22. The Principles of Pursuing the Truth

(1) It is necessary to eat and drink of God’s words often, to have true communion with Him, to be able to seek the truth in His words, to put the truth into practice, and to enter reality;

(2) It is necessary to submit to God’s work and to accept His judgment and chastisement and being pruned and dealt with by Him. It is also necessary to be capable of self-reflection and self-knowledge in order to have one’s corrupt disposition transformed;

(3) It is necessary to establish a normal relationship with God and come to expend yourself sincerely for Him. Only thus can one be led and perfected by the work of the Holy Spirit;

(4) It is necessary to walk the path of Peter, seeking the truth and reflecting on oneself in all matters, focus on effecting change in one’s disposition, and become one who loves God truly.

Relevant Words of God:

Whether the words spoken by God be plain or profound in outward appearance, they are all truths indispensable to man as he enters into life; they are the fount of living waters that enables man to survive in both spirit and flesh. They provide what man needs to stay alive; the principles and creed for conducting his daily life; the path, goal, and direction through which he must pass in order to receive salvation; every truth that he should possess as a created being before God; and every truth about how man obeys and worships God. They are the guarantee that ensures man’s survival, they are man’s daily bread, and they are also the sturdy support that enables man to be strong and stand up. They are rich in the reality of the truth of normal humanity as it is lived out by created mankind, rich in the truth by which mankind breaks free from corruption and eludes Satan’s snares, rich in the tireless teaching, exhortation, encouragement, and solace that the Creator gives to created humanity. They are the beacon that guides and enlightens men to understand all that is positive, the guarantee which ensures that men will live out and come into possession of all that is righteous and good, the criterion by which all people, events, and objects are measured, and also the navigation marker that leads men toward salvation and the path of light. Only in the practical experience of God’s words can man be supplied with the truth and with life; only herein can man come to understand what is normal humanity, what is a meaningful life, what is a genuine created being, what is real obedience to God; only herein can man come to understand how he should care for God, how to fulfill the duty of a created being, and how to possess the likeness of a real man; only herein can man come to understand what is meant by genuine faith and genuine worship; only herein can man come to understand who is the Ruler of the heavens and earth and all things; only herein can man come to understand the means by which the One who is the Master of all creation rules over, leads, and provides for creation; and only herein can man come to understand and grasp the means by which the One who is the Master of all creation exists, becomes manifest, and works. Separated from the real experience of God’s words, man has no real knowledge of or insight into God’s words and the truth. Such a man is a downright living corpse, a consummate shell, and all knowledge relating to the Creator has nothing whatsoever to do with him. In God’s eyes, such a man has never believed in Him, nor has he ever followed Him, and so God recognizes him neither as His believer nor as His follower, even less as a genuine created being.

Excerpted from “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Right now, God does the work of judgment of the last days, and has expressed many words. On the path of faith in God, we have encountered much that relates to the truth. If we do not seek the truth, then there is no path, so we must have knowledge of the truth, and when we read God’s words, we must combine them into reality. All of God’s words are the truth and must be personally experienced. From the time people are born to when they become adults, begin working, start a family, and establish a career, throughout their entire lives—including the people, events, and things they encounter, and everything else that happens to them—there is nothing that touches upon the truth, much less anything that they perceive through the truth. As such, each and every person is a stranger to the truth. And it is precisely because we all lack the truth that, starting from today, we must pursue the truth; this is imperative. If you have yet to realize that when you believe in God you must pursue the truth, and that only the truth can change you, perfect you, save you, and truly bring you before God, then the truth can hold no interest for you, and you are therefore incapable of pursuing it. Some people say, “It’s enough that in my faith in God, I don’t hesitate to eat and drink the words of God, to lead the life of the church, to perform my duty, and to preach the gospel—so why do I also need to pursue the truth? I never normally commit sin or resist God, nor am I an antichrist. I shun the wicked. I just need a few simple rules to guide and help me, that’s all; I don’t need to pursue any abstruse truths.” Is this the right way of looking at things? (No.) Why not? (Because people can only be saved by God once they have gained the truth.) Right now there are some people who possess a vague awareness of just how important the truth is to their salvation, and that is a good thing. However, whether this awareness can take root depends on how you subsequently pursue the truth. For example, when you are negative and weak, can you become strong without the support and provision of the truth? Are you able to overcome your weakness? Are you able to realize why you have been negative and weak? Definitely not. When you are slipshod and perfunctory whilst performing your duty, are you able to fix this aspect of your corruption without seeking the truth? Are you capable of loyalty to God? Can people know themselves and address their corrupt dispositions if they do not seek the truth? No. When people constantly have notions about God, and are always measuring Him against their own notions and imaginings, can such things be resolved without the truth? They cannot. In much of what we encounter—including matters in our everyday lives—if we do not possess the truth, do not seek the truth, and, moreover, do not understand the truth, and if we are ignorant of what God says about such things and of His will, then how will we approach what happens to us? Those who are a little better may try to find a solution using the words, phrases, and rules with which they are familiar, or by using human methods, but can these take the place of the truth in resolving their problems? If we do not seek the truth, it can be said that nothing in our lives has any principle, nor do we have a path to practice, much less do we have any objective or direction. If this is the case, then everything we do opposes and betrays God. Thus, does He not then despise and curse everything we do? Will our actions not be judged and chastised by Him? It is therefore likely that before genuinely understanding the truth, every person will encounter some of God’s judgment, chastisement, chastening, and disciplining—the purpose of all of which is to make people gain the truth.

Excerpted from “The Importance of Pursuing the Truth and the Path of Pursuing It” in Records of Christ’s Talks

In pursuing life, you must pay attention to two things: first, understanding the truth within God’s words; second, understanding yourself within God’s words. These two things are most fundamental. There is no life or truth outside of God’s words. If you do not seek the truth within God’s words, where, then, can you go to seek it? Where is there truth in the world? All of the world’s books are compiled of the devil Satan’s theories, are they not? They do not contain even one iota of truth! The most important parts of understanding the truth in God’s words are understanding God within His words, understanding human life within His words, and understanding all aspects of the truth within His words, such as the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of human existence within God’s words. All truth is within God’s words. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the words of God. The main outcome you must attain is to know what it is to possess understanding and knowledge of God’s words. With a real understanding of God’s words, you can then understand the truth. This is the most fundamental thing.

Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” 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. Peter’s service came in line with God’s will primarily because he had done this.

If one can satisfy God while fulfilling one’s duty, is principled in one’s words and actions, and can enter the reality of all aspects of the truth, then one is a person who becomes perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God have been completely effective for such people, that God’s words have become their life, they have obtained the truth, and they are able to live in accordance with God’s words. After this, the nature of their flesh—that is, the very foundation of their original existence—will shake apart and collapse. After people possess God’s words as their life, they will become new people. If the words of God become their life, if the vision of God’s work, His requirements of humanity, His revelations to humans, and the standards for a true life that God requires them to meet become their life, if they live according to these words and truths, then they are perfected by the words of God. Such people are reborn, and have become new people through God’s words. This is the path by which Peter pursued the truth; it was the path of being perfected, perfected by God’s words, and gaining life from the words of God. The truth expressed by God became his life, and only then did he become a person who obtained the truth.

Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks

In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and going without in his life, none of which could alter his love for God. Was this not the ultimate love for God? Was this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love for God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but you will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.

Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

All that Peter sought was after God’s heart. He sought to fulfill God’s desire, and regardless of the suffering and adversity, still he was willing to fulfill God’s desire. There is no greater pursuit by a believer in God. What Paul sought was tainted by his own flesh, by his own notions, and by his own plans and schemes. He was by no means a qualified creature of God, was not someone who sought to fulfill God’s desire. Peter sought to submit to God’s orchestrations, and although the work he did was not great, the motivation behind his pursuit and the path that he walked were right; though he was not able to gain many people, he was able to pursue the way of truth. Because of this it can be said that he was a qualified creature of God. Today, even if you are not a worker, you should be able to perform the duty of a creature of God and seek to submit to all of God’s orchestrations. You should be able to obey whatever God says, and experience all manner of tribulations and refinement, and though you are weak, in your heart you should still be able to love God. Those who take responsibility for their own life are willing to perform the duty of a creature of God, and such people’s viewpoint about pursuit is the right one. These are the people that God needs. If you did much work, and others gained your teachings, but you yourself did not change, and did not bear any testimony, or have any true experience, such that at the end of your life, still none of what you have done bears testimony, then are you someone who has changed? Are you someone who pursues the truth? At the time, the Holy Spirit used you, but when He used you, He used the part of you that could be used to work, and He did not use the part of you that could not be used. If you sought to change, then you would gradually be made perfect during the process of being used. Yet the Holy Spirit accepts no responsibility for whether or not you will ultimately be gained, and this depends on the manner of your pursuit. If there are no changes in your personal disposition, then that is because your viewpoint toward pursuit is wrong. If you are granted no reward, then that is your own problem, and because you yourself have not put the truth into practice and are unable to fulfill God’s desire. And so, nothing is of greater importance than your personal experiences, and nothing is more critical than your personal entry! Some people will end up saying, “I’ve done so much work for You, and though I may not have made any celebrated achievements, still I have been diligent in my efforts. Can’t You just let me into heaven to eat the fruit of life?” You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy, then it will be intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and who are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—this is an unalterable truth!

Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Pursuit of the truth is both a practical problem and a practical lesson. We cannot attain understanding of the truth or put the truth into practice by relying on our imagination, thoughts, notions, or scraps of knowledge; it is not that easy. What is required is for us to actually pay a price and, in our everyday lives, to actually attempt to experience, seek, contemplate, fellowship, and work on it; only then, little by little, will we achieve some entry and gain something with regard to the words of God and the truth. When the day comes that you understand what the truth is and what its essence is, when you are aware that the words spoken by God incarnate are the principles that must be actually put into practice in everything that we encounter and that they are the objectives and direction of our lives, then, at that time, you will see just how meaningful everything God does is, and just how important and valuable God incarnate is to us! The purpose behind everything God says, every step of work He does, His every utterance, every action, and every move, and all His ideas, viewpoints, and thoughts is to bring salvation to man; it is to allow people to be saved. Not one of them is empty; every single one of them is real and actual. Thus, whether people come from the Age of Grace or from among the unbelievers, they must all stop dreaming; they must stop believing in God through the lens of their imaginings and stop living in the empty thoughts of their own idealism. God’s real and actual work requires us to really and actually experience it and pay a price; only then will the truth we have attained through experience become the life we gain. When experiencing God’s work, what we should gain most of all is the truth. When you have gained the truth, God shall have a place in your heart—which is precisely what He wishes to achieve. Once you understand the truth and are aware of what it is, after it has taken root in your heart, and once you have actually experienced the truth, then deep down, God’s words will have truly become your life. Is this process real? It is indeed. So, what are we required to do in this process? First of all, we must experience and enter into the reality of God’s words. We must be aware of what He wishes to do in us and of the results He wishes to attain. There are primarily two results God wishes to achieve in us: Firstly, to make us know ourselves; and secondly, to make us know God.

Excerpted from “The Importance of Pursuing the Truth and the Path of Pursuing It” in Records of Christ’s Talks

God is not to be believed in by man, but loved by him, and pursued and worshiped by him. If you do not pursue today, then the day will come when you say, “Back then why did I not follow God properly, not satisfy Him properly, not pursue changes in my life disposition? How I regret not being able to submit to God at the time, and not pursuing the knowledge of God’s word. God said so much back then; how could I not have pursued? I was so stupid!” You will hate yourself to some degree. Today, you do not believe the words I say, and you pay no attention to them; when the day comes for this work to spread and you see the entirety of it, you will regret, and at that time you will be dumbfounded. There are blessings, yet you do not know to enjoy them, and there is the truth, yet you do not pursue it. Do you not bring contempt upon yourself? Today, although the next step of God’s work has yet to begin, there is nothing exceptional about the demands that are made of you and what you are asked to live out. There is so much work, and so many truths; are they not worthy of being known by you? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of awakening your spirit? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of making you hate yourself? Are you content to live under the influence of Satan, with peace and joy, and a little fleshly comfort? Are you not the lowliest of all people? None are more foolish than those who have beheld salvation but do not pursue to gain it; these are people who gorge themselves on the flesh and enjoy Satan. You hope that your faith in God will not entail any challenges or tribulations, or the slightest hardship. You always pursue those things that are worthless, and you attach no value to life, instead putting your own extravagant thoughts before the truth. You are so worthless! You live like a pig—what difference is there between you, and pigs and dogs? Are those who do not pursue the truth, and instead love the flesh, not all beasts? Are those dead ones without spirits not all walking corpses? How many words have been spoken among you? Has only a little work been done among you? How much have I provided among you? So why have you not gained it? What do you have to complain of? Is it not the case that you have gained nothing because you are too in love with the flesh? And is it not because your thoughts are too extravagant? Is it not because you are too stupid? If you are incapable of gaining these blessings, can you blame God for not saving you?

Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Man must pursue to live out a life of meaning, and should not be satisfied with his current circumstances. To live out the image of Peter, he must possess the knowledge and experiences of Peter. Man must pursue things that are higher and more profound. He must pursue a deeper, purer love of God, and a life that has value and meaning. Only this is life; only then will man be the same as Peter. You must focus on being proactive toward your entry on the positive side, and must not submissively allow yourself to backslide for the sake of momentary ease while ignoring more profound, more specific, and more practical truths. Your love must be practical, and you must find ways to free yourself from this depraved, carefree life that is no different from an animal’s. You must live out a life of meaning, a life of value, and you must not fool yourself or treat your life like a toy to be played with. For everyone who aspires to love God, there are no unobtainable truths and no justice for which they cannot stand firm. How should you live your life? How should you love God, and use this love to satisfy His desire? There is no greater matter in your life. Above all, you must have such aspirations and perseverance, and should not be like those who are spineless, those who are weaklings. You must learn how to experience a meaningful life and experience meaningful truths, and should not treat yourself perfunctorily in that way. Without you realizing it, your life will pass you by; after that, will you have another opportunity to love God? Can man love God after he is dead? You must have the same aspirations and conscience as Peter; your life must be meaningful, and you must not play games with yourself. As a human being, and as a person who pursues God, you must be able to carefully consider how you treat your life, how you should offer yourself to God, how you should have a more meaningful faith in God, and how, since you love God, you should love Him in a way that is more pure, more beautiful, and more good. Today, you cannot only be content with how you are conquered, but must also consider the path that you will walk in the future. You must have aspirations and the courage to be made perfect, and should not always think yourself incapable. Does the truth have favorites? Can the truth deliberately oppose people? If you pursue the truth, can it overwhelm you? If you stand firm for justice, will it knock you down? If it is truly your aspiration to pursue life, can life elude you? If you are without the truth, that is not because the truth ignores you, but because you stay away from the truth; if you cannot stand fast for justice, that is not because there is something wrong with justice, but because you believe it is out of line with the facts; if you have not gained life after pursuing it for many years, that is not because life has no conscience toward you, but because you have no conscience toward life, and have driven away life; if you live in the light, and have been incapable of gaining the light, that is not because the light is unable to illuminate you, but because you have not paid any attention to the existence of the light, and so the light has quietly departed from you. If you do not pursue, then it can only be said that you are worthless trash, and have no courage in your life, and do not have the spirit to resist the forces of darkness. You are too weak! You are unable to escape the forces of Satan that lay siege to you, and are only willing to lead this kind of safe and secure life and die in ignorance. What you should achieve is your pursuit of being conquered; this is your bounden duty. If you are content to be conquered, then you drive out the existence of the light. You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and you should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!

Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Previous: 21. The Principles of Experiencing God’s Work

Next: 24. The Principles of Seeking the Truth

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