Words on Other Topics

Excerpt 79

What are your impressions after singing the hymn “The One Who Holds Sovereignty Over Everything”? Do you have any insights? Everyone who has lived has gone through many hardships, but they don’t actually know why this is, and no one thoroughly contemplates what the root of these hardships is, whether it’s worth it, or whether it’s right for people to live like this. When they’re young, people always want to have nice clothes to wear and good things to eat, and they feel that this is the way to be happy. When they grow up, people begin to contemplate on how they need to work hard in their studies in order to stand out from the crowd and enjoy a good life. When they come of age, people start to want to make a lot of money, to achieve fame and gain, and to achieve power and influence. They want to be a cut above the rest. They always look to hold a position in the government and gain people’s respect and admiration. When they have children, they hope for their descendants to thrive on and on for generations and continue to prosper and progress. What’s the purpose behind all of these steps people take? Why do people think like this? Why do they all live like this? People are living without a path. Why do I say there’s no path? It’s because people don’t know where they come from or where they’re going, and they don’t know what they’re supposed to do in this life, how they should live, or how to walk the path of their life. People don’t know these things. Then why is it that people can still tirelessly chase after fame, gain, and a happy life until death without looking back? It’s because people are corrupted by Satan, and they’ve developed a mistaken mindset and outlook on life. They see this way of living as something right, and they see chasing after fame and gain as right and proper. They think that gaining fame and gain is happiness, and they live according to these beliefs. This is how people race on down a path of pursuing fame and gain, and the result is that they never find happiness even until death. Everyone lives like this. There’s no other path to take in this world. Everyone wants to make money and enjoy a good life. Life is hard without money, and there’s a lot you can get done with it, so everyone wants to earn more. When life becomes prosperous, they want to hold onto their wealth and have their children carry on their legacy, and no one understands that living like this is empty. Everyone departs from this world with regrets, unanswered questions, and a sense of reluctance. People go through this life in poverty and wealth and live lives long and short. Some are common folk, while others are high-ranking officials and elites. There are people from every level of society, but they all basically live in the same way: They vie for fame and gain according to their desires, ambitions, and satanic dispositions, and they won’t rest in peace without achieving these goals. Seeing these circumstances, people may consider, “Why do people live like this? Is there no other path to take? Do people really live only to eat and drink well all the way until they die? Where do they go then? Why have so many generations of people all lived in this same way? What’s the root of all this?” Humans don’t know where they come from, what their mission in life is, or who is in charge and who holds sovereignty over all of this. Generations come and go one after the other, and each lives and then dies in the same way. They all come and go in the same way, and no one finds a true means or path for living. No one seeks the truth in this. From ancient times until now, people have all lived in the same way. They are all searching and waiting, wishing to see what humanity will be like without anyone knowing or getting to see it. When all is said and done, people simply don’t know who is the One that governs and holds sovereignty over all of this or whether He even exists. They don’t know the answer to this, and all they can do is to live on helplessly, yearning year after year, and enduring day by day until now. If people knew why all of this was, would this give them a path to follow for how they should live? Would they then be able to escape from this suffering and no longer have to live according to human wishes and hopes? When people understand why they live, why they die, and who is in charge of this world; when they come to understand the answer that the One who holds sovereignty over everything is the Creator, then they’ll have a path to follow. They’ll know that they should seek the truth in God’s words to find a way forward and they don’t need to live in such misery relying on wishes and hopes. If people discover the answer to why they live and die, won’t there be a resolution to all human misery and difficulties? Won’t this offer people deliverance? People will have truly found deliverance, and they will be completely set free.

What should you ponder in your heart after hearing the song, “The One Who Holds Sovereignty Over Everything”? If mankind were to know why they live and why they die, and who, in fact, is the Sovereign of this world and all things and the One who rules over everything, and where He is, exactly, and what He requires of man—if mankind could understand these things, they would know how to treat the Creator, and how to worship and submit to Him, they would gain support in their heart, they would be at peace and happy, and they would no longer live in such torment and pain. In the final analysis, people must understand the truth. The path they choose for their lives is crucial, and how they live is also important. How one lives and the path one walks decide whether one’s life is joyful or sorrowful. This is something people should understand. When people hear this hymn, they may have such a deep feeling in their hearts: “The lives of all mankind follow this sort of pattern; ancient people were no exception, and modern people are the same as they were of old. Modern people haven’t changed these ways. So, is there a Sovereign among mankind, a legendary God who is in charge of everything? If mankind can find God, the One who is in charge of everything, won’t mankind be capable of feeling happiness? The key now is to find the root of mankind. Where is this root? Upon finding this root, mankind can live in another sort of realm. If mankind is unable to find it, and continues living the same sort of lives as ever, will they be capable of achieving happiness?” If people do not believe in God, even if they know that mankind is deeply corrupt, what are they to do then? Can they resolve the actual problem of corruption? Do they have a path to salvation? Though you may wish to change for the better and live out a human likeness, can you? You have no path by which to go about doing so! Some people, for example, live for their children; you may say you do not wish to do so, but can you achieve this? Some people rush around and busy themselves for wealth, and for fame and gain. You may say that you don’t wish to rush around for these things, but can you actually achieve this? Unknowingly, you have already embarked on this path, and though you wish to change to a different way of living, you cannot. How you live in this world is out of your hands! What is the root of this? It is that people do not believe in the true God and have not gained the truth. What sustains man’s spirit? Where do they look for spiritual support? For spiritual support, people look to the reunion of family; to the bliss of marriage; to the enjoyment of material things; to wealth, fame, and gain; to their status, their feelings, and their careers; and to the next generation’s happiness. Does anyone not look to these things for spiritual support? Those with children find it in their children; those without children find it in their careers, in marriage, in status in society, and in fame and gain. The ways of life thus produced are therefore all the same; subject to Satan’s mastery and power, and in spite of themselves, all people rush about and busy themselves for the sake of fame, gain, their prospects, their careers, their marriages, their families, or for the sake of the next generation, or for physical pleasures. Is this the right path? However busily people bustle about in this world, however professionally accomplished they are, however happy their families are, however big their family is, however prestigious their status is—are they capable of embarking on the right path of human life? By chasing after fame and gain, the world, or by pursuing their careers, are they capable of seeing the fact that God created all things and holds sovereignty over the destiny of mankind? It is not possible. If people do not acknowledge the fact that God holds sovereignty over the destiny of mankind, then, regardless of their particular pursuit or path, the path they walk is wrong. It is not the right path, but the crooked path, the path of evil. It does not matter if you have derived satisfaction from your spiritual support, or if you have not, and it does not matter where you find that support: It is not genuine faith, and it is not the right path for human life. What is it to have genuine faith? It’s accepting God’s appearance and work and accepting all of the truth that God has expressed. This truth is the right path for human life and the truth and the life that people should pursue. Walking the right path in life is following God and being able, under the leadership of His words, to understand the truth, tell good from evil, know what is positive and what is negative, and understand His sovereignty and almightiness. When people truly understand in their hearts that God did not only create the heavens and earth and all things but is also the Sovereign over the universe and everything, they can obey all of His orchestrations and arrangements, live according to His words, and fear God and shun evil. This is walking the right path for human life. When people take the right path in life, they can understand why people live and how they should live in order to live in the light and receive God’s blessing and approval.

What do you live for now? Do you understand? (We live to complete the missions and entrustments God gives to us and fulfill the duty of created beings.) If you want to fulfill the duty of a created being and complete God’s entrustment, this is a subjective wish of yours and the path of life you’ve chosen, and this is right. But there is one fact you must know: People live in this world, and this is arranged by God. Every person enters the world with a mission. They don’t just arrive at random; it’s all governed, arranged, and orchestrated by God without the slightest error. As everyone enters the world, whatever they learn or do is all to perform a role within it. What is this role? It’s that they must complete a task in this world; there are things that they must do. For example, two people get married and have a child, and the three of them make a complete family. Within this family, the wife lives to fulfill her mission, which is to care for her child and husband, taking care of the family. What does the child live for then? What role do they play? As an heir of the family, they carry on the family line. They’re the next generation of this family. This family is complete because this child has come, and this is the first role that they play. Whether they’re a son or a daughter, they have their own mission. As for their future destiny, what academic credentials, skills, or profession they have after they grow up, or when they believe in God and what duty they perform afterward, aren’t each of these steps all planned and arranged by God? (They are.) Do they themselves have a choice? (They don’t.) Ever since someone is born into a family, not one step of their destiny is of their choosing, and it’s all arranged by God. All of it is arranged by God, and there is truth in this. This pertains to what people live for. For instance, if you study music and you have the conditions and the family environment for it, then is studying music something you’ve chosen? (It’s not.) You were born in this environment, you learned a professional skill through this environment’s nurturing, and accomplished this mission. What enabled you to accomplish it? It was because God ordained it, not because you chose it. Wasn’t this accomplished by the orchestration of the Creator? With you doing your duty now and putting what you know and have learned toward it, who decided this? (God.) It was decided by God, not you. Speaking objectively, who do you live for now? (We live for God.) It’s the same for every person in reality. They all live for the sake of God’s sovereignty and arrangement, whether or not they’re aware of it and whether or not they’re conscious of it. People are like pieces in a game. Wherever God places you, whatever He has you do, and however long He has you stay somewhere, it’s all under His orchestration. In terms of God’s orchestration, people in reality all live for the purpose of His sovereignty and arrangement and for His management, and they’re not in control. No matter how capable or gifted you are, you can’t go beyond the destiny that God has ordained for you. No one can live beyond these limits or go outside the destiny and the life that is set and arranged for them by the Creator. These are all things that people in reality have no idea about, and they’ve been going unknowingly and involuntarily under God’s orchestration and sovereignty up to now. Seeing this objectively, what is it that people have understood? (Their life and death aren’t up to them but under God’s sovereignty and orchestration.) (They shouldn’t try to be in charge of their own destiny, and they should submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement.) You’ll make progress if you can see it like this. What truths should you understand to be able to submit to God? Whatever kind of family you live in and whatever these things like your caliber, your intellect, and your thoughts are like, your destiny and everything about you is under God’s orchestration. You have no say in it. This is the path that people should choose: understanding how God has arranged all this of yours, how He guides it, how He’ll guide it in the future, seeking to understand God’s will and intent, and then living on the course of destiny that is governed and orchestrated by the Creator. It isn’t vying for, snatching for, or grabbing at things. It isn’t about scrutinizing or resisting the will of the Creator; it isn’t about scrutinizing or opposing all of this that God has arranged for you. Doesn’t this make your living right and proper? This puts an end to doubts like “why do people live, and why do they die” or the pain of “those who are living repeating the same tragic history of those who have perished.” People feel that there isn’t really any difficulty to living this life, and they’ve found the source of life. They understand what destiny is all about, they know how people should submit to the Creator’s arrangement, and they don’t resist. This is a meaningful way to live. People no longer rely on the imaginings of their minds or their own strength to struggle and vie for happiness. They know that all of that is foolish and stubborn, and they don’t do it anymore. They’ve learned to submit to the sovereignty and arrangement of the Creator, and how much suffering this has avoided! Are you living like this now then? Do you feel that you’re living unfairly and underappreciated? You know that your talents and your duty are arranged and given to you by God, but you still feel you’ve been wronged and this duty you have doesn’t allow you to realize your aspirations. You actually have goals of a grander nature, but this particular field that you’re doing your duty in doesn’t really allow you to realize them. Are you thinking like this? (No.) You have no ambitions or desires, you have no extravagant requirements, you’ve cast aside everything you should, and the only thing you’re missing is understanding the truth to resolve your corrupt dispositions. This makes the path that people should walk and the direction they should go in clearer and clearer. They no longer need to ask questions like, “Why do people live? And why do they die? Who is the One that rules all things?” No matter what it is that you pursue or what your wishes are, only by returning to the presence of the Creator, dutifully accomplishing what you should do, and fulfilling and completing the duty that is yours can you live in a way that brings a clear conscience and is right and proper. There is no suffering involved. This is the meaning and the value of living.

Excerpt 80

Everyone acknowledges that God holds sovereignty over human destiny and that a person’s entire life is in God’s hands, but if you could truly experience how every big event in every time and period of a person’s life is ruled and arranged by God and not according to their own plans and arrangements; if you could see that people can’t overcome their own destiny or any suffering they must face; when you’re able to experience these things, this is having true faith. This makes it much more practical when you say, “God holds sovereignty over human destiny, and everything is in God’s hands.” Experiencing God’s sovereignty and His arrangements and orchestrations is a subtle thing. It’s something you experience and something you can’t explain if you haven’t gone through, but the more you experience and the more you’ve been through, the better you can explain it. There’s a saying that goes, “By the age of 50, you comprehend your destiny.” What does it mean to say that you comprehend your destiny? People in their twenties have just encountered the world. They’re young and reckless and they know nothing, and they can’t comprehend that this human life is all in the hands of God. They keep wanting to struggle with their fate and keep thinking they have talent and expertise, and they keep striving on their own trying to make a name for themselves and gain wealth and position. They keep trying even when they fail, always trying to get one more shot. Then they look back in their 50s and think, “Man, running around on earth for these thirty something years and doing all of this scrambling about has surely been tough! Not one step of my getting married, building a career, and having kids has happened according to my own plans and calculations—it’s all been fate!” This is understanding your destiny; there’s no more fighting it. Comprehending one’s destiny by the age of 50 is actually just people reaching 50 and learning to make peace with fate after hitting so many setbacks. When people comprehend their destiny, they stop fighting it. As for things like what human life is about, what God’s sovereignty over humanity is about, what exactly people should live for, and how they should live, do people completely understand them? Unbelievers can’t understand these things because they don’t believe in God, and the most they can do is to accept their destiny and understand that it’s useless to resist it. Then they see their children and grandchildren fighting destiny and say, “Let nature take its course, each generation has its own blessings. Just let it be, they’ll stop fighting destiny when they reach 50. This is how it goes from generation to generation. They all fight destiny until they’re older and they can’t any longer. They’ll accept their destiny and learn their lesson. They’ll no longer be so brash and arrogant, and they’ll have settled down more.” This is the most that unbelievers can see, but can they understand the truth? They most certainly can’t because they don’t believe in God and they don’t read His words. How could they understand the truth? Does knowing your destiny at the age of 50 mean that you understand the truth? People believe that “Man’s fate is determined by Heaven.” Does this mean that they submit to the will of Heaven? (It doesn’t.) Just believing in this won’t do. To know these things is simply to not struggle against fate, but it isn’t yet understanding the truth. People must come before God and receive His salvation to understand the truth. They must receive the judgment of His words and receive the provision of the truth and life to understand the mystery of it all. Otherwise, people still won’t know what human life is all about, why people live, and why they die, even if they live to 70, 80, or a hundred. People take this short walk on earth and live for several decades without figuring out what human life is about before it’s over. At death, they feel discontented and continue to dwell on this and that, leaving this world with regret in the end and gaining nothing. Wouldn’t it be sad if they were reborn in the next life and kept living like this? (It would.) Each generation of people tragically comes and goes one after the other, the living send off the departed and then are sent off by the next generation. They go on like this in a cycle, living in a daze and understanding nothing. It’s different for you who have accepted God’s work in the last days. You’ve caught up to this precious and rare opportunity of God become flesh to save humanity in the last days. You can receive the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and gain His personal shepherding and leading. You understand many mysteries and much truth, and you can fulfill your duty as created beings. Your corrupt dispositions can be cleansed and changed. You have gained so much, more than the saints of generations past. Is this not the most blessed thing? You are the most blessed of all.

After reading God’s words and experiencing years of their judgment and chastisement, you’ve gradually come to understand the objective of God’s management of humanity and the mystery of His management and salvation of humanity. You’ve understood God’s will and come to know His sovereignty. You’re willing in your heart to submit to God, and you’re able to submit to Him. Living feels secure and fulfilling. God has you live, you live for God, and you live to do your duty as a created being. This is the meaningful way to live. If people live without accepting or understanding the truth and live only for the flesh, there’s no value in that whatsoever. You are all striving toward the truth now, and you’re living with more and more conscience and reason. You’re more and more of what a human ought to be, and you understand the truth more and more. You know more and more to submit to God, and you can perform your duty as a created being and bear witness for God. Living like this will fill your heart with peace and joy, and this is the most meaningful life there is. This is a blessing that only you have gained out of all humanity. In this vast world and all of humankind, God has chosen only the few of you and had you born into this final age and into the nation of the great red dragon. You can receive His commission and do your duty, and you can expend for Him. You are God’s favored and those He has chosen. Is this not the most blessed thing? (It is.) This is such a blessed thing. There are people who believe in God but can’t throw everything aside to do their duty, and this is regrettable. There are people who don’t understand the truth, and even when they do their duty it can only be said that they’re rendering service to God. They offer the strength that they have while striking deals with God in their hearts and hoping to gain blessings. When they one day understand the truth, they’ll be able to settle down and fulfill their duty willingly. Your life now and your living every day to bear witness to God and spread God’s kingdom gospel is the way to live that He approves of. To put it plainly, God allows you to live like this, and it’s God who’s given you this opportunity. God has given you this opportunity and had you live, doing your duty and expending for Him, and this is the most meaningful thing. You should feel proud and honored and cherish this opportunity. You’re so young, and for you to do your duty, follow God, and bear witness to Him in the midst of disaster and in such hostile surroundings and conditions—what a rare chance this is! God’s becoming flesh in the last days and expressing so much truth to completely save humanity so that humanity may gain the truth and be purified is the rarest opportunity. There isn’t much time, and it’s gone in the blink of an eye. You should take hold of this opportunity and gain all the truth that you should. This is the greatest blessing, and it’s a blessing greater than that of all the saints of ages past.

Excerpt 81

Those who follow God must, at the very least, be able to forsake all that they have. God once said in the Bible, “Whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). What does it mean to forsake all that one has? It means to forsake one’s family, to forsake one’s work, to forsake all one’s worldly entanglements. Is this an easy thing to do? It is very difficult. Without the will to do so, it absolutely cannot be accomplished. When one has the will to forsake, they naturally possess the will to endure hardship. If one cannot endure hardship, they will not be able to forsake anything, though they may wish to. There are some who, having forsaken their families and distanced themselves from their loved ones, become homesick after performing their duties for a while. If they really cannot bear it, they may run home in secret to have a look, then return to perform their duties. Some who have left their homes to perform their duties cannot help but miss their loved ones on New Year’s and other holidays, and when everyone else is asleep at night, they cry in secret. When they are done, they pray to God and feel much better, after which they go on doing their duties. Though these people were able to forsake their families, they are unable to endure great pain. If they cannot even cast off their feelings for these relations of the flesh, how will they be able to truly expend themselves for God? Some people are able to forsake all they have and follow God, forsaking their jobs and their families—but what is their goal in doing this? Some people are trying to gain grace and blessings, and some are like Paul, only pursuing a crown and a reward. Few people forsake all they have in order to gain the truth and life, and to attain salvation. So, which of these pursuits is in line with God’s will? It is, of course, the pursuit of the truth and gaining life. This is entirely in line with God’s will, and it is the most important part of believing in God. Can one gain the truth if they cannot let go of worldly things or wealth? Absolutely not. There are some people who have forsaken all they have and undertaken their duties, but they do not pursue the truth, and are always perfunctory in performing their duties. After drifting along like this for a few years, they do not have any experiential testimony and have gained nothing at all. Those who pursue only fame, gain, and status and who walk the path of antichrists are even less capable of gaining the truth. There are many people whose belief in God consists only of performing a bit of their duty in their free time. Will it be easy for such people to gain the truth? It will not, it seems to Me. Gaining the truth is no simple matter. One must endure many hardships and pay a great price. In particular, one must experience the hardships of judgment and chastisement, of trials and refinement, and of being pruned. All these hardships must be endured. One cannot gain the truth without enduring a great deal of pain. How many times must one pray to God and seek the truth during this period? How many tears of regret must one shed to God? How many of God’s words must one read before they can be enlightened and illuminated? How many spiritual battles must one undergo before they can overcome Satan? And how long does the process of experiencing these things take? How many years before one is finally able to gain the truth and win God’s approval? Look at Peter’s experience, and you will know. Is God’s salvation and perfection of man as simple as people imagine? Forsaking all that one has is no simple matter. What does it really mean to forsake all that one has? “All that one has” includes more than just external things, more than family, loved ones, and friends, and more than one’s profession, salary, wealth, and prospects. Beyond these things, it includes things of the mind and spirit: knowledge, learning, one’s outlook on things, the rules of living, one’s fleshly preferences, as well as things one pursues and aspires to, such as fame, gain, and status. Forsaking all that one has mainly consists of these things; they are all part of what it means to forsake all that one has. It is easy to forsake external things in one fell swoop. But it is the things that people like, pursue and uphold deep in their hearts that are the most important and precious to them, they represent all that one has, and they are the hardest things to forsake. The main reason that most people now cannot forsake is that they cannot let go of those things, as they are what they prize and treasure most. Fame, gain, and status, for instance, or glory and fortune, one’s beloved career or most valued things—these are all that one has, and they are the things that are hardest to forsake. There was a bank manager who came to believe in God. He saw that God’s words are indeed the truth, and he saw that everything God does is the work of saving man. But when he decided to forsake all that he had and follow God, he struggled with his position at the bank. One moment, he thought, “My position at the bank is a precious thing. It’s well paid and influential,” and the next moment, he thought, “By believing in God, I can gain the truth and eternal life. That’s what’s important.” He was in constant battle in his heart. One moment, he wanted to be a bank manager, and the next, he wanted to believe in God. One moment, he wanted to grasp for money, and the next, he wanted to gain the truth. One moment, he could not let go of his status, and the next, he wanted to gain eternal life. His heart wavered back and forth. His status as a bank manager was just too precious to him, and he could not let go of it. For countless months, he waged this battle in his heart, until finally, and perhaps reluctantly, he let go. How hard it was for him to forsake all that he had! Although he knew that his position as a bank manager was a fleeting thing that could vanish like a puff of smoke, it was still not easy for him to let go of. Some people are doctors, or lawyers, or high-ranking executives, and their wages and salary are high. It is not easy to let go of these things; who knows how many months it would take them to battle within themselves to let go. If one battles for several years before letting go of these things, and by that point God’s work has already come to a close, will there be any point to it then? At that time, one can only fall into disasters, wailing and gnashing their teeth. You will only be able to enter God’s kingdom if you can forsake everything that is most important to you to follow God and perform your duty, and to pursue the truth and gain life. What does it mean to enter God’s kingdom? It means that you are able to forsake all that you have and follow God, heed His words, and submit to His arrangements, submitting to Him in all things; it means that He has become your Lord and your God. To God, that means you have entered His kingdom, and no matter what disasters befall you, you will have His protection and be able to survive, and you will be one of the people of His kingdom. God will acknowledge you as His follower, or offer you His promise to perfect you—but as your first step, you must follow Christ. Only thus will you have a part to play in the kingdom’s training. If you do not follow Christ and are outside of God’s kingdom, God will not acknowledge you. And if God does not acknowledge you, even if you wish to be saved and to gain God’s promise and His perfection, will you be able to attain these things? You will not. If you wish to gain God’s approval, you must first be qualified to enter His kingdom. If you can forsake all that you have in order to pursue the truth, if you can seek the truth in the performance of your duty, if you can act according to the principles, and if you have true experiential testimony, then you are qualified to enter God’s kingdom and to receive His promise. If you cannot forsake all that you have to follow God, you are not even qualified to enter His kingdom, and you have no claim at all to His blessing and His promise. There are many people now who have forsaken all that they have and are performing duties in God’s house, yet they will not necessarily be able to gain the truth. One must love the truth and be able to accept it before they can gain it. If one does not pursue the truth, they cannot gain it. Not to mention those who perform their duty in their spare time—their experience of God’s work is so limited that gaining the truth will be harder for them. If one does not perform their duty or pursue the truth, they will miss out on the wonderous opportunity to attain God’s salvation and perfection. Some people claim to believe in God, but do not perform their duties, and pursue worldly things. Is this forsaking all that they have? If one believes in God in this way, can they follow Him to the very end? Look at the Lord Jesus’ disciples: among them were fishermen, peasants, and a tax collector. When the Lord Jesus called to them and said, “Follow Me,” they laid down their jobs and followed the Lord. They gave no thought to the issue of their employment, nor to the problem whether they would have a path of survival in the world afterward, and they followed the Lord Jesus at once. Peter devoted himself wholeheartedly, fulfilling the Lord Jesus’ commission until the end and upholding his duty. For his whole life, he pursued the love of God, and in the end, he was perfected by God. There are some people now who cannot even forsake all that they have and yet they wish to enter the kingdom. Are they not dreaming?

To believe in God, it is not enough just to have enthusiasm. You must understand His will, His method of perfecting people, which people He perfects, and the attitude and view that one should have toward God’s perfection of people. Furthermore, as a follower of God, one must know how important it is to follow God’s way. This bears on the issue of whether one can gain the truth. Following God’s way means practicing the truth. Only by practicing the truth is one truly submitting to God, so practicing the truth is essential to gaining the truth. If one does not understand the truth or know how to practice it, they will have no way to gain it. That is why the most important part of believing in God is practicing the truth. Only those who practice the truth can achieve submission to God, only they can completely understand the truth, and only those who completely understand the truth know God. All of these things are achieved by practicing the truth. No matter how many people believe in God, God looks at which of them follow His way, which of them practice the truth, and which of them truly submit to Him. Believers in God must understand the truth and practice it in order to become people who follow His will and submit to Him. Those who pursue the truth must first understand why people should believe in God in their lives, how God has been doing the work of saving man since coming to earth, and what one must achieve in their pursuit of the truth before they attain salvation and are qualified to receive God’s promise and His blessing. In the past, no one understood these truths. Everyone believed in God according to human notions and imaginings, and thought that believing in God was about getting blessings, a crown, and a reward. As a result, they all went against God’s will, strayed from the true way, and embarked on the path of antichrists. Therefore, if one wishes to understand the truth, to gain the truth, and to be saved, they must correct these erroneous views on belief in God from the past. People’s religious notions and imaginings and their theological views are particularly absurd; all of them are hostile to the truth and specious fallacies. God does not approve of at all the ways that religious people believe. If people continue to uphold those ways now, and pursue blessings, a crown, and a reward—if they continue to believe in God with this sort of attitude, will they be able to gain the truth and life? Absolutely not. What outlook is it that people should adopt in their belief in God, then? You must begin by understanding God’s will and seeing clearly how He saves people. If you do not seek the truth, but continue believing in God according to your own notions and imaginings, if you keep pursuing fame, gain, status, wealth, and worldly things, then even if you win the whole world, will it be worth it if it ultimately costs you your life? Some people say, “Once I’ve made enough money and had a successful career, when I’ve fulfilled my ambitions and realized my dreams, then I’ll come and be a good believer.” Does God wait for you? Does God’s work wait for you? If you cannot let those things go now, God does not demand that you do so immediately, but you must practice letting go. If you really cannot, pray to God and rely on Him. Let Him guide you. Furthermore, you must cooperate and perform your duties. What is the purpose of performing one’s duty? Actually, it is meant to prepare good deeds. Even if you ultimately cannot come to be entirely perfected, you must prepare a few good deeds at least, so that when the time comes for God to reward the good and punish the evil, you can give an account of them to Him. One day, God’s work will come to an end, and He will begin rewarding good and punishing evil. He will have you bring forth your good deeds, and if you do not have any, you’re done for—you will certainly be punished. Say, for instance, you have believed in God for around ten years, and the most valuable duty you have performed was only spreading the gospel in your free time and thereby bringing in a few new believers. You do not even know whether those people will be able to stand firm in the end. Can you give an account of this to God? You are bound to be unable to. You must consider what kind of results you can give an account of to God, and what sort of experiential testimony you must have to be able to satisfy God and have Him recognize you as His follower. You cannot be satisfied with just acknowledging the fact of God’s current incarnation and accepting Christ of the last days in your heart, and nothing more. What God wants to see is your true experiential testimony and the fruits of your submission to His work. What God will test in the end is whether you have gained the truth and whether you have life. You must understand God’s will. If you merely add your name to the church’s rosters or perform a duty, but do not pursue the truth, and after a few years of believing in God, you have no experiential testimony, can God still acknowledge you? If God does not acknowledge you, then you remain outside of His house. If you merely claim to believe in God but do not pursue the truth, what can your belief in God gain in the end? You will have fallen too far short of the standards God requires! Gaining the truth is not as simple as people imagine it to be; one must endure many trials and tribulations, and much pain and refinement before they can gain the truth and know God. When you experience this manner of God’s work, if you do not forsake all that you have to follow Him, can you be saved? Can you experience God’s work by just believing in Him in a bit of your free time? How can you experience it by believing in God at home? How can you experience it living in the outside world? Therefore, forsaking all that one has is a condition of following God. If you cannot forsake all that you have, you absolutely cannot gain the truth, and if you cannot gain the truth, you are not qualified to enter God’s kingdom. This is a fact that no person can alter.

Excerpt 82 (Answering questions from brothers and sisters)

(I’m still being constrained by my affection for my family while performing my duty. I often miss them, and it affects the performance of my duty. My state has improved a bit lately, but I still sometimes worry about the great red dragon arresting my family members in order to threaten me, and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to stand firm then.) These are groundless fears. When you think about these things, you need to seek the truth for a resolution. You need to understand that whatever circumstances you face, God has orchestrated and arranged it. You must learn to submit to God and be able to seek the truth and stand firm when faced with situations. This is a lesson that people have to learn. You should contemplate often: How are you experiencing God’s watering and shepherding during this period of time? What is your actual stature? How should you fulfill the duty of a created being? You have to figure these things out! If you can think about the great red dragon threatening you, then why don’t you think about how to enter into the truth? Why don’t you contemplate on the truth? (When these thoughts occur to me, I do pray to God and make a commitment that if one day I really come to face these circumstances, I’ll stay true to God unto death. But I do fear I won’t be able to make it with my small stature.) Then you pray, “God, I fear that I won’t be able to make it with my small stature. I’m scared to death. Please do not do that. You can do it when I have the stature.” Is this a good way to pray? (No.) You should pray like this: “God, I’m small in stature and small in faith now, I’m afraid of having to face something; in fact, I don’t really believe that all matters and all things are in Your hands. I haven’t placed myself in Your hands; what rebellion this is! I’m willing to submit to Your arrangements and orchestrations. Whatever You do, my heart is willing to bear witness for You. I’m willing to stand firm in my witness without disgracing You. Please, do as You will.” You need to place your aspirations and what you want to say before God—this is how you produce true faith. If you’re hesitant even to pray like this, how small your faith must be! You need to pray like this often. Even if you do pray like this, God will not necessarily respond. God doesn’t burden people with more than they can bear, but if you make your attitude and your resolve clear, God will be pleased. When God is pleased, your heart will no longer be disturbed and constrained by this matter. “Things like husband, children, family, property—these are all in God’s hands. They mean nothing. The whole universe is in God’s hands; isn’t my family in His hands, too? What’s the use of me worrying about them? I have no say in it, I’m not capable, and I can’t shield them. Their fate and everything about them are in God’s hands!” You have to have the faith to come before God and pray, resolving firmly and making up your mind to submit to God’s arrangements. Then the state within you will change. You won’t have any more worries, and you won’t feel worried anymore. You won’t be exceedingly cautious and brimming with apprehension in everything you do. While everyone else charges forward, you hang back, always wanting to get away—isn’t this what a coward does? When God’s people perform their duty in the kingdom and created beings perform their duty before the Creator, they should move forward calmly with a God-fearing heart. They shouldn’t be fumbling about, shrinking back, or walking on eggshells. If you know that this state is wrong and worry about it constantly instead of seeking the truth to resolve it, then you’re being constrained and bound by it, and you won’t be able to fulfill your duty. You want to fulfill your duty as a created being with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, but can you achieve this? You can’t reach the point of giving all your heart because your heart isn’t on your duty—you’ve at best committed only one-tenth of your heart. Without all your heart, how could you give all your mind and your strength? Your heart isn’t on your duty, and all you have is a bit of willingness to perform it. Can you really fulfill your duty with all your heart and mind? You don’t have the resolve to practice the truth, so you’re bound to be constrained by family and your affection for them. They will bind you hand and foot; they will control your thinking and your heart, and you will fall short of the truth and God’s requirements—you will be willing, but lack the strength. So, you must pray before God, understanding God’s will on the one hand while also knowing where you should stand as a created being; you must take the resolve and the attitude that you ought to have and place them before God. This is the attitude you must have. Why don’t other people have these worries? Do you think that other people don’t have family or difficulties like these? In fact, everyone has certain fleshly and familial entanglements, but some people are able to resolve them by praying to God and seeking the truth. After a period of seeking, they see through these affections of the flesh and let them go from their heart; then, these things are no longer difficulties for them, and they cannot be controlled or constrained by them. They don’t affect their performance of their duties, and so they become liberated. There is a line of God’s words in the Bible that says, “Whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). What is this forsaking all that one has? What does “all” mean? Things like status, fame and gain, family, friends, and property—all of these are included in the word “all.” So what things take up an important place in your heart? For some it’s children, for some it’s parents, for some it’s wealth, and for others it’s status, fame and gain. If you treasure these things, then they’ll control you. If you don’t treasure them and you completely let them go, then they can’t control you. It just depends on what your attitude toward them is and on how you handle these things.

You have to understand that no matter what time or what stage God is doing His work, He always needs a portion of people to work with Him. That these people cooperate with God’s work or cooperate in spreading the gospel is predestined by Him. So does God have a commission for each person He’s predestined? Everyone has a mission and a responsibility; everyone has a commission. When God gives you a commission, this becomes your responsibility. You need to take up this responsibility; it is your duty. What is duty? It’s the mission that God has given you. What is a mission? (God’s commission is man’s mission. One’s life should be lived for God’s commission. This commission is the only thing in their heart, and they shouldn’t live for anything else.) God’s commission is man’s mission; this is the correct understanding. People who believe in God have been put on earth to complete God’s commission. If all you pursue in this life is to climb the social ladder, amass wealth, live a good life, enjoy being close to family, and revel in fame, gain, and status—if you gain social status, your family becomes prominent, and everyone in your family is safe and sound—but you ignore the mission God has given you, is there any value to this life you’re living? How will you answer to God after you die? You won’t be able to, and this is the greatest rebellion; it is the greatest sin! Which of you is performing your duty in God’s house right now by accident? Whatever background you came from to perform your duty, none of it was by chance. This duty can’t be performed by just finding a few believers at random; this was something predestined by God before the ages. What does it mean for something to be predestined? What specifically? It means that in His entire management plan, God long ago planned how many times you would be on earth, which lineage and which family you would be born into during the last days, what the circumstances of this family would be, whether you would be male or female, what your strengths would be, what level of education you would have, how articulate you would be, what your caliber would be, and what you would look like. He planned the age that you would come to God’s house and begin performing your duty and what duty you would perform at what time. God predestined each step for you early on. When you weren’t yet born and when you came to earth in your last several lives, God had already arranged for you what duty you would be performing in this final stage of work. This is certainly no joke! The fact that you’re able to hear a sermon here was preordained by God. This is not to be taken lightly! Additionally, your height, your appearance, what your eyes look like, your figure, the state of your health, what your life experiences are and which duties you’re capable of taking on at a certain age, and what sort of caliber and ability you possess—these were preordained for you by God long ago, and are certainly not being arranged now. God has long since preordained them for you, which is to say, if He intends to use you, He will have already prepared you before giving you this commission and this mission. So is it acceptable for you to run from it? Is it acceptable for you to be halfhearted about it? Both are unacceptable; that would be letting God down! It’s the worst kind of rebellion for people to forsake their duty. It is a heinous deed. God labored thoughtfully and earnestly, preordaining since time immemorial for you to make it to today and be given this mission. Isn’t this mission your responsibility then? Isn’t it what gives value to living this life of yours? If you don’t complete the mission that God gives to you, you lose the value and meaning of living; it’s as if you’ve lived in vain. God arranged the right conditions, environment, and background for you. He bestowed on you this caliber and ability, prepared you to live to this age, and prepared you to have all the qualifications you would need to perform this duty of yours, He has arranged all of this for you, and yet you’re not diligently performing this duty. You can’t withstand temptation and you choose to escape, always looking to live a good life and pursue worldly things. You take the gift and ability that God has given you and serve Satan with it, living for Satan. How does this make God feel? With His hopes for you let down like this, would He not loathe you? Would He not hate you? He would unleash great wrath upon you. And would this matter be considered settled then? Could it be as simple as you imagine? Do you think that if you don’t complete your mission in this life, it all ends with your death? It doesn’t end there; your soul will then be in peril. You didn’t perform your duty, you didn’t accept God’s commission, and you fled God’s presence. Things have become dire. Where can you run to? Can you escape from God’s hands? How does God classify this kind of person? (These are people who have betrayed Him.) How does God define people who have betrayed Him? How does God classify people who have run from His seat of judgment? These are people who will suffer perdition and be destroyed. There will never be another life or another rebirth for you, and God will not possibly grant you any other commission. There is no longer any mission for you, and you have no chance to receive salvation. This is serious trouble! God will say: “This person has escaped before My eyes once, escaping from My seat of judgment and My presence. They did not carry out their mission or complete their commission. Their life ends here. It is over; it has come to a close.” What a tragedy this is! For you to be able to perform your duty in God’s house today, whether it’s big or small, whether it’s physical or mental, and whether it’s handling external issues or internal work, no one’s performing of their duty is happening by accident. How could this be your choice? This is all led by God. It’s only because of God’s commissioning you that you’re moved like this, you have this sense of mission and responsibility, and you can perform this duty. There are so many among unbelievers with good looks, knowledge, or talent, but does God favor them? No, He doesn’t. God did not select them, and He favors only the lot of you. He has all of you undertake every kind of role, perform all kinds of duties, and take up different kinds of responsibilities in His management work. When God’s management plan finally comes to an end and is achieved, what a glory and a privilege this will be! So then, when people suffer a little hardship while they perform their duty today; when they have to give some things up, expend themselves a little, and pay a certain price; when they lose their status and their fame and gain in the world; and when these things are all gone, it seems like it’s all been taken from them by God, but they’ve gained something more precious and more valuable. What have people gained from God? They’ve gained the truth and life by performing their duty. Only when you’ve fulfilled your duty, you’ve completed God’s commission, you live your whole life for your mission and the commission God’s given you, you have a beautiful testimony, and you live a life that has value—only then are you a real person! And why do I say you’re a real person? Because God has selected you and had you perform your duty as a created being within His management. This is the greatest value and the greatest meaning in your life.

God doesn’t ask much of people. When God gives you a commission and a responsibility, if you say that you have little faith and that this is the most effort you can put in, that this is the most you can offer, and that these are the things you can take on, then God will not force you. It’s not like if He asks you for a hundred percent and you give ninety-five, He’s going to be dissatisfied, He won’t let you off, and He’ll constantly move and urge you so you can reach the hundred percent that He asks. God will not do that. Instead, He will have you progressively strive upward step by step according to your stature, your energy, and what you’re capable of. God is fair and reasonable in His work. He doesn’t force people; He lets you feel comfortable and at ease, He lets you feel that He can understand and be considerate of you in all that you do. People must be aware of God’s painstaking effort as well as His mercy, lovingkindness, and tolerance for humanity. What should people do then, and how should they cooperate? How they should cooperate is like this: “I must strive toward satisfying God’s will. God wants a hundred percent of me; I won’t only give thirty if I’m capable of giving sixty. I’ll give all my strength. I won’t be slippery, I won’t cut corners, and I won’t have a mindset of relying on luck.” That will do it. God looks at man’s heart. He doesn’t have uniform requirements for all people; it isn’t that you have to abandon your children and family or give up your job because someone else has. God doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, He requires of you according to your stature and what you can achieve. So then, there’s no need for you to feel any concern or any pressure. Just pray before God based on what you are capable of achieving. Whatever hardships there are or constraints you’re under, don’t shrink from them. Don’t let them affect you. That’s the correct way. Once you’re affected by them, you’ll keep thinking, “I haven’t done very well. God’s unhappy with me, isn’t He? I have to take great care. I can’t push too hard; I need to leave some breathing room.” This is wrong; it’s a misunderstanding of God. Each gradual step of this kind of experience makes people feel more and more that their faith is too small to the point where they can even doubt God based on their notions and imaginings, just like the saying “assessing the noble by the standards of the ignoble.” They believe in God but are afraid to depend on Him; they believe in God’s sovereignty but are afraid to hand everything over to Him. People often say, “God holds sovereignty over all things” and “all things are in God’s hands,” but when they encounter some situation, they think, “Can God really hold sovereignty over this? Can He really be relied on? I’d better rely on other people, and if that doesn’t work I’ll come up with something on my own.” Then they realize how immature, ridiculous, and small in stature they are. They turn back again, wanting to depend on God, but find there is still no path. Deep down, however, they know that God is faithful and He can be relied on; it’s just that they have such little faith and are always so skeptical. How do you solve this problem? You have to rely on your experience and on pursuing and understanding the truth—only then can you produce true faith. The more you experience and the more you depend on God, the more you’ll feel that He can be relied on. As you experience more matters, seeing how God protects you time and time again, helping you overcome difficulties and avoid danger, you will unconsciously develop genuine faith and reliance on God. You’ll feel that God is trustworthy and reliable. You need to first have this faith in your heart.

Each person has their own destiny, and this is all predestined by God; no one can take charge of someone else’s fate. You need to stop stressing over your family and learn to let go and relinquish everything. How do you do this? One way is to pray to God. You must also contemplate how your relatives who do not believe in God pursue worldly things, wealth, and material comforts. They belong to Satan, and they’re a different type of person than you. You’ll lead a life of suffering if you don’t perform your duty and you live among them. Since you view matters differently from them, you won’t get along well but will instead be tormented. There will be only pain and no happiness. Can affection bring you peace and joy? Catering to the flesh will bring you nothing but suffering, emptiness, and lifelong regret. This is something you need to grasp thoroughly. So, missing your family is unilateral; it’s being needlessly sentimental! You’re walking a different path than they are. Your outlook on life, worldview, path in life, and goals of pursuit are all different. You aren’t with your family now, but because you’re related by blood, you always feel that you’re close to them and that you’re one family. However, when you actually are living with them, just a few days of dealing with them will leave you completely annoyed. They’re full of lies; what they say is all false, sweet talk, and deceptive. Their way of behaving and dealing with the world is all based on satanic philosophy and life maxims. Their thoughts and views are all wrong and absurd, and they’re simply unbearable to hear. Then you’ll think to yourself, “I used to have them on my mind all the time, and I was constantly afraid that they weren’t living well. But living with these people now is truly insufferable!” You’ll be repulsed by them. You haven’t yet figured out what kind of people they are, so you still think that family ties are more important and more real than anything else. You’re still constrained by affection. Try to let those things of affection go however you can. If you can’t, then put your duty first. God’s commission and your mission are most important. Fulfilling your duty first tops everything else, and don’t bother for now with those things of your relatives in the flesh. When your commission and your duty are fulfilled, the truth becomes clearer and clearer to you, your relationship with God becomes more and more normal, your heart of submission to God grows ever greater, and your God-fearing heart grows ever greater and more evident, then the state in you will change. Once your state changes, your worldly views and affections will fade, you won’t seek those things anymore, and your heart will just want to seek how to love God, how to satisfy Him, how to live in a manner that pleases Him, and how to live with the truth. Once your heart strives toward this, things to do with affections of the flesh will slowly fade, and they won’t be able to bind or control you anymore.

Some people say: “I’m not constrained by my affection for my family when I perform my duties, but whenever I have an idle moment, I start to miss them.” Well, what are the consequences of missing your family? If it can lead to you becoming negative and unwilling to perform your duties, then you have to seek the truth for a resolution. Once you’ve solved the problem, you won’t be constantly missing your family the next time you have an idle moment, and it won’t lead to any consequences. So, whatever problems arise, you should always seek the truth to resolve them; this is what’s most important. Missing your family isn’t what’s concerning; the key is that you need to think about what the consequences of constantly being homesick will be, and how this matter should be resolved. You should contemplate: “How did this state of mine come about? Why is it that I’m always missing my family? What parts of the truth are not clear to me? Which truths should I enter into?” Practice like this, and you’ll have entry into the truth quickly. You must always be contemplating the truth in your mind; the more you do, the clearer your understanding of the truth will be, and the more you will have paths of practice in your mind. This will lead to truly understanding the truth, rather than just having a smattering of knowledge about it. At this point, you will want to find people to fellowship with. What is the purpose of fellowship? It’s to gain confirmation, to understand the truth more accurately without any deviations. In this way, you won’t have any difficulties, and your mind will attain liberation and freedom, no longer under any constraints. You won’t constantly miss your family anymore, and you’ll be able to break free from worldly entanglements. Your state will become increasingly normal. You all have to learn to contemplate the truth. How do you do that? For instance, let’s say you’ve done something today that you don’t feel is quite right and it seems to go against principles, but you don’t know where the problem lies. This is when you should pray to God and seek the truth, thinking, “What truth does this issue relate to? Which principle does it relate to?” You should find someone to fellowship on the truth, look back, and reflect. When you finally discover the source of the problem and resolve it through seeking the truth, you’ll have more faith in God, and you’ll feel that you’ve made more progress in regard to the truth. You’ll be able to see through some matters and understand some spiritual words; or, you’ll be able to understand what some commonly repeated doctrine or slogan actually signifies and means. This is having some understanding of the truth and knowing how to practice it. Then you’ll go ahead and fellowship with others, fellowshipping on this slogan until it’s clearly understood, turning it into a path of practice. Isn’t this a good thing? This is another way forward. Sometimes you’ll see someone with a certain state, and you may contemplate: “Why does this person have this kind of state? How did this state of theirs come about? Why is it that I don’t have this kind of state? That thing they said represents a certain state and mentality. How did this mentality of theirs develop? Where did the problem arise? What aspect of the truth does this relate to? Shouldn’t I seek the truth too?” Through fellowship and seeking, you find the problem and realize that state of theirs is something you have, too. You’ve matched their situation up to yours, haven’t you? Wasn’t this effort worth it? (Yes.) After discovering the problem, you find someone to fellowship with. When you eventually find the answer and figure out what the problem is, the problem gets resolved. It’s easy to resolve a problem when you are able to discover it. If you can’t discover it, the problem can never be resolved. Sometimes, when your mind has quieted down, this can be the best time to contemplate the truth and God’s words. Whatever you do, do not waste this opportunity on nurturing emotional connections, constantly thinking about reuniting with your family; that’s troublesome. If you’re constantly concerned about your family and seize any chance you have to connect emotionally with them, your mind will always be filled with these emotional entanglements; you’ll be unable to sever these attachments and be unable to let go. You should pray more, read more of God’s words, and fellowship often with your brothers and sisters. When you understand the truth, you at least won’t be constrained by family, the flesh, or affection. These things will be easy to let go of; this is the way forward. In fact, many people’s experiences are like this. Resolving emotional issues always requires a period of experience; once you understand the truth, the issues become easy to resolve.

Excerpt 83

For all those who have now believed in God for several years, even though they have laid down a foundation, there is a real problem that must be resolved. Most people have some understanding of all aspects of the truth, and they can speak and preach the correct words and doctrines, but they have not experienced the correctness of these words in their real lives. They have not truly experienced what the real meaning and practical side of the truths contained within those words are. To enter the truth reality, you need a suitable environment, the correct people by your side, and suitable people, events, and things that enable you to grow in life. This way, both these truths and these doctrines that you understand will be confirmed, and will make you gain experience. If a living seed is dropped into fertile soil, but it lacks the sun’s rays and the moisture of rainwater, will the bud that grows from it not wither? (Yes, it will.) Therefore, when you have heard many sermons, many truths, and many of God’s words, and you have already ascertained that this path is the correct one, and the right path in life, what do you need at this time? You need to ask God to arrange a suitable environment for you that is edifying and helpful for your life and can make you grow in life. This environment may not be very comfortable—one’s flesh must endure hardship, and one must renounce and let go of many things. This is something that you have all experienced by now. For example, say that you were persecuted and unable to return home, to see or get in touch with your children or spouse, to meet with your relatives or friends, or to receive any news from them. In the dead of night, you would begin to think about home: “How is my father doing? He’s old, and I have no way to honor him. My mother is in poor health, and I don’t know how she’s doing now.” Wouldn’t you always be thinking about these matters? If your heart is always constrained by such things, what consequences will it bear on the performance of your duty? It is beneficial to your life progress if you do not get mixed up or concern yourself so much with worldly, fleshly matters. Your thinking and worrying will not serve any function; these matters are all in the hands of God, and you cannot change the fates of your family members. You must understand that your top priority as a believer in God is to be considerate of His will, to do your duty, to gain true faith, to enter the reality of God’s words, to grow in life, and to gain the truth. This is what matters most. On the surface, it seems as if people actively forsake the world and their families, but what is actually going on? (It is God who holds sovereignty over and orchestrates this.) It is orchestrated by God; it is He who prevents you from seeing your family. To put it more aptly, God deprives you of them. Aren’t these the most practical words? (They are.) People always say that God holds sovereignty over and arranges things, so how does He hold sovereignty over this matter? He brings you out of your home, not letting your family turn into a burden that encumbers you. So, where does He take you? He takes you to an environment where there are no entanglements of the flesh, where you cannot see your loved ones. When you worry about them, and want to do something for them, you cannot, and when you want to offer your filial piety, you cannot. They cannot entangle you anymore. God has moved you away from them, and deprived you of all these entanglements, otherwise you would still be filial to them, render service for them, and slave away for them. Is God moving you away from all these external entanglements a good or bad thing? (A good thing.) It is something good, and there is no need to regret it. Since it is a good thing, what should people do? People should thank God, saying: “God loves me so much!” One cannot overcome the bondage of affection on their own, because people’s hearts are all constrained by affection. They all wish to be united with their family, for their whole family to gather together, with everyone safe, healthy, and happy, and to spend every day like this, without ever separating. But there is a bad side to this. You will devote all of your life’s energy and efforts, your youth, your greatest years, and all the best parts of your life to them; you will give your whole life for the sake of your flesh, family, loved ones, work, fame and gain, and all kinds of complicated relationships, and you will consequently completely destroy yourself. So, how does God love man? God says: “Don’t destroy yourself in this mud pit. If both of your feet are stuck, you won’t be able to pull yourself out no matter how you exhaust yourself. You don’t have the stature or the bravery, not to mention the faith. I will bring you out Myself.” This is what God does, and He does not discuss it with you. Why doesn’t God ask for people’s opinions? Some people say: “God is the Creator, He does whatever He wants. Humans are like ants and bugs, they are nothing in the eyes of God.” This is how things are, but is that how God treats people? No, it isn’t. God expresses so many truths and gifts them to man, enabling people to be cleansed of their corruption, and to gain a new life from Him. God’s love for man is so great. These are all things that people can see. God has intentions for you, His purpose in bringing you here is to make you embark on the correct path in life, to live out a life of meaning, a path that you would not be able to choose on your own. People’s subjective wish is to spend their lifetime safe and sound, and even if they don’t make a fortune, at least they want to be united with their family forever, and enjoy this kind of familial happiness. They don’t understand how to be considerate of God’s will, nor do they understand how to give thought to their future destinations or to God’s will to save humanity. But God does not make a fuss over their lack of understanding, and He does not need to say too much to them, because they don’t understand, their stature is too small, and any discussion would only reach an impasse. Why would it reach an impasse? Because the great matter of God’s management plan to save humanity is not something that people can understand with just one or two sentences of explanation. Since that is the case, God makes decisions and acts directly, until the day comes when people eventually understand.

When God takes some of His chosen people out of the adverse environment of mainland China, His good intentions are in this, which everyone can now see. In regard to this matter, people must often show gratitude and thank God for showing them grace. You have emerged from that family environment, broken away from all the complicated interpersonal relationships of the flesh, and extricated yourself from all worldly and fleshly entanglements. God has brought you out of a complex snare and into His presence and into His house. God says: “It is peaceful here, this place is very good, and it is well-suited for your growth. This is where God’s words and guidance are, and where the truth reigns. God’s will to save humanity lies here, and the work of salvation is centered here. So, grow to your heart’s content here.” God brings you into this kind of environment, an environment that may not contain the comfort of your loved ones, where your children are not around to care for you when you get sick, and where there is no one for you to confide in. When you are by yourself, and you think about the suffering and difficulties of your flesh and everything you will face in the future, in those times, you will feel alone. Why will you feel alone? One objective reason is that people are too small in stature. What is the subjective reason? (People do not completely let go of their fleshly loved ones.) That’s right, it is that people are unable to let go of them. People who live in the flesh take as pleasures the various relationships and family bonds of the flesh. They believe that people can’t live without their loved ones. Why is it that you do not think of how you came into the world of man? You came alone, originally without relations to others. God brings people here one by one; when you came, you were, in fact, alone. You did not feel alone at that time, so why do you feel alone when God brings you here now? You think that you are missing a partner that you can confide in, whether it be your children, your parents, or your other half—your husband or wife—and so, you feel alone. Then, when you feel alone, why don’t you think of God? Is God not a companion to man? (Yes, He is.) When you feel the most suffering and sadness, who can truly comfort you? Who can truly resolve your difficulties? (God can.) Only God can truly resolve people’s difficulties. If you are sick, and your children are by your side, pouring you drinks, and waiting on you, you will feel quite happy, but in time your children will get fed up and no one will be willing to wait on you. In times like those you will feel truly alone! So now, when you think that you have no partner, is that really true? It is actually not, since God is always keeping you company! God does not leave people; He is someone they can rely on and find shelter in at all times, and their only confidant. So, no matter what difficulties and suffering befall you, no matter what grievances, or matters of negativity and weakness you are confronted with, if you come before God and pray at once, His words will give you comfort, and resolve your difficulties and all your different problems. In an environment like this, your loneliness will become the basic condition for experiencing God’s words and gaining the truth. As you experience, you will slowly come to think: “I am still living a good life after leaving my parents, a fulfilling life after leaving my husband, and a peaceful and joyous life after leaving my children. I am no longer empty. I will no longer rely on people, I will rely on God instead. He will provide for me and help me at all times. Although I cannot touch Him or see Him, I know that He is by my side at all times, and in all places. As long as I pray to Him, as long as I call on Him, He will move me, and make me understand His will and see the proper path.” At that time, He will truly become your God, and all of your problems will be resolved.

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Taiwan is a democracy with a stable society where people live in prosperity. The public order, quality of life, cultural values, and so on are all much better than in mainland China. People lead very comfortable lives. Though living comfortably is a good thing, many people who believe in God and live in comfort are unwilling to follow Him, let alone suffer or pay a price. It’s very hard to forsake all they have and expend themselves for God. Is this not what it is really like? When people live comfortably, they are always thinking about eating, drinking, and having fun, how to enjoy the flesh and enjoy life. This has a certain effect on people who believe in God and pursue the truth. Therefore, a lot of people in this comfortable social environment want to perform their duties but struggle to do so. They aren’t willing to endure even a little suffering, and they don’t work efficiently when they perform their duties or do different kinds of work for the church. Sometimes the progress of their work is affected, and this has a certain relationship with their social environment. It moves Me to see that every time we gather, you’re able to sit here and listen to sermons from start to finish. Some people in mainland China can believe in God because they are stifled by their environment, oppressed, discriminated against by society and suffer from severe persecution, while some people believe in God purely because they are looking for fairness and reason, or for spiritual support and something to rely on. For some people, their enthusiasm, faith and loyalty were stirred up under the brutal persecution of the great red dragon. Some have been forced to flee overseas out of necessity because believing in God in mainland China is so difficult and many people have been hunted down—they have nowhere to hide. These are the reasons that they flee overseas. Compared to the oppressive and harsh living environment in mainland China, people in Taiwan have it so easy. With life this comfortable, those who believe in God aren’t willing to suffer or pay the price, and when they face any persecution or tribulation they are no longer willing to perform their duties. People just enjoy eating, drinking, and having fun when life is this comfortable. They are always concerned with things like: “What should I have to eat? Where should I travel? Which countries have I not been to yet? A single human lifetime is just a few decades. If I don’t visit countries all over the world and broaden my horizons, won’t I just be living for nothing?” This is how a person’s heart becomes unruly and cannot be reined in. Can one still quietly eat and drink of God’s words before Him like this? Can one still listen attentively to sermons at gatherings? It will certainly be difficult. So, when one is encouraged to believe in God, pursue the truth, and perform their duty, they feel unjustly treated and stifled and keep feeling like they are living for nothing. Does this favorable environment not present a serious temptation and obstacle for people? It does. People all crave fleshly comforts, but to those who believe in God and pursue the truth, comfort is not necessarily a good thing in terms of life growth. Most people become negative and weak when they suffer a little and have no willpower at all; is this not the result of a comfortable environment? There are all kinds of videos of experiential testimony showing brothers and sisters in mainland China being tortured in jail, sentenced, and imprisoned. Have you all seen these? (We have.) And how do you feel about them after seeing them? (God, I’d like to say a little about how I feel. After seeing the brothers and sisters in mainland China experiencing all that persecution by torture and seeing how they can pray to God, rely on Him, and hold onto their faith in such a difficult environment, experiencing step-by-step under God’s leadership while standing firm in their testimony and not betraying Him, I feel that they have more faith and greater stature than we do. If I were in that kind of environment, I wouldn’t necessarily be able to stand firm like they do, which makes me feel that I’m very small in stature.) The brothers and sisters in mainland China can still persist in believing in God, attending gatherings, and performing their duties in the environment where they suffer cruel persecution from the great red dragon. This is a testimony, a powerful testimony. That they can stand firm in such a hostile environment is a testimony, so those of you in this comfortable environment should contemplate how to offer a different type of testimony. First, you should cherish everything in this life and these environments that God has given you. Also, you should contemplate how, in an environment like this, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony, not put God to shame, and become overcomers. Believing in God in a democratic country, one may not be subjected to repression and persecution by torture from the government, but there will be persecution from family and relatives, and one still needs to experience God’s words, gain the truth, and stand firm in their testimony. No matter the environment in which one believes in God, gaining the truth is not an easy thing. You have to suffer and pay the price in order to understand the truth and enter reality. To bear witness for God, you need to achieve understanding of the truth in all aspects of experience. This does not only mean spreading the gospel and God’s name; it mainly refers to life experiential testimony. In any group of people or under any country’s social order, people will suffer some discrimination, exclusion, or persecution if they live according to the truth, endeavor to be honest people and try to submit to God. This is because democratic countries do not submit to God either. There are atheist political parties in power, and they also reject the truth and reject God. Believing in God in a country like this, even if there is no persecution or tribulation, there will be certain limitations as well as subjection to some discrimination, slander, judgment, and condemnation if you want to spread the gospel and bear witness for God—this is all fact. If you cannot understand these things clearly, then you are not someone who understands the truth. Accepting and following Christ in any country comes with some level of persecution and tribulation. You always need to act with caution and pray to and look to God, and you must also have wisdom and intelligence. Whatever country and social environment you are in, they all have a suitable environment that God has laid out and arranged for you. It all depends on whether or not one pursues the truth. A comfortable environment brings temptations for people, while persecution by torture also brings temptations and trials. Are there trials in comfortable environments then? There are also God’s trials. God has arranged this comfortable environment for you, and everything depends on how you experience it—whether you will be fully ensnared by Satan’s traps and in Satan’s temptation, or whether you will be able to triumph over it in all respects and bear witness for God, holding fast to your loyalty and duty. This all depends on how you experience it and the choices you make. Mainland Chinese brothers and sisters have an environment that’s a bit tougher, and God has given them a burden that is a bit heavier and laid out an environment for them that is a bit harsher, but He has also given them more. The tougher the environment and the greater the trials that God lays out, the more that people gain. But in a comfortable environment, people also experience temptations and trials everywhere, and God has given you much, too. If you can triumph over temptation every time you face it, then you won’t gain any less than your brothers and sisters who experience persecution by torture. This also takes pursuing the truth and having stature to overcome. For example, things like being together with your family, eating and drinking well, entertainment and enjoyment, and some social trends that comfort the flesh and cause depravity are all temptations for you. When you face these temptations, they will not only catch your eye, but also disturb and entice you. When you follow worldly things and trends, that is when Satan’s temptations, or one could also say God’s trials will arise. You will need to make a choice about how to respond to these temptations and trials, and this is when God tests people and shows them for who they are. This is the time when what God has said to you and the truths you have understood should take effect. If you are someone who pursues the truth and you have true faith in God in your heart, then you will be able to overcome these temptations and stand firm and bear witness for God in the trials that He has laid out for you. If instead of loving the truth, you love the world, you love trends, you love craving comfort and satisfying your flesh, and you love an empty life, then you will follow these worldly things. You will feel admiration for these things and be attracted to and possessed by them. Little by little, your heart will lose interest in believing in God, you will become averse to the truth, and then, in the midst of temptation, Satan will snatch you away. In a trial like this, you will have lost your testimony. There are many people who have heard a lot of sermons and are performing their duties but still feel empty inside. They still love following pop stars and famous people, keeping up with trends, watching entertainment programs on TV, and even binge-watching shows all night to the point that they become nocturnal. Some young people are even playing video games. To sum it up, they do not hesitate to pay any price and fanatically pursue these trendy things. And why do they do this? It is because they have not gained the truth. People who have not gained the truth have a certain feeling, which is that there doesn’t seem to be much difference between believing in God and not believing in Him. They still feel empty in their hearts and that there is no meaning to their lives. If they follow trends, they feel that they are more fulfilled, that there is a bit more richness to their life, and that they are a bit happier on a daily basis. If they believe in God and do not follow trends, they still feel that life is meaningless and empty. This is because they do not love the truth. You can also say confidently that these people do not understand the truth in the slightest and do not have the truth reality, and therefore they cannot live without following trends. Some people have never pursued the truth and they are unsettled even when performing their duties. They are unable to stand firm when they face temptations, and eventually they have to withdraw. Some people are quite enthusiastic and resolute when they start performing their duties, but they stop wanting to perform them when they face temptations, becoming perfunctory and lacking devotion. There is no testimony in this. If they can let go of their duties as soon as they face temptations and choose whatever they prefer, then they have no testimony. If another temptation comes, they might deny God and want to follow worldly trends and leave the church. Or when another temptation comes, they start to doubt God and are not sure whether He even exists, and even come to believe that they have evolved from apes. These people have been seized completely by Satan. Caught up in all of these temptations, they do not pray to God or seek the truth. They only think of the fate of their flesh, and as a result they fail to stand firm in their testimony. Step by step, they are dragged by Satan into hell and into the abyss of death. God has given this person over to Satan, and they no longer have any chance of salvation. Tell Me, is pursuing the truth not important? (It is.) The truth is very important. What function can the truth serve? At the very least, it can help you to see through Satan’s schemes when you face temptation, to know what you should do and what you should not, and what it is that you should choose. At least it will make you know these things. The most important thing is that the truth will enable you to stand firm in temptation. You will be able to stand firm, steadfast and unwavering, while holding to the duty that God has given you, being loyal to this duty, and being able to reject Satan. You will be able to stand firm in your testimony amidst trials like Job did. This is what people should gain at the very least.

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Are there principles to your prayers to God? In what circumstances do you pray to God? What are the contents of your prayers? Most people pray when they are suffering: “Oh God, I am suffering, I beg You to help me.” That is the first thing they say. Is it a good thing to always say that you are suffering when you pray? (No.) Why not? And if it is not good, why do you still pray that way? This shows that you do not know how to pray, or what one should say and seek when they come before God. All you know is to pray to God when you suffer a bit and feel sad, saying, “Oh God, I am suffering! I feel so miserable, please help me.” This is the prayer of one who has just begun believing in God. It is the prayer of an infant. If one has believed in God for several years and still prays in this way, it is a serious problem. It shows that they are still an infant who has not grown in life. All who believe in God but do not know how to experience His work are people who have not grown in life and who have not yet entered the right track of belief in God. If one is really a thinking person, they must consider how to experience God’s work, as well as how to eat and drink of His words, and how to experience and practice them. Wherever God’s words go, so should one’s experience; one must follow His words to that place. If one can practice and experience God’s words in this way, then they will encounter many problems, and they will naturally seek the truth from God to resolve them. If one always prays to God and seeks the truth to resolve their difficulties in this way, they are experiencing God’s work. By continually resolving their problems, their difficulties will grow fewer and fewer, and they will gradually come to understand the truth, and gain knowledge of God’s work. They will know how they should cooperate with God, as well as how to submit to His work. That is what it means to enter onto the right track of belief in God. Some people who believe in God do not know how to experience His work. They are always muddleheaded—they read God’s words, but do not contemplate them; they listen to sermons, but do not fellowship; and when things befall them, they do not know to seek the truth, nor do they know how to grasp God’s will, and they do not know the attitude they should adopt or how they should cooperate. They do not understand these things. They are laymen in these matters, and they lack spiritual understanding. Whatever problems befall them, they never pray to God and seek the truth, and deep down they do not truly rely on God or look up to Him. They just say, “Oh God, I am suffering. Oh God, I am suffering.” They repeat this phrase to the point that people get fed up and disgusted at the sound of it. Most of you pray like that, do you not? (We do.) From people’s prayers, one can see how pitiful their condition is! You only seek out God when you are suffering. When you are not suffering or facing any problems, you feel no need for God, nor do you want to rely on Him. You just want to be your own master. Is this not the condition you are in? (It is.) When most people experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and they are pruned by them, and then reflect on themselves and try to know themselves, how do they pray? They all say the same thing, “Oh God, I am suffering. Oh God, I am suffering.” Do those words not make you feel disgusted? (They do.) People are so withered up inside—how pitiful their condition is! Every time they pray to God, they say the same, simple phrase, without a single heartfelt word. They do not seek the truth and they do not wish to resolve their problems. What sort of prayer is that? What is the problem at play when one cannot say heartfelt words in prayer and does not know what their deficiencies are? When you come before God do you not need Him to enlighten you about anything? Do you not need faith, or strength, or God as your rear guard? Do you need even less for God to enlighten you and guide you to walk the road ahead? Do you not need to understand the truth to resolve the problems that exist in you? Do you not need God’s discipline and chastening, or His guidance? Is the only thing you need from God for Him to relieve your suffering? Can you really not feel in your heart that you have so many deficiencies? Not knowing how to pray is no small problem; it shows that you do not know how to experience God’s work, it shows that you have not brought God’s words into real life, and rarely have any genuine interaction with God in your life. You simply have not established the sort of relationship with God that should exist between God and His followers or between created beings and their Creator. When faced with a problem, you are led by your own subjective assumptions, notions, thoughts, knowledge, gifts and talents, and corrupt dispositions. You have nothing to do with God, so when you come before Him, you often have nothing to say. This is the sorrowful state of people who believe in God! It is such a pitiful condition! In their spirits, people are dried up and numb. They feel nothing when it comes to spiritual matters in life, nor do they have any understanding of them, and when they come before God, they have nothing to say. No matter what sort of situation you find yourself in, no matter what plight you face, and no matter what hardships you encounter, if you are speechless before God, then should your faith in Him not be called into question? Is this not the pitifulness of man?

Why must people pray to God? Praying to God is man’s only path to look up to God and rely on Him. Without prayer, these things are out of the question; relying on God and looking up to Him are accomplished through prayer. Can one who believes in God without praying to Him attain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit? Can they acquire God’s work and guidance? If you do not entrust your difficulties to God and do not pray to Him and seek the truth, how will He resolve them? How will He guide you to follow Him on the road ahead? How will He save you from your corrupt disposition? It can be said that belief in God without prayer is not true belief in God. A normal relationship between man and God must be built on prayer, and it must be maintained through prayer. Prayer is the mark of man’s belief in God; whether one truly prays is the only criterion for testing whether that person’s relationship with God is normal. So long as one says heartfelt words in prayer, and so long as one can seek the truth in prayer, they can acquire the work of the Holy Spirit, and this shows that they have a normal relationship with God. If one rarely prays and is not able to speak heartfelt words, if they are always guarded against God, that shows that their relationship with God is not normal. And if one does not pray at all, it shows that they have no relationship with God. If a person prays well and in line with God’s will, they will be able to submit to Him and they are one whom God loves; those who often pray sincerely are honest people and have a simple love for God. So, all those who believe in God, but do not pray to Him, do not have a normal relationship with God. They are all far from God, and they are rebellious and resistant to Him. Most people who do not pray to God are not lovers or seekers of the truth, and those who do not love or seek the truth cannot pray sincerely. Whatever difficulties they have, they do not pray, and when they do pray, they wish only to exploit God to get rid of their difficulties and suffering. They do not care about God’s will, and they do not search in their difficulties for the aspects of the truth they should understand and enter. Such people do not long for the truth and have no true faith in God—in essence, they are nonbelievers. As a believer in God, you must pray to God and seek the truth in all things. Though you may not feel immediately after prayer that your heart has been made brighter or that you have gotten a path of practice, wait for God, and while you wait, read God’s words and seek the truth. As you eat and drink of God’s words or listen to sermons and fellowship, focus on bringing your problems into your contemplation and seeking. If you cooperate practically in these ways, it may be that insight comes to you in a flash when you are contemplating God’s words or listening to sermons and fellowship. Or it may be that you encounter some issue, and it inspires you, and you find the answer to precisely the question you have been seeking to resolve. Is this not God’s guidance and His arrangement? So, sincerely praying to God can be effective, but this effect is not something you can attain immediately after prayer. It takes time, and it requires one’s cooperation and practice. One cannot say when the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and give you the answer. This is the process of seeking the truth and understanding it, and it is the path on which man grows in life. After believing in God for many years, you still have to learn how to pray all over again. You still don’t know how to pray, and whenever you face a problem, you either just shout out catchphrases and make resolutions or complain to God and voice your grievances, saying how you are suffering, or otherwise rationalize and justify yourselves. These are the things that are held in your heart, and it’s no wonder that you’ve been so slow to enter the truth. You’re getting sidetracked. You don’t know how to pursue the truth, and it’s hard to say if believing in God like this will be enough for you to receive salvation.

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There is a line in a church hymn that goes, “All truth-loving people are brothers and sisters.” This statement is correct. Only those who love the truth belong to God’s house; only they are real brothers and sisters. Do you think that all those who often attend assembly in God’s house are brothers and sisters? Not necessarily. What people are not brothers and sisters? (Those who are averse to the truth, who do not accept the truth.) Those who do not accept the truth and are averse to it are all evil people. They are all people without a conscience or reason. None of them are those whom God saves. These people are devoid of humanity, they are negligent in their work and rampant in their conduct. They live by satanic philosophies and employ crafty maneuvers and use, wheedle, and cheat others. They do not accept the slightest bit of the truth, and they have infiltrated God’s house solely to gain blessings. Why do we call them nonbelievers? Because they are averse to the truth, and they do not accept it. As soon as the truth is fellowshipped, they lose interest, they are averse to it, they cannot stand to hear about it, they feel it is boring and cannot stay seated. They are clearly nonbelievers and unbelievers. You must not regard them as brothers and sisters. It’s possible that they might want to get close to you to offer some benefits, trying to build a relationship with you using small favors. However, when you fellowship on the truth with them, they divert to trivial talk, discussing matters of the flesh, work, worldly affairs, secular trends, feelings, family matters, such external things as these. Nothing they talk about relates to the truth, to believing in God, or to practicing the truth. These people do not accept the truth at all. They never read God’s words or fellowship on the truth, and they never pray or perform spiritual devotions. Are these people brothers and sisters? They are not. These people do not practice the truth, and are averse to the truth. After they infiltrate God’s house and see that gatherings always involve reading God’s words and fellowshipping on the truth, talking about knowing oneself, fellowshipping on problems in the performance of duties, they feel averse at heart. They have no understanding or experiences and nothing to say, so they become weary of church life. They constantly wonder, “Why always fellowship on God’s words? Why always talk about knowing oneself? Why is there no entertainment or enjoyment in church life? When will this kind of church life end? When will we enter the kingdom and receive blessings?” They find fellowshipping on the truth uninteresting and don’t want to hear it. Would you say, when things happen to these people, do they seek the truth? Can they practice the truth? (They cannot.) If they are not interested in the truth, how can they practice the truth? So what do they live by? Without question, they live by the philosophies of Satan, they are always being wily and cunning, they do not have a life of normal humanity. They never pray to God or seek the truth, but handle everything using human tricks, tactics, and philosophies for worldly dealings—which makes for an exhausting and painful existence. They interact with the brothers and sisters in the same way that they interact with unbelievers, they follow satanic philosophies and lie and cheat. They like to start arguments and split hairs. No matter what group they are living in, they always look to see who is aligned with who, and who is teamed up with who. When they speak, they are carefully observing other people’s reactions, they are always on the lookout, trying not to offend anyone. They are always following these philosophies for worldly dealings to deal with all the things around them and their relationships with others. That is what makes their existence so exhausting. Though they may seem active among other people, in reality, only they know their struggles, and if you were to look closely at their lives, you’d feel it’s exhausting. For a matter involving fame, gain, or face, they insist on clarifying who is right or wrong, who is superior or inferior, and must argue to prove a point. Others don’t want to hear it. People say, “Can you simplify what you’re saying? Can you be straightforward? Why do you have to be so trivial?” Their thoughts are so complicated and convoluted, and they live such an exhausting life without realizing the underlying problems. Why can’t they seek the truth and be honest? Because they are averse to the truth and don’t want to be honest. So, what do they rely on in life? (Philosophies for worldly dealings and human methods.) Depending on human methods to act tends to lead to results in which one ends up either being laughed at or revealing an ugly side of oneself. And so, on closer examination, their actions, the things they spend all day doing—they all relate to their own face, fame, gain, and vanity. It’s as if they’re living in a web, they have to rationalize or make excuses for everything, and they are always speaking for their own sake. Their thinking is complicated, they talk so much nonsense, their words are so tangled. They’re always arguing over what’s right and wrong, there’s no end to it. If they’re not trying to gain face, they’re competing for reputation and status, and there is never a time when they are not living for these things. And what is the ultimate consequence? They may have gained face, but everyone is sick and tired of them. People have seen through them and realized that they are devoid of the truth reality, that they are not someone who sincerely believes in God. When the leaders and workers or other brothers and sisters use a few words to prune them, they stubbornly refuse to accept, they insist on trying to rationalize or make excuses, and they try to pass the buck. During assemblies they defend themselves, start arguments, and stir up trouble among God’s chosen ones. In their hearts, they’re thinking, “Is there really nowhere for me to argue my case?” What kind of person is this? Is this someone who loves the truth? Is this someone who believes in God? When they hear anyone say something that doesn’t align with their intentions, they always want to argue and demand an explanation; they get tangled up in who’s right and who’s wrong, they do not seek the truth and treat it according to the truth principles. No matter how simple a matter is, they have to make it so complicated—they’re just asking for trouble, they deserve to be so exhausted! Many of the problems people face are self-inflicted. They seek trouble without reason. They are not occupying their time with the right things, to put it in plain terms. This is the lifestyle of foolish people. Some muddleheaded people, though they don’t get entangled in right and wrong, have such poor caliber that they can’t see through anything. They live like pigs, in a daze. These two types of people are completely different: One leans left and the other leans right, but both belong to the unbelievers. Such people, no matter how many years they’ve believed in God or how much doctrine they’ve heard, can never understand the truth, let alone know what practicing the truth is. When faced with any situation, they never seek the truth but live by human methods and Satan’s philosophies, leading exhausting and pitiful lives. Are they sincere believers in God? Absolutely not. Those who do not love the truth do not really believe in God. Those who cannot at all accept the truth cannot be called brothers and sisters. Only those who love and are able to accept the truth are brothers and sisters. Now, who are those who do not love the truth? They are all unbelievers. Those who do not at all accept the truth are averse to and reject the truth. More precisely, they are all unbelievers who have infiltrated the church. If they are able to do all kinds of evil and disturb and disrupt the church’s work, they are the minions of Satan. They should be cleared out and cast out. They absolutely cannot be treated as brothers and sisters. All who show them love are extremely foolish and ignorant.

Excerpt 87

If, right now, you have yet to find the feeling and the principles of being a saint, this proves that your life entry is too shallow, and that you have not yet understood the truth. In your ordinary behavior and conduct, and the environment in which you live each day, you should savor and ponder carefully, fellowship with each other, encourage each other, give each other reminders, help and care for each other, and support and provide for each other. There must be principles to how brothers and sisters interact. Do not always focus on others’ faults, instead you must examine yourself frequently, and then proactively admit to other people what things you have done that caused interference or harm to them, and learn to open yourself up and fellowship. In this way, you can achieve mutual understanding. What’s more, no matter what befalls you, you should view things based on the words of God. If people are able to understand the truth principles and find a path of practice, they will become of one heart and mind, and the relationship between the brothers and sisters will be normal, they will not be as indifferent, cold, and cruel as the unbelievers, and they will shed their mentality of mutual suspicion and wariness. The brothers and sisters will become more intimate with each other; they will be able to support and love each other; there will be goodwill in their hearts, and they will be capable of tolerance and compassion toward each other, and they will support and help one another, instead of alienating each other, being envious of each other, measuring themselves against one another, and secretly competing and being defiant toward each other. How can people perform their duties well if they are like the unbelievers? Not only will this impact their life entry, it will also harm and affect others. For example, you might get angry when people look at you the wrong way, or when they say something that is out of line with your will, and when someone does something that stops you from distinguishing yourself, you might resent them, and feel uncomfortable and unhappy, and always think of how to restore your reputation. Women and young people are particularly incapable of overcoming this. They always obsess over minor disputes and disagreements, are prone to being willful, and live in a state of negativity. They are not willing to pray to God or eat and drink the word of God, which in turn affects their life entry. When people live by their corrupt dispositions, it is very hard for them to be at peace before God, and it is very difficult for them to practice the truth and live by God’s words. To live before God, you must first learn how to reflect on and know yourself, and truly pray to God, and then you must learn how to get on with the brothers and sisters. You must be tolerant of each other, lenient with each other, and be able to see what others’ strengths and merits are—you must learn to accept others’ opinions and things that are right. Don’t indulge yourself, don’t have ambitions and desires and always think you’re better than other people, and then think of yourself as some great figure, forcing other people to do what you say, to obey you, to look up to you, to exalt you—this is deviant. If an individual’s arrogant disposition is not resolved, and this is coupled with swelling ambitions and desires, it can easily lead to deviancy. Hence, those who cannot accept the truth and fail to self-reflect and know themselves are in great danger. They always harbor ambitions, always aspire to be great people and supermen—this is deviancy, this is extreme arrogance. They have lost all reason, they are not normal people, they are deviant people, and they are demons. Dominated by arrogant dispositions, they look down on others in their hearts, regarding them as very insignificant and ignorant. They fail to recognize the strengths of others but can infinitely magnify others’ shortcomings; they despise them in their hearts, and they declare and belittle these shortcomings at every turn, hurting and upsetting others, and eventually causing other people to obey and listen to them, or to fear and hide from them. When a relationship like this emerges or exists between people, is this what you want to see? Can you accept it? (No.) For instance, suppose that you are a bit taller and better looking than others, which causes some people to admire you. As a result, you feel quite pleased with yourself and subsequently look down on those who are shorter and less good-looking. What kind of disposition is revealed in this? Some people look at those who are not as good-looking, who are a bit shorter, and who are a bit more foolish and not so quick-witted, with a contemptuous gaze, and even utter sarcastic words to mock them. Is it appropriate to treat people this way? Is this a manifestation of normal humanity? Definitely not. So, what is the most correct way to deal with such a situation? (To not ridicule others for their shortcomings, and to respect others.) This is a principle. It appears that you have some understanding of this. So how does God treat people? God does not care what people look like, whether they’re tall or short. Instead, He looks at whether their hearts are kind, whether they love the truth, and whether they love and submit to Him. This is what God bases His behavior toward people on. If people can also do this, they will be able to treat others fairly, and in accordance with the truth principles. First of all, we must understand the will of God, and know how God behaves toward men, then we too will have a principle and path for how to behave toward people. Generally, people all have a bit of vanity. When they receive a couple of words of praise, they feel a bit pleased with themselves, they hum a tune and walk with their heads held high. This is a revelation of Satan’s disposition. If they also judge and look down on others, what kind of disposition is this? It’s a vicious, arrogant, and evil disposition. If people fail to recognize and see the ugliness of living by their corrupt dispositions, it’s difficult for them to cast off these corrupt dispositions, and they can’t live out true human likeness.

Excerpt 88

Who is the truth that God expresses meant to be given to so that it may become their lives? Who is the truth being fellowshipped on for? (It is those who love the truth and can accept the truth.) Who are those who can really love the truth and accept the truth in their hearts? If you can see through this question, you will know what kind of person is saved by God. First, we must understand that the truth God expresses is meant for those who possess humanity, reason, love for positive things, and the awareness of their consciences. Other people do not love the truth, and after hearing it, they are indifferent and remain unmoved, without reproaching themselves or feeling anything at all—they are dead though they live, and are destined to have no life entry. Some people will ask, “Why does God go through so much trouble to say so many words when most people don’t love the truth, or possess good humanity, or accept the truth, and they are not the objects of salvation, and are instead just service-doers?” Is this right? (No. Though most people are not willing to pursue the truth, a small group are still willing to pursue it and they have some humanity, and it is this small group that God wants to save.) That’s right. God’s words are for the ears of people, not beasts or devils. Within the church, regardless of whether a third or a fifth of the people can accept the truth, in any case, the ones who will remain in the end are the minority. So how should we measure who is a sincere believer in God, and who can remain? We can measure if a person has a conscience, whether their conscience has some awareness through listening to God’s words, whether they can understand the word of God, whether they can understand the truth through listening to sermons, and put it into practice once they’ve understood it, and whether they can change their corrupt dispositions. Based on these things, we can discern if they are people who accept the truth and God’s sheep. God’s sheep are able to listen to God’s voice, they respond and have awareness after listening to His voice, and they are willing to follow God. These people are God’s sheep. What do these people possess in their humanity? (These people like positive things, are willing to pursue the truth, and have some conscience.) Why are they willing to pursue the truth? Their humanity includes love for the truth, conscience, and reason. They can also understand God’s words and apply them to their own states, then turn God’s words into part of their day-to-days, into their lives, and into the goal, principle, and foundation of their behavior and how they conduct themselves. That is, God’s words become the reality of their lives, and they are able to practice God’s words. These people are God’s sheep. There are some people who do not look bad on the outside and are quite guileless, but they are not able to put God’s words into practice after listening to them. These people are not God’s sheep. There are many such people among service-doers who do not understand God’s words no matter how they listen to them, and are even less able to put God’s words into practice. They can believe in God for years without gaining life. Therefore, people should understand who exactly can be saved by the words of God. When it comes to the people that God saves, it doesn’t matter how many of them there are. Even if just one person can understand God’s words, He will still do the work that should be done. As is well-known, only eight people were saved when Noah built the ark. From the times of the Old Testament to the present, few have been saved. In the Age of Law when God had not formally done the work of salvation nor provided mankind with the truth, how many were accepted by God? Were there many? There were very few people who gained His approval during that time. What about the work of the last days? Though the number of people who can accept the truth through judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement is in the minority, this number is still larger than those gained by God in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. Now, there are quite a few people who can offer experiential testimony and there are indeed some who have changed their dispositions, so how could God’s heart not have gained some comfort from this?

When you see that most people in the church have believed in God for several years yet do not pursue the truth, have not changed at all, and are still like unbelievers, are you negative? (Sometimes I’m a little negative, but I see that no matter how rebellious someone is or how poor their caliber, as long as their heart is right and they’re willing to strive in pursuit of the truth, then God will continue to work on them with the greatest patience, breaking down and fragmenting the truth bit by bit, and fellowshipping with them in as much detail as possible. I am deeply moved seeing how much God pays to make mankind complete, never giving up until He succeeds. I feel that no matter how poor my caliber, I must try to do better, be diligent in my pursuit, and not lose heart.) It’s a known fact that people are of poor caliber or rebellious, but God never said that because of this you won’t be saved. If He won’t save you, then why speak these words to you, or pay such a price? In doing all these things, God’s will has already been clearly told to mankind and made explicitly known. It’s not secret but known, and anyone with heart and spirit can understand; only those fools who don’t have spiritual understanding can be negative, and only those who don’t understand the truth will feel disappointed and dismayed, believing themselves incapable of being saved. The most crucial thing about believing in God is that you must believe all these words and truths which He speaks. As long as you have resolve, and can put the truth into practice, then they can become your life. It doesn’t matter how mature your life is in the end, as long as you positively and proactively practice God’s words without deliberately violating them or the truth, practice as much as you understand and strive for the truth, and perform your duty with all of your heart and strength, then this is up to standard. God’s requirements for man are not high. The truths on which God fellowships are comprehensive, and His words are particularly detailed and specific. Why speak in this way? It’s in provision to all mankind, not just one small group or a couple types of people. Of all the truths provided to all mankind, there is a limit to what you can practice and attain. Why do I say there is a limit? Because everyone’s caliber, insight, and understanding ability are different, as are the environments God arranges for them and the duties they perform, these “differences” lead each person to be able to practice and enter only part of God’s word, and what they can achieve or put into practice is limited. For example, is it appropriate if someone experiences a trial of sickness, realizes that the trial comes from God, but then thinks God should make everyone experience a trial of sickness? (No, it’s not.) This comes entirely from human will. God works differently on everyone, and this trial is targeted at a particular group of people. God works on them to have them experience the trial of sickness. What do all people gain after God has had one group of people experience a trial of sickness? It’s that, during the trial, people should learn how to submit to God, know their own rebelliousness, rectify the relationship between created beings and the Creator, correct the relationship between man and God, be able to understand God’s heart, achieve submission to Him and, no matter what happens, do not misunderstand God, but just submit. This aspect of the truth is what everyone should gain. If you gain this aspect of the truth from someone else’s experience, must you then also experience this trial? Not necessarily. God chooses different people—perhaps the right person, or someone special—to experience this trial and part of God’s work. This is what God has promised man, and is what He will do. Some people have experienced the pain of losing a loved one, and from this loss have experience and testimony, submission to God, and true reliance and belief. From the work God does on a particular group of people, everyone can see testimony that everything God does is right and what people should choose is submission, not analysis, research, or reasoning with Him, having Him explain it clearly and thoroughly; they should submit unconditionally and without complaint. Additionally, people should learn to understand the meaning and value of all the work that God does. From these ways of God’s work, and all aspects of His words, what each individual experiences is but a small part of God’s words. Within this small part, depending on your caliber, your family environment, and the duty you are currently performing, what you experience of God’s words is a ten-thousandth of them, or you could say only a ten-thousandth. If you enter into this ten-thousandth and truly achieve unconditional, absolute submission to God, place yourself in the position of a created being, submit to the Creator’s sovereignty and arrangements, and achieve the result God wants to attain in you, then you’ll be saved. This is easy to understand, and is the way things are.

What is key in performing your duties is that you are loyal. What is loyalty? It means to be serious and responsible, to perform your responsibility in full, without being the least bit perfunctory. If you are perfunctory, then when something goes wrong it’s a mark of shame, and this is absolutely not a trivial matter. Moreover, regarding the work assigned to you in God’s house, everyone should fellowship together more, seek the truth principles more, and find the correct principles. When problems are discovered they should be solved quickly, otherwise promptly report those which cannot be solved to superiors. Strive to ensure the work of God’s house goes smoothly, with no obstacles, loopholes, or delay. Do your job well, promote the spread of the gospel work, and let God’s will be thoroughly carried out on earth. This way, your duty will have been performed well. In fact, within the scope of someone performing their duty, these are the few aspects of the truth that they can practice, achieve, and touch upon, and entering the realities of these truths is achieving the minimum standard God requires of mankind. Some people’s faith is weak, some people are cowards, others are of poor caliber, or have distortions in understanding, or have foolish thinking; these and other negative and passive things in all aspects will affect people’s ability to put the truth into practice and do their duty effectively. God makes His requirements of people based on their caliber, character, and degree of understanding of the truth. What is the standard for this requirement? God looks at whether someone is sincere in their belief in God and if they can accept the truth; these are the two most crucial conditions. Some people are naturally stupid, have distortions in their understanding of things, lack insight, are slow to learn anything, don’t seem to understand whatever others say, and need to have their hands held when being taught—these are people of very poor caliber, and this will never change. Others may have a wealth of knowledge, or are full of profound wisdom, appearing very astute on the outside, but are prone to have distortions in understanding of matters relating to the truth. Even if they understand the truth, they still cannot accept it, and this is their fatal flaw. Someone like this is easily influenced by knowledge and doctrine when performing their duty, and finds it difficult to act according to the truth principles or change their views on things. So, what should they do if they really want to pursue the truth? The key is seeing if they can accept the truth. If they can, then the problem is easily solved, but if they stubbornly refuse to accept the truth then it’s game over. Not only will they fail in performing their duty well, but I’m afraid there’s also no way for them to be saved. One’s educational attainment does not matter, nor how savvy they are—what is crucial is being able to accept the truth and love God’s words. What God looks at is how much of the truth you can practice, having been enlightened to understand it in the environment He has arranged. He looks at how much of yourself you give to the tasks He demands, how much strength you give them, how much effort you expend. For example, you are of average caliber, not very well educated, your comprehension ability is poor, and a little distorted. These are objective facts. Yet when something occurs, and God allows you to see the flaws in it, that there is a problem with it, and whose responsibility it is, then this matter will reveal whether you can uphold the principles and are a practitioner of the truth. If you perform your duty loyally and are sincere toward God, what, then, should you do about that thing? What should you do to be in line with the truth, to do what God demands? In such circumstances, God does not look to the quality of your caliber or at how educated you are, or at how many years you have believed in Him; He looks at your viewpoint and attitude in the thing that has occurred, whether you’re sincere, and, whether you bring your conscience to bear at that time. If you are sincere to God, you will have a sense of responsibility, and you will think, “This thing may not fall to me, but it does touch on the church’s work. I have to make inquiries and hear more about it.” And having made your inquiries, you may learn that the supervisor has been indolent and irresponsible, that they have not taken the matter seriously and held it up. You would then seek the supervisor out and fellowship with them, rectifying the issue promptly. You will not have needed to seek from the Above; you will have resolved the problem yourself. You are of ordinary caliber and have a few deficiencies and faults, but will those things have affected your practice of the truth? Will they have affected your fulfillment of your duty or your loyalty to God? They will not. Some people say they are foolish and distorted in their understanding, some say they do not have spiritual understanding, and others say they are of poor caliber and uneducated. If that is so, may you just not practice the truth when something occurs? God does not look at the quality of people’s caliber or their degree of education. These things do not have much to do with the practice of the truth. These shortfalls and deficiencies do not have an impact on your practice of the truth, or on your loyalty to God, or on the responsibility you take for your duty’s performance. God looks at whether you are sincere—this is what is most practical, and it is something people can achieve. God uses the most practical means to take the measure of each person. Some people say, “My caliber is poor, I’m ignorant, I have too much knowledge, it influences me putting the truth into practice.” These are all excuses, and they don’t hold water. But why? Because that’s not the way God measures people. That’s your own standard, not God’s. What is God’s standard when measuring someone? God looks at whether someone is loyal to Him and whether they’re sincere. If you’re loyal to God, then it doesn’t matter if your understanding is a little distorted or absurd. Some people say, “I don’t have spiritual understanding.” Well, are you loyal to God? If so, then it won’t affect you putting the truth into practice. Is this clear enough? If you are loyal to God, and perform your duty with sincerity, could you still be negative and weak when pruned? So what should be done if you really are negative and weak? (We should pray to God and depend on God, try and think what God asks, reflect on what we lack, what mistakes we have made; in the areas we have fallen down, that is where we should climb back up again.) That’s right. Negativity and weakness are not big problems. God does not condemn them. So long as someone can climb back up where they have fallen, and learn their lesson, and perform their duty normally, that’s all there is to it. No one will hold it against you, so do not be endlessly negative. If you discard your duty and flee from it, you will have ruined yourself completely. Everyone is negative and weak at times—just search for the truth, and negativity and weakness are easily resolved. Some people’s state is completely changed just by reading a chapter of God’s words or singing a few hymns; they can open their heart in prayer to God, and they can praise Him. Has their problem not then been resolved? To be pruned is, in fact, absolutely a good thing. Even if the words that prune you are a bit harsh, a bit biting, that is because you acted quite without reason, and you violated principles without even realizing it—how could you not be pruned in such circumstances? Pruning you in this way is actually to help you, this is love for you. You should understand this and not complain. So, if pruning gives rise to negativity and complaint, it is foolishness and ignorance, the behavior of someone without reason.

What is the most important thing to focus on when believing in God? Whether someone’s caliber is high or low, whether they have spiritual understanding, or what kind of pruning they face—none of this is important. What is the important thing nowadays? It’s how you enter the truth realities. In order to do so, what is the most basic thing someone should have? They must have a sincere heart. What does it mean to be sincere? It means not being slippery when things befall you, not considering your own interests, not plotting and scheming with others, and not playing deceitful games with God. If you can cheat God and lack sincerity toward Him, then you’re completely done for and God will not save you, so what’s the point of understanding the truth? You may have spiritual understanding, be of good caliber, be eloquent, and be able to comprehend things quickly, draw inferences, and understand everything God says, but if you play deceitful games with God when things befall you, this is a satanic disposition and is very dangerous. Your caliber is of no use no matter how good it is, and God will not want you. God will say, “You speak well, are of good caliber, are quick-witted, and have spiritual understanding, but there is just one problem—you don’t love the truth.” Those who don’t love the truth are troublesome, and God doesn’t want them. A person without a good heart will be disposed of, just like how a car that looks well-maintained from the outside but has a bad engine will be completely discarded. People are like this, too: No matter how good your caliber appears to be, how smart, eloquent, or capable you are, or how good you are at handling problems, it’s all no use, and this isn’t the key point. So, what is the key point? It’s about whether someone’s heart loves the truth. It is not about listening to how they speak, but looking at how they act. God does not look at what you say or promise before Him; He looks at whether what you do has truth reality. Also, God does not care how high, profound, or mighty your actions are, and even if you do a small little thing, if God sees sincerity in your every move, He shall say, “This person sincerely believes in Me. They have never boasted. They conduct themselves according to their station. Although they may not have made a great contribution to God’s house and are of poor caliber, they are steadfast and have sincerity in all they do.” What does this “sincerity” contain? It contains fear and submission to God, as well as true faith and love; it contains everything God wants to see. Such people may seem unremarkable to others, and they could well be a person who makes food or does the cleaning up, someone who performs an ordinary duty. Such people are unremarkable to others, haven’t achieved anything great, and have nothing estimable, admirable or enviable about them—they are just ordinary people. And yet, all that God requires is found in them and lived out in them, and they give it all to God. Tell Me, what more does God want? He is satisfied with them. Therefore, do not become discouraged and negative just because your stature is too small and you don’t understand the truth, or because you see others walk the path of being perfected after facing tribulations and experiencing trials and refinement, and do not think that God doesn’t love you or is unwilling to perfect you. What’s your hurry? What God gives to each person is different, and when you measure yourself, first measure what God has given you and what your own conditions are, and then you can understand that everything God does is good. Someone might say, “My caliber is poor. Is what God gives me still good?” Yes, it’s good. Someone else might say, “I’m quite stupid. Is what God gives me still good?” Yes, all of it is good. Why is it all good? If you weren’t stupid then you’d become arrogant and forget your place, so this protects you and is a good thing. If you all had greater ability and skill than you presently do, who would be able to remain this well-behaved and this willing to perform your duty in God’s house? Isn’t it the case that there are some people like this, but not many? (Yes.) Everything God does is good and right, it’s just that people don’t understand this clearly. People always want more from God, as if the more He gives someone, the more they’ll be able to put the truth into practice, but that’s actually not the case. God has already given you enough; He has given you everything and bestowed His life upon you, so what else do you want? These words that God says and all the work that He does are plentiful and sufficient for mankind. There’s nothing people can demand of God, and they should not complain about Him and say, “What can I do with this caliber or these meager gifts that God has given me?” There is so much you can do. What God wants isn’t what you imagine—He wants you to put the truth into practice, do things according to principles, and fulfill the duties that you should fulfill. You don’t do what you’re able to do, but blindly do what you shouldn’t. This is called neglecting your work. Are you not aiming a bit too high? (Yes.) What do people want to do? To establish prestige among others, to have their words and actions admired and highly regarded, and to be widely renowned. God doesn’t want you to become that kind of person, so He didn’t give you those kinds of things. If you had the chance to become that kind of person, would you be willing to turn it down? Could you let it go so easily? The consequence of this is dangerous. Did you presume that those things were good? Why do some people become antichrists? Isn’t it because they think they have a bit of skill, and so they become supremely arrogant? Why are they able to walk that path? They’re simply that kind of person; they will have to walk that path sooner or later, and God has no plans of speaking the truth to them or saving them. So, what He gives to you is certainly different from what He gives to others. If you’re always comparing yourself with others and always wanting the same as what they have, is this pure comprehension? You do not understand God’s will! Therefore, when you realize that your caliber is poor, that you lack spiritual understanding and have distorted comprehension, that you are often weak, or think that you have too many problems and shortcomings, you must first ponder why God didn’t give you a particular gift. Herein lies His good will. Take another look at which path most of those gifted and talented people take, and what God’s attitude is toward them. What is the one sentence you’ll most want to say once you understand this matter? (Thank God for His protection.) That’s right, you should thank God and say: “God, You’re so good to me, You didn’t give me gifts or talents, and made me like a fool, an idiot. This is my blessing! I’m not negative or sad. What I lack now is sincerity and loyalty to You. I’m not asking to be shrewd and eloquent, or for gifts and talent. I only want to offer my sincerity to You. Gifts, talents, and knowledge, as well as status and fame among people are not good things, and I don’t want them.” Does this not show transformation? (Yes, it does.) So, could you still be in pain and weep because you lack so much? You won’t do this anymore, and you won’t feel wronged. Otherwise, when others pruned you, you’d think, “I’m stupid, everyone in the world looks down on me, and in God’s house I’ll never be promoted or hold an important position.” The implication is, “God’s given me so little, so how come He gives so much to others?” You’d always complain in your heart and feel wronged. In fact, a great blessing has come to you and you don’t even know it. If such a thing happens again in the future, will your point of view be different? (Yes, it will.) What will change in people when their point of view is different? (They won’t aim so high and pursue such lofty things, and will be able to perform their duty well with a grateful heart and their feet on the ground.) They can be firmly grounded, live authentically and realistically, and pursue different goals. Tell Me, is it better for God to make you a fool and an idiot who can properly perform their duty in a grounded manner so that you can be saved, or for Him to give you a high caliber, high level of education, good looks, and eloquence, as well as working ability and special strengths, so that wherever you go people look up to you and you are a giant among dwarfs, and then you walk the path of an antichrist? Which would you choose? (It’s better to be the fool and the idiot.) You can say this now, but if someone really did call you a fool and an idiot, it would make you upset. You must think like this: “Even though my caliber is poor and I’m ignorant, I’m better than evil people and antichrists because I still have a chance to be saved.” You must learn to comfort yourself. (I recall that there were a few others who believed in God with me. They all had a high caliber and were very astute, but because they always fought for power and gain and disturbed the work of the church, they were cleared out and expelled. I feel like I’ve been able to get to where I am today because I’m of poor caliber, I’m stupid, and I’m able to be well-behaved—this is also God’s great protection.) Why does God protect you? Is it because you’re stupid? Does He sympathize with the weak? No, He doesn’t; it’s not like the unbelievers say, that the crying child gets the candy. That’s not the case. What is the precise way to look at this? Which way of looking at it is in line with the truth? (It’s because people believe with a bit of sincerity and love for the truth in their hearts, and are willing to pursue the truth—God saves people who have hearts like these, and thus arranges various environments to protect them.) That’s right. God’s protection for you is in exchange for your sincerity toward Him. So, what is most precious? Man’s sincerity is most precious. You have a little love for positive things and sincerity toward God, and you exchange these for God’s protection and grace—you have gained a lot. Someone might say, “My caliber is poor, and even though I’ve gained a lot I still don’t understand anything.” Do you not understand much? Your ability to perform your duty and follow God today is related to your understanding of the truth. Someone else might say, “What do I understand? I can’t explain it clearly.” You might not be able to explain it clearly, but you are able to persist in performing your duty in God’s house, and you understand a lot. No matter how deep or shallow your understanding of these things, they are certainly related to the truth and are close to it, which is why you’ve been supported until now and continuously perform your duty. Isn’t this the case? (Yes, it is.) Thinking that you’re a fool or an idiot isn’t a bad thing, and looking at it now, “fool” and “idiot” are nicknames without any disparaging or belittling meaning. When being called a fool and an idiot is compared with being called an antichrist, which is better? (Being called a fool and an idiot is better.) If, one day, God says, “Come over here, fool. Come over here, idiot,” you might not be happy, but you’d mull it over, thinking, “He called me a fool and not an antichrist, so I’ll go over.” And you’d happily go. Then someone says, “How come you’re so happy to be called a fool?” And you say, “He called me a fool and didn’t say I was an antichrist, or that I couldn’t be saved. That’s why I’m happy.” Calling you a fool isn’t treating you as an outsider, but as a family member, as someone familiar. It’s like people calling their children “little monsters”; it might sound a little coarse, but it’s actually the truth, and it’s just a term of endearment. What if you were called an antichrist? Then you’d be in trouble, as changing a name means that its nature is different, and your outcome will be different too. Which would you choose? (I’d choose to be called a fool and an idiot.) It’s not good to always be a fool and an idiot; your caliber must improve a little too. Has your caliber improved over the years? (It’s improved just a little, but not too much.) In the matter of life entry, if you truly work hard and keep striving then you’ll certainly improve, but it’s impossible to see major improvements all at once. It’s a process of slow growth, but as long as you have entry then you won’t regress, and as long as you pursue then your life entry will grow slowly, little by little.

It’s not an easy task for God to work the truth into people. It does not happen as fast as the speed at which a seed sprouts when planted in the earth—it is quite different. God’s salvation of man is by thoroughly cleansing and transforming his satanic disposition and by allowing man to live out the truth reality in His words, but these are not simple matters. Even if you listen to sermons, read God’s words, pray, and experience every single day, your progress will be limited, and your life growth will be slow. Many processes are needed for someone to understand the truth. People need many repeated experiences, and they also need to keep striving and put effort into trying to comprehend the truth—only then can they understand it. Also, the work of the Holy Spirit is necessary, or else what people gain will be even more limited. Many people have believed in God for twenty or thirty years but still cannot speak of their experiential testimony. This is because they’ve never pursued the truth or put concentrated effort into comprehending the truth, resulting in gaining nothing even after believing in God for decades. People need to understand the truth, experience it, and comprehend it, and they especially need God to arrange environments for them. The combination of these different aspects causes people to have a little understanding and entry. Once this is generated inside you, it’ll give you different knowledge, feelings, and thoughts, allowing your consciousness and thoughts to progress and change a little, which in turn will slightly strengthen your faith in God and transform your attitude toward the truth and your own life path a little. They’re all little, minute changes, but these minute changes will produce a huge shift in your outlook on life, in your thoughts and views, and in your attitude toward things and God. This is the power of God’s word—the truth.

Excerpt 89

During God’s salvation of man, what baseline does He give people, regardless of how rebellious they are, or how deeply corrupt their dispositions are? That is, under what circumstances does God abandon people and cast them out? What is the lowest standard that you must reach for God to keep you and not cast you out? This is something that all of God’s chosen people must be clear about. Firstly, not denying God—this is the most basic condition. There is practical content within what it means to not deny God. It is not just acknowledging that there is an Old Man in the Sky, or that God has become flesh, or that God’s name is Almighty God. This is not enough, this does not meet the standard for believing in God. At the very least, you must recognize that God incarnate is the practical God; you must not doubt or judge; you must be able to submit even if you have notions—this is the standard for belief in God. Only by reaching this standard will God acknowledge you as a person who believes in Him. God has at least three baselines for people. Firstly, they must acknowledge Him, believe in Him, and follow Him. They must be sincere believers in God, they must do their duties to the best of their abilities, and they must not do evil or cause disturbances. This is the first baseline. Secondly, in the course of following God, they must, at the very least, not abandon their duties. They must obey and submit when performing their duties, achieve average results in them, and, at least, render service to an acceptable standard. This is the second baseline. Thirdly, their humanity must be up to standard. They must be considered good people, or, at the very least, people with conscience and reason. They should be able to basically get along with most of God’s chosen people, and not be a rotten apple. People like this are, at the very least, not bad or evil people. This is the third baseline. If someone cannot accept the truth, and refuses to perform a duty no matter what, then they are not a true believer in God—at the very least, their humanity is not up to standard. This means that they have sunk below the baseline and must be cast out. All those with bad humanity, who cannot accept the slightest bit of the truth, who cause disturbances and disruptions, and do not play a positive role in the church, may be classified as evil people. Someone who cannot get along with most other people is a rotten apple, an evil person, and even more so, they are someone who has sunk below the baseline and should be cast out. Those evil people and antichrists may perform duties, but they just cause disruptions, disturbances, destruction, and do evil—could God want people like this? Are they doing their duties? (They are not.) In God’s eyes, their actions have broken through the baseline. They are incapable of performing their duties, and the harm they cause outweighs whatever duties they perform, so they must be cleansed away from the church. Is this not the principle by which people are treated in the house of God? Was anybody ever cleared out because they were momentarily in a bad state, and felt negative and weak? Was anybody ever made to stop performing their duty because they were occasionally a little perfunctory and didn’t perform it well? Was anybody ever cleared out because they achieved poor results in their duty, or because they revealed some bad thoughts or ideas? Was anybody ever cleared out because they had small stature, and notions and doubts about God arose in them? (No.) Then, what is the principle of God’s house for clearing people out? Which people are cleared out and made to stop performing their duties? (Those whose service does more harm than good, and who consistently cause disruptions and disturbances.) This type of person is not worthy of performing a duty. This does not mean that someone is biased against them or restricting and clearing them out due to personal spite; it means that they do not get any results in their duty, and they cause disruptions and disturbances. They are cleared out because they are truly unworthy of performing a duty. This completely accords with the truth principles. The principles by which the house of God handles and treats people are all fair. God’s house does not try to catch people slipping up, make mountains out of molehills, or create big fusses over nothing. You must believe that God’s house is ruled by the truth. Of course, some people who have been cleared out may still have hope for salvation if they can accept the truth and sincerely repent to God. But those nonbelievers and evil people who cannot accept even a bit of the truth, who lack conscience and reason, will be cast out forever after they are revealed. This is God’s righteousness.

Excerpt 90

Why does God require that people know Him? Why does He require people to know themselves? What is the purpose of knowing oneself? What is the desired result? And what is the purpose of knowing God? What effect is to be achieved in people by having them know God? Are these questions you’ve considered? God uses various means to get people to know themselves. He has prepared all manner of environments for people to reveal their corruption, and to get them to know themselves progressively through experience. Whether it’s the exposure of God’s words or His judgment and chastisement, do you understand what the ultimate purpose of God doing this work is? God’s ultimate purpose in doing His work this way is to allow every person who experiences His work to know what man is. And what does this entail, this “knowing what man is”? It entails letting man know his identity and his status, his duty and his responsibility. It means letting you know what it means to be human, letting you understand who you are. This is God’s ultimate goal in getting people to know themselves. So why does God have people know Him? This is the special grace He bestows upon mankind, because by knowing God, man can understand many truths and see through many mysteries. People gain so much by knowing God. When people know God, they learn how to live in the most meaningful way, so getting people to pursue knowledge of God is God’s greatest love, His greatest blessing. And God avails of many ways to get people to know Him, the most primary one being the judgment and chastisement, guidance, and provision of His words. Of course, He also makes people know His disposition through judgment and chastisement—this is a shortcut for knowing God. What is the ultimate result achieved by people seeing and knowing the disposition of God? It is making people know who God is, what His essence is, what His identity and status are, what His possessions and being are, and what His disposition is. It is making every person see clearly that they are created beings, that only God is the Creator, and how created beings ought to submit to the Creator. By knowing all this, man’s path in life becomes completely elucidated. When people truly know themselves, can they not then gradually let go of their extravagant desires and various unjust intentions? (Yes.) So can they then reach the point where they are able to let go completely? This depends on the individual. A person can only truly let go of their extravagant desires and various demands of God when, through His work, they attain a knowledge of God and acquire an accurate knowledge and definition of His essence, identity, and status. Only this type of person can, like Peter, express their heartfelt wish and desire to love God from the bottom of their heart, and put love of God into practice. Thus, knowing God and knowing oneself—neither can be dispensed with. You say you want to love God, but can you know how to love Him if you do not understand Him? What parts of Him are lovable? What are His most lovable aspects? If you do not know this, you cannot love Him. You will be incapable of loving Him, even if you want to, and you may even find notions about Him and rebelliousness involuntarily arising in you, leading to negativity. Will this kind of person receive God’s approval? They will not. When someone does not know God and nevertheless says they love Him, this so-called “love” is all empty theory evoked by human logic and reasoning. It does not arise from a knowledge of God, and it doesn’t hold up at all with God. Do you now see what I’m saying about these two matters? (Yes.) Then why weren’t you able to say it just now? This proves that your knowledge of yourself in practical experience is muddled, and that you don’t have true knowledge of God. Do you know what the issue here is? (We have not found the correct path of practice. We cannot enter concurrently from the two aspects of knowing God and knowing ourselves. We focus only on entering from a single aspect, thus limiting the growth of our life.) Since this is the state you are now in, how is your stature? Is it not immature? Are you not very far from God’s requirement and standard in terms of knowing yourself? At the very least, you still cannot let go of your personal desires and intentions. Can your submission to God accord with the truth? Are you able to know whether God has any status in your heart? There are many people who even now still question whether God’s incarnation is human or God; they have a foot in both camps, one moment believing in the God on earth, the next believing in a vague God up in the sky. And there are some who even question God’s essence, who say, “How can the incarnated God and the God in the sky be the same God? If He really is God, why doesn’t He display miracles and signs?” This shows that you have a severe lack of spiritual understanding. Such is your stature that despite God saying so much you still don’t understand it. Now you only acknowledge that God has become flesh, you only acknowledge the truth expressed by God incarnate; but you don’t have much of any knowledge when it comes to God’s essence, identity, and status. You could say that in your hearts this knowledge amounts to zero, does it not? (It does.) And this can be proven in fact: Before I fellowshipped on such aspects of the truth as God’s essence or God’s will, you thought your knowledge of God was profound, and you thought your belief in God was steadfast and unwavering. But when I fellowshipped with you about such truths as God Himself, God’s disposition, and God’s essence, these words and contents provoked a strong reaction in your hearts. This reaction was intense, and it made it difficult for you to accept, creating a great conflict with the God you had imagined in your hearts. Is this not a fact? (It is.) So, when I say some things that you haven’t heard before, you find it impossible to accept at first, as if you can’t understand what it is I’m saying. This proves that your stature is too small, so much that you cannot even understand God’s words or measure up to them. You will need several more years of experience before you can understand.

Excerpt 91

God’s assessment of Job is recorded in the Old Testament: “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil” (Job 1:8). In the last days, God not only bore witness to the fact that Peter truly loved Him, but also to the fact that Job was a person who had true faith in Him, and God requires that His chosen people must at least have the faith of Job if they are to follow Him to the end. In your imaginings, and within the scope of the limited texts that you understand, what kind of person was Job? Was he a good person? (Yes.) In what ways was this primarily manifested? Firstly, he was a man who feared God, and he never did evil. This is the primary manifestation and mark of a good person. Furthermore, he was principled in his conduct, and principled in how he treated his children and family. He did not try to cover up his children’s faults, and he prayed to God and entrusted his children to Him, which showed people that his attitude toward his children was completely correct and in accordance with God’s will. What do you think it would be like, as children, to have a father like that? Wouldn’t it make you feel happy? But what were Job’s friends like? When Job was faced with trials and tribulations, how did his friends treat him? None of them could understand him, and moreover they judged him: “You offended God, and He has cursed you. Look at where your belief in God has gotten you. How pitiful!” Even Job’s wife said, “Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). During this time of extreme suffering, that was how Job’s friends and wife treated him, which caused him immense harm and pain. But there were very few people who understood Job—this is true. When we read Job’s story now, we feel that it is, in fact, people like Job who are the most reliable and trustworthy, and that this kind of person is a truly good person. They will never deceive or harm you, and they’ll always adhere to principles in the way that they treat you. If you are a correct person, they won’t condemn you or say nasty things about you just because you do one bad thing or because other people speak ill of you. They won’t go against the facts and speak in a crooked way to falsely accuse people. They won’t let feelings or preferences guide their speech. Over time, you’ll see: “Now this is a good person. Whenever we encounter a bit of difficulty, we just cast aside our duties, but they never forsake the name of God, no matter how great the trials and tribulations they face. No wonder God likes this kind of person. If I had a person like this by my side, no matter what sickness or tribulations befell me, they would be able to continue helping, assisting, caring for, and tolerating me just as before. This kind of person is wonderful. Even if they were to sometimes get on my nerves or if we didn’t always get along, I’d much rather have them by my side than one of those Satans and devils!” Typically, Satans and devils will outwardly say, “You’re so great. I love you and care about you so much,” but as soon as you encounter some trouble, they’ll ignore you, and that’s when you’ll realize what a good person is, and what a reliable person is. Only those who are trustworthy, and fear God and shun evil, are truly good people, and good people are so precious. It would be wonderful if you had a dozen people like Job by your side—but now you have none! At this time, you’ll feel just how rare a good person is. Everyone needs a good person like this. Everyone likes righteous and benevolent people, people with kind hearts who act in a principled manner, who have a sense of justice, who fear God and shun evil, and who are worthy of trust.

When you are beset by tribulations and illness, when your heart suffers the most, what kind of person do you need by your side? Do you need someone who speaks false and honeyed words? Do you need someone who judges, condemns, and criticizes you? (No.) What kind of person do you need the most then? You need a person who can show sympathy for your difficulties and console you, who can listen to you talk about the pain in your heart and then help you to emerge from your negativity, weakness, and suffering. This person can help you—they won’t laugh at you or kick you when you’re down, and they won’t turn a blind eye to your difficulties. That is, if you need them to comfort you, and you have difficulties, times of weakness, and private problems, you can share these things with them, and they won’t spread them around behind your back, mock you, ridicule you, or make a mess of your personal affairs. They can approach your difficulties, weakness, negativity, and the weak parts of your humanity correctly. Isn’t it principled to approach these things correctly? Aren’t these manifestations of a good person? This kind of person can understand you, tolerate you, and care for you. They can support you, provide for you, and help you to pull yourself out of your pain and weakness. They provide such great assistance to you. A person like this is exceedingly precious. This is a good person! Say that someone ignores you, and even ridicules and mocks you when he sees that you have a problem. You want to confide in him about something, but then you think to yourself, “I can’t tell him. If I do, there could be repercussions. He might go and talk about my personal affairs behind my back. Then everyone would laugh at me, and who knows what stories he’d make up to slander me.” Would you dare talk to someone like that? You’d have no idea exactly what he’d be capable of doing. Not only might he not help or support you, he could make a mess of your personal affairs, and deceive and harm you. Would you dare confide in him? At this time, you’d realize just how important, valuable, and precious good people are, and that there is more value in being a good person than in being any other kind of person. Even your parents might not truly understand your difficulties and needs when you are suffering and in pain, and they won’t be able to console you. There are some children who work hard and take on jobs outside the home—in particular, some women have to curry favor with their bosses or even sell their bodies to make a bit of money—and their parents never ask about how hard it is for their children to work outside the home or how difficult it is for them to make money. They even complain if their children don’t bring a lot of money home, and compare them to others. How does this make their children feel? (Sad, dejected.) Their hearts sink. They feel the world is such a dark place, and that even their own parents are this way, and wonder how they’re going to go on living. That’s why you must be a good person. Everyone needs a good person. And how do good people come about? Do they just fall out of the sky? Do they sprout from the ground? Is there some animal out of which they evolve? Are they products of the education of high-ranking schools? Or products of ascetic religious cultivation? No, none of these explanations are correct, all of them are absolutely impossible. One can only become a good person by following God, practicing the truth, and accepting God’s salvation. Good people do not arise through the sudden transformation of corrupt humans—people must believe in God and receive His salvation, they must pursue the truth, obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, and be made perfect in order to become good people. Everyone needs a good person by their side as a friend and confidant. Tell Me, does God need them too? (Yes.) God needs good people, and people need good people too. What effect will understanding this matter have on you? You must have this resolve and this desire to strive to become a good person. If you say, “Being a good person is difficult and tiring, but I must have the resolve to strive toward becoming one. People desperately need good people, and I also need good people. So I’ll become a good person myself first, and assist and support others, endeavoring to help God gain more good people,” then this is correct. If everyone strives to be a good person, then there will be hope for humankind. You might say, “Humanity is so corrupt and evil. It’s no use if only a couple believers in God are good people. They’ll still be pushed around because there are too many evil people.” This is a foolish thing to say. You believe in God to attain salvation. If you become a good and righteous person, God will bless you. No matter how evil and corrupt humans are, God has ways of dealing with them. People do not need to worry themselves about this. You only have to focus on pursuing the truth and attaining God’s salvation. This is what accords with His will. Only eight people were ultimately saved when Noah made the ark. All those who did not believe God’s words and did not walk the right path were destroyed in the end by God’s flood. This is a recognized fact. Why is it that you cannot recognize God’s almightiness? Why can you not recognize that God is a righteous God? When God concludes His work, no matter how many people attain salvation, this age must come to an end. The great disasters must descend, and God will resolve all of these problems. You pursue the truth and become a righteous person for your own sake—it benefits you, and it benefits others. Some people say, “The good do not get what they deserve,” but this is incorrect. Those who pursue the truth will ultimately have their place in the kingdom of heaven, and no matter how much the evil prosper on earth, they will all ultimately be destroyed and cast down into hell. So, both the good and the evil get their just deserts, do they not? What does it say in the Bible? “My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).

The things that Job did which are recorded in the Book of Job actually take up very little space, they are very simple, and there aren’t very many of them. But you should be able to seek out clues within Job’s actions, and find Job’s principles and path of practice for being a good person. First of all, what was Job’s principle regarding his treatment of his children and those closest to him? It was to not depend on his affections, but to adhere to principles. He was not going to sin against God because of the things that happened. This was the first criterion of his fearing God and shunning evil—it began with his treatment of his own family members. Secondly, there was his treatment of his assets. Job knew that, although his assets were mere worldly possessions, they came from God and were that which God had bestowed upon him and with which God had blessed him. People should manage and look after these things carefully and well. Looking after them well does not mean greedily possessing or enjoying them, and it does not mean living for these things; it means thanking God for them, seeing the orchestrations of God’s hands and His sovereignty within them, and knowing God through these things. When people know God, they are then able to submit to His sovereignty, and this really is the most crucial criterion for being a good person. If you can adhere to principles when dealing with others, but you are unable to submit to God, then are you really being a good person? No, you aren’t. Furthermore, in his treatment of God’s sovereignty and arrangements, Job was able to submit to all of God’s sovereignty and arrangements. God’s arrangements include His deprivation and His trials. Sometimes God deprives, sometimes He tests. What do His trials include? Sometimes He may make you ill, or cause some adverse circumstances to occur within your family, or He may cause you to encounter some difficulties and prunings, and be chastened, disciplined, judged, and chastised by Him in the course of performing your duty. These are all God’s arrangements—and how should you approach them? If you cannot submit to them, and you constantly want to escape from them, then you are not experiencing God’s work. Additionally, people must be loyal in how they approach their duties. They must demonstrate their loyalty. What does loyalty mean here? It means offering up all they are capable of and all they possess. That is loyalty! This is the standard for being a good person. If among you now there were just one person like Job—no need for more, just one—then you’d have a pillar among you. When something befell you, they would serve as your role model at all times. You’d only have to do as they did, and over time you’d change. You’d keep improving, from your thoughts to your actions, from seeking the truth to practicing it. Your state would rise straight up, moving in a positive direction, allowing you to embark on the right path of belief in God. After experiencing God’s work for some number of years in this way, you too would be able to fear God and shun evil like Job, and become a perfect person.

Excerpt 92

You are living in this final age. Most of your family lives are more prosperous than before, and you have material abundance in every aspect of your lives. What kind of feeling do you have? It is only that slight sense of happiness in the flesh, but what is the difference between this and happiness in the heart? You all have some experiences and have seen through some things, your pursuit of faith in God is more practical than before, you can all feel that the pursuit of fleshly pleasures is empty, and you are all willing to strive toward the truth—do you all have this kind of experience? Can people’s fleshly pleasure in various types of material things bring them spiritual comfort? What can a sense of superiority in life and an abundant material life bring to people? They can only make people depraved, and make people lose their direction. In this way, people will easily lose their reason, become unable to know good from bad and become unreasonable, and they will gradually lose their humanity; they will crave comfort more and more, and become increasingly ignorant of their own place in the universe. There will even be some people who lose the ability to take care of themselves. They will be completely unable to live independently, be unable to earn their own living, and will become dependent on their parents. They will also be increasingly insatiable and shameless. In summary, what superior living conditions and a rich material life bring to people is just depravity, making them love idleness and despise work, making them become insatiably greedy, and making them have no sense of shame. They bring absolutely no benefit to people. With regard to the flesh, the better you are toward it, the greedier it will be. It is suited to enduring a little suffering. People who endure a little suffering will walk the correct path and engage in proper work. If the flesh does not endure suffering, craves comfort, and grows up in a nest of comfort, then people will not achieve anything and cannot possibly obtain the truth. If people encounter natural calamities and man-made disasters, they will be devoid of sense and will be unreasonable. As time goes on, they will only become more and more depraved. Are there many examples of this? You can see that among the unbelievers, there are many singers and movie stars who were quite willing to endure hardship and dedicated themselves to their work before they became famous. But once they gain fame and start making big money, they don’t walk the correct path. Some of them take drugs, some of them commit suicide, and their lives are shortened. What causes this? Their material pleasures are too excessive, they are too comfortable, and they don’t know how to obtain greater enjoyment or greater excitement. Some of them turn to drugs in search of higher excitement and pleasure, and, as time goes by, they cannot give it up. Some die from excessive drug use, and others, not knowing how to free themselves of it, simply commit suicide in the end. There are so many examples like this. No matter how well you eat, how well you dress, how well you live, how much you enjoy yourself, or how comfortable your life is, and no matter how fully your desires are satisfied, in the end it is emptiness on top of emptiness, and the result is destruction. Is that happiness which the unbelievers seek real happiness? Actually, that is not happiness. It is human imagining, it is a form of depravity, it is a path by which people become depraved. The so-called happiness that people pursue is false. It is actually suffering. That is not a goal that people should pursue, neither is it where the value of living is. Some of the ways and methods by which Satan corrupts people are making them seek satisfaction of the flesh and indulgence in lust as a goal. By this way, Satan numbs people, entices people, and corrupts people, making them feel as if that is happiness, and leading them to chase after that goal. People believe that obtaining those things is obtaining happiness, so people do all in their power to head in pursuit of that goal. Then, after they do obtain it, it is not happiness they feel but rather emptiness and pain. This proves that that is not the correct path; it is a road to death. Why do people who believe in God not walk this path like the unbelievers do? What is the happiness felt by people who believe in God like? How is it different from that which the unbelievers pursue? After believing in God, most people do not pursue great wealth. They do not pursue prosperity on earth, career achievements, or becoming a celebrity. Rather, they quietly go about doing their duty, living simply, and not having very high demands for their quality of life. Some people even feel satisfied by just having food to eat and clothes to wear. In a world of such darkness and evil, why are they still able to choose this kind of path? Could you say that all brothers and sisters that believe in God lack the ability to make big money? Absolutely not. It is because after these people believe in God, more or less, they already feel deep in their hearts that following God is the greatest happiness, and this happiness cannot be replaced by any material thing in the world. Some people have even tried; they’ve gone through hardships in the world for several years, and found it tiring and difficult. Even though they earned a bit of money and experienced fleshy pleasures, they lived without dignity, and their lives became increasingly empty and bitter. They felt that it would be better to die than to live like that. These people have already seen through these matters. They do not just believe in God because they have no other option, but rather they have truly felt: Following God and walking the path of pursuing the truth, as well as expending and devoting their whole life to God, are the greatest comforts to their heart, and are the greatest things in their whole life; obtaining God and obtaining the truth is the greatest happiness, and is the thing which makes people’s hearts the most peaceful, joyful and steadfast. They have already felt this happiness; it is not imaginary. It can be said that some of God’s chosen people have already experienced some tribulations and trials, have understood the truth, and have seen through many things. They have confirmed that believing in God and pursuing the truth is the correct path, that there is no other path that can be taken in the world, and that only God’s words are the truth—and they have settled on this path. A person like this has true faith, and these years of suffering are not in vain. Regardless of whether the experiential testimonies they speak of are deep or shallow, one thing is clear: If you try to prevent them from believing in God and make them return to the world, in no case would they ever go that way. Even if the world had an enticing mountain of gold, which might tempt them at the time, they would think it over: “Getting a mountain of gold or a mountain of silver would not make me as happy as expending myself for God and doing my duty. If I obtained a fortune of gold and silver, I would be pretty happy at that moment, but I would suffer torment and pain in my heart, so I cannot take that path, no matter what. It wasn’t easy finding God; if I go back again, where would I go to find God? The chance to follow God is so hard to come by! There’s not much time, and time itself is fleeting—this is a rare opportunity indeed!” They have seen God’s appearance and work, and grasping hold of God is just like grabbing onto a life-saving straw. Tell Me, what does a drowning person feel when they grab onto a lifebuoy? (They feel like there’s hope for survival, so they clutch it tightly and don’t ever let go.) That is exactly how they feel. When they are grabbing onto a lifebuoy, what would they think? “I don’t have to die now, there is finally hope for survival! When death is approaching, as long as there is a sliver of hope for staying alive, I can’t let go even if I have to use all of my strength. No matter how hard or painful it is, I cannot let it slip away. Even if I’m down to my absolute last breath, I need to hold onto that lifebuoy.” When someone feels they have hope to stay alive, do they not feel happy? Now, when you think silently, contemplate, pray, or engage in spiritual devotion, and you realize how much you have gotten from following God, doesn’t this feeling of happiness arise in your heart? Speak your true feelings. (If we weren’t following Christ, we would have already fallen into disaster, and the consequences of that would be unimaginable. Now, by eating and drinking the words of God and doing our duty, we have come to understand a lot of truths. We have gained real faith and can also fear God in our hearts; we have learned to submit to God. We’ve gained so much, and we’re so grateful for God’s guidance.) That’s right. You have gained so much from following God and doing your duty. This is what God has brought to man. You should be properly grateful to God and praise Him.

When people with true faith in God come up against issues, they are able to seek the truth, and after having some experiences they will be able to obtain some truths. The happiness that these truths bring is enough to replace the pleasures that material things and comforts bring. As for those things, the more you gain of them, the less satisfied you are and the less able you are to know good from bad. But the more thoroughly people understand the truth and the more they obtain it, then the more they know they should give thanks to God and be grateful, the more they thirst in their hearts to love God, and the more able they are to submit to God and fear God. This is true happiness. What does the pursuit of material pleasures bring to people? Emptiness and depravity; it can only make their pursuit and desire for material things grow. It is difficult for people to cast away the temptation for status, fame and gain. So, how can people who believe in God let go of these material pleasures? Is it achieved by praying every day and exercising self-restraint? (No, it is by seeing through these things.) How does one see through them? (On the one hand, it is by the exposure of God’s words, and on the other hand, it is by one’s own experiences and realizations and slowly coming to understand some truths that one can see through these things.) You understand the truth so can let go of these things, and this shows that you have accepted the truth. Deep down, you have accepted God’s word—what He has said to man and what He demands of man—and it has become your reality. Is this reality your life? It has already become your life. In doing your duty, without realizing it you have obtained the truth as your life. It is possible that you don’t yet have any feeling of it, you think that your own stature seems quite small, and that there are many things you don’t understand—but you have a God-fearing heart, and this shows that the life of God is already wrought into you. Growth in life is natural; it doesn’t require you to feel a certain way. Even if you cannot put it into clear words, in fact you have made progress and have changed. Therefore, at the same time as accepting the life truth of God, your heart has unconsciously drawn closer to God, and all the while God has been scrutinizing you and observing your heart. Think carefully now—isn’t this process a rather happy one? It is extremely happy! You are so fortunate to be living in the last days, to have the privilege of accepting God’s work in the last days, following God, and doing your duty. God’s words are directly wrought into you, which allows you to obtain the truth as life. With the life of God’s words as reality, and life of the truth as reality, isn’t human existence truly valuable? Hasn’t it become noble without you even realizing it? Hasn’t being alive slowly started to become more dignified? It is only at this time that people feel that they have gained so much by believing in God. Understanding some truths can bring such a change to people; before, they did not see through this, but now they see everything clearly. As it turns out, the truth of God’s words has already become their life inside them. The truth has taken root in the heart and blossoms to bear fruit—that is life; it is the fruit borne from understanding the truth, and it cannot be replaced by anything. When you later experience some disciplining, chastening, judgment, and chastisement, and are able to accept and submit to them, then without realizing it you will come to know God after understanding many truths, and your life will increasingly make progress. Isn’t that gradually growing up? Aren’t you also looking forward to that day? (Yes.) Then you must strive toward the truth.

Excerpt 93

What do those who do not understand the truth rely on when they do things? They rely on human methods, human intellect, and a little human ingenuity. When things get done and completed using these, people become arrogant. They feel they have capital and can brag and flaunt their seniority. This is called lacking reason. In fact, they do not know whether what they have done is actually in accordance with God’s will or not. They do not understand, they lack insight. Thus, when something befalls them, such people tend to split hairs. When they make mistakes doing their duty and are pruned, they look for external reasons, blaming this and blaming that. They blame poor circumstances, they blame themselves for not thinking things through at the time. They only look for external reasons; they do not acknowledge that they do not understand the truth, or that they have not grasped the truth principles. Their hearts are negative and filled with misunderstanding of God, and they believe that God has revealed them. Is this really the case? In doing their duty they reveal their corrupt dispositions. They do things without any principles and without any relation to the truth. How pitiful they are. Such people do their duty without submission; they cannot be said to have any loyalty or devotion, and fearing God and shunning evil is even more out of the question. They constantly rely on human methods to do things, and only act and exert effort externally, but ultimately they still fail to understand the truth. Are there changes in the life dispositions of these people? Are their relationships with God normal? Is there any improvement in their submission to and fear of God? (No.) There is no improvement in their lives. There is no change in their corrupt dispositions. They only become more cunning and more devious, using more deceitful means and even growing more arrogant. No matter what they are faced with, they still live by Satan’s philosophy, constantly summing up their experiences and lessons learned, noting where they have fallen and failed, and what lessons they should learn in order to avoid falling and failing again. They always summarize their experiences and lessons like this, not seeking the truth at all. Can one cast off their corrupt disposition while living by Satan’s philosophy? If their corrupt disposition cannot be cast off, can they attain salvation? Failure to understand these matters is dangerous, with no way of entering the right track of believing in God. After so many years of believing in God in such a muddleheaded manner, can they obtain the truth? Can their conscience and reason become ever more normal? Can they live out a normal humanity? (No.) Summarizing experiences and lessons like this and changing one’s behavior might reduce mistakes, but does it count as practicing the truth? (No.) Can this person enter into the truth reality? (No.) Does such a person have a place in their heart for God? (No.) Those who act without regard for the truth, or for God, are nonbelievers who are unable to attain God’s salvation! Can you discern people like this?

When someone does something, regardless of whether they are doing their duty or taking care of personal matters, pay attention to where their focus is directed. If they’re focusing on philosophies for worldly dealings, this shows that they do not love or pursue the truth. If a person strives toward the truth no matter what befalls them, if they always reach toward the truth in their contemplation, thinking: “Would doing this conform with God’s will? What are God’s requirements? Is doing this sinning against God? Would it offend His disposition? Would it hurt God? Would God loathe it? Is there sense in doing this? Would it disturb or disrupt the church’s work? Would it harm the interests of God’s house? Would it bring shame upon God’s name? Is it practicing the truth? Is it doing evil? What would God think of it?” if they are always pondering on these questions, what is this a sign of? (It is a sign that they are seeking and pursuing the truth.) That’s right. It is a sign that they are seeking the truth, and that God is in their heart. How do those who do not have God in their hearts deal with what befalls them? (They act based on their own intellect and gifts, having nothing to do with God at all, and their actions are especially mixed with their own intentions.) Not only do they mix in their own intentions, but when they act according to their own intentions, they do not examine or reflect upon themselves at all. They make no concessions, sticking stubbornly to their own ways. They do things however they please, do not pray to God, and do not seek the truth. They have nothing to do with God. Is it not easy for such people to do wrong and offend God’s disposition? Is this not incredibly dangerous? What characteristics do people who do not pursue the truth exhibit in their daily lives, both in terms of how they conduct themselves and the dispositions they reveal? (They act rashly and without restraint, look down on others, are especially arrogant and dissolute, and make decisions unilaterally.) Mainly it is these things: They are arrogant, conceited, wantonly rash, dissolute, and unrestrained; they act without reason, doing things however they please, and are always wild and rascally. Without being pruned, they bare their teeth. When faced with being pruned, they are negative, antagonistic, defiant, and rebellious, and their demonic nature is completely exposed. When these people who do not pursue the truth do not do or say anything, they appear to be regular people. But as soon as they do something, their corrupt disposition emerges and it is barbaric and beastly. In the words of God, how are such people described? (“What is revealed in you is not the mischievousness of children who have strayed from their parents, but the beastliness that bursts forth from animals that are out of reach of their masters’ whips” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. What Is Your Understanding of God?).) The dispositions such people reveal can be described as beastly, and they are devoid of normal humanity. If there are such people in a crowd, will you be able to tell them apart? (A little bit.) Those who seek the truth and those who do not are entirely different in how they behave and what they reveal. The clear manifestations of those who do not seek the truth are a lack of reason, a lack of conscience, and acting without regard for the truth principles. They act wantonly and recklessly, and are audacious to the extreme. Those who do not pursue the truth are both pitiful and detestable. They make fools of themselves, bringing no benefit to other people. If they bring no benefit to others, then would God not abhor them? (Yes.) Do they themselves have any awareness of this? (No.) Why do I say they are pitiful? It is because they are like this yet do not even realize it themselves. They lack any semblance of human likeness yet still think they are fine, and still dare to act with impulsive recklessness. Is that not just pitiful? In discerning people, the main thing is to discern whether or not they practice the truth, seek the truth, and accept the truth. This is how you accurately discern them, and see clearly all categories of people.

Are you those who pursue the truth? (We did not pursue it before, but now we are striving for it.) In the past few years, when you did not pursue the truth, did you exhibit the behaviors I just mentioned? (Yes, we did.) When you exhibited those behaviors, did it not pain your heart to live in a state like that? (Yes, we were suffering, but we did not realize it.) It is so pitiful not to realize this! When one does not understand the truth and has no truth reality, that is most pitiful and lamentable. Holding on to these truths, often listening to sermons, yet not obtaining anything and still living within the binds of Satan, acting and speaking without rationality, obviously devoid of humanity—it is so pitiful! Thus, pursuing the truth is of utmost importance! You realize this now, don’t you? (Yes, we do.) It is good that you realize this. What’s worrisome is when people are apathetic and obtuse, and unable to realize it. If one does not pursue the truth and is not aware of it, that’s not such a big problem. What’s most concerning is that one does realize it but nevertheless does not pursue the truth, and is completely unrepentant. This is a deliberate transgression. Those who knowingly transgress and absolutely refuse to accept the truth, are in their hearts intransigent and malicious, and are averse to the truth. Can those who are intransigent be God-fearing? If they do not fear God, can they attain compatibility with God? (No.) What attitudes do those with intransigent hearts have toward God? They are resistant, rebellious, and unrepentant, and they absolutely do not acknowledge that God is the truth. They do not accept the truth and oppose God to the end! What is the end of such people? (They will be punished by God and destroyed.) God does not save those people. Were the 250 leaders mentioned in the Bible intransigent and rebellious people? What became of them in the end? (They were swallowed up by the earth.) That is the outcome. No matter how long someone believes in God, if they do not know the importance of pursuing the truth, if they do not understand the abhorrence and consequences of being averse to the truth, then what will their outcome be? They shall certainly be cast out. New believers are foolish and ignorant, not yet knowing how to carry out proper tasks or the correct path to walk. That is the pitiable aspect of people. If you have believed in God for several years and can do your duty, yet do not pursue the truth, that is merely rendering service. If you can do your duty loyally, willingly render service, do no evil, and cause no disruptions or disturbances, then even if you have not yet pursued the truth, because you can do your duty loyally, God will still not condemn you. But should one understand some of the truth, and realize the importance of pursuing the truth, and yet still not pursue the truth, then salvation shall not be easy for them. At best, they could remain as a loyal service-doer. As for those who are unwilling to render service, compete for power and gain, and disturb the church’s life and work, their outcome is sealed. They have already fallen into disaster and are awaiting death. They should prepare for what is to come!

Excerpt 94

There are some people who have just come to believe in God who are often negative and weak. This is because they do not understand the truth, their stature is too small, and they lack any understanding of the various truths concerning faith in God. They therefore believe themselves to be of poor caliber, unable to keep up, have lots of difficulties—which breeds negativity, and even makes them throw in the towel: They take the decision to give up, to stop pursuing the truth. They cast out themselves. What they think is, “In any case, God will not approve of me for my belief in Him. God doesn’t like me, either. And I don’t have much time to go to gatherings. My family life is difficult and I need to earn money,” and so on. These all become the reasons why they can’t go to gatherings. If you are not quick to find out what’s going on, you will likely pigeonhole them as not loving the truth, and as not being someone who truly believes in God, or else you will pigeonhole them as coveting the comforts of the flesh, pursuing the world and being unable to let go of worldly things—and because of this, you will abandon them. Does this fit with the truth principles? Do these reasons truly represent their nature essence? In fact, it is because of their difficulties and entanglements that they become negative; if you can solve these problems, they will not be so negative, and will be able to follow God. When they are weak and negative, they need people’s support. If you help them, they will be able to get back on their feet. But if you ignore them, it will be easy for them to give up because of negativity. This depends on whether the people who do the work of the church have love, on whether they carry this burden. That some people do not often come to gatherings does not mean that they do not truly believe in God, it is not tantamount to a dislike of the truth, it does not mean that they covet the pleasures of the flesh, and are not able to put aside their families and work—much less should they be judged as overly emotional or enamored of money. It’s just that in these matters, people’s statures and aspirations are different. Some people love the truth, and are able to pursue the truth; they are willing to suffer to give up these things. Some people have little faith, and when faced with actual difficulties they are powerless, and cannot overcome them. If nobody helps or supports them, they’ll throw in the towel and give up on themselves; at such times, they need people’s support, care, and assistance. That’s unless they are a nonbeliever, and are devoid of love for the truth, and a bad person—in which case they can be ignored. If they are someone who truly believes in God, and do not often go to gatherings because of a few genuine difficulties, then they must not be abandoned, but given loving help and support. If they are a good person, and have the comprehension ability, and are of good caliber, then they are even more deserving of help and support.

Excerpt 95

It is not enough to work hard when doing your duty, you must also pour your heart into it. The only way to give your full effort is to do it with all your heart. If your heart is not in it, you have not given your full effort. If you only give all your strength but not all your heart, then you are just working hard without putting your heart into it. This way of performing one’s duty is not acceptable to God. When doing your duty, you should do your best at all times to satisfy God with all your heart, your strength and your mind. If you only give half of your strength and retain the other half, thinking, “I don’t want to get tired; who will provide for me after I wear myself out?” Is this the right attitude? (No.) Will you suffer a loss if you do your duty with this kind of mentality? (Yes.) What kind of a loss? (God will loathe me, and I will gradually lose the work of the Holy Spirit.) Not having the work of the Holy Spirit is a loss. If people believe in God for several years without the work of the Holy Spirit, their loss will be so great that they will gain nothing. It will be as if they have been believing in vain. There are many people who do not pursue the truth, and are cast out after a few years of believing. That is, no matter how much you exert yourself when you do your duty, if you don’t put your heart into it, then you won’t be able to gain the truth. Is this a loss? Do you realize that this is a loss? If you are someone who really understands the truth, you can see that this loss is too great. Of those people who have believed in God for five or ten years, some have obtained the truth reality, while others are still preaching words and doctrines. Is this a big difference? (Yes.) How do those who have obtained the truth reality achieve this? It comes from experience and practice. Is this given by God? (Yes.) What is going on with those who have not obtained the truth reality and are still preaching words and doctrines? They believe in God for many years and yet do not obtain the truth because they do not pursue the truth, and they perform their duty only with their strength but not with their heart. Is it a blessing or a curse to believe in God and not obtain the truth? (It’s a curse.) Why is it a curse? Can you see through this? Is the fact that you haven’t obtained the truth a big problem or a small problem? (A big problem.) What is this big problem related to? Does it have anything to do with salvation? (Yes.) What does it mean when you preach words and doctrines all day long? It puts a question mark on being saved and makes it difficult to achieve. Some people have believed in God for ten years and are still preaching words and doctrines. Others have believed for twenty years and have not yet entered into the truth reality and do not yet know what the truth reality means. Are these people in danger? Is it unclear whether or not they can be saved? (Yes.) Tell Me, of those who have believed for the same number of years, which type of person has the greater chance and more hope of salvation? Is it the people who preach words and doctrines or those who have the truth reality? (Those who have the truth reality.) This is obvious. Then what kind of people do you want to be? (People who have the truth reality.) How can one be a person who has the truth reality? (By actually practicing according to the word of God.) (By doing one’s duty with all one’s heart, strength and mind according to God’s requirements and sparing no effort to satisfy Him.) That’s right. If you do whatever God asks you to do, you will obtain the truth. What is this related to? It is related to one’s outcome and destination. Some people are foolish and smug, and they don’t even know how much they have lost, or what damage they have suffered. They sit there shooting off their mouths and preaching words and doctrines, and still don’t know that they are on the verge of danger! What is the end of those who cannot be saved? First of all, they will be cast out by God and, looking further ahead, what is their end? (Perdition and destruction.) This is their outcome, this is their destination. If people believe in God and end up like this, is this their original intention in believing in Him? (No.) No one wants to end up like this. If you don’t want such an end, then don’t follow that path. You should follow the path of pursuing the truth and only then will you be able to achieve salvation.

If people are unable to receive the work in the last days, they will be completely finished and will not get another chance. It isn’t like the work in the Age of Grace, where if a person didn’t receive it, no matter what country they were born in, they could still wait for an opportunity to receive God’s work in the last days. The end of God’s work in the last days is the end of His management plan, and what does the end mean? It means that He is going to determine each person’s ending, and the end of all things and of humankind is near. God’s work has reached this stage, and if people do not have this vision in their hearts, if they are always confused and do their duty in a perfunctory way, if they fail to take the pursuit of truth seriously and think that, as long as they believe, they will be saved, then they will miss their last chance for salvation. One day when the great disasters arrive, and the work is completely finished, God will no longer do the work of watering and providing people with the truth. With what kind of disposition will God face humankind at that time, do you know? His wrath will be great and His righteous disposition will be revealed to all mankind, in a way that has never been done before. This will be the last great catastrophe for mankind. It is now the period in which God is working to save people. He has been patient, tolerant, and waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for His predestined people, for His chosen people, for those who He wants to save to come before Him, accept His judgment and chastisement, and accept His salvation. When these people have been made complete, God’s great work will be accomplished, and God will no longer do the work of saving mankind. This is not the time of Noah, nor is it the time of the destruction of Sodom, or the time of the creation of the world. Rather, it is the time of the end of the world. Some people are still dreaming, they don’t know what stage God’s work of salvation has reached. Even though they have received the appearance and work of God, they still do not hurry, they remain confused and don’t take it seriously. Once this stage of the work is over, a person’s outcome will be what it is, and it will not change. Man is foolish and still thinks, “It’s okay, God will give us another chance!” The chances are given during the period of God’s work. How could there be another chance when this era is over? Isn’t that just a dream?

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