it; if you had put your heart and soul into doing it, and put all your effort into it, and had devoted a period of your labor, your striving, and your thoughts to it, or had devoted some time to referencing materials, and committed the whole of your mind and body to it; had you been capable of such cooperation, then God would be up ahead, guiding you. You do not need to exert much strength; when you spare no effort in cooperating, God will have already arranged everything for you. If you are wily and treacherous, and, halfway through the job, you have a change of heart and go astray, then God will show no interest in you; you will have lost this opportunity, and God will say, “You are not good enough; you are useless. Go stand off to the side. You like being lazy, no? You like being deceitful and cunning, do you not? You like resting? Well then, take a rest.” God will give this grace and opportunity to the next person. What do you say: Is this a loss or a win? It is an enormous loss!

Excerpted from “How to Solve the Problem of Being Careless and Perfunctory When Performing Your Duty” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Some people see fulfilling their duties as capital, some see fulfilling their duties as their own personal tasks, and some see fulfilling their duties as their own work, enterprises, or private matters, or see a duty as a sort of pastime, entertainment, or hobby to kill the time. In short, no matter what sort of attitude you have toward your duty, if you did not receive it from God, and if you are unable to treat it as a task that a created being within God’s management work should do or with which it should cooperate, then what you are doing is not fulfilling your duty. Why do I raise these topics? What problems am I trying to resolve by fellowshiping about them? I am attempting to fix the incorrect attitudes people have toward their duties. Once they have understood these truths, their attitudes toward their duties will gradually come in line with the truth and conform to its principles, as well as God’s requirements. At the very least, your perspective and attitude with regard to your duty should be in line with the truth and God’s requirements. Duties are tasks entrusted to people by God; they are missions for people to complete. However, a duty is certainly not your own personally managed business, nor is it a counterweight to your standing out from the crowd. Some people use their duties as opportunities to engage in their own management; some to satisfy their desires; some to fill the voids they feel inside; and some to satisfy their trust-to-luck mentality, thinking that as long as they fulfill their duties, they will have a share in God’s house and in the wonderful destination God arranges for man. Such attitudes about duty are incorrect; they disgust God and must be urgently resolved.

Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Christ’s Talks

People must approach both duty and God with an honest heart—this is the highest wisdom. What attitude should people have in treating God with an honest heart? People should expend themselves for God in their duty without questioning whether this will bring them disaster or blessing, without making conditions, and by submitting to God’s orchestrations; such a person is possessed of an honest heart. Are those who always doubt, who always make conditions, and who engage in ceaseless research possessed of an honest heart? What lies within the heart of such a person? Within their heart there is deceit and evil, and they are always engaging in research. When something happens that affects their personal interests, they ponder: “What was God thinking when He did this thing to me and when He arranged this situation for me? Is this something that has happened to other people? After I am finished going through this, what will the consequences be?” They research these questions; they research what they may gain or lose, whether the matter at hand will bring them disaster or blessing. Once they start researching these questions, are they capable of practicing the truth? Are they capable of obeying God? (No.) When they begin a duty, they research it and ask: “Will I suffer if I carry out this duty? Will I need to spend much time away, and will I be able to get regular meals and rest? And what kind of people will I come into contact with?” Although on the surface they accept this duty, in their heart they harbor deceit and are constantly researching such things. In fact, all of these things that they research relate to their personal interests; they do not consider the interests of God’s house, only their own interests. If people only consider their own interests, it is not easy for them to practice the truth and they do not have true obedience to God. What happens in the end to many of these people who engage in this kind of research? Some rebel against God; that is, they do things full of negative emotions, keeping their eyes peeled while they work. What kind of disposition is it that brings these emotions? It is deceit and evil; having gone so far as to be evil, these people are pitting themselves against God! When people are constantly researching, their attention is divided, so can they properly perform their duty in this state? They do not worship God with honesty and with their spirits, they do not have honest hearts, and while they carry out their duty they are always watching and holding back. What comes of this? God does not do work upon them, no matter what they do they cannot find the principles, and whatever they do, it always goes wrong. Why do things always go wrong? Sometimes, it is not that God exposes them, it is that they ruin themselves. They do not give any consideration to the work of the house of God or to the interests of the house of God; they are always plotting on their own behalf and making plans for their prestige and status. They keep on doing this and then they start to deviate. Between making plans for their own interests and future prospects, and being considerate of the work of the house of God and the interests of the house of God, is the result from their actions the same? No, the result is certainly not the same. They are exposed, and this behavior does not constitute performing one’s duty; the essence and nature of this person’s actions have changed. If it is just a matter of some minor loss, then they will still have the possibility of being saved—they will still have a chance. But if major loss is caused, is there still any chance for them? If the matter at hand is a serious case, to the extent that it causes disruption and disturbances, then the person involved should be replaced and eliminated; some people have been eliminated in just this way.

Excerpted from “Only by Seeking the Principles of the Truth Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in Records of Christ’s Talks

What is the most basic attitude toward duty that one should have? If you said, “Since God’s house has given this duty to me, it belongs to me, and I can fulfill it however I want,” would this be an acceptable attitude? It absolutely would not. If you have such thoughts, they will cause trouble, and it means you have started down a bad path. You must not think this way. So, what is the correct way of thinking? First, you must seek the truth and principles. Seek these things: how this duty should be fulfilled, what God requires, what the principles are of God’s requirements of people, what you should do, which parts of the work you should complete, and how you should act to be utterly devoted and responsible while fulfilling this duty. So, to whom should devotion be given? To God—you should be devoted to Him, responsible toward other people, and, as for yourself, you should adhere to principle and uphold your duty. What does it mean to adhere to principle? To adhere to principle is to act in accordance with God’s words and the truth. What, then, does it mean to uphold duty? Say, for example, a duty has been given to you for a year or two, but, so far, no one has checked up on you. What should you do? If no one checks up on you, does that mean the duty is gone? Pay no mind to whether anyone checks up on you or sees how you are doing; this task was entrusted to you, and, though it is not your personal business, it was assigned to you, and it is your responsibility. You should consider how this job should be done and how it can be done well, and that is how you should do it. What sort of attitude is it if you are always waiting for others to check up on you, for them to supervise you and urge you on? This is a passive attitude; it is not the attitude you should adopt toward your duty.

Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Most people do their duties in this state of mind: “If someone leads, I follow. I will follow them wherever they lead, and do whatever they ask me to do.” Taking on responsibility or concern or paying extra attention, on the other hand, are things they cannot achieve and prices they are unwilling to pay. They have a share in exerting physical effort, but they do not share in the responsibility. This is not truly doing one’s duty. You must learn to put your heart into your duty; if one has a heart, one must be able to use it. If someone never uses their heart, this proves they are heartless, and a heartless person cannot attain the truth! Why can they not attain the truth? They do not know how to come before God; they do not know how to put their heart into perceiving God’s enlightenment and guidance, or how to put their heart into contemplation, or into seeking the truth, or into seeking, understanding and showing consideration for God’s will. Do you have those states in which you are able to be quiet before God often, and in which, no matter what arises and no matter your duty, you are able to come often before God, and use your heart to contemplate God’s words, and put your heart into seeking the truth and contemplating how your duty should be performed? Are there many such times? Putting your heart into your duty and being able to take responsibility require you to suffer and to pay a price—it is not enough simply to talk about it. If you do not put your heart into your duty, instead wanting always to exert physical effort, then your duty will certainly not be done well. You will simply go through the motions and nothing more, and you will not know how well you have done your duty. If you put your heart into it, you will gradually come to understand the truth; if you do not, then you will not. When you put your heart into performing your duty and pursuing the truth, you then become gradually able to understand God’s will, to discover your own corruption and deficiencies, and to master all your various states. If you do not use your heart, but only exert physical effort on the outside, then you will be unable to feel the changes in your different inner states or the reactions of different states in different environments. These are all matters of the heart. Therefore, you must use your heart and your honesty to praise and worship God. To use your heart and honesty to worship God, you must have a heart that is quiet and sincere; in the deepest recesses of your heart, you must know to seek God’s will and the truth, and you must contemplate how to do your duty well, contemplating which parts of your duty you do not yet understand and how to do your duty better. Only by thinking of these things often in your heart will you be able to gain the truth. If these things are not what you contemplate often in your heart, and your heart is filled instead with things of the mind or external things, occupied with such things that have nothing to do with using your heart and honesty to worship God—nothing whatsoever to do with it—are you then able to gain the truth? Do you have a relationship with God?

Excerpted from “Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Christ’s Talks

When you do your duty, what you are actually doing is what you should be doing. But if you do it before God, using your heart, how does that saying go? “Worship God with heart and with honesty.” Now if you apply this saying to doing your duty, doing your duty with an attitude of honesty and with heart, don’t you think this attitude is much more proper? (Yes.) Once you have this attitude, how can you apply it in real life? You must make this saying your reality. Whenever you want to be slack and just go through the motions, whenever you want to be lazy, and whenever you allow yourself to be distracted and wish to just go have fun, you should think it through: In behaving like this, am I being untrustworthy? Is this putting my heart into doing my duty? Am I being disloyal by doing this? In doing this, am I failing to live up to the trust God has placed in me? This is how you should self-reflect. You should think, “I have not taken this matter seriously. Back then, I felt there was a problem, but I didn’t treat it as being serious; I just glossed it over carelessly. Now this problem still hasn’t been resolved. What sort of person am I?” You will have identified the problem and come to know yourself a little. Should you stop when you have a little knowledge? Are you finished once you have confessed your sins? You must repent and make a turn-around! How do you turn back? Your previous attitude toward doing your duty was wrong, your heart was wrong, your heart wasn’t in it. You always ran blindly and you were derelict in your duties. You must now rectify your attitude and must pray before God, asking God to discipline you and punish you if you still have this heart and this attitude. Now bring forth parts in which you feel you were slipshod over the past few days and see how exactly those parts can be changed, and make them right; after they have been made right, go seek again, pray, ask your brothers and sisters again, see whether or not they have any better opinions or suggestions, until everyone agrees, saying “good” and “great.” Only in this way will you get confirmation and feel that, this time, you are doing your duty in a way that is up to standard, that you are using all your strength, that all your heart is in it, that you are applying your all, using your all, using all your ability and free from any qualms. And when you come before God to account for yourself, your conscience will be clear, and you will say: “Although God grades my work at 60%, I used all my strength to do it, I put my whole heart into it, I wasn’t lazy, I didn’t shirk and I didn’t hold back.” What do you think to this? Is this not using all one’s heart, soul and strength to do one’s duty, and applying these realities to real life? Is this not living out the reality of these things? So when you live out the reality of these things, how do you feel in your heart? (Assured.) Yes, assured. By doing this, people feel they are living pretty well, that they have some human likeness, and that they are not the walking dead, right?

Excerpted from “Only Through Frequent Contemplation of the Truth Can You Have a Way Forward” in Records of Christ’s Talks

You should each do your own duty to the best of your ability, with open and honest hearts, and be willing to pay whatever price is necessary. As you have said, when the day comes, God will not be remiss toward anyone who has suffered or paid a price for Him. This kind of conviction is worth holding on to, and it is right that you should never forget it. Only in this way can I put My mind at ease about you. Otherwise, you will forever be people about whom I cannot put My mind at ease, and you will forever be the objects of My distaste. If all of you can follow your conscience and give your all for Me, sparing no effort for My work, and devoting the energy of a lifetime to My gospel work, then will My heart not often leap for joy on your account? This way, I will be able to put My mind entirely at ease regarding you, won’t I?

Excerpted from “On Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Man’s performance of his duty is, in actuality, the accomplishment of all that is inherent within man, which is to say, that which is possible for man. It is then that his duty is fulfilled. The defects of man during his service are gradually reduced through progressive experience and the process of his undergoing judgment; they do not hinder or affect man’s duty. Those who cease to serve or yield and fall back for fear that there may be drawbacks to their service are the most cowardly of all. If people cannot express what they ought to express during service or achieve what is inherently possible for them, and instead fool about and go through the motions, they have lost the function that a created being should have. Such people are what are known as “mediocrities”; they are useless refuse. How can such people properly be called created beings? Are they not corrupt beings that shine on the outside but are rotten within? If a man calls himself God yet is unable to express the being of divinity, do the work of God Himself, or represent God, he is undoubtedly not God, for he has not the essence of God, and that which God can inherently achieve does not exist within him. If man loses what is inherently attainable by him, he can no longer be considered man, and he is not worthy to stand as a created being or come before God and serve Him. Moreover, he is not worthy to receive the grace of God or to be watched over, protected, and made perfect by God. Many who have lost the trust of God go on to lose the grace of God. Not only do they not despise their misdeeds, but they brazenly propagate the idea that the way of God is incorrect, and the rebellious ones even deny the existence of God. How can such people, who are possessed of such rebelliousness, be entitled to enjoy the grace of God? Those who do not perform their duty are very rebellious against God, and owe much to Him, yet they turn around and lambaste that God is wrong. How could such kind of man be worthy of being made perfect? Is this not the precursor to being eliminated and punished? People who do not do their duty before God are already guilty of the most heinous of crimes, for which even death is an insufficient punishment, yet they have the gall to argue with God and match themselves against Him. What is the worth of perfecting such people? When people fail to fulfill their duty, they should feel guilt and indebtedness; they ought to despise their weakness and uselessness, their rebelliousness and corruption, and moreover, ought to give their life to God. Only then are they created beings who truly love God, and only such people are worthy of enjoying the blessings and promise of God, and of being made perfect by Him. And what of the majority of you? How do you treat the God who lives among you? How have you performed your duty before Him? Have you done all you were called upon to do, even at the expense of your own life? What have you sacrificed? Have you not received much from Me? Can you discern? How loyal are you to Me? How have you served Me? And what of all that I have bestowed upon you and have done for you? Have you taken measure of it all? Have you all judged and compared this with what little conscience you have within you? Who could your words and actions be worthy of? Could it be that such minuscule sacrifice of yours is worthy of all I have bestowed upon you? I have no other choice and have been wholeheartedly devoted to you, yet you harbor wicked intentions and are half-hearted toward Me. That is the extent of your duty, your only function. Is this not so? Do you not know that you have utterly failed to perform the duty of a created being? How can you be considered a created being? Is it not clear to you what it is you are expressing and living out? You have failed to fulfill your duty, but you seek to gain the tolerance and bountiful grace of God. Such grace has not been prepared for ones as worthless and base as you, but for those who ask for nothing and gladly sacrifice. People such as you, such mediocrities, are utterly unworthy of enjoying the grace of heaven. Only hardship and interminable punishment shall accompany your days! If you cannot be faithful to Me, your fate shall be one of suffering. If you cannot be accountable to My words and My work, your outcome will be one of punishment. All grace, blessings, and the wonderful life of the kingdom shall have nothing to do with you. This is the end you deserve to meet and a consequence of your own making!

Excerpted from “The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Previous: 56. The Principles of Addressing Notions and Imaginings

Next: 75. The Principles of Confirming One’s Station

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