Chapter 42. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition
Only by pursuing the truth can you obtain changes in your disposition: This is something you must understand, and understand thoroughly. If you do not have sufficient understanding of the truth, you will easily slip up and go astray. If you want to grow in life, you must seek the truth in everything. No matter what issue may arise, you must seek to face it in a way that conforms to the truth, for if you face it in a way that is not entirely pure, then you are going against the truth. You must always consider the value of everything you do. You can do those things that have meaning, but must not do those things that have no meaning. With regard to things that you can either do or not do, if they can be let go, then let them go. Or if you do these things for some time and later find that you should let them go, then make a swift decision and let them go quickly. This is the principle you should follow when doing anything. Some people raise this question: Why is seeking the truth and putting it into practice so very difficult, as though you were rowing a boat against the current and, if you stopped rowing forward, you would drift backward? Why is doing evil or meaningless things actually much easier, like riding a boat downstream? Why is it like that? It is because humanity’s nature is to betray God. Satan’s nature has taken a dominant role within humans, and this is a reactionary force. Humans with a nature that betrays God can, of course, easily do things that betray God, and positive actions are naturally difficult for them to do. This is decided entirely by humanity’s nature and essence. When you really understand the truth and you begin to love the truth from within yourself, it will be easy for you to do things that conform to the truth. This becomes normal, to the point where you can do so in an easy and happy way, and you feel that doing anything negative would require a great amount of effort. This is because the truth has taken a dominant role in your heart. If you really understand the truth about human life, if you understand the truth about what kind of person to be, how to be an aboveboard and straightforward person, an honest person, and how to be someone who bears witness for God and serves Him, then you will never again be able to commit evil acts that defy God, nor will you play the role of a false leader, a false worker, or an antichrist. Even if Satan were to deceive you, or someone evil were to entice you, you still could not go along; no matter who tried to coerce you, you still could not act that way. Such people have gained the truth, and the truth has become their life. They therefore are able to loathe evil and to feel internal disgust with negative things, and it would be difficult for them to commit evil, because their life dispositions have changed and they have been perfected by God.
If you really possess the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if you had arrogance and conceit, you would find it impossible to keep from defying God; you would feel compelled to defy Him. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display, and, finally, sit in God’s place and bear testimony for yourself. In the end, you would turn your own ideas, your own thinking, and your own notions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve their evil acts, they must first resolve the problem of their nature. Without a change in disposition, it would not be possible to bring a fundamental resolution to this problem. When you have some understanding of God, when you can see your own corruption and recognize the contemptibility and ugliness of arrogance and conceit, you will then feel disgusted, sickened, and distressed. You will be able to consciously do some things to satisfy God and, in doing this, will feel at ease. You will be able to consciously bear witness for God and, in doing this, will feel enjoyment. You will consciously unmask yourself, exposing your own ugliness, and by doing this, you will feel good internally and feel yourself in an improved state of mind. Therefore, the first step of seeking a change in your disposition is to seek to understand God’s word and to enter into the truth. Only by understanding the truth can you attain discernment; only with discernment can you understand things thoroughly; only by understanding things thoroughly can you forsake the flesh and, step by step, be on the right track with your belief in God. This is connected with how resolute man is when seeking the truth. If someone has a true resolution, after six months or a year they will begin to enter onto the right track, they will see results within three or five years, and they will feel that they are making progress in life. If you believe in God but do not seek the truth, then you can believe for 10 years and not experience any change, in the end saying, “Believing in God is like this, there is no great meaning to it; it is pretty much the same as my life in the world before. There is no interest in living.” This really shows that without the truth, life is empty. You may be able to speak some words of doctrine, but you will still feel uncomforted and unsure. If you have some understanding about God, if you know how to live a meaningful life, if you can do some things that satisfy God, then you will feel that this is real life, that only by living in this way does your life have meaning, that one must live in this way to be able to satisfy God a little and to feel gratified. If you can consciously satisfy God, consciously put the truth into practice, consciously forsake yourself, abandon your own ideas, and be obedient and considerate toward God’s will; if you are able to do all these things consciously then this is to accurately put the truth into practice, to truly put the truth into practice and is not like your previous reliance on your imagination and your keeping of doctrines and rules. In actual fact, it is most tiring doing anything when you don’t understand the truth, most tiring to keep doctrines and rules, most tiring to have no goals and to do things blindly. Only with the truth can you be free—this is no lie—and with the truth you can do things in an easy and happy way. People who possess this kind of state are those who have the truth, they are those who have changed their dispositions.
While seeking entry, every matter must be investigated. All matters must be thoroughly contemplated in accordance with God’s word and the truth so that you know how to do them in a way that conforms completely with God’s will. Things that arise from your self-will can then be abandoned. You will know how to do things in accordance with God’s will, and will then go and do them; it will feel as though everything is taking its natural course, and it will seem exceedingly easy. People who have the truth do things in this way. You can then really show others that you have changed your disposition, and they will see that you certainly have done some good deeds, that you do things according to principle, and that you do everything right. This is someone who understands the truth and who indeed has some human likeness. Sure enough, the word of God has reaped results in people. After someone has really understood the truth, they can then discern their own states, understand thoroughly all complicated matters and know how they should do things the right way. If you don’t understand the truth, you will not be able to discern your own states. You will want to rebel against yourself but will not know how to do this or what you are rebelling against; you will want to abandon your self-will but if you think that your self-will conforms to the truth, then how can you abandon it? You perhaps may even think that it is enlightened by the Holy Spirit and so will not abandon it no matter what. Therefore, when someone has no truth, it is very easy for them to think that those things that arise from their own wills, as well as the impurity of man, the good intentions of man, the blind love of man and the conduct of man, are all correct, that they conform to the truth—how then can you rebel against them? If you don’t understand the truth, nor know what putting the truth into practice is, if your eyes are clouded and you don’t know which way to turn so can only do things based on what you think is right, then you will do some things that will be deviated or erroneous, some that will keep rules, some that will arise from enthusiasm and there will be some that have arisen from Satan and that will bring forth disturbances. People who do not have the truth do things in this way: A little to the left, then a little to the right, correct one minute then deviating the next, with no accuracy at all. Those who do not have the truth regard things all wrongly, so how can they then properly handle matters? How can they resolve any problem? Understanding God’s word is not an easy thing to do, and the truth that people are capable of understanding also has its limits. Moreover, people can believe in God for their entire lives, yet their understanding of His word will still be limited. Even those who are relatively experienced can at best avoid doing those things that obviously defy God, avoid those things that are obviously evil, and avoid those things that do not benefit anyone. It is not possible for them to reach a state that contains no mixture of their own self-will. This is because people think normal thoughts, some of people’s thinking conforms to God’s word and belongs to an aspect of understanding that cannot be classified as self-will. But the key is to discern the things of self-will that go against God’s word, against the truth and against the enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. You must therefore expend effort in understanding God’s word and only by understanding the truth can you have discernment.
In seeking to change your disposition, you must reach a certain stage in your understanding of yourself whereby you can discover the satanic poisons that lie within your own nature. You must know what it means to defy God, as well as what it means to rebel against God, and you must learn how to conduct yourself in conformity with the truth in all matters. You must also gain some understanding of God’s will and His requirements of humanity. You must be possessed of conscience and reason before God, you must not speak boastfully or cheat God, and you must no longer do anything to resist God. As such, you will have changed your disposition. Those whose dispositions have transformed feel reverence for God deep in their hearts, and their rebelliousness against God gradually lessens. Moreover, in the fulfilling of their duties, they no longer need others to worry about them, nor does the Holy Spirit always need to do disciplining work on them. They basically can submit to God, and the truth is present in their views on things. This all amounts to having become compatible with God. Suppose someone hands over some work to you, work that doesn’t need anyone to manage you. You just complete this work in accordance with God’s word and through prayer and, during this work, you are capable of not being arrogant and conceited, not doing anything that defies God, not restraining anyone else and are able to help others with compassion. You can patiently pass on your experience in fellowship to others so that everybody can obtain provision, obtain the benefit, and can enter onto the right track of believing in God. Furthermore, during this work you do not seek your own status or interests, not take anything for yourself that you did not earn, not speak up for yourself, and no matter how anyone treats you, you treat them all properly. You would then be someone with a relatively good stature. It is not a simple matter for someone to take up some work and bring everybody into the reality of God’s word. There are many who have great gifts who fall down and crumble. Without the truth people absolutely cannot be relied upon, even less so if they have not changed their dispositions. What is your stature now? How should you treat someone who flatters you? How should you treat someone who has opinions of you, or looks critically at you? Are you able to promote and choose the right people without relying on your emotions? Are you able to really do these things with your stature as it is now? If the majority of people see what you do as being good and appropriate, then that’s fine, and you are fit to be used. If you worked somewhere for several years and the majority of people thought poorly of you, then this shows that you are not qualified and not fit for God to use. It is not possible to reach a stage where you are fit for God to use if you do not have the truth.
In pursuing life, you must pay attention to two things: first, understanding the truth within God’s word; second, understanding yourself within God’s word. These two things are most fundamental. There is no life or truth outside of God’s word. If you do not seek the truth within God’s word, where, then, can you go to seek it? Where is there truth in the world? Where is there any truth to speak of in the books published in the world? The most important parts of understanding the truth in God’s word are understanding God within His word, understanding human life within His word, and understanding all aspects of the truth within His word. For example, the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of humanity existence within God’s word…. All truth is within God’s word. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the word of God. The main outcome you must reach is to know what it is to have a real understanding of God’s word. With a real understanding of God’s word, you can then understand the truth: This is the most fundamental thing. Some people work and preach and, although on the surface it looks as though they are fellowshiping on God’s word, all they are talking about is the literal meaning of God’s word, but nothing substantive is mentioned. Their sermons are like teaching from a language textbook, arranged item by item, aspect by aspect, and when they are done everyone sings their praises, saying: “This person possesses reality. They preached so well and in such detail.” After they are done preaching, they tell others to put it all together and send it out to everybody. Their actions become deception of others and all that they preach are fallacies. On the surface, it looks as though they are preaching only God’s word and it appears to conform to the truth. But with more careful discernment, you will see that it is nothing but letters and doctrines and false reasoning along with some human imaginings and notions as well as some portions that delimit God. Isn’t this kind of preaching an interruption of God’s work? It is service that opposes God. A reasonable person must set limits on the scope of their own speech—which aspects of speech they should say and which pertain to the doing of their duties, and which aspects of speech can only be spoken by God. Man must not stand and speak in God’s place. How God works, no one can fathom, so how then can anyone define God? Even less is man qualified to define God and this must be understood to avoid doing anything unreasonable. As someone with reason, you must know your place, know the right things to say and, though you may have come to know something, you know not to say anything you shouldn’t say. Even if God told you something before, you do not repeat it to others; what use would it serve to say it? Would it not be arrogant to always wish to get above your station just by talking? If you don’t understand matters of God then you don’t understand them. Don’t pretend to understand or be a know-it-all. It’s too repulsive! You always want to stand in God’s place to show that you understand everything and to hog the limelight. You also wish to speak more and do more for God. Everyone has this ambition and it is something most shameful. Now foreigners are coming to seek the true way, so how should you bear witness for God? If you have no reason, are arrogant and conceited and do things blindly, aren’t you then defying God and blaspheming against Him? Is this doing your duty? Even less is this bearing witness for God. This is actually you revealing your image of Satan. Those who have truly been conquered must learn how to speak sincerely and bear some actual witness. Sharing your life experiences is better than anything else. Boasting and talking of great theories—what use is this? Having experienced several years of God’s work, man is still not well-behaved, and man is not worthy to bear witness for God, in accordance with their identity. Unreasonable and arrogant, man still wishes to bear witness for God. Are you not really shaming and blaspheming against God? You do not understand God. Moreover, your disposition still defies God. So is there not a whiff of repugnance about your bearing witness? Is there not something noisome about it? So man is not worthy of bearing witness for God. If someone says: “Could you testify for us the work of God on the China mainland?” you say: “I have experienced several years of God’s work, so I think we are qualified to bear witness for God.” Isn’t this a problem? Once again this is unreasonable! Man is not worthy to bear witness for God. You should just say: “We are not worthy to bear witness for God. Yet God has saved us and graced us. We have obtained some grace and have experienced some of God’s work, so we can engage in fellowship, but we cannot really consider bearing witness for God. Speaking of bearing witness for God, we’re not qualified; we can only speak of our own experiences.” It is fine for you to fellowship how you yourself have experienced being conquered by God, how corrupted you were at that time, how arrogant, what kind of outcome resulted in the end after being conquered, and what kind of resolution you had in the end. Actually, this is the way of bearing witness that God requires man to follow, and this way is most in conformity with God’s will. If you say you wish to bear witness for God and wish to take up a position whereby you can bear witness for God, then this is a great mistake—you are without reason and you are arrogant! You can just say: “We will talk of some experiences but we cannot really consider bearing witness to God. I will fellowship something first. Why was God incarnated in China? You probably do not quite understand. We have understood this from God’s work. We Chinese have been corrupted most deeply by Satan, and we’re in the place where the great red dragon lies coiled. We have been corrupted so deeply by Satan, our humanity is most lacking, we have the lowest integrity and do not look human at all. In comparison with God’s chosen people from all other nations and regions, we are the most inferior. So we are too ashamed to bear witness for God. We can only bear a little witness to our own personal experiences. We are the filthiest and the most corrupted of people, and we have been brought into God’s great salvation and have obtained God’s great love, so we must speak of testimonies of our personal experiences, and we cannot stifle God’s grace.”
After humans are conquered by God, the basic attribute of the reason they should be equipped with is to be sure not to speak arrogantly. They should assume a lowly status, “as dung upon the ground,” and speak some truth; this would be best. Especially when bearing testimony for God, if you can say something of substance from the heart, with no empty or tall talk and no fictitious lies, then your disposition will have changed, and this is the change that should occur once you have been conquered by God. If you cannot possess even this amount of reason, then you truly do not look human. In the future, when all nations and regions have been conquered by God, if at a huge gathering in praise of God you begin to act arrogant again, then you will be scrapped and eliminated. From now on, you must always behave properly, recognize your status and position, and not relapse into your old ways. Satan’s image most classically manifests in human arrogance and conceit. Unless you change this aspect of yourself, you will never have the likeness of a human, and you will always possess the visage of Satan. Merely having knowledge in this area will not be sufficient to attain a complete transformation; you will still need to endure multiple refinements. Without being dealt with and pruned, in the long run, you will still be in danger. In the future, when foreigners join in and say: “We have been enlightened, God has gained a band of overcomers in China,” when you hear this, you will think: “We realize we have nothing to brag about, all is given by God’s grace. We don’t deserve to be called overcomers.” Over time, as you start to see yourself being able to say something, and you start to hear that foreigners from here and there are gaining enlightenment, then you will ponder: “Exactly, this is how the Holy Spirit enlightens, we know more than the foreigners, so we should be deemed overcomers!” You will silently permit this acknowledgment in your hearts now, and you will no doubt make a public acknowledgment later on. Humans cannot stand being praised and being tested by status. If you are always being praised, you will soon meet with ruin.
To keep from sliding back into your old ways, first you must recognize that your disposition has not yet changed and that your God-betraying nature is still deeply rooted. You are still at great risk of betraying God, and you face the constant possibility of perdition. There are three other major points: First, you haven’t known God. Second, your disposition hasn’t changed. Third, you have yet to attain a human image, you are the lowest among good people; everyone should clearly understand this point. Everyone should be prepared with one motto, have it engraved or written: “I am the devil,” or “I often fall into my old ways.” Or “I’m always in danger,” or “I am the dung upon the ground.” Maybe warning yourself with these words all the time will have some effect but most importantly you have to read more of God’s words and understand your nature. Only by achieving real change will you be safe. Another thing is to never take the position of one who is a witness of God; you can only speak of personal experience. You may speak about how God saved you, fellowship about how you were conquered by God, and talk about what grace He bestowed upon you. Never forget that you are the most deeply corrupted of people; you are manure and garbage. Only through God have you been uplifted. Because you are the most corrupted and most filthy, you have been saved by God incarnate, and He has granted you such enormous grace. You therefore have nothing worth bragging about, and can only praise and thank God. Your salvation is purely due to God’s grace. Why is it said that you are the luckiest people? You are lucky not because you have certain advantages or good qualities. You’re lucky because you were born in China and were corrupted and defiled by Satan the most. Therefore, God went about His management plan first making a group of exemplary models out of those from the most corrupted and filthy place. So He found you. If God hadn’t planned in this way, you would have perished forever. This is why you can say you’re the luckiest, but this is nothing to be proud of, and certainly not something to brag about. When bearing testimony for God, you should mainly talk more about how God judges and chastises people, what trials He uses to refine humans and change their dispositions. You should also talk about how much corruption has been revealed in your experience, how much you have endured and how you were eventually conquered by God; how much real knowledge of God’s work you have, and how you should bear witness for God and repay Him for His love. You should put substance into this kind of language, while putting it in a simple manner. Do not talk about empty theories. Speak more down-to-earth; speak from the heart. This is how you should experience. Do not equip yourselves with profound-seeming, empty theories in an effort to show off; doing so makes you appear quite arrogant and senseless. You should speak more of actual, real things from your experience that are real and from the heart; this is most beneficial to others, and most appropriate for them to see. You used to be people who opposed God the most and were least inclined to submit to Him, but now you have been conquered—never forget that. You should diligently devote much reflection and thought to these matters. Once you have realized this, you will know how to bear testimony; otherwise, you are liable to commit shameless and senseless acts.