4. How can one perform their duty adequately?
Relevant Words of God:
In the phrase “the adequate performance of duty,” the emphasis is on the word “adequate.” So, how should “adequate” be defined? In this, too, there is a truth to seek. Is it adequate merely to do a passable job? For the specific details of how to understand and regard the word “adequate,” you must understand many truths and fellowship more on the truth. In fulfilling your duty, you must understand the truth and its principles; only then can you arrive at an adequate performance of duty. Why should people fulfill their duties? Once they believe in God and have accepted His commission, people have their share of responsibility and obligation in the work of God’s house and in the site of God’s work, and, in turn, because of this responsibility and obligation, they have become an element in God’s work—an element of the objects of His work and an element of the objects of His salvation. Thus, there is quite a substantial relationship between people’s salvation and how they fulfill their duties, whether they can do them well, and whether they can do them adequately. Since you have become a part of God’s house and accepted His commission, you now have a duty. It is not for you to say how you should fulfill this duty; it is for God to say, and it is dictated by the standards of the truth. Therefore, people should understand and be clear on how things are measured by God—this is a worthwhile thing to seek. In God’s work, different people receive different duties. That is, people receive duties that vary depending on their gifts, calibers, ages, conditions, and eras. No matter what duty you are given, and no matter the era or circumstances of your receiving it, a duty is just a duty; it is not something a person manages. Ultimately, the standard that God requires of you is to perform your duty adequately. How should the word “adequately” be explained? It means that to meet God’s requirements and satisfy Him, your work must be called adequate by God and be given His nod of approval; only then will you have fulfilled your duty adequately. If God says your work is inadequate, then you have not fulfilled your duty well. Though you may be doing your duty and He acknowledges that you have done it, if you do not do it adequately, then what will the consequences be? In severe cases, people’s hopes of salvation might disappear and be dashed; in less severe cases, they might be deprived of their right to fulfill duties. After being deprived of such rights, some people are set aside, after which they are separately taken care of and arranged. Does being separately taken care of and arranged mean they are eliminated? Not necessarily; God will wait and see how these people act. Thus, how one fulfills one’s duty is pivotal. People should treat it with prudence and take it seriously, and regard it as a matter of great importance in their life entry and in their attainment of salvation; they must not treat it carelessly.
Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Everyone who believes in God should understand His will. Only those who perform their duties well can satisfy God, and only by completing the tasks with which He entrusts them can one’s performance of their duty be satisfactory. There are standards for the accomplishment of God’s commission. The Lord Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Loving God is one aspect of what He requires of people. In truth, so long as God has given people a commission, and so long as they believe in Him and perform their duty, these are the standards that He requires of them: that they act with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their mind, and with all their strength. If you are present but your heart is not—if the memory and thoughts of your mind are present, but your heart is not—and if you accomplish things by means of your own abilities, are you fulfilling God’s commission? So, what is the standard that must be met in order to fulfill God’s commission, and to perform your duty loyally and well? It is to do your duty with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. If you attempt to perform your duty well without a heart of love for God, it will not work. If your love for God grows ever stronger and more genuine, then you will naturally be able to perform your duty with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
Excerpted from “Exactly What People Have Been Relying on to Live” in Records of Christ’s Talks
No matter what duty you fulfill, you must always seek to grasp God’s will and understand what His requirements are regarding your duty; only then will you be able to handle matters in a principled way. In performing your duty, you absolutely cannot go by your personal preferences, by just doing whatever you would like to do, whatever you would be happy and comfortable doing, or whatever would make you look good. If you forcibly impose your personal preferences on God or practice them as though they were the truth, observing them as if they were the truth principles, then that is not fulfilling your duty, and performing your duty in this way will not be remembered by God. Some people do not understand the truth, and they do not know what it means to fulfill their duties well. They feel that since they have put their heart and effort into it, forsaken their flesh and suffered, then the fulfilling of their duties should be up to standard—but why, then, is God always dissatisfied? Where have these people gone wrong? Their mistake was to not seek out God’s requirements, and instead act according to their own ideas; they treated their own desires, preferences, and selfish motives as the truth, and they treated them as though they were what God loved, as though they were His standards and requirements. They saw what they believed to be correct, good, and beautiful to be the truth; this is wrong. In fact, even though people might sometimes think something is right and that it accords with the truth, that does not necessarily mean that it accords with God’s will. The more people think something is right, the more cautious they should be and the more they should seek the truth to see whether what they are thinking meets God’s requirements. If it happens to run counter to His requirements and counter to His words, then you are wrong to think it is right, it is but a human thought, and it will not necessarily accord with the truth no matter how right you think it is. Your determination of right and wrong must be based solely on God’s words, and no matter how right you think something is, unless there is a basis for it in God’s words, you must discard it. What is duty? It is a commission entrusted by God to people. So how should you fulfill your duty? By acting in accordance with God’s requirements and standards, and by basing your behavior on the truth principles rather than on human subjective desires. In this way, your fulfilling of your duties will be up to standard.
Excerpted from “Only by Seeking the Principles of the Truth Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When fulfilling your duty, you should always examine yourself to see if you are doing things according to principle, if your performance of your duty is up to standard, whether or not you are simply doing it in a perfunctory manner, whether you have tried to shirk your responsibilities, and whether there are any problems with your attitude and the way you think. Once you have self-reflected and these things become clear to you, you will have an easier time fulfilling your duty. No matter what you encounter while performing your duty—negativity and weakness, or being in a bad mood after being dealt with—you should treat it properly, and you must also seek the truth and understand God’s will. By doing these things, you will have a path to practice. If you wish to do a good job in fulfilling your duty, then you must not be affected by your mood. No matter how negative or weak you are feeling, you should practice the truth in everything you do, with absolute strictness, and sticking to the principles. If you do this, then not only will other people approve of you, but God will like you, too. As such, you will be a person who is responsible and who shoulders a burden; you will be a genuinely good person who actually fulfills your duties up to standard and who fully lives out the likeness of a genuine person. Such people are purified and achieve real transformation when fulfilling their duties, and they can be said to be honest in God’s eyes. Only honest people can persevere with practicing the truth and succeed in acting with principle, and can fulfill their duties up to standard. People who act with principle fulfill their duties meticulously when they are in a good mood; they do not work in a perfunctory manner, they are not arrogant and they do not show themselves off to make others think highly of them. When they are in a bad mood, however, they complete their everyday tasks just as earnestly and responsibly, and even if they encounter something that is detrimental to the fulfilment of their duties, or that puts a bit of pressure on them or causes a disruption while they do their duties, they are still able to quiet their hearts before God and pray, saying, “No matter how big a problem I come up against—even if the heavens come tumbling down—as long as God allows me to keep on living, I am determined to do my best to fulfill my duty. Every day I am allowed to live is a day I will work hard at performing my duty so that I am worthy of this duty bestowed upon me by God, as well as this breath He has put in my body. Regardless of how much difficulty I might be in, I will set it all aside, for fulfilling my duty is of the utmost importance!” Those who are not affected by any person, event, thing, or environment, who are not controlled by any mood or external situation, and who put their duties and the commissions with which God has entrusted them first and foremost—they are the people who are loyal to God and who genuinely submit to Him. People like this have attained life entry and have entered truth reality. This is one of the most practical and genuine expressions of living out the truth.
Excerpted from “Life Entry Must Begin With the Experience of Performing One’s Duty” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Regardless of what kind of duty you are performing or what professional skill you are studying, you will get better at it over time. If you keep trying to improve, you will get better and better at it. If you do not take anything seriously, then even the things you have learned will be of no use. If you do not even take the things you can use seriously and have no idea how they will turn out, and there is no one there who understands to guide you, then you will never make any progress, and the skills you have learned will lie waste. In learning anything, it is easy to learn its theory, but not so easy to put it into practice. If you want to elevate theory to practice, and then go even higher by achieving something from a foundation of practice, taking greater advantage of your strengths, or implementing what you have learned in practice and achieving results, what must you do? You must spend more time studying professional skills and seeking out all manner of material about them; in all their aspects, you must constantly study, constantly search, constantly bolster your weaknesses with others’ strengths, learning what you must and should learn from others. In this way, your professional skills will constantly improve. When others tell you how to do something, you must try to understand and you must mull it over. If, when someone tells you something, you know of what they are saying and acknowledge that it is a good way of doing things, but you give it some thought afterward and say to yourself, “Close enough,” what kind of attitude do you have? Whether toward professional skills and specialties, or toward your pursuit of the truth in your faith, your attitude is bad—it is one of perfunctoriness. What kind of disposition is it? It is arrogance, it is not loving positive things, it is hardness. Are such things manifested in you? (Yes.) Are they manifested often, occasionally, or only with certain matters? (Often.) Your attitude toward acknowledging this kind of disposition is quite sincere and honest, but mere acknowledgment is not enough; if you do nothing more than acknowledge it, change is impossible. So, how can you change? When an arrogant disposition is revealed in people, and people’s attitude is one of perfunctoriness, dismissiveness, and sloppiness, they must be sure to come before God and pray immediately, allowing themselves to be dealt with and disciplined by God, accepting God’s scrutiny as well as God’s discipline; what is more, they must recognize how this aspect of their disposition arises and how it can be changed. The aim of knowing is change. So, how can such change be achieved? What should be the first step? People must first pray, first come before God, accept God’s scrutiny, and accept His discipline, after which they must actively cooperate. How should they cooperate? When they are performing their duty, as soon as they find themselves thinking “close enough,” they must correct themselves and not think that way. When an arrogant disposition arises, in your heart, you must sense the reproach—the reproach and chastening of God; you must quickly turn around: “Just now I was wrong. Yet again, I was about to reveal a corrupt, satanic disposition; to be directed by a satanic disposition; to let Satan take power; to be perfunctory. I should be disciplined!” If you sense reproach, you should confess your sins before God and turn yourself around. How should you confess your sins? There is no need to adopt a serious attitude and kneel down, prostrate yourself, and pray to God. It is unnecessary to do so. You communicate with God in your heart, saying, “God, I was wrong, I was about to be careless and perfunctory again. I beg You to observe me; I don’t want my corrupt disposition to have mastery within me or govern all of me. I want to be commanded by God, and I wish to practice according to the truth. I beg You to observe me.” When you pray like this, the state within you will change. What is the goal of changing your state? It is meant to allow you to turn yourself around successfully, to allow you to be loyal, obedient, and accepting of God’s reproach and discipline without compromise. This is how you will turn yourself around. When you are about to be perfunctory again, when you want to treat your duty lightly once more, you will be able to turn yourself around straight away because of God’s discipline and reproach—and will you not thus be saved from your negligence? Will your transgression not be redeemed? Is this something good or bad? This is a good thing.
Sometimes, after finishing a job, you feel a little uneasy in your heart. On closer inspection, you find that there is indeed a problem. It must be amended, after which you will feel at ease. Your unease proves there is a problem on which you need to spend extra time and to which you must pay closer attention. This is a serious, responsible attitude toward performing one’s duty. When one can be serious, responsible, dedicated, and hard-working, the work will be done properly. Sometimes, you do not have such a heart, and you cannot find or discover a mistake that is clear as day. Were one to have such a heart, then, with the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit, they would be able to identify the issue. But if the Holy Spirit guided you and gave you such awareness, allowing you to sense that something is wrong, yet you did not have such a heart, you would still be incapable of identifying the problem. So, what does this show? It shows that it is very important that people cooperate; their hearts are very important, and where they direct their thoughts and intentions is very important. God scrutinizes and can see what people hold in their hearts as they perform their duty, and how much energy they exert. It is crucial that people put all their heart and strength into what they do. Cooperation, too, is a crucial component. Only if people strive to have no regrets about the duties they have completed and the things they have done, and not to be in debt to God, will they be acting with all their heart and strength. If, today, you do not give all your heart and strength, then, when something goes wrong later, and there are consequences, will it not be too late for regrets? You will be forever indebted; it will be a stain on you! A stain in the performance of one’s duty is a transgression. You must therefore strive to do properly the share of things you must and ought to do, with all your heart and strength. Those things must not be done carelessly or perfunctorily; you must not have any regrets. In this way, the duties you perform at this time shall be remembered by God. Those things remembered by God are good deeds. What, then, are the things that are not remembered? They are transgressions. People might not accept that they are evil deeds if they were described thus presently, but, if a day comes when there are serious consequences to these things, and they become a negative influence, then you will sense that these things are not mere behavioral transgressions, but evil deeds. When you realize this, you will be regretful, and think to yourself: I should have chosen an ounce of prevention! With a little more thought and effort, I wouldn’t have this problem. Nothing will wipe this eternal stain from your heart, and it would cause trouble if it should leave you in permanent debt. So, today, every time you perform your duty, or accept a commission, you must strive to do it with all your strength and all your heart. You must do it such that you are free of guilt and regret, so that it is remembered by God, and is a good deed. Do not act carelessly and perfunctorily, with one eye open and the other closed; you will regret it, and unable to make amends. It will constitute transgression, and ultimately, in your heart, there will always be guilt, indebtedness, and accusation. Which of these two paths is best? Which path is the right way? Performing your duty with all your heart and strength, and preparing and accumulating good deeds, without any regrets. Do not let your transgressions accumulate, regret them, and fall into debt. What happens when a person has committed too many transgressions? They are accruing God’s anger at them in His presence! If you transgress ever more, and God’s wrath toward you grows ever greater, then, ultimately, you shall be punished.
Excerpted from “How to Solve the Problem of Being Careless and Perfunctory When Performing Your Duty” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some people are always afraid that others will steal their limelight and surpass them, obtaining recognition while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only of oneself, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others, and thinking only about one’s own interests and not the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them. If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you give someone your recommendation, and that person is cultivated into someone of talent, thereby bringing one more talented person into God’s house, will you not then have done your work well? Will you not then have been loyal in performing your duty? This is a good deed before God, and it is the sort of conscience and reason people should possess. Those who are capable of putting the truth into practice can accept God’s scrutiny when doing things. When you accept God’s scrutiny, your heart is set straight. If you only ever do things for others to see, and do not accept God’s scrutiny, then is God still in your heart? People like this have no reverence for God. Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; give no thought to your own status, prestige, or reputation. Also do not consider the interests of man. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have done your utmost to be loyal, done your best to fulfill your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of God’s house. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, your experience is shallow, or you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. When you are not thinking of your own selfish desires or considering your own interests in the things you do, and are instead giving constant consideration to the work of God’s house, bearing its interests in mind, and performing your duty well, then you will be accumulating good deeds before God. People who perform these good deeds are the ones who possess truth reality; as such, they have borne testimony.
Excerpted from “Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
To achieve adequacy in the performance of duty, it is first necessary to achieve harmonious cooperation in its performance. There are some who are currently practicing in this direction, which means that after having listened to the truth, they have begun to work in accordance with this principle, though they are unable to succeed in putting the truth absolutely, one hundred percent into practice. In the process, they might fail or grow weak, and deviate, and frequently make mistakes, yet the path they walk is one of striving to be able to act in accordance with this principle. For example, though you might sometimes feel that your way of doing something is correct, if you are in a situation in which it will not delay the task at hand, you might also find your work partners or team members to discuss it with. Fellowship until you are clear on the matter, until you have reached a consensus in thinking that doing it in a certain way can achieve the best results, does not exceed the scope of principle, is for the benefit of God’s house, and can maximize the protection of the interests of God’s house. Though the end result might sometimes leave a bit to be desired, the way, the direction, and the goal of your work are correct. How, then, will God look at this? How will He define this matter? He will say that you are fulfilling this duty adequately.
Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Christ’s Talks
To perform your duty adequately, it does not matter how many years you have believed in God, how much you have done in your duty, how many contributions you have made to God’s house, nor does it matter how experienced you are in your duty. The main thing God looks at is the path a person takes. In other words, He looks at one’s attitude toward the truth and the principles, direction, origin, and impetus behind one’s actions. God focuses on these things; they are what determine the path you walk. If, in the process of your fulfilling your duty, these things cannot be seen in you at all, and the origin of your work is your own thoughts, your impetus is to protect your own interests and safeguard your reputation and position, your modus operandi is to make decisions and act alone and have the final say, never discussing things with others or cooperating harmoniously, let alone seeking the truth, then how will God see you? You are not yet up to standard if you perform your duty so; you have not set foot on the path of pursuing the truth, because, as you do your work, you do not seek the truth principle and always act as you wish. This is the reason why most people do not perform their duties satisfactorily. Looking at it now, is it difficult to fulfill one’s duty adequately? In fact, it is not; people must only be able to take a stance of humility, possess a bit of sense, and adopt an appropriate position. No matter how educated you think you are, what awards you have won, or how much you have achieved, and no matter how high you believe your caliber and rank might be, you must start by letting go of all of these things, because they count for nothing. In God’s house, however great and good those things are, they cannot be higher than the truth; they are not the truth, and cannot take its place. This is why I say you must have this thing called sense. If you say, “I am very talented, I have a very sharp mind, I have quick reflexes, I am a quick learner, and I have an exceedingly good memory,” and you always use these things as capital, then this will cause trouble. If you see these things as the truth, or as higher than the truth, then it will be hard for you to accept the truth and put it into practice. Haughty, arrogant people who always act superior have the hardest time accepting the truth and are most prone to falling. If one can resolve the issue of one’s arrogance, then it becomes easy to put the truth into practice. Thus, you must first put down and deny those things that seem on their surface to be nice and lofty and that provoke the envy of others. Those things are not the truth; rather, they can block you from entering the truth. The most important thing to do now is to seek the truth, practice in accordance with the truth, and fulfill your duty adequately, because the adequate performance of duty is the only first step onto the path of life entry, which means it is a beginning. In every matter, there is a most fundamental, basic thing, a thing that gets your foot in the door, and fulfilling your duty adequately is a path that will take you through the door of life entry. If your fulfillment of duty does not at all involve this “adequacy,” then you need to exert yourself. How should you exert yourself? It is not that you need to change your character or abandon your talents and professional strengths; you may carry these strengths and things you have learned with you as you fulfill your duty, all while seeking the truth and acting according to the truth principle. If, you attain life entry while doing your duty, you can fulfill your duty adequately.
Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In the process of fulfilling your duty, on the positive side of things, you can treat your duty correctly, not giving up on it no matter what situation you encounter. Even if everyone else stops believing and performing their duties, you can still keep going and not give up. That is, you are able to keep from abandoning your duty, from start to finish, persevering and remaining devoted to the very end; in this way, you have truly taken your duty as a duty. If you can achieve this, then you have basically achieved adequacy in the performance of your duty. This is the positive side of things. However, prior to achieving this, on the negative side of things, people must withstand all manner of temptations. If, in the process of fulfilling his duty, a person has not been able to withstand temptations and has abandoned and turned his back on his duty, then can he still have anything to do with salvation? All hope will be lost for that person, and being adequate or inadequate will be utterly irrelevant; salvation will have nothing to do with him. Therefore, one must hold fast to one’s duty. To do that, first of all, the biggest difficulty everyone faces is whether or not one can stand firm when encountering temptations. What sorts of temptations are there? Money, status, relationships with the opposite sex, emotions. What else? If some duties involve taking on a bit of risk, or are life-threatening even, and if in performing them you might end up in jail or dead, would you still do them? How would you perform them? All such things are temptations. Are these temptations easy to overcome or not? They all require you to pursue the truth. In the process of pursuing the truth, with all these temptations you encounter, you must be able to gradually exercise discernment and gain knowledge. Recognize their essence, understand their true colors, and know your own essence and corrupt dispositions; get to know your own weaknesses, and frequently implore God to protect you and make you able to withstand these temptations. If you can withstand them, and can hold fast to your duty no matter what situation you find yourself in, neither turning your back on it nor running away, then you will be halfway to salvation. Is this halfway mark easy to reach? For every step you take, there is a potential pitfall; the path is fraught with danger. It is not easy! So, are there any people who take one look at how difficult it is and feel that life is just too exhausting, and that it would be better just to go ahead and die? They want blessings, but they do not want to suffer. What sort of people are they? They are spineless good-for-nothings. As for how to adequately fulfill their duties, what the definition of adequacy is, what the criteria for adequacy are, the reasons God has given for this standard of adequacy, and the relationship between adequately fulfilling one’s duty and life entry, people have come to understand these things. If you can get to where you can hold fast to your duty regardless of time or place, without giving up on it, and can withstand all manner of temptations, and then understand and gain knowledge of all the various truths that God requires in all the different situations He lays out for you, then in God’s view, you have basically achieved adequacy. There are three fundamental ingredients to achieving adequacy in the performance of your duty: One is the attitude with which you treat your duty, another is being able to withstand all manner of temptations in the process of fulfilling it, and another is being able to understand every truth while you perform your duty.
Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Christ’s Talks