1. What is practicing the Truth?

Relevant Words of God:

What is the most important thing in practicing the truth? Is it not that you must first grasp the principles? What are the principles? The principles are the practical side of the truth. When you read a sentence of God’s words, you think it is the truth, but you do not grasp the principles within it; you feel the sentence is correct, but you do not know in what way it is practical, or what state it is meant to address. You cannot grasp its principles or its path of practice. To you, this truth you perceive is merely doctrine. However, once you grasp the truth reality of that sentence, as well as what God’s requirements are—if you truly understand these things, and are able to pay the price and put them into practice—then you will gain that truth. As you gain that truth, little by little, your corrupt disposition is resolved, and that truth is worked into you. When you are able to put the reality of the truth into practice, and when your performance of your duty, your every action, and your conduct as a person are based in the principles of practice of this truth, are you not then changed? Above all, you have become someone who is in possession of truth reality. Is someone who is in possession of truth reality not the same as someone who acts with principles? And is someone who acts with principles not the same as someone who is in possession of the truth? Is someone who is in possession of the truth not also able to conform to God’s will? That is how these things relate.

Excerpted from God’s Fellowship

Why is it said that God’s words are a beacon for people? It is because they are not spoken in vain; they are not some kind of theory or high-sounding words, nor are they some sort of argument. They are there for you to implement, to put into practice. When you encounter problems, and have no idea what to do and lack a path for practice, you think of what requirements are made by God’s words. After mulling His words over, you find a way forward and understand their meaning. Then, you can practice in accordance with His will. By practicing in this way, you gain confirmation, and discover that it brings you spiritual peace and enjoyment; this is edifying for others as well. In the process of putting God’s words into practice, you gain some enlightenment as well as some experience and learning; you are awakened to certain things. You come to realize what God means by saying these words and getting people to do things in a certain way. You locate the relevant principles of practice, and you come to know the origin and significance of God’s utterance of these words. This is understanding the truth. Once you have understood the truth, you will no longer be confused or find it difficult to get involved; you will have a path of practice. What is meant by having a path to put God’s words into practice? It means you comprehend the principles of practice behind them; you understand what states God is referring to, and you know how you should practice. God’s words may look simple to you, but in fact, they tell you how you should live, what you should do when you encounter an issue, and how you should resolve any difficulties you might come across. They are the truth. They can become your path, allowing you to approach issues with wisdom and principles, and have a path of practice. If you have a path to follow in performing your duty or in other matters, and if you have principles in how you handle things and know God’s will, then this shows that you understand the truth and that you understand His words.

Excerpted from “Having a Human Likeness Requires Fulfilling Your Duty Properly With All Your Heart, Mind, and Soul” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Many people have certain outward behaviors, such as being able to cast aside their families and careers and fulfill their duties, and therefore they believe they are practicing the truth. However, God does not recognize that they are practicing the truth. If everything you do has a personal motive behind it and is adulterated, then you are not practicing the truth; you are simply exhibiting superficial conduct. Strictly speaking, your conduct will probably be condemned by God; it will not be praised or remembered by Him. Dissecting this further, you are doing evil and your conduct is in opposition to God. From the outside, you are not interrupting or disturbing anything and you have not done real damage or violated any truth. It appears to be logical and reasonable, yet the essence of your actions pertains to doing evil and resisting God. Therefore, you should determine whether there has been a change in your disposition and whether you are putting the truth into practice by looking at the motives behind your actions in light of God’s words. It does not depend on a human view of whether your actions conform to the human imagination and human intentions, or whether they are suited to your taste; such things are not important. Rather, it depends on God saying whether or not you are conforming to His will, whether or not your actions possess truth reality, and whether or not they meet His requirements and standards. Only measuring yourself against God’s requirements is accurate. Transformation in disposition and putting the truth into practice are not as simple and easy as people imagine. Do you understand this now? Do you have any experience with this? When it comes to a problem’s essence, you might not understand it; your entry has been overly superficial. You run about all day long, from dawn until dusk, rising early and going to bed late, yet you have not achieved transformation in your life disposition, and you cannot grasp what such a transformation involves. This means your entry is too shallow, does it not? Regardless of how long you have believed in God, you might not sense the essence and deep things to do with achieving transformation in disposition. How do you know whether God praises you or not? At the very least, you will feel exceptionally steadfast regarding everything that you do, and you will feel the Holy Spirit guiding and enlightening you and working in you while you are fulfilling your duties, doing any work in God’s house, or ordinarily. Your conduct will fit hand-in-hand with God’s words, and once you have gained a certain degree of experience, you will feel that how you acted in the past was relatively suitable. If, however, after gaining experience for a period of time, you feel that some of the things you did in the past were not suitable, and you are dissatisfied with them, and feel that indeed there was no truth in the things you did, then this proves that everything you did was done in resistance to God. It is evidence that your service was full of rebelliousness, resistance, and human ways of acting.

Excerpted from “What Should Be Known About Transforming One’s Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Exactly what are the criteria for putting the truth into practice? How is whether you are putting the truth into practice measured and defined? How does God determine whether you are someone who accepts His words upon hearing them? He looks at whether, during the time that you have believed in Him and listened to sermons, there has been any change in your internal state, in your disobedience toward Him, and in the essence of the various aspects of your corrupt disposition. He looks at whether you have replaced these with the truth, and at whether you have changed in your external behavior and actions or in the essence of your corrupt disposition deep within your heart. God measures you according to these things. Having listened to sermons and eaten and drunk of God’s words for all these years, are your changes just superficial, or essential? Have there been changes in your disposition? Have there been changes in your misconceptions about God, your disobedience toward God, and in how you approach the commissions and duties that God entrusts to you? Has there been a reduction in your disobedience against God? When something happens and you are revealed to be disobedient, are you able to reflect upon yourself? Are you capable of obedience? Have you become more loyal to the commissions and duties that God entrusts to you, and is this loyalty pure? During the time that you have been listening to sermons, have your motives, ambitions, desires, and intentions been cleansed? Are these not criteria for measurement? Then there are also your misconceptions about God: Do you still cling to your original notions, vague and abstract imaginings, and conclusions? Do you still have complaints and other negative emotions? Have there been changes in terms of these things? If there has not been any change in these aspects, then what kind of person are you? This proves one fact: You are not someone who practices the truth.

Excerpted from “Only by Practicing God’s Words Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks

If you believe in God but do not pursue the truth, then you could believe for ten years without experiencing any change. In the end, you will think that this is precisely what it means to believe in God; you will think it is pretty much the same as how you were living in the world previously, and that being alive is meaningless. This truly shows that without the truth, life is empty. You may be able to speak some words of doctrine, but you will still feel uncomforted and uneasy. If people have some knowledge of God, know how to live a meaningful life, and can do some things that satisfy God, then they will feel that this is real life, that only by living in this way will their lives have meaning, and that they have to live this way in order to bring a little satisfaction to God and feel gratified. If they can consciously satisfy God, put the truth into practice, forsake themselves, abandon their own ideas, and be obedient and considerate toward God’s will—if they are able to do all these things consciously—then this is what it means to accurately put the truth into practice, and to genuinely put the truth into practice, and this is very unlike their previous reliance on their imaginations and their sticking to doctrines and rules. In actual fact, it is exhausting to do anything when they do not understand the truth, exhausting to adhere to doctrines and rules, and exhausting to have no goals and to be doing things blindly. Only with the truth can they be free—this is no lie—and with it, they can do things easily and happily. Those who possess this sort of state are people who possess the truth; they are the ones whose dispositions have been transformed.

Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Previous: 5. What conditions must service-doers fulfill to become God’s people?

Next: 2. What is rule-following? What are the differences between rule-following and practicing the truth?

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