2. The Principles of Eating and Drinking of God’s Words
Relevant Words of God:
Now is the Age of Kingdom. Whether you have entered into this new age depends on whether you have entered into the reality of God’s words, on whether His words have become the reality of your life. The words of God are made known to every person so that, in the end, all people will live in the world of God’s words, and His words will enlighten and illuminate each person from within. If, during this time, you are careless in reading the words of God, and have no interest in His words, then this shows that your state is wrong. If you are unable to enter into the Age of Word, then the Holy Spirit does not work in you; if you have entered into this age, He will do His work. What can you do at the onset of the Age of Word in order to gain the work of the Holy Spirit? In this age, and among you, God shall accomplish the following fact: that every person shall live out the words of God, shall be able to put truth into practice, and shall love God earnestly; that all people shall use the words of God as a foundation and as their reality, and shall have hearts that revere God; and that, through practicing the words of God, man shall then wield kingly power together with God. This is the work to be achieved by God. Can you go without reading the words of God? Today, there are many who feel that they cannot go even a day or two without reading His words. They have to read His words every day, and if time does not permit, listening to them will suffice. This is the feeling that the Holy Spirit gives people, and it is the way He begins to move them. That is, He governs people through words, so that they can enter into the reality of the words of God. If, after just one day without eating and drinking the words of God, you feel darkness and thirst, and cannot stand it, this shows that you have been moved by the Holy Spirit, and that He has not turned away from you. You are, then, one who is in this stream. However, if after a day or two without eating and drinking the words of God, you don’t feel a thing, if you have no thirst, and are not at all moved, this shows that the Holy Spirit has turned away from you. This means, then, that there is something wrong with the state within you; you have not entered into the Age of Word, and you are one of those who have fallen behind. God uses words to govern people; you feel good if you eat and drink the words of God, and if you do not, you have no path to follow. The words of God become people’s food, and the force that drives them. The Bible says that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Today, God will bring this work to completion, and He shall accomplish this fact in you. How is it that in the past, people could go many days without reading the words of God and yet be able to eat and work as usual, but this is not the case today? In this age, God chiefly uses words to govern all. Through the words of God, man is judged and perfected, then finally taken into the kingdom. Only the words of God can supply the life of man, and only the words of God can give man light and a path for practice, particularly in the Age of Kingdom. As long as you do not stray from the reality of God’s words, eating and drinking His words each day, God will be able to make you perfect.
Pursuit of life is not something that can be rushed; growth of life does not happen in just a day or two. The work of God is normal and practical, and there is a process that it necessarily undergoes. It took the incarnate Jesus thirty-three and a half years to complete His work of crucifixion—so what of purifying man and transforming his life, work of the utmost difficulty? It is no easy task to make a normal man who manifests God. This is particularly so for the people who are born in the nation of the great red dragon, who are of poor caliber and require a long period of God’s words and work. So do not be impatient to see results. You must be proactive in eating and drinking God’s words, and put more effort into the words of God. When you are finished reading His words, you must be able to put them into actual practice, growing in knowledge, insight, discernment, and wisdom in the words of God. Through this, you will change without realizing it. If you are able to take as your principle the eating and drinking of God’s words, reading them, coming to know them, experiencing them, and practicing them, you will come to maturity without realizing it. There are those who say that they are unable to put the words of God into practice even after reading them. What is your hurry? When you reach a certain stature, you will be able to put His words into practice. Would a four- or five-year-old child say that they are unable to support or honor their parents? You should know how great your current stature is. Put into practice what you are able to put into practice, and avoid being someone who disrupts the management of God. Just eat and drink God’s words, and take that as your principle from now on. Do not worry, for the time being, about whether God can make you complete. Do not delve into that yet. Just eat and drink God’s words as they come to you, and God will be certain to make you complete. However, there is a principle by which you must eat and drink His words. Do not do so blindly. In eating and drinking the words of God, on the one hand, seek out the words that you should come to know—that is, those that relate to visions—and on the other, seek out that which you should put into actual practice—that is, what you should enter into. One aspect has to do with knowledge, and the other with entering. Once you have grasped both—when you have grasped what you should know and what you should practice—you will know how to eat and drink the words of God.
Excerpted from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Of the principles of eating and drinking the words of God, one relates to knowledge, and the other to entry. Which words should you come to know? You should come to know the words that relate to visions (such as, those relating to which age God’s work has now entered, what God wishes to achieve now, what the incarnation is, and so on; all these are related to visions). What is meant by the path that man should enter into? This refers to the words of God that man should practice and enter into. The above are the two aspects of eating and drinking the words of God. From now on, eat and drink the words of God in this way. If you have a clear understanding of His words concerning visions, then there is no need to keep reading all the time. Of primary importance is to eat and drink more of the words on entering, such as how to turn your heart toward God, how to quiet your heart before God, and how to forsake the flesh. These are the things you should put into practice. Without knowing how to eat and drink the words of God, true fellowship is impossible. Once you know how to eat and drink His words, when you have grasped what is key, fellowship will become free, and whatever issue is raised, you will be able to fellowship and grasp the reality. If, when fellowshiping the words of God, you have no reality, then you have not grasped what is key, which shows that you do not know how to eat and drink God’s words. Some people may find reading the words of God tiresome, which is not a normal state. What is normal is never growing tired of reading God’s words, always thirsting for them, and always finding the words of God to be good. This is how one who has really entered eats and drinks the words of God. When you feel that the words of God are exceedingly practical and are exactly what man should enter into; when you feel that His words are greatly helpful and beneficial to man, and that they are the provision of man’s life—it is the Holy Spirit that gives you this feeling, and it is the Holy Spirit that moves you. This proves that the Holy Spirit is working in you and that God has not turned away from you. Some people, seeing that God is always speaking, become tired of His words, and think it of no consequence whether they read them or not—which is not a normal state. They lack a heart that thirsts to enter into reality, and such people neither thirst for nor place importance on being perfected. Whenever you find you do not thirst for the words of God, this shows that you are not in a normal state. In the past, whether God had turned away from you could be determined by whether you were at peace within, and whether you experienced enjoyment. Now the key is whether you thirst for the words of God, whether His words are your reality, whether you are faithful, and whether you are able to do all that you can for God. In other words, man is judged by the reality of the words of God. God directs His words to all of humanity. If you are willing to read them, He will enlighten you, but if you are not, He will not. God enlightens those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and He enlightens those who seek Him. Some say that God did not enlighten them even after they read His words. But in what way did you read these words? If you read His words in the way a man on horseback looks at flowers, and placed no importance on reality, how could God enlighten you? How can one who does not treasure God’s words be made perfect by Him? If you do not treasure the words of God, then you will have neither truth nor reality. If you treasure His words, then you will be able to put the truth into practice, and only then will you possess reality. This is why you must eat and drink the words of God at all times, whether you are busy or not, whether the circumstances are adverse or not, and whether you are being tried or not. All in all, the words of God are the foundation of man’s existence. No one can turn away from His words, but must eat His words as they do the three meals of the day. Could being made perfect and gained by God be that easy? Whether or not you understand at present, and whether or not you have insight into the work of God, you must eat and drink the words of God as much as possible. This is entering in a proactive way. After reading the words of God, hasten to put into practice what you can enter into, and set aside for the moment what you cannot. There may be many of the words of God that you cannot understand in the beginning, but after two or three months, perhaps even a year, you will. How can this be? It is because God cannot make people perfect in a day or two. Most of the time, when you read His words, you may not understand right away. At that time, they may seem like nothing more than mere text; you must experience them for a time before you can understand them. God having spoken so much, you should do your utmost to eat and drink His words, and then, without you realizing it, you will come to understand, and without you realizing it, the Holy Spirit will enlighten you. When the Holy Spirit enlightens man, it is often without man’s awareness. He enlightens and guides you when you thirst and seek. The principle by which the Holy Spirit works is centered around the words of God that you eat and drink. All those who place no importance on the words of God and are always of a different attitude toward His words—believing, in their befuddled thinking, it a matter of indifference whether they read His words or not—are those who do not possess reality. Neither the Holy Spirit’s work nor His enlightenment can be seen in such a person. People like this are merely coasting along, pretenders without true qualifications, like Mr. Nanguo of the parable.[a]
Excerpted from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing entry into life or the fulfillment of God’s will, everything should be centered around the words of God today. If what you commune and pursue are not centered around the words of God today, then you are a stranger to the words of God, and totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit. What God wants are people who follow His footsteps. No matter how wonderful and pure what you understood before is, God does not want it, and if you are unable to put aside such things, then they will be a tremendous obstacle to your entry in the future. All those who are able to follow the present light of the Holy Spirit are blessed. The people of ages past also followed the footsteps of God, yet they could not follow until today; this is the blessing of the people of the last days. Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God. Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them. Today, all those who follow the present words of God are in the stream of the Holy Spirit; those who are strangers to the words of God today are outside of the stream of the Holy Spirit, and such people are not commended by God.
Excerpted from “Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Every time you eat and drink a passage of God’s words, if you are able to grasp the work that He is currently performing and can learn how to pray, how to cooperate, and how to attain entry, only then will your eating and drinking of God’s words produce results. When, by way of God’s words, you are able to find the path of entry and can discern the current dynamics of God’s work, as well as the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, you will have entered onto the right track. If you have not grasped the key points while eating and drinking of God’s words and, afterward, are still unable to find a path on which to practice, this will show that you still do not know how properly to eat and drink of God’s words, and that you have not discovered the method or principle for doing so.
Excerpted from “Be Mindful of God’s Will in Order to Attain Perfection” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When you eat and drink the words of God, you must measure the reality of your own state against them. That is, when you discover your shortcomings in the course of your real experience, you must be capable of finding a path to practice, of turning your back on your incorrect motivations and notions. If you always strive for these things and pour your heart into achieving them, then you will have a path to follow, you will not feel empty, and thus you will be able to maintain a normal state. Only then will you be someone who carries a burden in your own life, who has faith. Why is it that some people, after reading God’s words, are unable to put them into practice? Is it not because they cannot grasp the most crucial things? Is it not because they do not take life seriously? The reason that they cannot grasp the crucial things and have no path to practice is that when they read God’s words, they are unable to relate their own states to them, nor can they master their own states. Some people say: “I read God’s words and relate my state to them, and I know that I am corrupt and of poor caliber, but I am incapable of satisfying God’s will.” You have only seen the very surface; there are many real things that you do not know: how to put aside the enjoyments of the flesh, how to put aside self-righteousness, how to change yourself, how to enter into these things, how to improve your caliber, and from which aspect to begin. You only grasp a few things on the surface, and all that you know is that you are indeed very corrupt. When you meet your brothers and sisters, you talk about how corrupt you are, and it seems that you know yourself and carry a great burden for your life. In fact, your corrupt disposition has not changed, which proves you have not found the path to practice.
Excerpted from “Practice (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Gaining knowledge of practicality and a thorough understanding of God’s work—these are both seen in His words, and it is only through these utterances that you can gain enlightenment. You therefore should do more to equip yourself with God’s words. Communicate your understanding of God’s words in fellowship, and in this way, you can enlighten others and give them a way out—this is a practical path. Before God arranges an environment for you, you each must first equip yourself with His words. This is something that everyone should do; it is an urgent priority. First, reach a point where you know how to eat and drink of God’s word. For anything that you are unable to do, search His words for a path of practice, and scan these utterances for any issues you do not understand or any difficulties you might have. Make God’s words your supply, and allow them to assist you in resolving your practical difficulties and problems; also allow His words to become your help in life. These things will require effort on your part. In eating and drinking of God’s word, you must achieve results; you must be able to quiet your heart before Him, and you must practice in accordance with His utterances whenever you encounter any issues. When you have not encountered any issues, you should just concern yourself with eating and drinking of His word. Sometimes you may pray and contemplate God’s love, share in fellowship your understanding of His words, and communicate about the enlightenment and illumination you experience within yourself and the reactions you have had while reading these utterances. Moreover, you can give people a way out. Only this is practical. The goal of doing this is to allow God’s words to become your practical supply.
Excerpted from “Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The more mindful you are of God’s will, the greater the burden you bear, and the greater the burden you bear, the richer your experience will be. When you are mindful of God’s will, God will lay a burden upon you, and then enlighten you about the tasks which He has entrusted to you. When God gives you this burden, you will pay attention to all the related truths while eating and drinking of God’s words. If you have a burden related to the state of your brothers’ and sisters’ lives, then this is a burden that has been entrusted to you by God, and you will always carry this burden with you in your daily prayers. What God does has been laden onto you, and you are willing to do that which God wants to do; this is what it means to take on God’s burden as your own. At this point, in your eating and drinking of God’s words, you will focus on these types of issues, and you will wonder, How am I going to solve these problems? How can I enable my brothers and sisters to achieve release and find spiritual enjoyment? You will also focus on solving these problems while fellowshiping, and when eating and drinking of God’s words, you will focus on eating and drinking of words that relate to these issues. You will also carry a burden while eating and drinking of His words. Once you have understood God’s requirements, you will have a clearer idea about which path to take. This is the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit brought by your burden, and this is also God’s guidance which has been bestowed upon you. Why do I say this? If you have no burden, then you will not be attentive while eating and drinking of God’s words; when you eat and drink of God’s words while carrying a burden, you can grasp their essence, find your way, and be mindful of God’s will. Therefore, in your prayers, you should wish for God to place more burdens upon you and entrust you with even greater tasks, so that ahead of you, you may have more of a path on which to practice; so that your eating and drinking of God’s words has a greater effect; so that you grow able to grasp the essence of His words; and so that you become more capable of being moved by the Holy Spirit.
Excerpted from “Be Mindful of God’s Will in Order to Attain Perfection” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Eating and drinking of God’s words can enable you to understand the truth only if it is done the right way. However, simply understanding the truth does not mean you are able to enter its reality. Some people are of good caliber but do not love the truth; although they are able to understand a bit of the truth, they do not practice it. Can such people enter the reality of the truth? Understanding the truth is not as simple as understanding doctrines. To understand the truth, you must know how to eat and drink of God’s words. Take the eating and drinking of a passage concerning the truth of love for God, for example. God’s word says: “‘Love,’ as it is called, refers to an emotion that is pure and without blemish, where you use your heart to love, to feel, and to be thoughtful. In love there are no conditions, no barriers, and no distance. In love there is no suspicion, no deceit, and no cunning. In love there is no trade and nothing impure.” This is how God defines love, and this is the truth. But whom shall you love? Shall you love your husband? Your wife? Your brothers and sisters? No. When God speaks of love, He speaks not of love for your fellow man, but of man’s love of God. This love is true love. How should you comprehend this truth? It means God wants people not to doubt Him or distance themselves from Him, but to have a love for Him which is pure and without blemish. “Without blemish” means having no extravagant desires and making no extravagant demands of God, laying no conditions on Him, and not making any excuses. It means He comes first in your heart; it means only His words occupy your heart. This is an emotion that is pure and without blemish. This emotion occupies a certain place in your heart; you are always thinking of Him and missing Him, and can bring Him to mind at each and every moment. To love means to love with your heart. Loving with your heart consists of being considerate, caring and longing. To succeed in loving with your heart, you must undergo a process of knowing. At the present time, while you have little knowledge of God, you should use your heart to yearn for Him, to long for Him, to obey Him, to be considerate toward Him, to pray to Him, and to cry out for Him; you should even be able to share in His thoughts and concerns. You must put your heart into these things. Do not merely pay lip service, saying: “Dear God! I’m doing this for You, I’m doing that for You!” Only loving and satisfying God with your heart is real. Although you do not say so aloud, you have God in your heart, in your heart you are thinking of Him. You can give up your husband, your wife, your children, your parents; but your heart cannot be without God. Without God, you simply cannot live. This means you have love, and you have God in your heart. “[U]se your heart to love, to feel, and to be thoughtful.” This involves many things. It is the true love that God requires of man; in other words, you must love and care for Him with your heart, and always keep Him in mind. This does not mean just voicing the words, nor does it mean how you express yourself with your bearing; rather, primarily, it means doing things with heart, and letting your heart govern all of your actions. In doing things this way, there is no motivation, no adulteration, no suspicion; a heart such as this is much purer. How are doubts in your heart expressed? They are expressed when you are always thinking, “Is it right for God to do this? Why does God say this? If there’s no reason behind God saying this, I won’t obey it. If it is unjust for God to do this, I won’t obey. I’ll drop it for now.” To not harbor doubts means recognizing that whatever God says and does is right, and with God there is no right or wrong. Man must obey God, be considerate toward God, satisfy God, and share in His thoughts and concerns. Regardless of whether or not everything God does seems meaningful to you, whether it is agreeable to man’s notions and imaginings, and regardless of whether it makes sense to man, you can always obey and have a reverent, submissive heart toward these things. Is not such practice in conformity with the truth? Is it not the manifestation and practice of love? Therefore, if from God’s words you do not understand God’s will and the intentions behind His utterances, if you do not understand the aims and results that His words intend to achieve, if you do not understand what His words seek to accomplish and perfect in man, if you do not understand these things, then it proves that you do not yet comprehend the truth. Why does God say what He says? Why does He speak in that tone? Why is He so earnest and sincere in every word He speaks? Why does He choose to use certain words? Do you know? If you cannot say for sure, it means you do not understand God’s will or His intentions, you do not understand the context behind His words. If you do not comprehend this, then how can you gain the truth? Gaining the truth means understanding His will through every word that He says; it means putting God’s words into practice once you have understood them, and allowing God’s words to be lived out by you and become your reality. Only when you have a thorough understanding of the word of God can you really grasp the truth.
Excerpted from “Only Those With the Reality of the Truth Can Lead” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In summary, taking Peter’s path in one’s faith means to walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly getting to know oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by walking the path of Peter will one be on the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on how, exactly, to walk Peter’s path, as well as how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside one’s own intentions, improper pursuits, and even family and all things of one’s own flesh. One must be wholeheartedly devoted; that is, one must completely devote oneself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking of God’s words, concentrate on the search for the truth and the search for God’s intentions in His words, and try to grasp God’s will in everything. This is the most fundamental and vital method of practice. This was what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one can achieve the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God primarily involves seeking the truth, seeking God’s intentions within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from God’s words. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s will, as well as achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s corrupt nature and actual shortcoming, thus meeting all aspects of God’s requirements of man in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God; this was most in line with God’s will, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this manner of practicing, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but also came to understand man’s essence, nature, and various shortcomings. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s words—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials, but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. In addition, he particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words. In whichever aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will, Peter was able to put forth great effort in these aspects and achieve full clarity; this was extremely beneficial with regard to his own entry. No matter what God spoke of, as long as those words could become his life and they belonged to the truth, Peter was able to carve them into his heart to ponder and appreciate them frequently. After hearing the words of Jesus, he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginations. In this way, Peter entered into the reality of God’s words.
Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “of the parable.”