53. The Principles of Rectifying Arrogance and Conceit
(1) It is necessary to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and to be able to see the hideous truth of one’s own corruption. In this way, one learns what sort of thing they are;
(2) It is necessary to accept being pruned and dealt with, as well as being tried and exposed, and to be able to see how vulnerable one is. In this way, one learns their true mettle;
(3) When one has experienced many failures and setbacks, and has found their root cause to be arrogance, they naturally comport themselves much better, and their manner grows more subdued;
(4) It is necessary to undergo God’s judgment and chastisement, to know His righteous disposition, and to give rise to reverence for Him. In this way, one can come to comport themselves well.
Relevant Words of God:
Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God. Even though, externally, some people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him. People who are arrogant and conceited, especially those who are so arrogant as to have lost their sense, cannot submit to God in their belief in Him, and even exalt and bear testimony for themselves. Such people resist God the most. If people wish to get to where they revere God, then they must first resolve their arrogant dispositions. The more thoroughly you resolve your arrogant disposition, the more reverence you will have for God, and only then can you submit to Him and be able to obtain the truth and know Him.
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
Since mankind was corrupted by Satan, their nature began to change and they gradually lost the sense of reason possessed by normal people. They now no longer act as human beings in the position of man; rather, they wish to surpass the status of man, and they yearn for something higher and greater. And what is this higher something? They wish to surpass God, to surpass the heavens, and to surpass all else. What is at the root of why people have become like this? When all is said and done, man’s nature is overly arrogant. “Arrogant” is a derogative term, and no one wants to have this term pinned to them. In fact, however, everyone is arrogant, and all corrupt humans have this essence. Some people say, “I’m not the least bit arrogant. I’ve never wanted to be the archangel, nor have I ever wanted to surpass God, or to surpass all else. I’ve always been someone who’s especially well-behaved and dutiful.” Not necessarily; these words are incorrect. Once people have grown arrogant in nature and essence, they become capable of doing things that disobey and resist God, things that do not heed His words, things that generate notions about Him, things that rebel against Him, and things that exalt and bear testimony to themselves. You say you are not arrogant, but suppose you were given a number of churches and allowed to lead them; suppose that I did not deal with you, and that no one in God’s family pruned you: After leading them a while, you would bring them to your feet and make them submit before you. And why would you do that? This would be determined by your nature; it would be none other than a natural revelation. You do not need to go out of your way to learn this, nor do you have to specially get others to teach it to you. You do not need to do any of this deliberately; this kind of situation comes about naturally to you: You make people submit before you, worship you, exalt you, testify about you, and listen to you in all things, and you do not allow them to go beyond your jurisdiction. Under your leadership, such situations occur naturally. And how do these situations come about? They are determined by man’s arrogant nature. The manifestation of arrogance is rebellion and resistance against God. When people are arrogant, self-important, and self-righteous, they tend to set up their own independent kingdoms and do things however they want. They also bring others into their own hands and draw them into their embraces. For people to be capable of doing such things, it means the essence of their arrogance has become that of the archangel. When their arrogance and self-importance reach a certain level, then that determines that they are the archangel and will put God aside. If you possess such an arrogant disposition, God will have no place in your heart.
Excerpted from “An Arrogant Nature Is the Root of Man’s Resistance to God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you really possess the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil, and you will do it despite yourself. For example, if arrogance and conceit existed within you, you would find it impossible to keep from defying God; you would feel compelled to defy Him. You would not do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God and see Him as being of no account; they would cause you to exalt yourself, constantly put yourself on display, and, finally, sit in God’s place and bear testimony for yourself. In the end, you would turn your own ideas, your own thinking, and your own notions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve their evil acts, they must first resolve the problem of their nature. Without a change in disposition, it would not be possible to bring a fundamental resolution to this problem. When you have some understanding of God, when you can see your own corruption and recognize the contemptibility and ugliness of arrogance and conceit, you will then feel disgusted, sickened, and distressed. You will be able to consciously do some things to satisfy God and, in doing this, will feel at ease. You will be able to consciously bear witness for God and, in doing this, will feel enjoyment. You will consciously unmask yourself, exposing your own ugliness, and by doing this, you will feel good inside and feel yourself to be in an improved state of mind. Therefore, the first step of seeking a change in your disposition is to seek to understand God’s words and to enter into the truth. Only by understanding the truth can you attain discernment; only with discernment can you understand things thoroughly; only by understanding things thoroughly can you forsake the flesh and, step by step, be on the right track with your belief in God. This is connected with how resolute people are when pursuing the truth.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some people particularly idolize Paul. They like to go out and give speeches and do work, they like to attend gatherings and preach, and they like people listening to them, worshiping them, and revolving around them. They like to have status in the minds of others, and they appreciate it when others value the image they present. Let us analyze their nature from these behaviors: What is their nature? If they really behave like this, then it is enough to show that they are arrogant and conceited. They do not worship God at all; they seek a higher status and wish to have authority over others, to possess them, and to have status in their minds. This is the classic image of Satan. The aspects of their nature that stand out are arrogance and conceit, an unwillingness to worship God, and a desire to be worshiped by others. Such behaviors can give you a very clear view into their nature.
Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some people who serve as leaders always want to try to be different, to be head and shoulders above the rest, and to figure out some new tricks that will make God see just how capable they really are. However, they do not focus on understanding the truth and entering the reality of God’s words; they are always trying to show off. Is this not precisely the revelation of an arrogant nature? Some even say, “If I do this, I’m sure it’ll make God very happy; He’ll really like it. This time I am going to get God to have a look; I’ll give Him a nice surprise.” As a result of this “surprise,” they lose the work of the Holy Spirit and get eliminated by God. Do not just rashly do whatever comes into your mind. How can things be okay if you do not consider the consequences of your actions? When you offend God’s disposition and violate His administrative decrees, and are subsequently eliminated, there will be nothing left for you to say. Regardless of your intent, and whether or not you do it deliberately, if you do not understand God’s disposition or His will, you will easily offend Him and be liable to violate His administrative decrees; this is something against which everyone should be on guard. Once you have seriously violated God’s administrative decrees or offended His disposition, He will give no consideration as to whether you did it intentionally or unintentionally. This is a matter that you need to see clearly. If you cannot understand this issue, then you are bound to cause problems. In serving God, people wish to make great strides, do great things, speak great words, perform great work, hold great meetings, and be great leaders. If you always have such grand ambitions, then you will violate God’s administrative decrees; people who do this will die quickly. If you are not well-behaved, devout, and prudent in your service to God, then sooner or later, you will offend His disposition.
Excerpted from “Without the Truth, One Is Liable to Offend God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Let no person think of themselves as perfect, or distinguished and noble, or distinct from others; all this is brought about by man’s arrogant disposition and ignorance. Always to think oneself distinctive—this is an arrogant disposition; never being able to accept one’s shortcomings, and never being able to confront one’s mistakes and failures—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be higher than oneself, or to be better than oneself—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be superior or stronger than oneself—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to have better thoughts, suggestions, and views than oneself about a matter, and, when they do, becoming negative, not wishing to speak, feeling distressed and dejected, and becoming upset—all of this is caused by an arrogant disposition. An arrogant disposition can make you defensive about your reputation, unable to accept others’ guidance, unable to confront your own shortcomings, and unable to accept your own failures and mistakes. More than that, when someone is better than you, it can cause hatred and jealousy to arise in your heart, and you can feel constrained, such that you do not wish to do your duty and become slipshod in performing it. An arrogant disposition can cause these behaviors and practices to arise in you. If you are able, little by little, to achieve breakthroughs in all these details, and gain understanding of them, and dig deeper into them; and if you are then able gradually to forsake these thoughts, these understandings, and even these behaviors, and are not constrained by them; and if, in performing your duty, you are able to find the right station for you, and act according to principles, and perform the duty you can and should perform; then, over time, you will be able to perform your duties better. This is entry into truth reality. If you can enter into truth reality, you will appear to others to have a human likeness, and people will say, “This person conducts themselves according to their station, and they are doing their duty in a grounded way. They do not rely on naturalness, on hot-bloodedness, or on their corrupt, satanic disposition to do their duty. They act with restraint, they have a heart that reveres God, they have love for truth, and their behavior and expressions reveal them to have forsaken their own flesh and preferences.” How wonderful it is to conduct oneself so! On the occasions when others bring up your shortcomings, you are not only able to accept them, but are optimistic, facing your shortcomings and flaws with poise. Your state of mind is quite normal, free of extremes, free of hot blood. Is this not what it is to have a human likeness? Only such people have good sense.
Excerpted from “The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct” in Records of Christ’s Talks
People cannot change their own disposition; they must undergo the judgment and chastisement, and suffering and refinement, of God’s words, or being dealt with, disciplined, and pruned by His words. Only then can they achieve obedience and faithfulness to God, and no longer be perfunctory toward Him. It is under the refinement of God’s words that people’s dispositions change. Only through the exposure, judgment, discipline, and dealing of His words will they no longer dare to act rashly but instead will become steady and composed. The most important point is that they are able to submit to God’s current words, and to His work, even if it is not in line with human notions, they are able to put these notions aside and willingly submit.
Excerpted from “People Whose Dispositions Have Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When you suffer a little constraint or hardship, it is good for you; if you were given an easy time of it you would be ruined, and then how could you be protected? Today, it is because you are chastised, judged, and cursed that you are given protection. It is because you have suffered much that you are protected. If not, you would have long since fallen into depravity. This is not making things difficult for you intentionally—man’s nature is hard to change, and it must be thus for their dispositions to be changed. Today, you do not even possess the conscience or sense that Paul possessed, nor do you even have his self-awareness. You always have to be pressured, and you always have to be chastised and judged in order to awaken your spirits. Chastisement and judgment are what is best for your life. And when necessary, there must also be the chastisement of the facts coming upon you; only then will you fully submit. Your natures are such that without chastisement and cursing, you would be unwilling to bow your heads, unwilling to submit. Without the facts before your eyes, there would be no effect. You are too lowly and worthless in character! Without chastisement and judgment, it would be difficult for you to be conquered, and hard for your unrighteousness and disobedience to be overcome. Your old nature is so deeply rooted. If you were placed upon the throne, you would have no idea of heaven’s height and earth’s depth, much less of where you were headed. You do not even know where you came from, so how could you know the Lord of creation? Without the timely chastisement and curses of today, your final day would have long since arrived. That is to say nothing of your fate—would not that be even more in imminent danger? Without this timely chastisement and judgment, who knows how arrogant you would grow, or how depraved you would become. This chastisement and judgment have brought you to today, and they have preserved your existence. If you were still “educated” using the same methods as those of your “father,” who knows what realm you would enter into! You have absolutely no ability to control and reflect upon yourselves. For people like you, if you just follow and obey without causing any interference or disruptions, My aims will be achieved. Should you not do better in accepting the chastisement and judgment of today? What other choices do you have?
Excerpted from “Practice (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
After humans are conquered by God, the basic attribute of the sense of reason they should be equipped with is to be sure not to speak arrogantly. They should assume a lowly status, “as dung upon the ground,” and say some things that are true; this would be best. Especially when bearing testimony for God, if you can say something of substance from the heart, with no empty or tall talk and no fictitious lies, then your disposition will have changed, and this is the change that should occur once you have been conquered by God. If you cannot possess even this amount of reason, then you are truly without any semblance of a human being. In the future, when all nations and regions have been conquered by God, if at a huge gathering in praise of God you begin to act arrogantly again, then you will be scrapped and eliminated. From now on, you must always behave properly, recognize your status and position, and not relapse into your old ways. Satan’s image most classically manifests in human arrogance and conceit. Unless you change this aspect of yourself, you will never have the likeness of a human, and you will always possess the visage of Satan. Merely having knowledge in this area will not be sufficient to attain a complete transformation; you will still need to endure multiple refinements. Without being dealt with and pruned, in the long run, you will still be in danger. …
To keep from sliding back into your old ways, first you must recognize that your disposition has not yet changed and that your God-betraying nature is still deeply rooted within you. You are still at great risk of betraying God, and you face the constant possibility of perdition. There are three other major points: First, you have not yet come to know God; second, your disposition has not transformed; third, you have yet to attain a human likeness, and among people who are good, you occupy the bottom rung. Everyone should have a clear understanding of these points. People should all be prepared with a motto, and have it engraved or written down: “I am the devil,” or “I often fall into my old ways,” or “I’m always in danger,” or “I am the dung upon the ground.” Perhaps constantly exhorting yourself with such a motto will have some effect, but most importantly, you have to read more of God’s words and come to understand your nature. Only by achieving a real transformation will you be safe.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If people’s knowledge of themselves is too shallow, they will find it impossible to solve problems, and their life dispositions simply will not change. It is necessary to know oneself on a profound level, which means knowing one’s own nature: what elements are included in that nature, how these things originated, and where they came from. Moreover, are you actually able to hate these things? Have you seen your own ugly soul and your evil nature? If you are truly able to see the truth about yourself, then you will start to loathe yourself. When you loathe yourself and then practice God’s word, you will be able to forsake the flesh and have the strength to carry out truth without difficulty. Why do many people follow their fleshly preferences? Because they consider themselves to be pretty good, feeling that their actions are right and justified, that they have no faults, and even that they are entirely in the right, they are therefore capable of acting with the assumption that justice is on their side. When one recognizes what one’s true nature is—how ugly, how despicable, and how pitiful—then one is not overly proud of oneself, not so wildly arrogant, and not so pleased with oneself as before. Such a person feels, “I must be earnest and down to earth, and practice some of God’s word. If not, then I will not measure up to the standard of being human, and will be ashamed to live in God’s presence.” One then truly sees oneself as paltry, as truly insignificant. At this time, it becomes easy for one to carry out truth, and one will appear to be somewhat like a human should be. Only when people truly loathe themselves are they able to forsake the flesh. If they do not loathe themselves, they will be unable to forsake the flesh. Truly hating oneself comprises a few things: First, knowing one’s own nature; and second, seeing oneself as needy and pitiful, seeing oneself to be extremely small and insignificant, and seeing one’s own pitiful and dirty soul. When one fully sees what one truly is, and this outcome is achieved, one then truly gains knowledge of oneself, and it can be said that one has come to know oneself fully. Only then can one truly hate oneself, going so far as to curse oneself, and truly feel that one has been corrupted profoundly by Satan such that one does not even resemble a human being. Then, one day, when the threat of death appears, such a person will think, “This is God’s righteous punishment. God is indeed righteous; I really should die!” At this point, he will not lodge a complaint, much less blame God, simply feeling that he is so needy and pitiful, so filthy and corrupt that he should be wiped out by God, and a soul like his is not fit to live on earth. At this point, this person will not resist God, much less betray God. If one does not know oneself, and still considers oneself to be pretty good, then when death comes knocking, this person will think, “I have done so well in my faith. How hard I have sought! I have given so much, I have suffered so much, yet ultimately, God is now asking me to die. I don’t know where God’s righteousness is. Why is He asking me to die? If even a person like me has to die, then who will be saved? Won’t the human race come to an end?” First of all, this person has notions about God. Secondly, this person is complaining, and not showing any submission whatsoever. This is just like Paul: When he was about to die, he did not know himself, and by the time God’s punishment was nigh, it was too late to repent.
Excerpted from “To Know Oneself Is Primarily About Knowing Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
God created man, breathed life into him, and also gave him some of His intelligence, His abilities, and what He has and is. After God gave man all of these things, man was able to do some things independently and think on his own. If what man comes up with and does is good in the eyes of God, then God accepts it and does not interfere. If what man does is right, God will let it stand. So, what does the phrase “whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” indicate? It indicates that God did not see fit to alter any of the names given to the various living creatures. Whatever name Adam called a creature, God would say “So it is,” affirming the creature’s name. Did God express any opinion on the matter? No, He certainly did not. So, what do you gather from this? God gave man intelligence and man used his God-given intelligence to do things. If what man does is positive in the eyes of God, then it is affirmed, acknowledged, and accepted by God without any judgment or criticism. This is something no person or evil spirit, or Satan, can do. Do you see a revelation of God’s disposition here? Would a human being, a corrupted person, or Satan permit anyone else to do something in their name, right under their nose? Of course not! Would they fight over this position with that other person or other force that is different from them? Of course they would! If it were a corrupted person or Satan who was with Adam at that time, they would have certainly repudiated what Adam was doing. To prove that they have the ability to think independently and have their own unique insights, they would have absolutely denied everything Adam did: “You want to call it this? Well, I’m not going to call it this, I’m going to call it that; you called it Tom but I’m going to call it Harry. I have to show how clever I am.” What kind of nature is this? Is it not wildly arrogant? And what of God? Does He have such a disposition? Did God have any unusual objections to what Adam was doing? The answer is unequivocally no! Of the disposition God reveals, there is not the slightest hint of argumentativeness, arrogance, or self-righteousness. That much is clear here. This may appear to be a minor point, but if you do not understand God’s essence, if your heart does not try to figure out how God acts and what God’s attitude is, then you will not know God’s disposition or see the expression and revelation of God’s disposition.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What is your understanding of God’s disposition, of what He has and is? What is your understanding of His authority and of His omnipotence and wisdom? Does anyone know how many years God has been working among all humanity and all things? No one knows the exact number of years to date for which God has been working and managing all mankind; He does not announce such things to mankind. Yet if Satan were to do this for a bit, would it declare it? It would certainly declare it. Satan wants to show off itself, that it may deceive more people and have more of them give it credit. Why does God not announce this undertaking? There is an aspect of God’s essence that is humble and hidden. What things are in opposition to humility and hiddenness? Arrogance, impudence, and ambition. No matter how great the work He does, it is enough for God to tell man and make him aware of only that which he can know and understand, using all the work He does to let man know His essence. How does this benefit man? What result does it achieve? Does it mean you must know these things in order to be able to worship God? In fact, it does not. Being able to worship God is the objective result achieved in the end, but God’s true intent is that man, once he knows these things, and once he has an understanding of how God manages mankind, of how He rules over and makes plans for mankind, will be able to submit to God’s sovereignty, no longer senselessly resisting or taking detours, and thus will suffer less. If you can let nature take its course and live according to the ways and laws given by God, and in accordance with His demands and the principles He gives, you will not fall into Satan’s hands, nor will you be corrupted and trampled a second time. You will live forever among the laws that God has established; you will live with a human likeness as a being He created, and you will receive His care and protection. This is God’s true intent and purpose in doing work.
Excerpted from “For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (6)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
You should know that you are arrogant and haughty by nature, and unwilling to submit to the facts. For this reason, I shall tell you bit by bit after you have reflected upon yourselves. I exhort you to get a better understanding of the content of the administrative decrees, and to make an effort to know the disposition of God. If not, you will find it difficult to keep your lips sealed, your tongues will wag too freely with high-sounding talk, and you will unwittingly offend the disposition of God and fall into the darkness, losing the presence of the Holy Spirit and the light. Because you are unprincipled in your actions, because you do and say that which you should not, you shall receive a fitting retribution. You should know that though you are unprincipled in word and deed, God is highly principled in both. The reason you receive retribution is because you have offended God, not a person. If, in your life, you commit many offenses against the disposition of God, then you are bound to become a child of hell. To man it may appear that you have only committed a few deeds that are at odds with the truth, and nothing more. Are you aware, however, that in the eyes of God you are already someone for whom there is no more sin offering? Because you have violated the administrative decrees of God more than once and have, moreover, shown no sign of repentance, there is no other recourse but for you to plunge into hell, where God punishes man. A small number of people, while following God, committed some deeds that violated principles, but after being dealt with and given guidance, they gradually discovered their own corruption, thereafter entered on the right track of reality, and they remain well-grounded today. Such people are those who shall remain in the end.
Excerpted from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh