Today, what stage is your life experience at? What stage is your current stature at? (I often reveal an arrogant disposition, and then I reach the verdict that it’s over for me, and think about whether I am a service-doer.) The mention of service-doers scares you, which is an expression of childish stature and immaturity. People of childish stature lack the ability to judge, they lack the ability to think about problems normally, their thoughts are not those of an adult, they lack an adult mentality, and they are held back by their future and destiny. What else? (When things go well as I’m performing my duty, my state is good; when things go awry, or I encounter difficulties, I get a feeling inside: “Is this the end of my duty? Did God use this duty to expose my lack of truth?” At such times I become negative, I start to second-guess God and be wary of Him.) Would you say that being exposed is something good or bad? (In theory, I know it’s good—but when it actually happens, there are times when I can’t accept it.) When you have not been exposed, what do you fear? (I worry about my future and destiny.) So what are you actually worried about? Are you afraid of being exposed, or of being eliminated? (I’m mainly afraid of being eliminated.) So just what directs the motivation of the fear of elimination? What causes it? What will happen if you’re eliminated? Just what is this elimination that you think of? (It means we will have nothing.) What you believe to be elimination is not being allowed to perform a certain duty, or being exposed by certain things—so is this the same as how, in God’s eyes, you are handled and viewed by God? Are you sure? Under normal circumstances, no one is good at everything, no one is a “master of all trades.” No matter how developed your brain is, how extensive your insights, there will always be things you don’t understand or are unaware of, trades or skills you don’t know; in every line of business or every job, there will always be gaps in your own knowledge that you’re unaware of, there’ll always be things that you are incapable of, or that are beyond you. God’s eyes have an accurate way of measuring and assessing people. Which is to say, when He uses someone, when He makes them do something, God most certainly has standards for them. He doesn’t ask them to be like the Monkey King, capable of the 36 changes, then the 72 changes, then the 108 changes—He doesn’t ask such things of you. He treats you as a normal person, and based on your normal humanity, the knowledge you possess, your caliber, your living environment, your insights, and how far your experience can reach at your age, He has a standard, one that is the most accurate and legitimate of all, for measuring you. What are the standards by which He measures you? He looks at what your motivations, principles, and goals are when you do things, and at whether these things are in line with the truth. It may be that by the standards of a certain industry or professionally speaking, you haven’t reached 100%, and have only just made the grade. But how does God measure this? God doesn’t measure it in terms of 100%. A pass is 60%; at the very most, His standard for measuring it is 65%. So what is the benchmark for 65%? Whether you did something with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength, whether you were able to give all your strength, whether you were faithful—this is God’s benchmark. But during your life’s progress, if, for example, you put as much effort in as you could and only reached 60%, to God, are you up to standard? During this period you have reached God’s standard. God is not demanding toward people, right?
At times, God uses a certain matter to expose you and discipline you. Does this mean you have been eliminated? Does it mean your last day has arrived? No. It is like when a child always wonders, “Was I adopted? Is she my real mother?” He can’t fathom the minds of adults. He doesn’t know why adults beat him because of one thing, why they scold him or tear into him because of another. Take when an adult says to you, “You’re not to swim in the reservoir!” They may not tell you what might happen if you do, but you may have heard some things, say, a child that went swimming when the adults weren’t paying attention and drowned—things like that often happen. You don’t listen, you let their words go in one ear and out the other, and you sneak off to play at the reservoir. Having played there and not drowned, you return home and feel pretty pleased with yourself. “See how clever I am! My mom and dad didn’t find out, they didn’t tell me off or beat me.” Your parents might not tell you off or beat you, but they do say to you: “No dinner or sleep for you tonight. Face the wall and think about what you’ve done!” So you stand facing the wall, and spend the whole night hungry, cold, and thirsty, feeling hard done by. You say to yourself, “I just went to swim, to play in the water. Nobody died. Is there any need for this?” You don’t get it. You think things over, and say to yourself: “Was I adopted? They’re soundly asleep, they’ve eaten, they have a warm blanket, and they’ve made me stand here facing the wall. Why?” You can’t figure it out. Then you say to yourself, “My mom must not want me.” And you keep thinking about this. But what are your parents’ actual intentions? To make this stick in your mind. What effect do they ultimately want to achieve by doing this to you? Is it only to make you remember? The ultimate effect they want to achieve is not just to make this stick in your mind. The aim of making it stick in your mind is to make you listen to them, to make you do as they say, to make you live by their words, to stop you being rebellious against them, to stop you doing things that worry them or wear them out—only then will the effect have been achieved. Will listening to your parents allow you to make progress? And will it save them worrying? And when they worry less, will they be happy with you? Will they still need to punish you? Thus, in many cases, people’s concern stems from their own interests. From large aspects, it’s the fear that they’ll have no end. “If, by any chance, I’m not careful and God exposes me, He’ll eliminate me. If God exposes me and rejects me, then there’ll be nothing I can do—if He says He doesn’t want me, He doesn’t want me.” This is your misinterpretation of God, these are only your thoughts. You have to figure out God’s intention. God’s intention in exposing people is not to eliminate them, but to make them grow. What’s more, sometimes you think you’re being exposed, but in fact you’re not. Often, because people’s caliber is poor and they don’t understand the truth, added to which they have an arrogant disposition, they often show off themselves, they have a rebellious disposition, they’re unconscientious, careless, and indifferent, they do their work badly, and don’t perform their duty properly. On the other hand, sometimes you don’t remember the principles that have been imparted to you, letting them go in one ear and out the other. You do as you please, acting before fellowshiping with many people and being a law unto yourself. What you do is of little effect and runs counter to principle. In this, you should be disciplined—but how could it be said that you have been eliminated? You must approach this correctly. What is the correct way to approach it? In matters where you don’t understand the truth, you must seek. And what does this seeking include? It’s not just seeking an understanding of doctrine, and nothing more. You must understand God’s will, and understand the principle behind how the house of God does certain work. What is the principle? The principle is not doctrine. It has several criteria, and in order to satisfy God’s will you must seek what the verdict is on the work arrangements for such matters, what the above has imparted and commanded with regard to doing such work, and what God’s words say about performing this kind of duty. What are the criteria for satisfying God’s will? Acting according to the principles of the truth. The broad direction is to put the interests of God’s family and the work of God’s family first. More narrowly, in all aspects, there should be no major problems, and that no shame should be brought upon God. If people master these principles, will their worries gradually recede? And will their misunderstanding also recede? Once you put aside your misunderstandings and have no unreasonable ideas about God, the negative things will slowly cease to hold a dominant position within you, and you will approach such matters correctly. So it is important to seek the truth and seek to understand God’s will.
People are often in a state of negativity and passivity, or else resistance and misunderstanding. Is this not the expression of childish stature? Some people always say they fear not doing their duty properly. Lacking detailed analysis, when others hear this they think to themselves, “This person’s faithful, they’re always afraid of not doing their duty properly.” But in their heart, what is the person actually worried about? “If I don’t perform my duty well, God will eliminate me and I’ll have no destination.” There are also some people who say, “I always fear being a service-doer.” Hearing this, others say to themselves, “If they don’t want to be a service-doer, they must want to be one of the people of God. If they want to be one of the people of God, then they must be committed to performing their duty. They’re good!” That’s not actually the case. In their mind, the person is thinking: “If I’m a service-doer, then I’ll end up being destroyed and won’t have a destination, I won’t be one of the people of the heavenly kingdom.” This is the subtext. They’re worried about their fate and destination, right? When someone says, “You are a service-doer,” their enthusiasm for performing their duty drops by a third; when someone says, “You are one of the people of God, you are praised by God, you do your duty well,” their enthusiasm for performing their duty increases by a third. What’s the problem here? When they perform their duty in God’s family, the state and mood within these people is always influenced by their destination, and they are out of line with the truth and the words of God—which produces many negative things and thoughts. They can never solve these negative thoughts by themselves; they trap them in a net, leaving them ensnared, and incapable of escape, but they always feel that what they think is right. Sometimes, after being dealt with, they say to themselves, “Those words were pretty severe. There’s no hope for me, this is just how I am. I’ll just do what I can.” Their thoughts are passive, negative, degenerate, and such people are resistant and confrontational when they perform their duty. Could they perform their duty well? The house of God keeps fellowshiping “do your duty with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength, and love the Lord your God,” but what do they always think? “This is just how it is. I’ll just do as I please—anything I do can be acceptable!” They’re resistant, confrontational, passive, whiny, unwilling, they feel estranged. Just like that, they’re reluctant, and there has to be someone in front of them to drag them along and someone behind them to push them forward, it’s like they’re trapped in the mud and every step is hard—their lives are so difficult. What causes this? It’s caused by them always misinterpreting God’s work to save man, by them always being skeptical regardless of how He treats them: “Does God not want me? Is He really going to save me or not? Is there any use in someone like me carrying on pursuing? Can I still enter the kingdom?” If you always have these passive, negative, bad thoughts, will it affect you performing your duty properly? Will this impact how you pursue the truth?
Everyone who lives has these thoughts: face, vanity, status, fame and fortune, reputation, and more. During their belief in God, they constantly struggle and fight against these things. During this time, people come to understand God’s will, and come to understand the truth, through eating and drinking the words of God, and they use these words and truths to solve those things and issues: vanity, their desires, motivations, and misunderstandings about God; their personal choices; and their self-righteousness, arrogance, craftiness. That is, they use the truths they understand, the words of God that they’ve heard, and the realities and principles of the truth that they’ve mastered to keep solving these problems, and in this way, they gradually change inside. These things are in everyone. Some people say: “I’ve always been impetuous and happy-go-lucky. I’ve never fought for the sake of face or reputation. I’m tolerant and generous, I’ve never skinned a flint—but if anyone stands in my way, they’ll be sorry.” No one doesn’t live for the sake of profit or reputation. Everyone lives for these things, it’s just that they are revealed and expressed in different ways. Some people say them out loud, some don’t; some people clearly reveal them, some keep them hidden, using various means to obscure them and stop them from being revealed, to not let others see them. But when you don’t let others see them, and keep them hidden, do you think that God doesn’t know? Do you think you don’t have a corrupt disposition? Everyone’s the same. Where does the difference lie? After hearing the truth, some people accept the words of God. It’s as if they’re taking medicine that tastes foul but is good for them: They drink it, using it to cure their faults, to solve the problems inside them. In their actions, conduct, the performance of their duty, their interactions with others, and their life’s direction and goals, they look for answers in the words of God to solve the problems they encounter in life. Everything they hear, they put into practice. For example, God says you must all be honest. They think about this, and say to themselves, “How can I be honest?” God’s words said for people to be honest: to be honest when they speak, to open up and fellowship, and to accept God’s scrutiny. With these principles, they will begin to practice the words of God. Naturally, as they practice them, there will be times when people veer left or right, go too far, or are aberrant and misguided—but they keep going in this direction, winding onward, and things gradually improve. The longer they live, the more they resemble a human being, and the more they feel God is with them and blesses them. This is one kind of person.
There’s also another type. Other people say, “I’m arrogant and self-righteous, I have desires and motivations, I do things to show off, I crave status, I often strive for fame and fortune.” Such things are also in this type of person, yet after hearing the message, they still think nothing of these problems and do as they please. They, too, are able to open up and fellowship, they are able to accept dealing and pruning, and accept discipline by God—but after accepting these things, they consider them doctrine. What does it mean that they consider them doctrine? Their interactions with others, the performance of their duty, their handling of things, their conduct, and their reflection upon their corrupt state and substance—none of them are based on the words of God. Everything is based on the principles of handling things and ways and means that they themselves have distilled, which they then mix them together with the phrases in the words of God. This makes them feel very pleased with themselves: “I’m also one of those who perform their duty properly, I’m also someone who believes in God, and someone who pursues the truth.” Externally, they have paid a certain price or exert some effort, or are possessed of a little talent or a certain strength, and so they feel that they are someone who pursues the truth, who loves God. Do you think this type of person is someone who puts the truth into practice? (No.) They scrupulously listen to the words of God, they scrupulously copy them, note them down, memorize them, and even spend time contemplating them—but what do they do with the words of God? What is their goal in listening to the words of God? (To use them to preach to others, and to show off.) That’s one aspect. What else? This involves many states. Some treat the words of God as rules to abide by. They just follow the literal meaning of the words, and that’s all. When others fellowship being honest, they say, “You’re honest? I can fellowship this, too.” And when they fellowship, people ask, “Where is your reality?” “Let me have a look at my notebook.” They have to read it, they have no actual experiences—if they did, wouldn’t these experiences be on the tip of their tongue? If it’s something they’ve experienced, why do they still have to read from their notes? Reading from notes means there’s a problem. What other types of state are there? (After equipping themselves with a bit of spiritual dogma, some people feel they have the reality of the truth.) After hearing certain messages, they believe themselves to be possessed of reality—they believe that, having understood these messages, they have these realities. Are they not mistaken? They say: “I am able to receive the truth, I have spiritual understanding, I am able to understand the words spoken by God, I understand the messages I have heard, and so I have the reality of the truth.” They don’t think these words are to be put into practice and used to solve the problems and issues within them. When they disobey God, do you know how such people often solve their own problems? Have you ever experienced this? Having heard the words of God, when people who don’t take God’s words as the principle of the truth are rebellious, they have a think and then say to themselves, “Was that rebellious? It’s excusable, this is what everyone thinks, these are just thoughts, they don’t count as being rebellious. All I have to do is not think this next time and I’ll be obedient.” After thinking about it some more, they say to themselves, “If I’m able to obey, then I’m one of those who love God, and who are beloved by God.” That’s how they make it over the hurdle. They don’t dissect themselves and think: “Why was I rebellious? This disobedience has allowed me to see clearly what kind of person I am. This instance of disobedience and what was expressed have allowed me to see through to what my substance is inside, and why I am able to disobey God. Naturally, I should be obedient, but I must try and dissect, I must try and know this matter, I can’t let it pass me by, I must try and know my own nature and substance, and why people disobey God, and are capable of disobeying God, why God uses this matter to judge, deal with, and prune me.” Is this a lesson they’ve learned? And is all this linked to the truth? If you don’t reflect on yourself in this way, don’t practice these things, and you say: “I’ll just obey, I’ll do whatever I’m told,” is this reality? (No.) What is this? This is a rule—it is not putting the truth into practice.
Many people have listened to the message for over ten or twenty years, some have listened for even longer, and they are all able to speak a whole heap of words and sayings. It even sounds practical when they do. But why is there no change within them? Ultimately, when a problem comes up, they say, “You don’t need to tell me, I understand everything, I understand every doctrine.” What are the origins of such words? What is the problem? Why is it that they understand every doctrine, have heard every message, and say that they understand everything and don’t need anyone else to explain, yet are incapable of solving the problem? Why is this so? They do not accept the truth. Take a doctor, for instance: He often examines others, writes prescriptions for them or operates on them, there’s nothing he doesn’t know—but what does he say when he gets cancer? “No one can cure my illness.” Some say: “You need chemotherapy.” “I understand.” They say: “You must go under the knife.” “I know that too. You don’t have to tell me—I know everything.” They know everything, it’s just that they don’t put it into practice. If they don’t go when people ask them to go in for an operation or chemotherapy, can their illness get better? Them being a doctor makes no difference. Which kind of person is this? (The second kind.) Superficially, it appears that they accept dealing and pruning, that they passionately listen to the message, do their work, and perform their duty. It can even be said that they passionately give their strength, suffer, and expend themselves. But on one point, they’re extremely bad, and this point is what’s most crucial: They’ve never practiced the messages they’ve heard, and the words of God, as the truth, which means they don’t accept the truth. What is the substantial problem with those who don’t accept the truth? (They don’t love the truth.) So what is the perspective toward God of those who don’t love the truth? What is their attitude? Why do those who don’t love the truth not love the truth? (In their nature, they don’t love positive things.) Not loving positive things is definitely one of the reasons. They don’t treat the truth as the truth, in their perceptions they believe that the truth is only good doctrine. It’s like how the Buddhists say “Rescuing one person from death is better than building a seven-storied pagoda”—that’s what the Buddhists always say. When a beggar comes, they give them two mantous and say “Rescuing one person from death is better than building a seven-storied pagoda.” Seeing a family that’s poor, they toss them a couple of coins, or give them a sack of flour and two sacks of rice and say “Rescuing one person from death is better than building a seven-storied pagoda.” In the course of preaching these words, they start to believe that “Me rescuing one person from death is better than building a seven-storied pagoda. I’m a proper Buddhist, I do what the Buddha said.” But one day, they do a big business deal in which the other side provides a large number of goods to them. They think about it and say to themselves, “These goods are in my possession now. If I don’t give him the money, I won’t have to do anything for the rest of my life. I’ll never have to worry about having enough to eat or wear.” And so they come up with a way to trick the other person. The scam earns them a lot of money and bankrupts the other person. At this time, they don’t say those words. When they toss a couple of coins, or give a bag of rice, or two mantous, they practice those words—“Rescuing one person from death is better than building a seven-storied pagoda”—and try to be a good Buddhist. But when large profit is involved, they don’t do that. Is this a true Buddhist? Is this a genuinely kind person? What kind of person is this? (A hypocrite.) They’re not really kind, it’s fake, a lie. What’s more exasperating? After selling the goods and getting the money, they use it as welfare to help out-of-school children and elderly people who live alone. What kind of person is this? Why do they do such things? The people around them say: “This person is a great altruist!” Why do people say that? They’ve done so many good deeds, they’ve helped this person and that, and their fame has spread. Everyone who knows them in surrounding villages says they’re a great altruist—yet no one actually knows where the money came from. Why does the Buddhist do this? To give themselves a good name. They have money, and now they have a reputation, they’ve bought the title of “great altruist,” and their aim has been achieved. Is this person wicked? Where is their wickedness hidden? Can it be seen from the outside? It cannot. And so, sometimes, on the outside, people might do some little good deed, or pay some small price, or give a little, or else, having heard certain words, they may be externally obedient, but this doesn’t mean they practice the truth.
Just what are the criteria for putting the truth into practice? How is whether you’re putting the truth into practice measured and defined? How does God measure whether you’ve put the truth into practice? How does God see whether you are someone who accepts His words after hearing them? God looks at whether, during the time that you’ve believed in God, listened to the message, and practiced the words of God, there has been a change in the state within you, in your disobedience toward God, and in the substance of the various aspects of your corrupt disposition. He looks at if you’ve replaced these with the truth, and at whether the changes have been in your external behavior and actions, or in the substance of your corrupt disposition deep within your heart. This is what God measures. Having listened to the message and eaten and drunk the words of God for all these years, are your changes superficial, or have there been changes in substance? Have there been changes in your disposition? Have there been changes in your misunderstandings about God, disobedience toward God, and in how you approach the commissions and duties that God gives you? Has there been a reduction in your disobedience toward God? When something happens and you are disobedient, are you able to reflect upon yourself, are you capable of obedience? Are you more loyal to the commissions and duties that God gives you, and is this loyalty pure? During the time that you’ve listened to the message, have your motivations, ambitions, desires, and intentions been cleansed? There’s also your misunderstandings about God: Do you still cling to your original conceptions, vague and abstract imaginings, and verdicts? Do you still have complaints and other negative emotions? Have there been changes in these things? Are these not the criteria for measurement? If there isn’t any change in these things, what kind of person are you? A single fact has been proven: You are not someone who practices the truth. If a seed is planted in the ground, watered and fertilized, but doesn’t sprout after many days, does it have life? It does not—this has been proven. There must be change in the various states inside people. For example, why did you start believing in God at the beginning? Some people say, “I had a wretched time in the outside world. I was bullied by people, shoved aside by them, looked down on by them. I started believing in God because I wanted to hold my head high.” This is their motivation when they start believing in God. After they’ve believed for a period of time, this motivation remains inside them, and they carry it as they perform their duty and expend themselves in the house of God. The more they expend, the more enthusiastic they become, and the more they think to themselves: “I’ve become a church leader—good, I can hold my head high, I can finally raise my head for the first time.” They carry on believing, and become a district leader, and they think: “Do I now not hold my head up high?” The motivation within them has not been resolved. After becoming head of a district, they think to themselves, “I’ll be an even more important leader. It’s good to believe in God, it’s great!” They start jockeying for position in the house of God, and it’s all so that they can hold their head up high; this motivation has never been resolved. They’ve worked, listened to the message, and eaten and drunk the words of God for all these years, but haven’t even solved this issue. Where did these words go after they ate them? There should have been a change in their state! Only when change has occurred in people’s life can the words of God truly be said to have been taken in. If there has been no change in those things inside you, and if, throughout, you’ve clung to one state, one attitude, one perception, and they’ve never changed, this is what it means to have no stature. If these issues are gradually resolved to various extents at different stages, this proves that the words of God have had an effect in you, that they’ve been effective, and have begun to become your life.
We’ve talked about two kinds of people. What is expressed in the first kind of people? They simply put the words of God into practice as soon as they hear them. How about the second kind of person? They have listened to many of God’s words, and it is not the case that they don’t put any of them into practice; in their view, they believe they have put them into practice, because as well as giving up their family and career, they’ve also offered everything they have. There are even those who’ve given their whole lives to God, who have forgone marriage and riches, who have given everything to God, yet the state within them has never changed; their complaints, misunderstanding, conceptions, and imaginings about God, their arrogant disposition, their arbitrary, autocratic way of doing things—none of these have ever changed, their method remains the same. This is like how the unbelievers say that one does not mend their ways, that they never change the way they live. What does the second kind of people take the words of God as? As good doctrine. They believe God’s words are the truth, but they believe that truth to be doctrine, something that is doctrinal, that is good, not bad. They put part of it into practice, but there is not the slightest alteration in their life’s state and the state within their spirit, there is no change. This is the second kind of person.
Do you know what the third type of person is? After hearing God’s words, this type of person says to themselves: “This way is right. God has become flesh, and He is a good person. He’s not bad, the leaders of the house of God aren’t bad, and the people of the house of God aren’t bad, either. It’s a good place. There’s no oppression here, no tears, no hardship—it’s simply a comfort zone, a haven. These people are all kindly. No one picks on anyone else, and when someone has a dispute with someone else, they are able to open up to each other and fellowship. They’re all good people. The messages the above preaches are good, they’re all positive energy. They are filled with positive vibes, with positive energy. Everything God says is positive. Hearing these messages nourishes my spirit and comforts my heart, I can feel just how calm and peaceful it is to live in the house of God, there is enjoyment and comfort, it feels like living in a human paradise. Living among these people, there is joy and hope. Even better would be if I could become a great talent and achieve big things in the house of God.” They regard these messages and words of God as the positive theories, dogmas, and good doctrines of famous men and great figures—so do they put them into practice? (They do not.) Why not? One aspect is that it’s difficult for them to practice these truths: They have to suffer and pay a price. They believe they need only say these words, that just like in religion, believing in God is something they do in their spare time, and they just have to give a little of their strength or join a church. They believe they cannot accept God’s words completely and genuinely. God’s words say that those who are honest call a spade a spade and must never lie. The third kind of people think, “It’s not human to never lie.” They just can’t accept that. They say to themselves, “Opening up to everyone without holding anything back, complete obedience to God—isn’t that stupid?” They think it’s silly to do that, that they can’t be like that. They acknowledge that these words are right, but they can’t bring themselves to do all of that. So they simply go through the motions; they acknowledge only that these words are right, and the truth, but they do not accept them or practice them. When the house of God needs them to give their strength, they enthusiastically put their hands up. What is their aim of them putting their hands up to show they’re willing to give their strength? “Doing this might be to my advantage, I might get something out of it. Isn’t it often said that if people believe in God, they will enjoy God’s blessings and gain His grace?” Such are their expectations and convictions. But to them, the words of God are merely the object of their research, something they use to pass the time. They by no means treat them as the truth, as the life. What kind of person is this? This is an unbeliever. The unbelievers do not acknowledge that God can save people, and that people can be saved, nor do they admit that people have sin, and that these sins have been forgiven. They say: “No one in this world lives in a vacuum. Everyone’s like this, people are no different from animals, human beings are a high level of animals, and animals are a low level of animals. The words of God are a good religious doctrine, but they don’t count as the truth, nor do I dare say whether they are the truth. I can’t speak with certainty about the three stages of God’s work of salvation in His management plan, nor whether God is able to save people. I’m not sure where He takes them to when He saves them, what their outcome and destination is.” They are not interested in these things, they are not interested in God’s salvation of man, they are not interested in people’s acceptance of judgment and chastisement and their being saved, nor in how people enter the reality of the truth, or in more specific things like how to be honest, or how to perform one’s duty. They take even greater exception at the mention that people must obey and their obedience must be absolute: “If people must obey God, what’s the point in having a brain?” This is their viewpoint. “Always obeying God makes people slaves.” Is this not the viewpoint of the unbelievers? They believe it is a bad thing for people to obey God, that it is beneath them, and undignified, that people should not preach or accept such things. They grudgingly accept certain messages, such as giving grace to people, doing good deeds, being well-behaved. But they can’t get their heads round how Peter received hundreds of trials and was perfected: “Wasn’t God toying with him?” They don’t accept the truth as the truth, they believe that God toys with people, they believe that God’s method of working people and saving them is one person playing with another, one person with power and authority toying with the vulnerable, the same way that a slave master treats his slaves—that’s the kind of comparison they make. Are such people capable of accepting the truth? And are there people like this in the church? (Yes.) Do you think they will leave the church on their own? (No.) Why not? They consider themselves fortunate: “The outside world is dark, I’ve heard it’s evil. What’s more, it won’t be easy for someone as old as me to get by out there. Isn’t it all the same wherever I get by, anyway? I’ll try and get by here, and even if things really are bad, at least it won’t have cost me anything. There are things to eat and drink, and the people are pretty nice—none of them bully me. On top of that, if you expend yourself, perform your duty, give your strength, and pay a price, you are blessed by God. It’s a trade, and one that doesn’t cost anything!” After thinking things over, they feel it’s worth staying in the church. If, one day, they didn’t feel that, if they lost their patience, and started to feel that it’s no fun being here, that there’s no benefit in it, then their thoughts would turn to running away: “In any case, it hasn’t cost me anything, and I didn’t put my heart and soul into it. I have skills, I know my profession, I have a diploma, I’ll do just as well in the outside world. How great it would be to earn myself a fortune or become president!” This is what their view is. In such people’s eyes, the words of God and the truths He has expressed aren’t even as valuable as a president’s speech, such is their disdain for God’s words. They have these viewpoints when they believe in God, and they willingly carry such viewpoints with them when they do service and take shelter in the house of God. Even though they’re only getting by in God’s house temporarily, they don’t want to leave. What is their goal? To bide their time. They think to themselves, If I’m successful, I’ll be blessed, I’ll enter the kingdom—and if not, I won’t have lost anything. With this perception of biding their time, are they able to practice the truth? Are they able to accept the truth? Can they worship God as the Creator? With such a perception, what state is produced in them? They often have complaints and misunderstandings about God. When God does something, they evaluate, discuss, and research it, and then give their verdict on it: “This doesn’t seem like something God would do. And I hope not.” Inside them is resistance, research, criticism, and biding one’s time—what else? Is it fair to say they’re disobedient? This is not the corruption and disobedience of normal humanity, it is enmity to God! People who believe in God reveal corrupt dispositions, sometimes they are not obedient to God, and God says that this is a rebellious disposition, that they have the substance of rebellion against God—but what about those who don’t believe in God? What about Satan, would God say that Satan is rebellious? (No.) So what would He say? That Satan is His enemy, that it stands in opposition to God, that it is utterly antagonistic to God. What things and states do those people bring before God? Research, resistance, antagonism, complaints—what else? (Biding one’s time, hatred.) The more you preach the truth, the more annoyed they become, the more you fellowship about the truth, the more irritated they become, the more you fellowship about obedience, the more irked they are, the more you fellowship that by accepting dealing, pruning, chastisement and judgment, people can be saved and made perfect, the more bothered they are, and the more unwilling they are to listen. As soon as they hear you fellowshiping about these things, they become restless. The unbelievers call it “like sitting on a carpet of needles” or “ants in a hot cauldron.” It’s as if someone tried to burn them, they’re so agitated inside! If they were asked to go to a nightclub or bar, they wouldn’t be agitated, they’d be happy. If you were asked to go to somewhere like a nightclub or a bar, would you? (No.) Would you remain in a bar or nightclub? (No.) Going there would be a fate worse than death, yes? But they want to stay there, they think to themselves, “I’m happy here, it’s fun, it would be so worthwhile to live my life like this. Always listening to the truth is so annoying, I don’t want to.” So if they’re unwilling to listen to the truth, can they accept it? The things within them, the states they have—what were they again? (Negativity, resistance, hatred, biding one’s time, research.) They’re always researching things, always biding their time. What do they research? (They research whether or not these are the words of God.) They’re always researching the words of God. It is not a matter of small stature. This is the kind of person they are. This kind of person is different from those who accept the truth, who get a little emotional, or have some misunderstanding, and say, “Does God not want me?” Those people are always scared that they have no future, no destiny. They always deny themselves and delineate themselves. But this kind of person always stands in opposition to God, researching, biding their time, resisting, not accepting the truth at all, waiting and seeing: “Look at you idiots. You’ve rejected your family, you do not honor your parents, and you’re so poor you have nothing. See how stylish the clothes of the unbelievers are, and look what you’re wearing. Ugh, I’m not as stupid as you are.”
When the work of God’s house just began, there weren’t many people, and only a few people went out to perform their duty. Afterward, the work of God’s house spread, it bore fruit, and the number of people performing their duty gradually increased. Some people saw that they could distinguish themselves and show off their talents, and so they, too, went out to perform their duty. I said to Myself, “That’s strange, why was it that so many people go to perform their duty as soon as this work did well? Where have they been hiding all these years?” Some reply: “They’ve long since prepared for this. They said to themselves, ‘If the work of God’s house picks up, I’ll go. If it doesn’t, I won’t, and I won’t give my strength for You!’” What kind of person is this? They’re opportunists, and all opportunists are unbelievers, they’re just jumping on the bandwagon. On the face of it, it looks as if the work of God’s house is done by people. In reality, however, all is led and guided by God, and is carried out by the Holy Spirit. There can be no doubt about this. God Himself does His own work, and God’s will proceeds without hindrance. No one could do such great work. People are incapable of it. Such is the effect achieved by the authority of God and His words. People can’t see this clearly. They believe that “I was part of the rise of God’s house. When the time comes, make sure my achievements are recognized!” As they speak, they show their ulterior motives. What do the unbelievers say about this? “How malicious these intentions.” How sinister their intentions are! Of course, if people are able to accept the truth, God overlooks how they had these motivations or perceptions, or how they were of little faith at the start. Exposing such perceptions and attitudes in people is in order to make them walk the right path of human life, to get them on the right track. Don’t bide your time, don’t try and research—you won’t find God through research, or by looking through binoculars. There is no basis by which you can yield the fact of God’s existence and His work of salvation via research, this is fact. Regardless of whether anyone acknowledges, believes, or follows, the fact is that God does this work. No one can obstruct or alter what God intends to accomplish; people must believe and acknowledge this fact.
We just spoke of the third type of person. This type of person bides their time, they look for opportunities, and they carry out research. Ultimately, if they see that things are going badly, they run away. There are even those who are prepared to flee at any time. If such people discover this state is in them, there’s still time for them to change. God won’t remember their faults and problems. The problem is that they bide their time and are hardened from beginning to end, and they keep fighting God. In substance, man was originally dust. God gave you breath, He made you into a person, a real, living person, a living being with a spirit, possessed of flesh and blood. He made you live. When He had yet to use you to perform your duty, He provided you with things to eat and wear, and He provided you with everything; your life came from God. And when God uses you, if you take to your heels, if you always sing a different tune to God and are antagonistic to Him, could God still use you? God will put you to one side. Whether during the first days of creation, or during the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, or now, during the last days, God has spoken so many words, and whether it is the ones He has inspired, or those He has spoken directly, face-to-face, they are, it can be said, beyond number. And what is His purpose in saying so much? To make people understand His intentions, comprehend His intentions, and know His will. Ultimately, they will be aware that after gaining these words there will be changes in their disposition, they will be saved, they will gain the life, after which they will be able to accept these words. God’s purpose is nothing more than this. Having accepted these words and the various means by which God works, the effect ultimately achieved by God is that people will be able to follow Him to the very end, and will not be eliminated and rejected by God half way. Regardless of whether God disciplines you, prunes you, or exposes you, or whether there are times when He forsakes you, or gives you tests, or even gives you a dirty look, the fact of God’s will in saying those words and His care and consideration cannot be denied, yes? And so, people shouldn’t obsess over details, they shouldn’t always take the measure of a gentleman with their own petty little yardstick, they shouldn’t always misunderstand God. Regardless of what kind of wrong perception you used to abide by, regardless of what the state within you is, as long as you are able to accept God’s words as your life, as the principles that you practice, and as the direction and goal of the path you walk, you will fulfill what God asks, step-by-step. What’s fearsome is when people only hear and treat God’s words as theory, doctrine, as mere sayings and phrases, as slogans, or even treat the words of God as something to be studied, and treat God as someone to be studied and opposed—this is trouble. Such people are not the objects of God’s salvation, and God has no means to save them. It is not that God doesn’t save you, but that you do not accept God’s salvation—this is all that can be said, and it is fact.
What’s most important in people being able to make it to the very end, and being able to achieve changes in their disposition? Accepting and practicing God’s words is what’s most important. Regardless of the time, remember these words. They must always be hovering by your ear; you must think about them, pondering them, contemplating them, and when something happens to you, you must say to yourself, “I accept and practice God’s words; I shall hold this matter up against the words of God and resolve it using the words of God.” In this way, you will have begun to walk the right track. You will have begun to walk the right path of human life, and you will have direction. When you always analyze and study matters using your brain, and always rely on your own way of doing things to solve them, your path is blocked, it is the wrong path. If you practice by such means, it will be impossible for you to be compatible with God, and to achieve changes in your disposition; these two things will always be beyond you. That path is wrong. If you try to achieve them using such means, using your human way of doing things, then even if no one ever discovers what you’re doing, even if it feels pretty good to you, and God never reproaches you, you will ultimately be incapable of fulfilling God’s will. Are you now clear about what’s most important? Accept and practice the words of God. Do not try and research them—make absolutely sure you do not try and research them. You must not have resistance and antagonism. As soon as you find yourself in this state, be sure to reflect on yourself and solve it; the fault must be remedied as soon as it appears. As these little faults keep appearing in you, and you keep fixing them, curing them one by one, they will become increasingly scarce. Ultimately, there will be an outcome, one that will make you see that “because of constantly solving these minor issues, my relationship with God has become more and more normal. I feel more and more reverence toward God, my heart is increasingly close to God, and my performance of my duty has become more and more pure. I am increasingly able to put my heart into it, I am no longer cursory or perfunctory, my attitude toward the duties God gives me is increasingly correct, my heart is more and more genuine, and I no longer just go through the motions.” You don’t just go through the motions like the unbelievers. Your attitude has been fixed and your state has changed, and you have become sincere. This is the right path, proof that you have ingested God’s words, that they have played a role in you, and have had an effect. Ultimately, you will see a result: By constantly solving these little problems, they have not turned into big problems and gotten out of hand. “I do not disrupt God’s management plan, I do not do anything that disrupts God’s work, and I will not be one of Satan’s minions. In God’s house, I am not an evil person, I am not one of those who are expelled, purged, or eliminated. I’m certain that I am one of those who shall be saved and the path I walk is right, and I have no doubt that the God I believe in is the one God, the true God.” At such times, is there any need to worry? You have truly come to a place of refuge, and there is no need to worry about things like, “Have I been eliminated? Am I a service-doer? Is it over for me? Did God expose me and no longer want me because of this?” What causes these people’s concerns? Their knowledge of God is too lacking. They have too many misunderstandings about God, and understand too few truths. Because you have not understood God’s will in His words, because you have not understood His will when you read His words, you always misunderstand Him, and because you always misunderstand Him, you always worry, you always feel ill at ease. Because you are always ill at ease, you always have misunderstandings, and when you have misunderstandings, there are times when you feel resistant—and when you feel resistant, slowly but surely you keep making little mistakes. When, one day, you make a big mistake, you really will be eliminated. Making a big mistake is no trifling matter. When some people are eliminated, or purged, or expelled, or are totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit, is there a root cause? There most certainly is. This involves a problem with their path: They have never walked the path of pursuing and practicing the truth, they have always strayed from this path, doing what they want to, according to their own wants and ambitions, protecting their own status and reputation, protecting their own pride, looking after their own desires, fulfilling their own desires, putting these things at the center of everything they do. Though they, too, pay a price and expend themselves, working from dawn until dusk, what is the end result? Because of all they’ve done, God’s eyes determine them to be wicked, and they are eliminated. Do they still have a chance? (No.) This is really serious! This is how the faults in people’s spirit come about.
Some people are eliminated because of their nature and substance. Some, for example, have been antichrists from the day they were born and are the same sort as Paul; for others, it’s purely a problem of the path they have taken, of the road they chose. God earnestly remonstrates, He is meticulously attentive, He consoles, exhorts, reminds, warns, and His words encompass many aspects and perspectives, but people pay them no heed, they let them go in one ear and out the other, they don’t put them into practice. They continue to act as befits their own motivations and desires, looking out for their own status, pride, and vanity. In every regard, they think only of their own interests, and they plan and do things for their own pride and prospects—they are painstaking, and they balk at no cost. And in their hearts they think to themselves, “I am expending myself for God, and the crown of glory awaits me.” They speak the words of Paul! In fact, they don’t know what path they walk, and don’t know that they have been condemned by God. If, ultimately, a day comes when this all breaks out into disaster, will they feel sorry? Will they know to repent? When that time comes, they will even be antagonistic! And in what way will they be antagonistic? “My efforts have been tireless, and worthy of great merit. Despite not being given any credit, I have toiled hard, and despite not receiving any recognition, I’ve worked myself to the bone!” The things you’ve done do not have a shred of value—why? Were they good deeds? Were you performing your duty? Were you putting the truth into practice? What were you doing? You were going about your own business. And what business was that? Getting rich? Earning a living? Getting taller? (They were trying to make a name for themselves, and to gain fortune and status.) During that time, they equipped themselves with many letters and doctrines, ones both profound and abstruse, a whole set of them, and they were able to speak, preach, run around, and busy about, without doing any real work; they won over everyone around them, they did a great job of manipulating them, and held a similar place to the king of a mountain. And yet, God has no place in their hearts. Aren’t they committing evil? They don’t practice the slightest truth, and what is the final verdict? This goes without saying. In such situations, they still want the crown. How thick-skinned they are—they have no shame! Even then, they still try to reason. Why, when such people are ultimately eliminated, do they still try to reason? They disrupt God’s management, they disrupt His work, they disturb His work, they commit evil in His house—but why do they still try to reason with God, why are they even so assertive? What is the root cause? Is there sense to acting like this? (No.) So why do they lack this sense? For normal people, after they’ve heard so many of God’s words, what kinds of truths and precepts are the very least that they’re able to abide by, regardless of how God treats them, irrespective of whether what He does conforms to their conceptions? (Everything that God does is right.) And are they held in check because of these words? Why do people allow themselves to be held in check by them? When people are able to accept God’s words, do they treat God as God? (Yes.) And so, they are held in check by these words, and are able to listen to the words of God, and regardless of how much mental distress it causes them, no matter whether there is still rebelliousness in them, or whether the problem has been solved, they do not stand in opposition to God. Why is that other type of person able to stand in opposition to God? (They don’t treat God as God.) This is the root cause! Irrespective of what great heights they reach, how enthusiastically they run about, what they sacrifice, how great the price they pay, from start to finish they’ve never treated the words of God as the words of God—so are they able to understand the truth? (They’re incapable of understanding the truth.) So when God deals with them in one way they take exception, and when He deals with them in another, they don’t comply. Do they have rationality? They lack the rationality of a created being, which proves one fact: They have never accepted God’s words, nor ever obeyed God’s words. If, during these years, they had been able to accept God’s words as the truth, were able to put God’s words into practice, and could listen to God’s words, they wouldn’t be so audacious, they wouldn’t fight against God’s arrangements, they wouldn’t oppose God’s treatment of them, they wouldn’t have such emotions; at most they’d feel a little uncomfortable and awkward. People who are corrupted have normal weaknesses, but there are several criteria they must achieve. One is that people must not abandon their duty: “Regardless of the time, regardless of whether I carry out the task given to me by God well or not, I will do as much as I can; even if God doesn’t like me, or thinks nothing of me, at the very least, I must accept the task He gives me, and do it well.” This is rationality: not forsaking one’s duty. In addition, they do not deny God: “Regardless of how God treats me—even if He kicks me, hits me, curses me, swears at me, spits at me, or asks for my life—God’s status does not change, and my status as a human being does not change; God will always be my God, His substance and identity will never change, I will always acknowledge Him as my God.” People must have this rationality. What else? (I shall obey no matter how He treats me or punishes me.) This is the bare minimum, it is the baseline, the most fundamental, and what you must also possess; you must say to yourself, “I don’t understand what God is thinking, I don’t get why He is doing this, I feel a little hard done by, and I have some reasons—but I will say nothing. Why will I say nothing? I am a created being, and I should obey God, it is my duty as a created being. Right now, God has not allowed me to understand. I might still be a bit bewildered by this, I might not know just how to practice, or how I should seek the truth, but even if I don’t understand, I should still obey.” Is this rationality?
What is manifested in those who don’t understand the truth and don’t accept the truth? Firstly, they say, “You don’t want me, right? Since I have no fate, and can’t enjoy blessings, or gain blessings, I will not follow You anymore! Now You’re asking me to perform my duty, now You’ve come looking for me. What were You doing before? Do You see me now? You kick me, hit me, You have this attitude toward me, and now You ask me to perform my duty—huh! You’re dreaming!” What attitude is this? Where do they stand? They stand in opposition to God—and behind this opposition, what are they thinking in their minds? Do they acknowledge that God is their God? “Humph! God? I think You’re a human being, this world has no God! You’re all idiots. As others have said, if you believe in God, He exists—and if you don’t, He doesn’t. Where is God? He’s in people’s minds. When they believe in Him in their minds, He exists; if I didn’t believe in You, You wouldn’t exist, and You are not God.” Their viewpoints are exposed, right? Having listened to many God’s words for all these years, could this perception have been produced if they had ingested and accepted His words? There’s another type of person that’s even more egregious. What do they do? They instigate or do something. They say, “You still believe in God? How could you be so stupid? Wasn’t it said long ago that disaster is coming? When’s it coming? Didn’t God say that He would destroy the world? Where is this destruction? Did He not say that volcanoes would erupt? Have they erupted? You keep waiting! You are a fool, your belief has cost you so much! Stop believing, there’s no point! See how smart I am, I can earn two or three thousand yuan a month—how much can you scrape together in a month? What do you have to eat and drink? Look at what’s popular in the world, and look at what you’re wearing! You dress like a hillbilly. Look at me, everything on me is a famous brand.” They try to seduce and deceive people. Is it going too far to say that these people are the enemies of God? (No.) What is their attitude toward performing their duty? “If I can do it, I will. If I can’t do it, I won’t. If I want to do it, I will. If I don’t, I won’t. I’ll just do what I can. Why do I have to give all my strength and all my heart? How much heart can one person give? I’m not doing this for myself. When I’m doing something for my own family, giving all my heart, strength, and mind is real, it’s the truth. But when I do stuff for the house of God, why should I give all my heart, strength, and mind for a God that I can’t see? What’s the point in giving so much? It’s enough just running about and doing all this talking.” Such is their viewpoint. They feel that performing their duty with all their strength, all their heart, and all their mind is stupid, not worth it—this has been exposed, yes?
If you were to encounter such people today, would you be deceived and influenced by them? It would be impossible for them to move you, because your feet are rooted to rock; they’d be incapable of budging you. But could there be living thoughts in your mind? There could, yes? Say, for example, your husband brings a pretty girl home. You think it over and say to yourself, “You’ve found someone else. What place have you given me? No matter what, I’m still your wife! Ugh! What does it matter if she’s pretty? Evil cannot suppress righteousness. Whatever the case, you’re the evil one, you’re the other woman—and I’m the righteous one!” You’ve been plunged into a temptation, right? You can’t overcome it. So when are you able to overcome it? You must have stature. Having stature means that even though you have some living thoughts and you are having a moment of weakness, you don’t abandon your duty. These things don’t affect your performance of your duty, you don’t give in to those capricious thoughts and say, “I want to leave God, I want to go, I want to choose a different path.” What’s even better? It’s having God’s words to guide you out when such things happen to you. Not only are you unaffected by them, but you’re able to leave them behind quickly, and are not constrained at all. No trace has been left in your brain. What do you think in your mind? “He’s finally found the one for him. If he hadn’t, I’d still feel like I owed him something! He even found someone prettier than me. I must have no more illusions about this, I must be dead set on performing my duty before God. This is the environment that God has set out for me, and I am so grateful to God!” In this, do you have stature? This is stature. It is not being tolerant. One of the most difficult hurdles for people is the emotional aspect. You might be able to leave him, but when he finds someone else and you see her, you can’t take it, and say to yourself, “How can I let him win? Isn’t this the same as him abandoning me?” Even a small thing as this troubles you for eight or ten days: “I have to split them up. If I can’t be with him, I’m not going to let him find someone else.” People like this are bad! Are you not still incapable of getting over him being with someone else? You should treat him as an outsider: “He can get with whoever he wants. Even if he finds eight or ten other women, that has nothing to do with me. In any case, I’ll not go down that road with him. I’m dead set on performing my duty as a created being.” You’re not affected by him, and when you see that he’s found someone else, you perform your duty even more ardently and faithfully. This is what stature is. Is this stature a fleeting emotion? Absolutely not. You must understand certain truths. When you understand certain truths, and have true faith in God, then your heels are not planted in sand, but in rock. What does this mean? That no one can pull you out, that nothing that happens to you can shake your faith. This is not a matter of conviction; you’ve thought these things through. How did you think about them? You didn’t analyze them with your brain, thinking about them over and over. You gradually put them aside by eating and drinking God’s words. You’ve already gotten past them, you think nothing of them, you’ve entrusted them to God, you’ve left them at the mercy of God; and your heart is obedient, you have true faith in God, you have a heart that accepts the truth, that loves the truth, that wants to walk the right path of human life—and that’s enough; most things won’t shake you.
If you’ve thought marriage through, the next time something similar happens, you will shed, at most, two tears. When you wake after sleeping you will have turned a new page and not be affected by these things, and you’ll perform the duty before you as you ought to, and give it a place in your heart. That’s marriage, so what about work and prospects? Whatever people’s prospects and fate are in this life, whether they live well or not—no matter how they spend it, isn’t it still a life? Some people spend their lives fighting, smashing, stealing, doing bad things. What are such people’s lives like? What is the situation they face? They must always flee. Today they’ll flee here, tomorrow they’ll flee there, they’ll get caught today and released tomorrow, and after being let out they’ll keep stealing and robbing, and the day after that they’ll be convicted again—their whole lives are nothing more than this. How about people involved in politics, do they lead happy lives? (No.) Why not? They spend every day in the midst of conspiracy, which is so exhausting it makes them go bald. Living like this is difficult. And people engaged in business and commerce? For the sake of one or two cents’ profit, they spend all day calculating in their heads, dealing with numbers and profit. That’s exhausting, too. After spending a lifetime earning money, all they end up enjoying is simple home-cooked fare; at best, they’re looked highly upon by others. Most of them live normal lives. And what does a normal life involve? Is it happy? For the first three of five years of marriage, the husband and wife adore and respect each other, they’re happy and contented, they swear to love each other until death do them part. But after three years the husband has gone off the rails and the wife has fallen for someone else—and after five years, their relationship has fallen apart. The children go and live with the mother or father, or else with the grandparents. A normal life is nothing more than this, there’s no happiness to speak of. Or take a couple who have a good life. The woman is a good wife and mother, the man is a model husband, and they have many children. What are their lives like? To look at, such lives seem very harmonious; on closer consideration, is there any happiness to speak of? (No.) Why is that? People in their twenties don’t yet have any great sense of the paralysis spending the rest of their days trapped in the nine-to-five, leaving for work at sunrise and getting home at sunset. They’ve yet to get tired of it. When they reach their forties, people start to get a sense, they start to get sick of it. In particular, office workers wake each day to the sound of the alarm clock. They’re reluctant, they really don’t want to go to work, and long for the weekend to come quicker. After going to work for five days, it’s finally the weekend and they can sleep in. They sleep all the way through to 10 a.m., when the sun is high in the sky, and they don’t have to do anything the whole day, they can just lie on the sofa like a big, lazy worm—that’s what counts as having a good life. After eight or ten years, they gradually start to get sick of living like this: “Is man’s whole life going to be like this?” They keep thinking this until they find themselves in their fifties, and don’t have the energy to do anything serious. After thinking about it carefully, they ask themselves: What have I accomplished in this life? I’m just a machine that makes money and gets by. The woman’s life revolves around the kitchen stove and her children and husband, and outside the home, the man’s life revolves around matters of the outside world, the aim of which is nothing more than to bring more money home. In the blink of an eye, they’re sixty. They’ve nothing to hope for. What serious business is there for them to do? Does doing a bit of washing and sewing count for anything? Using some of their strength to pedal customers on a three-wheeled bicycle—do they have enough strength for that? That doesn’t feel like the right way to them. Does playing checkers with old people count as serious business? If not that, then talking about old times with old officials and other retirees—which gets boring after a while. Discussing today’s politics and the state of the country, world trends, then history … talking on and on, they fall asleep. A bunch of old people without the slightest vitality, looking at one another, seeing no vitality in the other person, each thinking that the other has led a life without meaning—how depressing to spend the rest of one’s life like this. Such are the lives of ordinary people, that’s all they are.
Regardless of whether you live a successful life or one that has more ups and downs, no matter what kind of life you lead, whether you are poor or rich, it’s all one and the same; everything revolves around eating, drinking, playing, entertainment, and the trivialities of the home. Think about it: If you devote a lifetime’s sweat, sacrifice, and efforts to these things, will your life up until your death have any meaning? (No.) Why not? What do they have no meaning compared to? Some people are involved in music their whole lives and achieve certain things. They’re orchestral conductors, and after each time they conduct, they believe the music they’ve conducted is the most beautiful in the world, that they have left the finest piece of music for mankind, that their value lies in the conducting stage. Some people love to paint, and depict the various fragments and types of human existence. They feel that their life’s value lies in the paintbrush, and they spend their lives leaving many artworks for future generations. What do they give them? These paintings. After these artists die, their paintings increase in value—which is good for the hustlers in charge of art galleries, who make a fortune. When the artist sold their paintings on the street, no one took much notice of them, but after they die, the price of the paintings shoots up. Some people pay hundreds of thousands of yuan for the genuine article. And where do those people put the painting after they’ve bought it? They plonk it in a storeroom, shut the door, and the painting stays in a storeroom devoid of light. Where’s the worth of it? This is proven by now, no matter what your career is in this life, how great your accomplishments, ultimately, it all comes to nothing—yes? Great politicians, great economists, renowned figures in every industry or line of business, people who make great contributions, including those prophets in the Bible, Isaiah, Daniel, etc.—what of those people? Do their deeds, and they themselves, have the use or value of a single word from the Lord Jesus? (No.) Why not? (Because their words are not truth.) Correct. So what is the most valuable thing people should gain? (Truth.) So, in the career you do in this life of yours, if you work in computers, for example, what’s the value of the computer in your hands? (It is a tool for performing one’s duty.) If you use this tool to perform your duty, and you enable it to play the role of giving testimony to God and spreading the word of God during when you’re using it, then such objects have value—but they’re also not worth commemorating, right? If you’re highly-skilled with computers, you’re able to use the latest software programs, but they have no use in the performance of your duty, then do your skills have value? They’re useless, empty. And so, as God’s words say, all things shall pass away. And what is the only thing that shall not? Only the words of God shall not pass away. What does “all things” include? (Things that have life and those that don’t.) It may be that there will even be no earth at the very end. Some people ask, If there’s no earth, where will we stay? With God’s words, what are you afraid of? This is not for you to worry about. You need not worry: Trust that as long as God exists, God’s words have the final say. You’ll go where God asks, and it will most certainly be better than staying on earth; there are many good places, so what are you worrying about? All things shall pass away, and only the words of God shall not. Which is to say, all of the contributions made by this mankind, and all of the things made by this mankind—skyscrapers, cities, or various material things, that which has value, that which does not, that which is perceived by the human eye, that which is not—all of this will pass away. Some people don’t understand, and say, “All things shall pass away? Why? Doesn’t that mean it was a waste of time making them? Will they not render service for mankind anymore? Will they not be administered by mankind anymore?” (Because all things must be renewed.) That’s right, all shall be renewed. So why will this era, and all these things, be made to pass away? Because what these things bring to this mankind has no value. None of what they bring to this mankind can substitute the word of God. No matter how good they are, no matter how long they last in people’s eyes, what feeling do they bring you? Emptiness, and they’re incapable of bringing you the things and value brought to you by truth. So what’s most important? (Truth, God’s word.) What are people if they live without God’s word? They are a shell, without worth—yes? If people possess a certain degree of ability but don’t understand or accept God’s word, what are they? They’re the same as a computer, they’re just a tool. But computers don’t understand the word of God, and they’re incapable of practicing the word of God. If you understand God’s word and put it into practice, then you’re not a machine—you’re better than a machine, and there is value in your existence.
Is the word of God important? (It is.) “All things shall pass away, and only the words of God shall not.” These words are reminding people of something. What does “the words of God shall not” refer to? Truth and the word of God will always be truth; this will never change. Regardless of its value and significance to mankind, or the connotations and actual circumstances of these words, they will never change, they will remain as they were originally, they shall not change into anything else, and their substance will not alter. For example, when God asks that people be honest, are these words truth? (Yes.) So can these words ever pass away? (No.) Why not? God asking that people be honest shows that God’s substance is honest, that there is a side to God that is honest and trustworthy. This substance of God exists from antiquity to eternity, and will not change, it will not alter because of changes in era, geography, or space; this substance will always exist. What is the reason why this substance will always exist? Because it is something positive, it is the substance possessed by the Creator, and shall never pass away; this substance possessed by the Creator shall never pass away, it will always be truth. If you internalize these truths given to you by the Creator, if you ingest them, and practice them and live them out, will you not also be able to live as a human being? And will there not be worth to your living? And so will you not pass away? Is this not your path to living? You will have found the path to living, yes? But what if, like a robot, you do not accept these truths? Sooner or later, you shall pass away. “Only the words of God shall not”—what use do these words have for people? It is this: If you have eaten and drunk and practiced the word of God, you shall not pass away—this is their worth. So can the word of God be your life? And what does this life refer to? Do you understand? You can live, and you’ve been brought back to life; you accept these words, you understand them, you practice according to them, and so you become a living being in the eyes of God. If people are not honest, if they’re deceitful, then what are they in the eyes of God? They are the walking corpses, dead people. Must dead people be made to pass away? They must, like all things. All that has no connection to God’s word and truth shall be made to pass away, and all that is material and immaterial shall be made to pass away. It shall be made to pass away when God changes the age and renews the world; only God’s word shall not, only all things connected to God’s word shall not.
Is practicing God’s word important? It is. You didn’t realize this, yes? You know that practicing God’s word is important, but you must also have a path to entry into practicing God’s word, and you must take it seriously. If you always feel anxious inside, then your anxiety is a problem—and this is all driven by your corrupt disposition. What should you do? Give it free rein to spread unchecked within you? Let it reveal itself? Let it be lived out? You must seek the truth: “Why do I always have these thoughts? Why do I always feel anxious? This state is wrong, I must remedy it.” When you know it must be remedied, are you making progress? It is good that you know it must be remedied. What kind of person are you if you don’t? Someone who is numb, dull-witted, rebellious, and hardened. There are some people who know that this is a problem, but still don’t try to remedy it: “I’m not going to, don’t I have a pretty good life? Why do I need to remedy it? Remedying it will give me the short end of the stick.” Are they not being hardened? Some people are numb, and don’t know that their state is a problem. They say to themselves, “Don’t people have to think about issues in this way? Is it not necessary for them to have such thoughts? Isn’t it normal for people to get to this after thinking on and on? It’s natural—where water flows, a channel shows.” They don’t believe there is any problem or fault within them. For example, there are some people who, when they feel out of sorts, know that they’re going to get a cold and quickly look for some cold medicine to take. Others are numb; they are not even aware when they’re inflamed or have an ulcer inside, and often say to people, “I haven’t felt well for the last two days.” They don’t know that this is the precursor to a cold, and they don’t try to remedy it. Some people say: “A cold’s a cold, what can I do about it?” They don’t drink water when they’re supposed to, they just endure the cold. People’s attitude toward their various states is the same as their attitude toward illness; some are quick to remedy it, and others aren’t. What are those who don’t treat it, who are hardened, analogous to? They’re the same as a naive infant. Sometimes, children who are two or three months old, or three or five months old, or even a year old, don’t know when they’ve soiled themselves. They just sit in a pile of excrement, sticky and warm, playing happily, thinking to themselves how nice it feels sitting there—and when the adults try to pull their pants down to give them a clean, the children object, they cry and wail. What is all this the manifestation of? It is the manifestation of childish stature. When they get a bit older, they’re different. People say, “It’s wrong for you to be negative,” and they say, “That’s just how I am, I’m negative.” What is this? This is not knowing you’re sitting in a pile of feces, and even thinking it’s nice and warm!
The most basic step to practicing the truth is knowing to reflect upon the state within you. Their thoughts, motivations, hostile state, rebellious state, the revelation of various dispositions—people must be familiar with all of these. After becoming familiar with these things, there must be produced in them a hate for themselves, after which they must aspire to righteousness, they must wish to pursue the truth, and must long for the truth. When such feelings have been produced, people will have ever greater faith in God. Without such a path to practice, they cannot be said to be practicing the truth. When people live amid a corrupt disposition, feeling enchanted, rapturous, and satisfied, this is no different from a child sitting in their own excrement, unaware of what they smell like. Many people have gone to university and have a diploma—do you think them smart? In front of the truth, each and every person is a fool, they don’t understand; they are no different from a child sitting in their own feces, and they do not listen when you criticize them. They must grow to a certain stature, and when they have resolve, they must also have a suitable environment in which to gradually practice. Thus, their faith will be cultivated little by little, their doubts about God will become fewer and fewer, and their misunderstandings about God will become fewer and fewer. When their doubts and misunderstandings become fewer and fewer, less and less, their faith will increase, and when something happens to them they will be without doubt. With fewer passive and negative things, there will be more proactive and positive things—and in this, will they not have become strong? What does it mean to be strong? Strength is when people have the ability to overcome sin. They are more able to conquer their corrupt dispositions, to defeat the people, things, and matters around them that are wrong, and to see through the people, matters, and things around them, they are more inclined to obey God, their resolve to pay a price and suffer to practice the truth is greater, and their loyalty to God, and determination and resolve to be saved and made perfect, has increased. Aren’t things getting better and better? In this way, those passive emotions and states, and the times when you find yourself in a little difficulty, can’t trouble you.
What state do you exist in now? (Sometimes, when I encounter difficulty, I’m a little passive. But I really want to satisfy God, and although it’s hard for me inside, I still try and improve, I strive to overcome it.) Stature is actively trying to conquer the problem when you are aware you have one. Knowing you have a problem but not trying to conquer it, not paying it any heed, and passively continuing onward and being perfunctory in the performance of your duty whilst in a negative state, is a common, often-seen state. There’s also the worst state, when you don’t know what kind of person you are, when you don’t know what your state is, whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, whether it is negative or positive—this is the most troublesome one. When people are ignorant of these things, what is the direction of their practice? They’re even more clueless about that. This is a manifestation of the smallest of all statures. When you have only passion, and know nothing—when you can’t tell the difference between anything, and don’t know whether you are able to testify to God—this is a manifestation of small stature. When asked whether they have loyalty when they perform their duty, such people say, “I’m loyal.” When asked if they’re perfunctory, they say, “No.” They don’t see any problem with themselves, they think that in all things they are better than others. When other people are weak, they try to encourage them: “How can you be weak? You just need to love God. How could you think of such things at a time like this?” It’s immediately obvious that they lack any reality and are ignorant of the normal state and process of changes in people’s life disposition. They superimpose these sayings: “This is not the time to be weak, it is not the time to care for your family.” They often employ such words to encourage people, frequently use such doctrine to teach people, and are incapable of solving any actual problems. This is the manifestation of a childish stature. Which stage are you currently at? Are you in the middle, or better, or is your stature that of a child? (More times than not, I’m negative.) Wait until you’re positive most of the time, it’ll be great. You will have stature, and will be able to shoulder burdens. Things will cause you problems, but you won’t be afraid, you’ll seek the truth—and when you know to seek the truth, you will have grown up.