78. The Principles of Performing One’s Duty Adequately
(1) In all matters, it is necessary to seek the truth, to come to understand it, and to act according to the principles. Only by doing so does one enter truth reality and perform their duty satisfactorily;
(2) It is necessary to understand what God wills and requires. See clearly that it is He who assigns you your duty, and that it is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth that you perform it well;
(3) It is necessary to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and, through self-reflection, to know your nature essence, so that your corruption may be cleansed. Only thus can one practice the truth and perform their duty well;
(4) It is necessary to train oneself to be an honest person. Rectify all the fraud and artifice, all the muddling and carelessness of your corrupt disposition, and come to act according to the principles as you perform your duty.
Relevant Words of God:
In the phrase “the adequate performance of duty,” the emphasis is on the word “adequate.” So, how should “adequate” be defined? In this, too, there is a truth to seek. Is it adequate merely to do a passable job? For the specific details of how to understand and regard the word “adequate,” you must understand many truths and fellowship more on the truth. In fulfilling your duty, you must understand the truth and its principles; only then can you arrive at an adequate performance of duty. Why should people fulfill their duties? Once they believe in God and have accepted His commission, people have their share of responsibility and obligation in the work of God’s house and in the site of God’s work, and, in turn, because of this responsibility and obligation, they have become an element in God’s work—an element of the objects of His work and an element of the objects of His salvation. Thus, there is quite a substantial relationship between people’s salvation and how they fulfill their duties, whether they can do them well, and whether they can do them adequately. Since you have become a part of God’s house and accepted His commission, you now have a duty. It is not for you to say how you should fulfill this duty; it is for God to say, and it is dictated by the standards of the truth. Therefore, people should understand and be clear on how things are measured by God—this is a worthwhile thing to seek. In God’s work, different people receive different duties. That is, people receive duties that vary depending on their gifts, calibers, ages, conditions, and eras. No matter what duty you are given, and no matter the era or circumstances of your receiving it, a duty is just a duty; it is not something a person manages. Ultimately, the standard that God requires of you is to perform your duty adequately. How should the word “adequately” be explained? It means you must meet God’s requirements and satisfy Him, and your work must be called adequate by God and be given His nod of approval; only then will you have fulfilled your duty adequately. If God says your work is inadequate, then you have not fulfilled your duty well. Though you may be doing your duty and He acknowledges that you have done it, if you do not do it adequately, then what will the consequences be? In severe cases, people’s hopes of salvation might disappear and be dashed; in less severe cases, they might be deprived of their right to fulfill duties. After being deprived of such rights, some people are set aside, after which they are separately taken care of and arranged. Does being separately taken care of and arranged mean they are eliminated? Not necessarily; God will wait and see how these people act. Thus, how one fulfills one’s duty is pivotal. People should treat it with prudence and take it seriously, and regard it as a matter of great importance in their life entry and in their attainment of salvation; they must not treat it carelessly.
Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Everyone who believes in God should understand His will. Only those who perform their duties well can satisfy God, and only by completing the tasks with which He entrusts them can one’s performance of their duty be satisfactory. There are standards for the accomplishment of God’s commission. The Lord Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Loving God is one aspect of what He requires of people. In truth, so long as God has given people a commission, and so long as they believe in Him and perform their duty, these are the standards that He requires of them: that they act with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their mind, and with all their strength. If you are present but your heart is not—if the memory and thoughts of your mind are present, but your heart is not—and if you accomplish things by means of your own abilities, are you fulfilling God’s commission? So, what is the standard that must be met in order to fulfill God’s commission, and to perform your duty loyally and well? It is to do your duty with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. If you attempt to perform your duty well without a heart of love for God, it will not work. If your love for God grows ever stronger and more genuine, then you will naturally be able to perform your duty with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
Excerpted from “Exactly What People Have Been Relying on to Live” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
No matter what duty you fulfill, you must always seek to grasp God’s will and understand what His requirements are regarding your duty; only then will you be able to handle matters in a principled way. In performing your duty, you absolutely cannot go by your personal preferences, by just doing whatever you would like to do, whatever you would be happy and comfortable doing, or whatever would make you look good. If you forcibly impose your personal preferences on God or practice them as though they were the truth, observing them as if they were the truth principles, then that is not fulfilling your duty, and performing your duty in this way will not be remembered by God. Some people do not understand the truth, and they do not know what it means to fulfill their duties well. They feel that since they have put their heart and effort into it, forsaken their flesh and suffered, then the fulfilling of their duties should be up to standard—but why, then, is God always dissatisfied? Where have these people gone wrong? Their mistake was to not seek out God’s requirements, and instead act according to their own ideas; they treated their own desires, preferences, and selfish motives as the truth, and they treated them as though they were what God loved, as though they were His standards and requirements. They saw what they believed to be correct, good, and beautiful to be the truth; this is wrong. In fact, even though people might sometimes think something is right and that it accords with the truth, that does not necessarily mean that it accords with God’s will. The more people think something is right, the more cautious they should be and the more they should seek the truth to see whether what they are thinking meets God’s requirements. If it happens to run counter to His requirements and counter to His words, then it is unacceptable even if you think it is right, it is but a human thought, and it will not necessarily accord with the truth no matter how right you think it is. Your determination of right and wrong must be based solely on God’s words, and no matter how right you think something is, unless there is a basis for it in God’s words, you must discard it. What is duty? It is a commission entrusted by God to people. So how should you fulfill your duty? By acting in accordance with God’s requirements and standards, and by basing your behavior on the truth principles rather than on human subjective desires. In this way, your fulfilling of your duties will be up to standard.
Excerpted from “Only by Seeking the Truth Principles Can One Perform Their Duty Well” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
For some people, no matter what issue they might encounter when performing their duties, they do not seek the truth, and they always act according to their own thoughts, notions, imaginings, and desires. They are constantly satisfying their own selfish desires, and their corrupt dispositions are always in control over their actions. Though they may complete the duties to which they have been assigned, they do not gain any truth. So, what are such people relying on when performing their duties? They are relying neither on the truth nor on God. That bit of truth that they do understand has not taken up sovereignty in their hearts; they are relying on their own gifts and abilities, on whatever knowledge that they have acquired, and on their talents, as well as on their own willpower or good intentions, to complete these duties. Is this doing their duty well? Is this doing their duty satisfactorily? Though you may sometimes rely on your naturalness, imagination, notions, knowledge, and learning to fulfill your duty, no issues of principle emerge in some of the things you do. On the surface, it looks as though you have not taken the wrong path, but there is one thing that cannot be overlooked: During the process of performing your duty, if your notions, imaginings, and personal desires never change and are never replaced with the truth, and if your actions and deeds are never done in accordance with the truth principle, then what will the final outcome be? You will become a service-doer. This is precisely what was written in the Bible: “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Mat 7:22–23). Why does God call these people who exert effort and who render service, “you that work iniquity”? There is one point we can be sure on, and that is that no matter what duties or work these people do, their motivations, impetus, intentions, and thoughts arise entirely from their selfish desires, are totally based on their own ideas and personal interests, and their considerations and plans completely revolve around their reputation, status, vanity, and future prospects. Deep down, they possess no truth, nor do they act in accordance with the truth principle. Thus, what is crucial for you to seek now? (We should seek the truth, and perform our duties in accordance with God’s will and requirements.) What specifically should you do when performing your duties in accordance with God’s requirements? With regard to your intentions and ideas when doing something, you must learn how to discern whether or not they accord with the truth, as well as whether your intentions and ideas are geared toward fulfilling your own selfish desires or the interests of God’s house. If your intentions and ideas accord with the truth, then you can do your duty in line with your thinking; however, if they do not accord with the truth, then you must quickly turn around and abandon that path. That path is not right, and you cannot practice that way; if you continue to walk that path, then you will end up committing evil.
Excerpted from “How to Experience God’s Words in One’s Duties” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Simply going through the motions when performing your duty is a major taboo. If you keep acting along these lines, you will not be able to perform your duty adequately. You must put your heart into it! This opportunity was very difficult for people to come by! When God gives them a chance, yet they do not grasp it, then that opportunity is lost—and even if, later on, they wish to find such an opportunity, it might not come up again. God’s work waits for no one, and neither do chances to perform one’s duty. Some people say, “I didn’t perform my duty well before, but now I still want to fulfill it, so this time I’m resolved; I’ll be a bit more conscientious and put in a bit more work, and do a good job of completing it.” However, sometimes this opportunity is no longer there. Not very many opportunities come along, so you must take hold of them when they do. When faced with a duty that needs your effort and expenditure, and that requires you to dedicate your body, mind, and time, you must not hold anything back, harbor any schemes, or leave any leeway. If you leave any leeway, are calculating, or are wily and treacherous, then you are bound to do a poor job. You might say, “No one saw me acting in a slick way. How cool!” What kind of thinking is this? You think you have pulled the wool over people’s eyes, and over God’s, too. In actual fact, though, does God know what you have done or not? (He knows.) Generally, people who interact with you over a long period of time will find out, too, and will say that you are a person who is always slippery, is never diligent, and only puts in fifty or sixty percent of his effort, or eighty at the most. They will say you do everything in a very confused manner, turning a blind eye to whatever you are doing; you are not at all conscientious in your work. If you are made to do something, only then do you put in a bit of effort; if someone is around to check to see if your work is up to par, then you do a slightly better job—but if no one is around to check, you slack off a bit. If you are dealt with, then you put your heart into it; otherwise, you are constantly dozing through work and trying to get away with whatever you can, assuming that no one will notice. Time goes by, and people notice. They say, “This person is unreliable and untrustworthy; if you give him an important duty to perform, he’ll need supervision. He can do ordinary tasks and jobs that do not involve principles, but if you give him any vital duty to fulfill, he’ll most likely just mess it up, and then you will have been hoodwinked.” People will see right through him, and he will have completely discarded all dignity and integrity. If no one can trust him, then how can God? Would God entrust him with any major tasks? Such a person is untrustworthy.
Excerpted from “Life Entry Must Begin With the Experience of Performing One’s Duty” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Some people are irresponsible in fulfilling their duty. This results in work that must always be redone, which has a severe impact on forward progress. Are there any reasons for this apart from inadequacies in experience and professional inadequacies? Professionalism and experience can gradually be learned and accumulated, but if people have issues involving their disposition, how should this problem be solved? It requires that people be pruned and dealt with; it requires that people monitor one another and that they pursue truth. The biggest problem that leads to work in the performance of duty that must always be redone is not professional inadequacy, and it is not insufficient experience; it is that people are self-righteous and arrogant in the extreme, and they do not cooperate harmoniously but act alone and arbitrarily, with the result that when they finish something, their work is unable to stand on its own merit, and so the effort was in vain. What is the most serious problem behind this? (Man’s corrupt disposition.) A corrupt disposition brings with it huge obstacles. And which aspects of a corrupt disposition affect the yield of people’s performance of their duty? (Arrogance and self-righteousness.) How are arrogance and self-righteousness manifested in behavior? Making decisions alone, not listening to others, not consulting with others, not cooperating harmoniously, and always wanting to have the final say on things. Even though a good few brothers and sisters may be cooperating to perform a particular duty, each of them attending to their own task, the group leader or the person in charge always wants to have the final say; whatever they are doing, they never cooperate harmoniously with others and they do not engage in fellowship, and they rashly start doing things without first reaching consensus with others. They make everyone listen only to them, and herein is the problem. Moreover, when the others see the problem, yet do not come forth to stop the person in charge, it ultimately results in a situation where everyone involved has to redo their work, tiring themselves out in the process. So, do the other people also have a responsibility? (Yes.) On the one hand, the person in charge acts alone and arbitrarily, insisting on doing things their way, and the others do nothing to stop them, and, what is more serious, they even follow along; does this not make them accomplices? If you do not constrain, block, or expose this person, but instead follow them and allow them to manipulate you, are you not giving free rein to Satan’s work of harassment? This is certainly your problem. On the other hand, when you see a problem but do not report it, instead playing the part of a yes-man, is this not an expression of disloyalty? Yes, it is precisely this—an expression of disloyalty toward God. What makes this problem so serious is that you always act as Satan’s accomplice, you serve as its footman and follower, and you have not a scrap of loyalty toward your duty and your responsibility, yet are quite loyal to Satan. As to professional inadequacy, it is possible to constantly learn and draw together your experiences while working. Such problems can be easily resolved. The most difficult thing to resolve is man’s corrupt disposition. If this is not resolved; if you do not pursue truth, but are always retreating and playing the yes-man; and if you do not shoulder responsibility; and if, when someone does something wrong you do not shine a light on it or expose it and you do not deal with them; and if you take the work of the house of God as a joke, as a game; and if you do not fulfill your duty and your responsibility, then the progress of the work will be delayed time and time again. Such performance of duty is disloyal.
Excerpted from “The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Some people are always afraid that others will steal their limelight and surpass them, obtaining recognition while they themselves are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only of oneself, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for the duties of others, and thinking only about one’s own interests and not the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them. If you are truly capable of being considerate of God’s will, then you will be able to treat other people fairly. If you give someone your recommendation, and that person is cultivated into someone of talent, thereby bringing one more talented person into God’s house, will you not then have done your work well? Will you not then have been loyal in performing your duty? This is a good deed before God, and it is the sort of conscience and reason people should possess. Those who are capable of putting the truth into practice can accept God’s scrutiny when doing things. When you accept God’s scrutiny, your heart is set straight. If you only ever do things for others to see, and do not accept God’s scrutiny, then is God still in your heart? People like this have no reverence for God. Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; give no thought to your own status, prestige, or reputation. Also do not consider the interests of man. You must first give thought to the interests of God’s house, and make them your first priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not you have been impure in the fulfillment of your duty, whether you have done your utmost to be loyal, done your best to fulfill your responsibilities, and given your all, as well as whether or not you have wholeheartedly given thought to your duty and the work of God’s house. You must give consideration to these things. Think about them frequently, and it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, your experience is shallow, or you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and the results may not be very good—but you will have put forth your best effort. When you are not thinking of your own selfish desires or considering your own interests in the things you do, and are instead giving constant consideration to the work of God’s house, bearing its interests in mind, and performing your duty well, then you will be accumulating good deeds before God. People who perform these good deeds are the ones who possess truth reality; as such, they have borne testimony.
Excerpted from “Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
When fulfilling your duty, you should always examine yourself to see if you are doing things according to principle, if your performance of your duty is up to standard, whether or not you are simply doing it in a perfunctory manner, whether you have tried to shirk your responsibilities, and whether there are any problems with your attitude and the way you think. Once you have self-reflected and these things become clear to you, you will have an easier time fulfilling your duty. No matter what you encounter while performing your duty—negativity and weakness, or being in a bad mood after being dealt with—you should treat it properly, and you must also seek the truth and understand God’s will. By doing these things, you will have a path to practice. If you wish to do a good job in fulfilling your duty, then you must not be affected by your mood. No matter how negative or weak you are feeling, you should practice the truth in everything you do, with absolute strictness, and sticking to the principles. If you do this, then not only will other people approve of you, but God will like you, too. As such, you will be a person who is responsible and who shoulders a burden; you will be a genuinely good person who actually fulfills your duties up to standard and who fully lives out the likeness of a genuine person. Such people are purified and achieve real transformation when fulfilling their duties, and they can be said to be honest in God’s eyes. Only honest people can persevere with practicing the truth and succeed in acting with principle, and can fulfill their duties up to standard. People who act with principle fulfill their duties meticulously when they are in a good mood; they do not work in a perfunctory manner, they are not arrogant and they do not show themselves off to make others think highly of them. When they are in a bad mood, however, they complete their everyday tasks just as earnestly and responsibly, and even if they encounter something that is detrimental to the fulfillment of their duties, or that puts a bit of pressure on them or causes a disruption while they do their duties, they are still able to quiet their hearts before God and pray, saying, “No matter how big a problem I come up against—even if the heavens come tumbling down—as long as God allows me to keep on living, I am determined to do my best to fulfill my duty. Every day I am allowed to live is a day I will work hard at performing my duty so that I am worthy of this duty bestowed upon me by God, as well as this breath He has put in my body. Regardless of how much difficulty I might be in, I will set it all aside, for fulfilling my duty is of the utmost importance!” Those who are not affected by any person, event, thing, or environment, who are not controlled by any mood or external situation, and who put their duties and the commissions with which God has entrusted them first and foremost—they are the people who are loyal to God and who genuinely submit to Him. People like this have attained life entry and have entered truth reality. This is one of the most practical and genuine expressions of living out the truth.
Excerpted from “Life Entry Must Begin With the Experience of Performing One’s Duty” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
When people perform their duty, they are, in fact, doing what they ought to. But if you do it before God, if you perform your duty with an attitude of honesty and with heart, will this attitude not be far more correct? So how should you apply this attitude to your everyday life? You must make “worshiping God with heart and honesty” your reality. Whenever you want to be slack and just go through the motions, whenever you want to act in a slippery way and be lazy, and whenever you allow yourself to be distracted, you should think it through: “In behaving like this, am I being untrustworthy? Is this putting my heart into doing my duty? Am I being disloyal by doing this? In doing this, am I failing to live up to the commission God has entrusted to me?” This is how you should self-reflect. Since acting thus is not loyal, and is hurtful to God, what should you do? You should say, “I have not taken this seriously. Back then, I felt there was a problem, but I didn’t treat it as being serious; I just glossed it over carelessly. Every time I sensed there was a problem, I dismissed it. Now this problem still hasn’t been resolved. I’m simply no good!” You will have identified the problem and come to know yourself a little. Is a little knowledge enough? Is confessing your sins enough? You must repent and turn yourself around! And how can you turn yourself around? Before, you had the wrong attitude and mentality toward performing your duty, your heart was not in it, and you never attended to the right things. Today, you must set your attitude toward performing your duty aright, you must pray before God, and when you have your previous thoughts and attitudes again, you must ask God to discipline and chasten you. Hurry up and identify the areas where you used to be slapdash and perfunctory. Think about how you can rectify them, and after rectifying them, seek again, and pray, and then ask your brothers and sisters whether they have any better suggestions and recommendations, until everyone agrees that you have done the right thing. Only then will you be validated. You will feel that this time, you have performed your duty up to standard, and done your best, and put your heart into it, and given it your all; you will feel you have done all you can do, free from compunction. When giving account before God, your conscience will be clear, and you will say, “Though God may only score my duty as 60%, I put every ounce of strength in my body into it, I put my whole heart into it, I was not lazy, I did not try to act in a slippery way, and I held nothing back.” Is this not taking the realities of putting all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength into your duty and applying them to your everyday life? Is this not living out these realities of the truth? And what do you feel, in your heart, when you live out these realities? Do you not feel like you are living some human semblance, and are no longer like the walking dead?
Excerpted from “The Path Comes From Often Pondering the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
To achieve adequacy in the performance of duty, it is first necessary to achieve harmonious cooperation in its performance. There are some who are currently practicing in this direction, which means that after having listened to the truth, they have begun to work in accordance with this principle, though they are unable to succeed in putting the truth absolutely, one hundred percent into practice. In the process, they might fail or grow weak, and deviate, and frequently make mistakes, yet the path they walk is one of striving to be able to act in accordance with this principle. For example, though you might sometimes feel that your way of doing something is correct, if you are in a situation in which it will not delay the task at hand, you might also find your work partners or team members to discuss it with. Fellowship until you are clear on the matter, until you have reached a consensus in thinking that doing it in a certain way can achieve the best results, does not exceed the scope of principle, is for the benefit of God’s house, and can maximize the protection of the interests of God’s house. Though the end result might sometimes leave a bit to be desired, the way, the direction, and the goal of your work are correct. How, then, will God look at this? How will He define this matter? He will say that you are fulfilling this duty adequately.
Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
To perform your duty adequately, it does not matter how many years you have believed in God, how much you have done in your duty, nor how many contributions you have made to God’s house, much less does it matter how experienced you are in your duty. The main thing God looks at is the path a person takes. In other words, He looks at one’s attitude toward the truth and the principles, direction, origin, and impetus behind one’s actions. God focuses on these things; they are what determine the path you walk. If, in the process of your fulfilling your duty, these things cannot be seen in you at all, and the origin of your work is your own thoughts, your impetus is to protect your own interests and safeguard your reputation and position, your modus operandi is to make decisions and act alone and have the final say, never discussing things with others or cooperating harmoniously, let alone seeking the truth, then how will God see you? You are not yet up to standard if you perform your duty so; you have not set foot on the path of pursuing the truth, because, as you do your work, you do not seek the truth principle and always act as you wish. This is the reason why most people do not perform their duties satisfactorily. Looking at it now, is it difficult to fulfill one’s duty adequately? In fact, it is not; people must only be able to take a stance of humility, possess a bit of sense, and adopt an appropriate position. No matter how educated you think you are, what awards you have won, or how much you have achieved, and no matter how high you believe your caliber and rank might be, you must start by letting go of all of these things—they count for nothing. In God’s house, however great and good those things are, they cannot be higher than the truth; they are not the truth, and cannot take its place. This is why I say you must have this thing called sense. If you say, “I am very gifted, I have a very sharp mind, I have quick reflexes, I am a quick learner, and I have an exceedingly good memory,” and you always use these things as capital, then this will cause trouble. If you see these things as the truth, or as higher than the truth, then it will be hard for you to accept the truth and put it into practice. Haughty, arrogant people who always act superior have the hardest time accepting the truth and are most prone to falling. If one can resolve the issue of one’s arrogance, then it becomes easy to put the truth into practice. Thus, you must first put down and deny those things that seem on their surface to be nice and lofty and that provoke the envy of others. Those things are not the truth; rather, they can block you from entering the truth. The most important thing to do now is to seek the truth, practice in accordance with the truth, and fulfill your duty adequately, because the adequate performance of duty is the only first step onto the path of life entry, which means it is a beginning. In every matter, there is a most fundamental, basic thing, a thing that gets your foot in the door, and fulfilling your duty adequately is a path that will take you through the door of life entry. If your fulfillment of duty does not at all involve this “adequacy,” then you need to exert yourself. How should you exert yourself? It is not that you need to change your character or abandon your gifts and professional strengths; you may carry these strengths and things you have learned with you as you fulfill your duty, all while seeking the truth and acting according to the truth principle. If you attain life entry while doing your duty, you can fulfill your duty adequately.
Excerpted from “What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
In the process of fulfilling your duty, on the positive side of things, you can treat your duty correctly, not giving up on it no matter what situation you encounter. Even if everyone else stops believing and performing their duties, you can still keep going and not give up. That is, you are able to keep from abandoning your duty, from start to finish, persevering and remaining devoted to the very end; in this way, you have truly taken your duty as a duty. If you can achieve this, then you have basically achieved adequacy in the performance of your duty. This is the positive side of things. However, prior to achieving this, on the negative side of things, people must withstand all manner of temptations. If, in the process of fulfilling his duty, a person has not been able to withstand temptations and has abandoned and turned his back on his duty, then can he still have anything to do with salvation? All hope will be lost for that person, and being adequate or inadequate will be utterly irrelevant; salvation will have nothing to do with him. Therefore, one must hold fast to one’s duty. To do that, first of all, the biggest difficulty everyone faces is whether or not one can stand firm when encountering temptations. What sorts of temptations are there? Money, status, relationships with the opposite sex, emotions. What else? If some duties involve taking on a bit of risk, or are life-threatening even, and if in performing them you might end up in jail or dead, would you still do them? How would you perform them? All such things are temptations. Are these temptations easy to overcome or not? They all require you to pursue the truth. In the process of pursuing the truth, with all these temptations you encounter, you must be able to gradually exercise discernment and gain knowledge. Recognize their essence, understand their true colors, and know your own essence and corrupt dispositions; get to know your own weaknesses, and frequently implore God to protect you and make you able to withstand these temptations. If you can withstand them, and can hold fast to your duty no matter what situation you find yourself in, neither turning your back on it nor running away, then you will be halfway to salvation. Is this halfway mark easy to reach? For every step you take, there is a potential pitfall; the path is fraught with danger. It is not easy! So, are there any people who take one look at how difficult it is and feel that life is just too exhausting, and that it would be better just to go ahead and die? They want blessings, but they do not want to suffer. What sort of people are they? They are spineless good-for-nothings. As for how to adequately fulfill their duties, what the definition of adequacy is, what the criteria for adequacy are, the reasons God has given for this standard of adequacy, and the relationship between adequately fulfilling one’s duty and life entry, people have come to understand these things. If you can get to where you can hold fast to your duty regardless of time or place, without giving up on it, and can withstand all manner of temptations, and then understand and gain knowledge of all the various truths that God requires in all the different situations He lays out for you, then in God’s view, you have basically achieved adequacy. There are three fundamental ingredients to achieving adequacy in the performance of your duty: One is the attitude with which you treat your duty, another is being able to withstand all manner of temptations in the process of fulfilling it, and another is being able to understand every truth while you perform your duty.
Today, what you are required to achieve are not additional demands, but the duty of man, and that which should be done by all people. If you are incapable of even doing your duty, or of doing it well, then are you not bringing trouble upon yourselves? Are you not courting death? How could you still expect to have a future and prospects? The work of God is done for the sake of mankind, and the cooperation of man is given for the sake of God’s management. After God has done all that He is supposed to do, man is required to be unstinting in his practice, and to cooperate with God. In the work of God, man should spare no effort, should offer up his loyalty, and should not indulge in numerous notions, or sit passively and await death. God can sacrifice Himself for man, so why can man not offer his loyalty to God? God is of one heart and mind toward man, so why can man not offer a little cooperation? God works for mankind, so why can man not perform some of his duty for the sake of God’s management? God’s work has come this far, yet still you see but do not act, you hear but do not move. Are not such people the objects of perdition? God has already devoted His all to man, so why, today, is man incapable of earnestly performing his duty? For God, His work is His first priority, and the work of His management is of the utmost importance. For man, putting God’s words into practice and fulfilling God’s requirements are his first priority. This you should all understand.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh