4. Whether one can perform their duty adequately if they live by their corrupt disposition
Relevant Words of God:
Serving God is no simple task. Those whose corrupt disposition remains unchanged can never serve God. If your disposition has not been judged and chastised by God’s words, then your disposition still represents Satan, which proves that you serve God out of your own good intentions, that your service is based on your satanic nature. You serve God with your natural character, and according to your personal preferences. What’s more, you always think that the things you are willing to do are what are delightful to God, and that the things you do not wish to do are what are hateful to God; you work entirely according to your own preferences. Can this be called serving God? Ultimately, there will not be the slightest change in your life disposition; instead, your service will make you even more stubborn, thus deeply ingraining your corrupt disposition, and as such, there will be formed within you rules about service to God that are primarily based on your own character, and experiences derived from your service according to your own disposition. These are the experiences and lessons of man. It is man’s philosophy of living in the world. People like this can be classed as Pharisees and religious officials. If they never wake up and repent, then they will surely turn into the false Christs and the antichrists who deceive people in the last days. The false Christs and the antichrists that were spoken of will arise from among such people. If those who serve God follow their own character and act according to their own will, they run the risk of being cast out at any time. Those who apply their many years of experience acquired to serving God in order to win the hearts of others, to lecture them and control them, and to stand on high—and who never repent, never confess their sins, never renounce the benefits of position—these people shall fall before God. They are of the same kind as Paul, presuming upon their seniority and flaunting their qualifications. God will not bring people like this to perfection. Such service interferes with the work of God. People always cling to the old. They cling to the notions of the past, to everything from times gone by. This is a great obstacle to their service. If you cannot throw them off, these things will throttle your whole life. God will not commend you, not in the slightest, not even if you break your legs running or your back with labor, not even if you are martyred in your service of God. Quite the contrary: He will say that you are an evildoer.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Religious Service Must Be Purged
What is the greatest taboo in man’s service of God? Do you know? Some people who serve as leaders always want to try to be different, to be head and shoulders above the rest, and to figure out some new tricks that will make God see just how capable they really are. However, they do not focus on understanding the truth and entering the reality of God’s words; they are always trying to show off. Is this not precisely the revelation of an arrogant nature? Some even say, “If I do this, I’m sure it’ll make God very happy; He’ll really like it. This time I am going to get God to have a look; I’ll give Him a nice surprise.” As a result of this “surprise,” they lose the work of the Holy Spirit and get eliminated by God. Do not just rashly do whatever comes into your mind. How can things be okay if you do not consider the consequences of your actions? When you offend God’s disposition and violate His administrative decrees, and are subsequently eliminated, there will be nothing left for you to say. Regardless of your intent, and whether or not you do it deliberately, if you do not understand God’s disposition or His will, you will easily offend Him and be liable to violate His administrative decrees; this is something against which everyone should be on guard. Once you have seriously violated God’s administrative decrees or offended His disposition, He will give no consideration as to whether you did it intentionally or unintentionally. This is a matter that you need to see clearly. If you cannot understand this issue, then you are bound to cause problems. In serving God, people wish to make great strides, do great things, speak great words, perform great work, hold great meetings, and be great leaders. If you always have such grand ambitions, then you will violate God’s administrative decrees; people who do this will die quickly. If you are not well-behaved, devout, and prudent in your service to God, then sooner or later, you will offend His disposition.
—“Without the Truth, One Is Liable to Offend God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Whoever does not revere God and does not have a heart that trembles in fear is highly likely to violate the administrative decrees of God. Many serve God on the strength of their passion but have no understanding of the administrative decrees of God, still less any inkling of the implications of His words. And so, with their good intentions, they often wind up doing things that disrupt God’s management. In serious cases, they are thrown out, deprived of any further chance of following Him, and are cast into hell, all association with God’s house at an end. These people work in the house of God on the strength of their ignorant good intentions, and end by angering God’s disposition. People bring their ways of serving officials and lords to the house of God and try to put them into play, vainly thinking that they can be applied with effortless ease here. Never do they imagine that God has not the disposition of a lamb, but that of a lion. Therefore, those associating with God for the first time are unable to communicate with Him, for the heart of God is unlike that of man. Only after you understand many truths can you continuously come to know God. This knowledge is not made up of words and doctrines but can be used as a treasure by means of which you enter into close confidence with God, and as proof that He delights in you. If you lack the reality of knowledge and are not equipped with the truth, then your passionate service can only bring upon you the loathing and abhorrence of God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Three Admonitions
These days, whenever people come across things, regardless of what the actual situation is, they think they can do this and that, so they do not have God in their hearts, and they do it according to their own will. Regardless of whether their course of action is suitable or not, or whether it is in accordance with the truth or not, they just stubbornly press on, and act according to their personal intentions. It might usually seem that God is in their hearts, but when they do things, God is not in their hearts. Some people say, “I can’t draw close to God in the things I do. In the past, I was accustomed to performing religious ceremonies, and I tried to draw close to God, but it was to no effect. I could not draw near to Him.” Such people do not have God in their hearts; they only have themselves in their hearts, and they simply cannot put truth into practice in anything they do. Not acting in accordance with truth means doing things according to their own will, and doing things according to their own will means leaving God; that is, they do not have God in their hearts. Human ideas usually look good and right to people, and they appear as though they would not violate the truth very much. People feel that doing things in such a manner would be putting truth into practice; they feel that doing things that way would be submitting to God. Actually, they are not truly seeking God or praying to God about it, and they are not striving to do it well, in accordance with God’s requirements, in order to satisfy His will. They do not possess this true state, nor do they have such a desire. This is the greatest mistake people make in their practice. You believe in God, but you do not keep God in your heart. How is this not a sin? Are you not deceiving yourself? What sort of effects can you reap if you keep believing that way? Moreover, how can the significance of belief be manifested?
—“Seeking God’s Will Is for the Sake of Practicing the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Simply going through the motions when performing your duty is a major taboo. If you keep acting along these lines, you will not be able to perform your duty adequately. You must put your heart into it! This opportunity was very difficult for people to come by! When God gives them a chance, yet they do not grasp it, then that opportunity is lost—and even if, later on, they wish to find such an opportunity, it might not come up again. God’s work waits for no one, and neither do chances to perform one’s duty. Some people say, “I didn’t perform my duty well before, but now I still want to fulfill it, so this time I’m resolved; I’ll be a bit more conscientious and put in a bit more work, and do a good job of completing it.” However, sometimes this opportunity is no longer there. Not very many opportunities come along, so you must take hold of them when they do. When faced with a duty that needs your effort and expenditure, and that requires you to dedicate your body, mind, and time, you must not hold anything back, harbor any petty cleverness, or leave any leeway. If you leave any leeway, are calculating, or are wily and treacherous, then you are bound to do a poor job. You might say, “No one saw me acting in a slick way. How cool!” What kind of thinking is this? You think you have pulled the wool over people’s eyes, and over God’s, too. In actual fact, though, does God know what you have done or not? (He knows.) Generally, people who interact with you over a long period of time will find out, too, and will say that you are a person who is always slippery, is never diligent, and only puts in fifty or sixty percent of his effort, or eighty at the most. They will say you do everything in a very confused manner, turning a blind eye to whatever you are doing; you are not at all conscientious in your work. If you are made to do something, only then do you put in a bit of effort; if someone is around to check to see if your work is up to par, then you do a slightly better job—but if no one is around to check, you slack off a bit. If you are dealt with, then you put your heart into it; otherwise, you are constantly dozing through work and trying to get away with whatever you can, assuming that no one will notice. Time goes by, and people notice. They say, “This person is unreliable and untrustworthy; if you give him an important duty to perform, he’ll need supervision. He can do ordinary tasks and jobs that do not involve principles, but if you give him any vital duty to fulfill, he’ll most likely just mess it up, and then you will have been hoodwinked.” People will see right through him, and he will have completely discarded all dignity and integrity. If no one can trust him, then how can God? Would God entrust him with any major tasks? Such a person is untrustworthy.
—“Life Entry Must Begin With the Experience of Performing One’s Duty” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
People must approach both duty and God with an honest heart—this is the fear of God. What attitude should people have in treating God with an honest heart? People should expend themselves for God in their duty without questioning whether this will bring them disaster or blessing, without making conditions, and by submitting to God’s orchestrations; such a person is possessed of an honest heart. Are those who always doubt, who always make conditions, and who engage in ceaseless research possessed of an honest heart? What lies within the heart of such a person? Within their heart there is deceit and evil, and they are always engaging in research. When something happens that affects their personal interests, they ponder: “What was God thinking when He did this thing to me and when He arranged this situation for me? Is this something that has happened to other people? After I am finished going through this, what will the consequences be?” They research these questions; they research what they may gain or lose, whether the matter at hand will bring them disaster or blessing. Once they start researching these questions, are they capable of practicing the truth? Are they capable of obeying God? When they begin a duty, they research it and ask: “Will I suffer if I carry out this duty? Will I need to spend much time away? Will I be able to get regular meals and rest? And what kind of people will I come into contact with?” Although on the surface they accept this duty, in their heart they harbor deceit and are constantly researching such things. In fact, all of these things that they research relate to their personal interests; they do not consider the interests of God’s house, only their own interests. If people only consider their own interests, it is not easy for them to practice the truth and they do not have true obedience to God. What happens in the end to many of these people who engage in this kind of research? Some rebel against God; that is, they do things full of negative emotions, keeping their eyes peeled while they work. What kind of disposition is it that brings these emotions? It is deceit and evil; having gone so far as to be evil, these people are pitting themselves against God! When people are constantly researching, their attention is divided, so can they properly perform their duty in this state? They do not worship God with honesty and with their spirits, they do not have honest hearts, and while they carry out their duty they are always watching and holding back. What comes of this? God does not do work upon them, no matter what they do they cannot find the principles, and whatever they do, it always goes wrong. Why do things always go wrong? Sometimes, it is not that God exposes them, it is that they ruin themselves. They do not give any consideration to the work of the house of God or to the interests of the house of God; they are always plotting on their own behalf and making plans for their prestige and status. They keep on doing this and then they start to deviate. Between making plans for their own interests and future prospects, and being considerate of the work of the house of God and the interests of the house of God, is the result from their actions the same? No, the result is certainly not the same. They are exposed, and this behavior does not constitute performing one’s duty; the essence and nature of this person’s actions have changed. If it is just a matter of some minor loss, then they will still have the possibility of being saved—they will still have a chance. But if major loss is caused, is there still any chance for them? If the matter at hand is a serious case, to the extent that it causes disruption and disturbances, then the person involved should be replaced and eliminated; some people have been eliminated in just this way. Have you found what’s at the root of this? The root of the matter is that people are always thinking about their own interests, and they get carried away by them, without so much as a jot of truth to make a foundation, or a single iota of an attitude of obedience to God. So how are people to obey? Here lies a path to practice. When they encounter an issue, the first thing some people think is, “If I do it like this, the interests of the house of God will suffer; if I do it like that, they won’t—but I will lose face, and suffer greatly, I’ll have to spend more time looking things up, and consulting with other people.” They go back and forth in their minds about it: “It’s no big deal if the interests of the house of God suffer a little. I’ll do it like that, I have the final say in this matter, there’s no need to discuss it with everyone.” They think that acting thus will showcase their status and value, it will show others that they are decisive, experienced, and capable, not weak, vacillating, and irresolute—but ultimately, when the thing is done, they will become the ones who have disturbed, interrupted and damaged the work of the house of God, and they will be exposed and eliminated. These will be the consequences. But if they submitted to the arrangements and orchestrations of God, and acted according to the truth principles, the outcome would be different. When they encounter an issue, they wouldn’t be the one with the final say; several people would fellowship and consult together, and once the Holy Spirit began to work, people would be enlightened in their hearts, they would realize the flaws and errors in acting according to the imagination of man, they would find a better path, and the interests of the house of God would not be harmed. Although, as everyone fellowships and consults together, their individual identity, status, independence, and competency would not be prominently highlighted, the interests of the house of God would not be harmed. The outcome would thus be different. Would they then still be replaced? (No.) This is a case of being remembered by God. If, when they encounter an issue, people are able to act according to the truth principles, God will secure everything from behind the scenes. If people are always plotting, calculating, and devising schemes to look out for their own interests, taking no thought for the interests of the house of God or the will of God, and have not the slightest inclination to obey the arrangements and orchestrations of God—if they lack even this inclination—what will the final outcome be? They will come a cropper; they will be exposed for what they are. Is this what they deserve? Are such people worthy of sympathy? (No.) This is the inevitable outcome of scheming for your own interests.
—“Only by Seeking the Truth Principles Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed 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 about one’s own interests, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others or 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 advocate for a good person and nurture them to competence, whereupon there will be another person of talent in God’s house, will your work not then be easier to do? Will you not then have lived up to your loyalty in this duty? This is a good deed before God; it is the minimum of conscience and sense of which one who is a leader should be possessed. 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. If you are always living by the flesh, constantly satisfying your own selfish desires, then such people do not possess truth reality; this is the mark of bringing dishonor to God. You say, “I haven’t done anything; how have I brought God shame?” In your thoughts and ideas, in the intentions, goals and motives behind your actions, and in the consequences of what you’ve done—in every way you are satisfying Satan, being its laughingstock, and letting it get something on you. You do not remotely possess the testimony that you should as a Christian. You dishonor God’s name in all things and you do not possess genuine testimony. Will God remember the things you have done? In the end, what conclusion will God draw about your acts and the duty you performed? Doesn’t something have to come of that, some sort of statement? In the Bible, the Lord Jesus says, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity.” Why did the Lord Jesus say this? Why have those who heal the sick and cast out devils in the Lord’s name, who travel to preach in the Lord’s name, become evildoers? Who are these evildoers? Are they those who do not believe in God? They all believe in God and follow God. They also give things up for God, expend themselves for God, and perform their duty. However, in performing their duty they lack devotion and testimony, so it has become doing evil. This is why the Lord Jesus says, “Depart from Me, you that work iniquity.”
—“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Many people behind My back covet the benefits of status, they gorge themselves on food, they love to sleep and give every care to the flesh, always afraid that there is no way out for the flesh. They do not perform their proper function in the church, but freeload off the church, or else they admonish their brothers and sisters with My words, lording themselves over others from positions of authority. These people keep saying they are doing God’s will and always say they are God’s intimates—is this not absurd? If you have the right intentions, but are unable to serve in accordance with God’s will, then you are being foolish; but if your intentions are not right, and you still say you serve God, then you are someone who opposes God, and you ought to be punished by God! I have no sympathy for such people! In the house of God, they freeload, always coveting the comforts of the flesh, and give no consideration to the interests of God. They always seek what is good for them, and they pay no heed to God’s will. They do not accept the scrutiny of God’s Spirit in anything they do. They are always maneuvering and deceiving their brothers and sisters, and being two-faced, like a fox in a vineyard, always stealing grapes and trampling over the vineyard. Could such people be God’s intimates? Are you fit to receive God’s blessings? You take no burden for your life and the church, are you fit to receive God’s commission? Who would dare trust someone like you? When you serve like this, could God dare to entrust you with a greater task? Would this not cause delays to the work?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will
At present, you are asked to lead a number of churches, but not only do you not give up yourself, but you even cling to your own notions and opinions, saying things like, “I think this thing should be done this way, as God has said that we should not be restrained by others and that nowadays we should not submit blindly.” Therefore, each of you holds to your own opinion, and no one obeys each other. Though you clearly know that your service is at an impasse, you still say, “As I see it, my way is not far off the mark. In any case, we each have a side: You talk of yours, and I will talk of mine; you fellowship about your visions, and I will speak of my entry.” You never take responsibility for the many things that should be dealt with, or you simply make do, each of you venting your own opinions and prudently protecting your own status, reputation, and face. None of you is willing to humble yourself, and neither side will take the initiative to give yourself up and make up for each other’s deficiencies so that life may progress more rapidly. When you are coordinating together, you should learn to seek the truth. You may say, “I do not have a clear understanding of this aspect of truth. What experience do you have with it?” Or, you may say, “You have more experience than I with regard to this aspect; could you please give me some guidance?” Would that not be a good way of going about it? You have listened to a lot of sermons, and have some experience with doing service. If you do not learn from each other, help each other, and make up for each other’s shortcomings when doing work in the churches, then how can you learn any lessons? Whenever you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other so that your lives can benefit. Moreover, you should carefully fellowship about things of any sort before making any decisions. Only by doing so are you taking responsibility for the church rather than simply acting perfunctorily. After you visit all the churches, you should gather together and fellowship about all the issues you discover and any problems encountered in your work, and then you should communicate about the enlightenment and illumination that you have received—this is an indispensable practice of service. You must achieve harmonious cooperation for the purpose of the work of God, for the benefit of the church, and so as to spur your brothers and sisters onward. You should coordinate with one another, each amending the other and arriving at a better work outcome, so as to care for God’s will. This is what true cooperation is, and only those who engage in it will gain true entry. While cooperating, some of the words you speak may be unsuitable, but that does not matter. Fellowship about it later, and gain a clear understanding of it; do not neglect it. After this sort of fellowship, you can make up for your brothers’ or sisters’ deficiencies. Only by moving ever deeper in your work like this can you achieve better outcomes. Each of you, as people who serve God, must be able to defend the interests of the church in everything you do, instead of simply considering your own interests. It is unacceptable to act alone, undermining each other. People who behave like that are not fit to serve God! Such people have a terrible disposition; not an ounce of humanity remains in them. They are one hundred percent Satan! They are beasts! Even now, such things still occur among you; you even go so far as to attack one another during fellowship, intentionally seeking pretexts and becoming all red in the face while arguing over some trivial matter, neither person willing to put himself aside, each person concealing his inner thoughts from the other, watching the other party intently and always being on guard. Does this sort of disposition befit service to God? Can such work as yours supply your brothers and sisters with anything? Not only are you unable to guide people onto a correct life course, but you actually inject your own corrupt dispositions into your brothers and sisters. Are you not hurting others? Your conscience is horrible, and it is rotten to the core! You do not enter reality, nor do you put the truth into practice. In addition, you shamelessly expose your devilish nature to others. You simply know no shame! These brothers and sisters have been entrusted to you, yet you are taking them to hell. Are you not someone whose conscience has become rotten? You have absolutely no shame!
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Serve As the Israelites Did
Some people are irresponsible in the way they perform their duty. This results in shoddy work that must always be redone, which has a severe impact on forward progress. Are there any reasons for this apart from inadequacies in experience and professional inadequacies? Professionalism and experience can gradually be learned and accumulated, but if people have issues involving their disposition, how should this problem be solved? It requires that people be pruned and dealt with; it requires that people monitor one another and that they pursue truth. The biggest problem that leads to work in the performance of duty that must always be redone is not professional inadequacy, and it is not insufficient experience; it is that people are self-righteous and arrogant in the extreme, and they do not cooperate harmoniously but act alone and arbitrarily, with the result that when they finish something, their work is unable to stand on its own merit, and so the effort was in vain. What is the most serious problem behind this? (Man’s corrupt disposition.) A corrupt disposition brings with it huge obstacles. And which aspects of a corrupt disposition affect the yield of people’s performance of their duty? (Arrogance and self-righteousness.) How are arrogance and self-righteousness manifested in behavior? Making decisions alone, not listening to others, not consulting with others, not cooperating harmoniously, and always wanting to have the final say on things. Even though a good few brothers and sisters may be cooperating to perform a particular duty, each of them attending to their own task, the group leader or the person in charge always wants to have the final say; whatever they are doing, they never cooperate harmoniously with others and they do not engage in fellowship, and they rashly start doing things without first reaching consensus with others. They make everyone listen only to them, and herein is the problem. Moreover, when the others see the problem, yet do not come forth to stop the person in charge, it ultimately results in a situation where everyone involved has to redo their work, tiring themselves out in the process. So, do the other people also have a responsibility? (Yes.) On the one hand, the person in charge acts alone and arbitrarily, insisting on doing things their way, and the others do nothing to stop them, and, what is more serious, they even follow along; does this not make them accomplices? If you do not constrain, block, or expose this person, but instead follow them and allow them to manipulate you, are you not giving free rein to Satan’s work of harassment? This is certainly your problem. On the other hand, when you see a problem but do not report it, instead playing the part of a yes-man, is this not an expression of disloyalty? Yes, it is precisely this—an expression of disloyalty toward God. What makes this problem so serious is that you always act as Satan’s accomplice, you serve as its footman and follower, and you have not a scrap of loyalty toward your duty and your responsibility, yet are quite loyal to Satan. As to professional inadequacy, it is possible to constantly learn and draw together your experiences while working. Such problems can be easily resolved. The most difficult thing to resolve is man’s corrupt disposition. If this is not resolved; if you do not pursue truth, but are always retreating and playing the yes-man; and if you do not shoulder responsibility; and if, when someone does something wrong you do not shine a light on it or expose it and you do not deal with them; and if you take the work of the house of God as a joke, as a game; and if you do not fulfill your duty and your responsibility, then the progress of the work will be delayed time and time again. Such performance of duty is disloyal.
—“The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Some people are particularly afraid of shouldering responsibility. If the house of God assigns them work, they want to know whether it entails taking on responsibility. When someone tells them, “You’ll definitely have to take on some responsibility, and you’ll surely be dealt with if you don’t do a good job,” they say, “Then let me think it over first.” They think about it overnight and the next day they decline, saying, “I’ve given it really careful consideration, and I feel I’m not well suited to this duty. I think you should find someone else.” What is this person declining? They are declining a commission. There are some who, when given a job, imagine at first that it will be easy, as if they were doing a job among unbelievers, a job that can be finished with just a bit of effort. Then, when they see the job is not as easy as they had imagined, they come up with a maneuver: “To get out of bearing responsibility, I’ll just immediately report any issue I come across and have the leader go deal with it. The leader can handle it however they please. I’ll have already made my report, anyway, so it will be up to the leader to deal with it. My hands will be washed of the matter. If they handle it well, I can keep doing this job, and if they don’t, it has nothing to do with me. I won’t be dealt with, and at worst it won’t be bad enough that I’d be dismissed, much less expelled from the church.” This is their intention. As a result, the moment they experience some problem, the only thing they do is telephone the leader and tell them they cannot handle it themselves. If the leader tells them what they should do, they find some other excuse for not being able to do it and ask the leader to take care of it. Facing a problem, they do not reflect on it and seek the truth principles behind it, nor do they try to figure out a way to deal with it. Instead, they do everything they can to find a leader to handle it, always trying to offload their responsibility without thinking about how they themselves could take care of it. Is performing their duty this way showing devotion for God? (No.) This is called offloading responsibility and neglecting their duty. They behave in a sly manner and refuse to take on responsibility. They give only their labor, not their heart. They think, “What if I take this on and wind up making a mistake?” This is at the center of their concerns. Well, can you try not to make mistakes? Everyone makes mistakes. If their intentions are correct but they lack experience, if they have never handled a similar problem before yet still do everything they can, do you think God will see that? They do not think He will. They say, “No, when the time comes, I would have to take the blame for any mistakes. What’s the use in putting my heart into trying? Who would even know that I tried with all my heart? Who sees it? Wouldn’t I be the one who gets dealt with? Wouldn’t I bear the primary responsibility? Where can I go to talk about the injustices I suffer?” How could there even be injustice in God’s house? Even if someone deals with you incorrectly, God can see that. You must believe that. God examines all things, and He examines people’s hearts. If you do not believe even that, then it makes no difference whether or not you perform your duty. Afraid to shoulder responsibility, the first thing they do whenever a problem occurs is to seek a leader. They tell the leader about the problem instead of dealing with it and resolving it themselves first. Of course, there are some people who inform the leader while they are working on it themselves, but others do not—after informing the leader, they just sit and wait instead of proactively managing the issue. They passively await orders. They act only when the leader points the way, and they only do as much as the leader tells them to. They do nothing unless they are given instructions, instead procrastinating, waiting for someone to shout at them or whip them into action. Is this kind of person actually performing their duty? This is not even rendering service with devotion; they are not worthy of performing duty. Some people have been eliminated because they had this attitude toward performing their duty. Even now, they still might not understand: “Why was I so coldly sent away when I was throwing myself into my duty so enthusiastically?” Even now, they still do not understand. Those who do not pursue the truth will probably go their whole lives without understanding it, instead explaining it with their own logic. They think: “Self-protection is instinctive, and it’s something we should do. Who doesn’t protect themselves? Who doesn’t look out for themselves? Who doesn’t leave themselves an escape route?” If you protect yourself and leave yourself an escape route, are you putting the truth into practice? You are performing your duty in the house of God now. What is the first principle of performing duty? It is that you must first perform duty with your whole heart, sparing no effort, so that you can protect the interests of God’s house. This is a truth principle, one that you should put into practice. Leaving yourself an escape route and protecting yourself is the principle of practice followed by unbelievers, their highest philosophy. Considering oneself first in all things and placing their interests before all else, not thinking of others, having no connection with the interests of God’s house and the interests of others, thinking of their own interests first and then thinking of their escape route—is that not what an unbeliever is? This is precisely what a standard unbeliever is. This sort of person is not fit to perform duty.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Would Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God (Part One)
What is the disposition of irresponsibility? It is cunning. The most striking item in man’s philosophies for living is cunning. People think that if they are not cunning, they will be liable to offend others and unable to protect themselves; they think they must be cunning enough not to displease or hurt anyone, thereby keeping themselves safe, protecting their livelihoods, and gaining a firm foothold among the masses. This is how people act in the world of the unbelievers; why is it that some people in God’s house still act this way? To see something harming the interests of God’s house, they say nothing; they may as well say, “If someone else wants to speak up about this, let them—I’m not going to. I won’t displease anyone or stick my neck out.” This is irresponsibility and cunning, and such people are not to be trusted. In order to protect their own self-regard, reputation, integrity, and dignity, they will return money they find to its owner, find joy in helping others, lay down their life for the sake of a just cause, do anything for another, and do not hesitate to pay any price. However, when it is necessary to protect the interests of God’s house, protect the truth, and protect justice, all this evaporates, and they no longer practice the truth. What is the matter? There is a disposition at work here, one of detesting the truth. Why do I say they have a disposition of detesting the truth? This stems from the fact that in the moment something touches upon the reality of positive things, people flee and shy away. Though they may feel a measure of self-reproach within, they pay it no mind, and want to suppress it, and think, “I won’t be doing that—it would be foolish,” or else they think it is not an important matter, and they can simply talk about it another time. When it comes to upholding justice and positive things, they run away and fail to take responsibility. They turn a blind eye and do not take the matter seriously. This is an example of not having a love for positive things, and of detesting the truth. So, how should you practice when this issue comes up? What are the principles? If a matter relates to the interests of God’s house or to bearing witness for God, then you must treat it as seriously as you would your own interests, leaving no stone unturned—this is the attitude of one who loves the truth and positive things, one who takes responsibility. If you do not have this attitude, and are nothing but slipshod in your handling of things, and you think, “I’ll do the things within the scope of my own duty, but I don’t care about anything else. If you ask me something, I’ll answer you—if I’m in a good mood. Otherwise, I won’t. This is my attitude,” then this is the type of disposition you have. Only to protect one’s own position, reputation, self-regard, and only to protect the things that relate to one’s own interests—does one thereby protect a just cause? Do they protect positive things? These petty, selfish motives are a disposition of detesting the truth. The majority of you frequently express these sorts of behaviors, and the moment you encounter something that relates to the interests of God’s family, you prevaricate and say, “I didn’t see…. I don’t know…. I haven’t heard….” Regardless of whether you truly do not know something or are pretending not to, in short, there is a disposition at work here.
Most people wish to pursue and practice the truth, but much of the time they merely have a resolution and the desire to do so; they do not possess the life of the truth within them. As a result, when they come across evil forces or encounter wicked and bad people committing evil deeds, or false leaders and antichrists doing things in a way that violates principles—thus causing the work of God’s house to suffer losses, and harming God’s chosen ones—they lose the courage to stand up and speak out. What does it mean when you have no courage? Does it mean that you are timid or inarticulate? Or is it that you do not understand thoroughly, and therefore do not have the confidence to speak up? It is none of these; it is that you are being controlled by several kinds of corrupt dispositions. One of these dispositions is cunning. You think of yourself first, thinking, “If I speak up, how will it benefit me? If I speak up and displease someone, how will we get along in the future?” This is a cunning mentality, right? Is this not the result of a cunning disposition? Another is a selfish and mean disposition. You think, “What does a loss to the interests of God’s house have to do with me? Why should I care? It’s got nothing to do with me. Even if I see it and hear it happen, I don’t need to do anything. It’s not my responsibility—I’m not a leader.” Such things are inside you, as if they had sprung from your unconscious mind, and as if they occupy permanent positions in your heart—they are the corrupt, satanic dispositions of man. These corrupt dispositions control your thoughts and bind your hands and feet, and they control your mouth. When you want to say something in your heart, the words reach your lips but you do not say them, or, if you do speak, your words are roundabout, leaving you with room to maneuver—you do not speak at all clearly. Others feel nothing after hearing you, and what you have said has not resolved the problem. You think to yourself: “Well, I spoke up. My conscience is at ease. I’ve fulfilled my responsibility.” In truth, you know in your heart that you have not said all you should, that what you have said has had no effect, and that the detriment to the work of God’s house remains. You have not fulfilled your responsibility, yet you say overtly that you have fulfilled your responsibility, or that what was happening was unclear to you. Are you not then completely under the control of your corrupt, satanic dispositions? Even if what you think in your heart and the things you believe to be right are positive and they accord with the truth, you are not the master of your mouth, and what you say never matches what is in your heart. Your words always have to be processed through your mind and your thoughts before being spoken aloud. Others can’t tell the meaning behind them, and you feel very pleased with yourself. You don’t really care whether the job is done or not—this is your mentality. Your satanic, corrupt disposition is controlling you; you are not even the master of your own mouth. Even if you want to give voice to honest words, you are both unable and afraid to say them. You are not able to commit even one ten-thousandth of the things you should do, the things you should say, and the responsibility you should take; your hands and feet are bound by your satanic, corrupt disposition. You are not in charge at all. Your satanic, corrupt disposition tells you how to speak, and so you speak that way; it tells you what to do, and so you do it. In your heart, you think, “I’m going to try hard this time, and I’ll pray to God. I have to take a stand and reprimand those who disrupt the work of God’s house, who are irresponsible in their duty. I must take on this responsibility.” So with great difficulty, you muster your courage and speak out. As a result, the moment the other person loses their temper, you feel paralyzed and you shrink back. Are you really in charge? What use has your courage been? What use have your determination and resolve been? They’ve been useless. You’ve surely all come across similar situations many times, and in the end you all plead for mercy, saying, “It’s over. I don’t love the truth, it looks like I’ve been weeded out and I’m incapable of pursuing the truth.” It is true that you don’t love the truth, but have you been pursuing the truth? Have you been practicing the truth? You do not seek the truth, much less do you practice the truth, yet you keep on praying, building up your determination, making resolutions, and swearing oaths. And what has come from all of this? You are still a yes-man: “I won’t provoke anyone, nor will I offend anyone. If a matter is none of my concern, then I’ll stay away from it; I won’t say anything about things that have nothing to do with me, and this goes without exception. If anything is injurious to my own interests, my pride, or my self-regard, I still will pay none of it any heed, and will approach all of it cautiously; I mustn’t act rashly. The nail that sticks up gets hit first, and I’m not that stupid!” You are totally under the control of your corrupt dispositions of wickedness, cunning, hardness, and detesting the truth. They are running you into the ground, and have grown harder for you to bear even than the Golden Hoop the Monkey King wore. Living under the control of a corrupt disposition is so exhausting and excruciating! Tell Me, if you do not pursue the truth, is it easy to cast off your corruption? Can this problem be resolved? I tell you, if you do not pursue the truth and are muddled in your belief, listening to however many years of sermons will be of no use, and if you persist in this way to the very end, then, at best, you will be a religious fraud and a Pharisee, and that will be the end of that. If you are even worse than this, then there may come an event wherein you fall into temptation, and you will lose your duty and betray God. You will have fallen. You will be always on the edge of a precipice! Right now, nothing is more important than pursuing the truth. It is useless to pursue anything else.
—“Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Most people become arrogant when they develop a bit of skill, and when they have a particular strength for something, they think themselves extraordinary and rest on their laurels. They don’t listen to anything anyone else says, feeling like they are unparalleled in that respect—what disposition is this? This is arrogance and unreasonableness. Say someone is doing their duty, and someone else provides them with a plan for it. At the time, they respond very favorably and note it down, but then they forget it the moment they turn around, putting it to the back of their mind with no intention whatsoever of carrying it out. What attitude is this, and what kind of disposition is this? It is a self-righteous, arrogant disposition. Is there any rigidity within this? There is some rigidity and arrogance within every single person. When someone hears something from another person that is right and reasonable, if they approach the matter with the rationality of normal humanity, they will feel they should accept the suggestion. Does that necessarily mean they will be able to put it into practice? What kind of attitude and state of mind do they need in order to do that? First of all, they need to relinquish their preconceived imaginings, judgments, or misunderstandings, and then extract the things which are correct, scrutinize and contemplate them carefully, be able to bring themselves into line with them, and put them into practice. This isn’t an arrogant attitude, but is a kind of conscientious, responsible attitude. It is an attitude of accepting the truth, of loving positive things. Maybe, the other person’s suggestion sounds great at the time, and out of the desire to keep face or some comprehension in that moment, they agree to it. Then when they are working later, if they just do what they need to, doing whatever they want and putting that suggestion to one side, is this then an attitude of practicing the truth? This kind of attitude is disgusting. On the surface, they nod their head and accept it, even agreeing wholeheartedly, saying, “Leave this to me. Don’t you worry about a thing, I promise I’ll take care of it. Don’t you trust me? Don’t you know what kind of person I am?” They appear to have great credibility and integrity, until it comes time for them to handle matters, then their attitude shifts and their own ideas come to the fore: “This is what I think, and as I see it this way is great, so I’ll do it my way.” They don’t remember what the other person told them, they don’t put it into practice, but instead just put it to the back of their mind. This is arrogance and rebelliousness; it is failing to accept the truth, letting their own self-will take precedence. Their own ideas and views take charge, and they place the truth principle, positive things and God’s words to the back of their mind.
Some people are very agreeable in their duty to others’ faces, but afterward, they don’t actually do things that way, thinking, “Handling matters in accordance with the principles is so troublesome and exhausting. It’s really time-consuming and requires so much discussion. I’ll do it this way to save the trouble. Even if they don’t agree, everyone will still have to do it my way. What I say goes!” What attitude is this? It is crafty. When they agree to something at the time, they appear sincere, faithful, guileless and pious, and can also seemingly accept others’ suggestions and the truth. But that changes when it comes time for them to do the work. Why the change? Why does their attitude do an about-face? What brings this on? They feel like it’s too much fleshly suffering, like it’s too much of a bother. They become unwilling, unmotivated. They don’t care at all about what they promised or agreed on to do at the time, or if they’re handling matters according to the truth principles. Satisfying their own flesh becomes paramount—it takes first place. God’s commissions are placed right at the back of the line, not taken seriously. Is this someone who takes responsibility? Is this someone with credibility? Is this someone who loves the truth? There are also some who will guarantee to someone else’s face that they can do the task well to fully put them at ease; they say they remember the principles for handling it. But problems crop up the moment they start working on it. Right at the outset, they think, “Doing it this way, I will suffer some loss, my pride will be wounded, and the others will look down on me. My own vanity, self-regard, status and dignity will be challenged, and if I want to do this task well, I’ll have to put a lot of effort into it and give it a great deal of thought. I might not even be able to sleep or eat well for several days. This time I should exert myself, put my back into it. I should grit my teeth and just get through it. I have to do this in accordance with the truth principles, pay no heed to my pride or reputation, but uphold the interests of God’s house first and foremost.” They look in a mirror after a couple of days have gone by and think, “I look so haggard! These past two days have been so exhausting, I’ve lost weight. I can’t go on like this or else I’ll get the worst of it. I have to find a shortcut. I can still see this through, but I’m not going to suffer in the process. Ultimately, I’ll be able to muddle through, bluff my way through it.” From that point on, they stop working hard and they give up on their efforts to protect the interests of God’s house. They think, “I’ll just go with the flow. It’s fine as long as my personal interests aren’t compromised.” Their attitude changes, doesn’t it? Are they still devoted? (No.) Are they still capable of throwing everything into their duty? Of giving it their best effort? Their heart of self-love is revealed. If their own interests are threatened, then they call it a day. No matter how right they know the truth to be, saving their own hide from suffering is more important to them. Nothing can trump their own interests. The moment something comes along that could threaten their interests, they give up on it—this is their highest standard for being a person. Is this a responsible attitude? Isn’t this taking the wrong path? Aren’t they going to do bad things? It looks to others like they work day and night to get their work done, and that they do it well. What does it look like to God? Does God remember this kind of behavior? Does God scrutinize people’s hearts and minds? (He does.) And what does God find through this scrutiny? He finds people trying to bargain in their duty, He finds that people’s hearts are deceitful and wicked, He finds that they long for the interests of the flesh, that they don’t love the truth, but instead are fed up with the truth. Can people perceive these things themselves? (No, they can’t.) Why not? The things inside of them that they rely on for their survival are the corrupt dispositions of Satan, and their essence is Satan’s essence. People depend on these things in their lives, and upholding their own face, status, dignity, and their fleshly interests becomes their second nature. Getting them to practice the truth, therefore, to handle matters according to God’s requirements and the truth principles, to uphold the interests of God’s house, to obey God, to absolutely follow God’s words, to act according to God’s will and according to the requirements and standards of the truth, is very arduous for them—it’s very taxing.
—“Knowing One’s Disposition Is the Foundation of Changing It” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
When performing your duty, if you discover a problem, you must resolve it; unresolved problems remain forever and will worsen over time. What do I mean by worsen? I mean that if you do not resolve your problem, then it will affect your state, and it will affect other people as well. As time goes by, your problem will stop you from doing your duty well, understanding the truth, and coming before God. These are all issues, are they not? This is a serious problem, not a minor one. A person’s complaints, resentment, the misconceptions about God, misunderstandings with regard to God’s family, prejudices about others, and estrangement from people—over time, as these things build up and up within, what are their consequences? Do they lead you to the path of entering truth reality, or do they lead you onto the path of evil men? On that path, will you get better and better or worse and worse? (Worse and worse.) How much worse? When these things build up inside people over a long period of time, their faith gradually disappears; when that so-called faith of theirs disappears, so does their enthusiasm. Once their enthusiasm is gone, do they not have less and less energy and willpower to fulfill their duties? They become unable to feel the joy of believing in God, nor are they able to feel His blessings while performing their duties; as such, they cannot find their internal strength, and they become filled with and controlled by complaints, negativity, notions, and misconceptions. When they live within these things, and are enveloped and controlled by them, all they can do when performing their duties is to exert themselves, enduring and going through the motions; in everything they do, they must rely on perseverance and self-restraint. They are unable to see God’s guidance or His blessings. So what comes next? No matter how they do their duties, they are unable to find principles. As they continue, they get more and more befuddled and at a loss for a way forward, and they lose all enthusiasm for fulfilling their duties.
—“Having a Human Likeness Requires Fulfilling Your Duty Properly With All Your Heart, Mind, and Soul” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days