57. The Principles of Rectifying Defensiveness Against God and Misunderstandings of Him

(1) Christ alone is mankind’s Savior. Only He can bestow upon man the truth and the life, and there is no salvation but His;

(2) It is necessary to know that God’s judgment and chastisement, trials and refinement, and pruning and dealing are all done for the sake of man’s salvation and perfection, and are all expressions of love for humanity;

(3) When one encounters an event that does not accord with their notions, they should seek the truth, understand God’s will, and attempt to gain knowledge of His disposition. Only thus can one be rid of their notions and misunderstandings;

(4) Those who constantly defend against and misunderstand God are deceitful people, and all who do not believe God is the truth are contemptible wretches—non- and un-believers, through and through.

Relevant Words of God:

Today God judges you, chastises you, and condemns you, but you must know that the point of your condemnation is for you to know yourself. He condemns, curses, judges, and chastises so that you might know yourself, so that your disposition might change, and, moreover, so that you might know your worth, and see that all of God’s actions are righteous and in accordance with His disposition and the requirements of His work, that He works in accordance with His plan for man’s salvation, and that He is the righteous God who loves, saves, judges, and chastises man. If you only know that you are of lowly status, that you are corrupt and disobedient, but do not know that God wishes to make plain His salvation through the judgment and chastisement that He does in you today, then you have no way of gaining experience, much less are you capable of continuing forward. God has not come to kill or destroy, but to judge, curse, chastise, and save. Until His 6,000-year management plan comes to a close—before He reveals the outcome of each category of man—God’s work on earth will be for the sake of salvation; its purpose is purely to make those who love Him complete—thoroughly so—and to bring them into submission under His dominion. No matter how God saves people, it is all done by making them break away from their old satanic nature; that is, He saves them by having them seek life. If they do not do so, then they will have no way to accept God’s salvation. Salvation is the work of God Himself, and the seeking for life is something that man must take on in order to accept salvation. In the eyes of man, salvation is the love of God, and the love of God cannot be chastisement, judgment, and curses; salvation must contain love, compassion, and, moreover, words of solace, as well as boundless blessings bestowed by God. People believe that when God saves man, He does so by moving them with His blessings and grace, so that they can give their hearts to God. That is to say, His touching man is His saving them. This sort of salvation is done by striking a deal. Only when God grants them a hundredfold will man come to submit before God’s name and strive to do well for Him and bring Him glory. This is not what God intends for mankind. God has come to work on earth in order to save corrupt mankind; there is no falsehood in this. If there were, He would certainly not have come to do His work in person. In the past, His means of salvation involved showing the utmost love and compassion, such that He gave His all to Satan in exchange for the whole of mankind. The present is nothing like the past: The salvation bestowed upon you today occurs at the time of the last days, during the classification of each according to kind; the means of your salvation is not love or compassion, but chastisement and judgment, in order that man may be more thoroughly saved. Thus, all that you receive is chastisement, judgment, and merciless smiting, but know this: In this heartless smiting there is not the slightest punishment. Regardless of how harsh My words might be, what befall you are but a few words that might appear utterly heartless to you, and no matter how angry I might be, what rain upon you are still words of teaching, and I do not mean to harm you or put you to death. Is this not all fact? Know that nowadays, whether it be righteous judgment or heartless refinement and chastisement, everything is for the sake of salvation. Regardless of whether today each is classified according to kind or the categories of man are laid bare, the purpose of all of God’s words and work is to save those who truly love God. Righteous judgment is brought to purify man, and heartless refinement is done to cleanse them; harsh words or chastening are both done to purify and are for the sake of salvation. Thus, today’s method of salvation is unlike that of the past. Today, you are brought salvation through righteous judgment, and this is a good tool for classifying you each according to kind. Moreover, ruthless chastisement serves as your utmost salvation—and what have you to say in the face of such chastisement and judgment? Have you not always enjoyed salvation, from start to finish? You have seen God incarnate and realized His omnipotence and wisdom; in addition, you have experienced repeated smiting and discipline. However, have you not also received supreme grace? Are your blessings not greater than those of anyone else? Your graces are more bounteous even than the glory and riches enjoyed by Solomon! Think about it: If My intention in coming were to condemn and punish you rather than save you, could your days have lasted so long? Could you sinful beings of flesh and blood have survived until today? If My goal were merely to punish you, then why would I have become flesh and embarked upon such a great enterprise? Could punishing you mere mortals not simply be done by uttering a single word? Would I still need to destroy you after purposely condemning you? Do you still not believe these words of Mine? Could I save man merely through love and compassion? Or could I only use the crucifixion to save man? Is My righteous disposition not more conducive to making man completely obedient? Is it not more capable of thoroughly saving man?

Excerpted from “You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

All of you live in a land of sin and licentiousness, and you are all licentious and sinful. Today you are not just able to look upon God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, you have received truly profound salvation, which is to say, you have received God’s greatest love. In all that He does, God is truly loving toward you. He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done for the purpose of making man complete. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and has no desire to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Today, He has come among you to work; is this not salvation all the more? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude in order to personally guide you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intentions toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because people are disobedient that He has to save them through judgment; if not for this, saving them would be impossible. Because you do not know how to live and are not even aware of how to live, and because you live in this licentious and sinful land and are yourselves licentious and filthy devils, He cannot bear to let you become even more depraved, He cannot bear to see you living in this filthy land as you do now, trampled on by Satan at will, and He cannot bear to let you fall into Hades. He only wants to gain this group of people and thoroughly save you. This is the main purpose of doing the work of conquest on you—it is just for salvation. If you cannot see that everything done on you is love and salvation, if you think it is just a method, a way to torment man, and something untrustworthy, then you might as well go back to your world to suffer pain and hardship! If you are willing to be in this stream, and to enjoy this judgment and this immense salvation, to enjoy all of these blessings, blessings that cannot be found anywhere in the human world, and to enjoy this love, then be good: Stay in this stream to accept the work of conquest so you can be made perfect. Today, you may suffer a little pain and refinement because of God’s judgment, but there is value and meaning to suffering this pain. Though people are refined and mercilessly exposed by God’s chastisement and judgment—the aim being to punish them for their sins, to punish their flesh—none of this work is intended to condemn their flesh to destruction. The severe disclosures by the word are all for the purpose of leading you onto the right path. You have personally experienced so much of this work and, clearly, it has not led you onto an evil path! It is all in order to make you live out normal humanity, and it is all achievable by your normal humanity. Every step of God’s work is based upon your needs, according to your weaknesses, and according to your actual stature, and no unbearable burden is placed on you. This is not clear to you today, and you feel as if I am being hard on you, and indeed you always believe that the reason I chastise, judge and reproach you every day is because I hate you. But although what you suffer is chastisement and judgment, this is actually love for you, and it is the greatest protection. If you cannot grasp the deeper meaning of this work, it will be impossible for you to continue experiencing. This salvation should bring you comfort. Do not refuse to come to your senses. Having come this far, the significance of the work of conquest should be clear to you, and you should no longer hold opinions about it one way or another!

Excerpted from “The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Many people who believe in God do not focus on understanding His will; they think everyone predestined by God to be saved inevitably will be, and they think everyone who is not predestined by God to be saved will not be, no matter what they do. They think God will not determine people’s outcome based on their performance and behavior. If this is your thinking, you greatly misunderstand God. If God truly acted so, would He be righteous? God determines people’s outcome based on a principle: Ultimately, people’s outcome will be determined according to their performance and behavior. You do not see God’s righteous disposition, and you always misunderstand God and distort His intentions, which causes you always to be pessimistic and lose hope. Is this not self-inflicted? Do you really, in truth, understand, and are you sure of God’s intentions? You have always used “God’s predestination” to delimit and deny God’s words. This is a serious misunderstanding of God! You do not understand God’s work, and you do not understand His will at all; and, more than that, you do not understand the painstaking efforts God has exerted in His six thousand years of management work. You give yourself over to despair, second-guess and doubt God; you are afraid of being a service-doer, thinking, “There is nothing great about me; why am I being promoted to do this work? Is God using me? Is He making me do service now, and planning to get rid of me when I am no longer useful?” Is not this view of God categorizing Him among those in power? You have always misunderstood God; you have thought ill of God and regarded Him with contempt. You have never believed God’s words and His sincerity, you have actively sought to be a service-doer, you have taken the initiative to walk on the path of the service-doers—but you have not sought to change your disposition, nor have you suffered hardships in order to put the truth into practice. Ultimately, you have pushed your responsibilities onto God, saying He has not predestined you, and He has not been sincere with you. What is the problem? You misunderstand God’s intentions, you do not believe God’s words, you are not putting the truth into practice, and neither do you devote yourself while performing your duty. How can you satisfy God’s will? Such people are not qualified in the least to be service-doers, so how could they be qualified to negotiate with God? If you think God is not righteous, why do you believe in Him? You have always wanted God to say to you personally, “You are of the people of the kingdom, and this will never change” before you exert yourself for God’s family, and if He does not say this, you will never give Him your true heart. How rebellious such people are! I have seen a great many people who have never focused on transforming their dispositions, and less have they focused on putting truth into practice. They only pay attention to asking whether they will obtain a good destination, how God will treat them, whether He has a predestination for them to be His people, and other matters of hearsay. How can such people, who are not engaged in honest work, obtain eternal life? How can they remain in God’s family?

Now I solemnly tell you: If a predestined person does not put the truth into practice, then he will ultimately be eliminated; and a person who sincerely expends himself for God and does his best to put truth into practice—even if people view him as a person who is not predestined to remain—will have a better final destination than those so-called predestined people who have had no devotion, because of God’s righteous disposition. Do you believe these words? If you are not able to believe these words and you continue going about things in the wrong way, then I say to you that you certainly will not be able to survive, because you do not truly want God and are not fond of the truth. Since it is this way, God’s predestination of people is not important. The reason I say this is because in the end, God will determine people’s outcomes by their performance and behavior; however, objectively speaking, God’s predestination only plays a small role and does not play a leading role. Do you understand these words?

Excerpted from “God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

I take pleasure in those who are not suspicious of others, and I like those who readily accept the truth; toward these two kinds of people I show great care, for in My eyes they are honest people. If you are deceitful, then you will be guarded and suspicious toward all people and matters, and thus your faith in Me will be built upon a foundation of suspicion. I could never acknowledge such faith. Lacking true faith, you are even more devoid of true love. And if you are liable to doubt God and speculate about Him at will, then you are, without question, the most deceitful of all people. You speculate whether God can be like man: unpardonably sinful, of petty character, devoid of fairness and reason, lacking a sense of justice, given to vicious tactics, treacherous and cunning, pleased by evil and darkness, and so on. Is not the reason that people have such thoughts because they lack the slightest knowledge of God? Such faith is nothing short of sin! There are even some who believe that the ones who please Me are precisely those who flatter and bootlick, and that those lacking in such skills will be unwelcome in the house of God and will lose their place there. Is this the only knowledge you have acquired after all these years? Is this what you have gained? And your knowledge of Me does not stop at these misunderstandings; even worse is your blasphemy against God’s Spirit and vilification of Heaven. This is why I say that such faith as yours will only cause you to stray further from Me and be in greater opposition against Me. Throughout many years of work, you have seen many truths, but do you know what My ears have heard? How many among you are willing to accept the truth? You all believe you are willing to pay the price for the truth, but how many of you have truly suffered for the truth? There is nothing but unrighteousness in your hearts, which makes you think that everyone, no matter who they are, is equally deceitful and crooked—to the point that you even believe that God incarnate could, like a normal person, be without a kind heart or benevolent love. More than that, you believe that a noble character and a merciful, benevolent nature exist only within the God in heaven. You believe that such a saint does not exist, that only darkness and evil reign on earth, while God is something with which people entrust their longing for the good and beautiful, a legendary figure fabricated by them. In your minds, the God in heaven is very upstanding, righteous, and great, worthy of worship and admiration; this God on earth, meanwhile, is but a substitute, and an instrument, of the God in heaven. You believe this God could not be the equal of the God in heaven, much less be mentioned in the same breath as Him. When it comes to the greatness and honor of God, they belong to the glory of the God in heaven, but when it comes to the nature and the corruption of man, they are attributes in which the God on earth has a part. The God in heaven is eternally lofty, while the God on earth is forever insignificant, weak, and incompetent. The God in heaven is not given to emotion, only righteousness, while the God on earth only has selfish motives and is without any fairness or reason. The God in heaven has not the slightest crookedness and is forever faithful, while the God on earth always has a dishonest side. The God in heaven loves man dearly, while the God on earth shows man inadequate care, even neglecting him entirely. This erroneous knowledge has long been kept within your hearts and may also be perpetuated in the future. You regard all deeds of Christ from the standpoint of the unrighteous and evaluate all His work, as well as His identity and essence, from the perspective of the wicked. You have made a grave mistake and done that which has never been done by those coming before you. That is, you serve only the lofty God in heaven with a crown upon His head, and never attend to the God whom you regard as so insignificant that He is invisible to you. Is this not your sin? Is this not a classic example of your offense against the disposition of God?

Excerpted from “How to Know the God on Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When you have misunderstandings of God, there are hard, biased elements in you that will prevent you from seeking the truth. If your misunderstandings are removed, you will be able to seek the truth; if they are not, there will be a feeling of estrangement in your heart, and you will pray in a perfunctory way; this is cheating God, and He will not listen. As soon as you have a misunderstanding of God, and as soon as feelings of distance and estrangement arise, your heart becomes closed to God, and you do not want to listen to His words nor seek the truth. No matter what you do, you are simply going through the motions, disguising yourself and being deceptive. When man’s misunderstandings of God are resolved and he has stepped past this hurdle, he will regard each of God’s words and requirements with sincerity, and come before Him in earnest with an honest heart. If, between man and God, there is contradiction and distance and misunderstanding, then man is playing the role of Satan and is in opposition to God. What are the consequences of this opposition? Can such a person submit to God? Can they accept the truth? They can do neither, and the changes in their disposition come to a standstill. Therefore, when one examines one’s various states, in one regard it is done to know oneself, while in another regard, it necessitates a focus on examining what misunderstandings one has of God. What do these misunderstandings entail? Notions, imaginings, delimitations, doubts, investigations, and speculations. When you are caught up in these states, a problem arises in your relationship with God. You must seek out the truth at once to resolve it—and resolve it you must. Some think that if they have a misunderstanding of God, they cannot perform their duty until they have resolved the issue. Does this hold? (No.) Do not put off performing your duty, but perform your duty and resolve your issue at the same time. As you perform your duty, your misunderstanding of God will begin to withdraw without your realizing it, and you will discover where the issue originated and how serious it is. Someday, you may be able to realize, “Man is a created being, and the Creator is forever my Lord; this essence does not change, nor does man’s status, nor does God’s status. No matter what God does, and even if all mankind sees what He does as wrong, I cannot deny what He has done, nor can I deny that He is the truth. God is the highest truth, eternally inerrant. Man should hold fast to his position; he should not investigate God, but accept God’s orchestrations and accept all of His words. All God says and does is right. Man should not make various demands of God—created beings are unqualified to do so. Even if God were to treat me as a plaything, I should still submit, and if I do not, that is my problem, not God’s.” When you have experience and knowledge of this aspect of the truth, you will truly enter into submission to God, and you will have no more major difficulties, and, whether you are performing your duty or practicing various aspects of the truth, many difficulties will have been resolved. This is the greatest and most profound truth. Many times, when people are faced with various difficulties, when there are various obstacles, or when they encounter something they cannot come to terms with, it is because they are standing in the wrong position: They have misunderstandings of God; they want to investigate God and do not want to treat Him as God; they want to deny the correctness of all God says and does; and they want to deny that God is the truth. This implies that man does not want to be a created being, but would like to be on equal footing with God, to find fault with Him. This will cause trouble. If you can fulfill your duty properly and hold fast to your place as a created being, then essentially no resistance to what God does will arise in you. You may have some misunderstandings, and you may have some notions, but, at the very least, your attitude will be one of willingness to accept God’s orchestrations, and you will be coming from a place of willingness to submit to God, so no resistance to God will arise in you.

Excerpted from “The Attitude Man Should Have Toward God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

People often worry about and are fearful of the trials of God, yet at all times they are living in Satan’s snare, and living in perilous territory in which they are attacked and abused by Satan—yet they know not fear, and are unperturbed. What is going on? Man’s faith in God is only limited to the things he can see. He has not the slightest appreciation of God’s love and concern for man, or of His tenderness and consideration toward man. But for a little trepidation and fear about God’s trials, judgment and chastisement, and majesty and wrath, man has not the slightest understanding of God’s good intentions. At the mention of trials, people feel as if God has ulterior motives, and some even believe that God harbors evil designs, unaware of what God will actually do to them; thus, at the same time as crying out obedience to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, they do all they can to resist and oppose God’s sovereignty over man and arrangements for man, for they believe that if they are not careful they will be misled by God, that if they do not keep a grip on their own fate then all that they have could be taken by God, and their life could even be ended. Man is in Satan’s camp, but he never worries about being abused by Satan, and he is abused by Satan but never fears being taken captive by Satan. He keeps saying that he accepts God’s salvation, yet has never trusted in God or believed that God will truly save man from the claws of Satan. If, like Job, man is able to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and can give his entire being to the hands of God, then will man’s end not be the same as Job’s—the receipt of God’s blessings? If man is able to accept and submit to God’s rule, what is there to lose? Thus, I suggest that you be careful in your actions, and cautious toward everything that is about to come upon you. Do not be rash or impulsive, and do not treat God and the people, matters, and objects He has arranged for you depending on your hot blood or your naturalness, or according to your imaginations and notions; you must be cautious in your actions, and must pray and seek more, to avoid inciting the wrath of God. Remember this!

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The people God saves are those who have been corrupted by Satan and thus came to have corrupt dispositions. They are not perfect people without the slightest blemish, nor are they people who live in a vacuum. For some, as soon as their corruption is revealed, they think, “Yet again, I’ve resisted God; I’ve believed in Him for so many years, but I still haven’t changed. God surely doesn’t want me anymore!” What sort of attitude is this? They have given up on themselves and think that God does not want them anymore. Is this not a case of misunderstanding God? When you are so negative, it is easiest for Satan to find chinks in your armor, and once it has succeeded, the consequences are unimaginable. Therefore, no matter how much difficulty you are in or how negative you are feeling, you must never give up! While people’s lives are developing and while they are being saved, they sometimes take the wrong path or go astray. They exhibit some immature states and behavior in their life for a while, or sometimes grow weak and negative, say the wrong things, slip and fall, or suffer a failure. From God’s point of view, such things are all normal, and He would not make a fuss over them. Seeing how profoundly corrupted they are, that they will never be able to satisfy God, brings pain to some people’s hearts, and people who are capable of such remorse are often the objects of God’s salvation. Those who do not feel they need salvation, who think they are already perfect, are not the ones who will be saved by God. Why am I telling you this? What I mean is that you must have faith: “Despite the fact that I am now weak, and that I have fallen down and failed, one day I will grow, one day I shall be able to satisfy God, understand the truth, and be saved.” You must have this faith. No matter what setbacks, difficulties, or failures and falls, you must not be negative; you must know what kind of people are saved by God. In addition, if you feel that you are unfit for salvation by God, if you occasionally have a state in which you feel you are loathsome or displeasing to God, or if there was a time in the past when you were wholly unapproved of or rejected by God, do not worry. You now know this, and so it is not too late; as long as you repent, God shall give you your chance at salvation.

Excerpted from “Entry Into Life Is Most Important to Faith in God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

Because of a single word from God, people often think that God has come to a conclusion about them, that He has abandoned them—and as a result, they are unwilling to continue following God and moving onward. In fact, you do not understand what abandonment is; your abandonment of yourself is the real abandonment. Sometimes, the words with which God defines you are merely spoken in anger; He is by no means coming to a conclusion about you, nor is He condemning you, much less is this His final punishment, and He is not setting your final destination. These are nothing more than words that judge and deal with you. They speak of God’s fervent hopes for you, they are words to remind and to warn you, and they are words from within God’s heart. Yet there are some who fall down and forsake God as a result of these words of judgment. There are some who are weak for a time and come before God and say, “This will not do. I must continue forward and do as God asks. If people leave the Creator, their lives become not worth living. To live out the value of a created being, I must keep following God.” So how can they follow God? They must not follow as they did before. Before, they were not faithful in their duty. They were unwilling to accept being pruned and dealt with, and would always complain after suffering a little hardship. You must walk that path no more, you must walk by another means, you must do as God asks, and if God says you are wrong, you must not jump to any conclusion using your notions and imaginings, and try to take a stand against God; you must submit, and admit that you were wrong. Is this not a path to practice? Do people stray from God when they have a path to practice? There are times when people believe God has abandoned them—but in fact, God has not abandoned you, He just finds you detestable, and does not wish to heed you. He has not, however, truly forsaken you. There are those who make an effort to perform their duty in the house of God, but because of their essence and the various things that are manifested in them, God does actually forsake them; they were not truly chosen, but merely gave service for a time. There are some, meanwhile, whom God does His utmost to discipline, chasten, and judge; He employs various ways of treating them that are at odds with the notions of man. Some people do not understand, and think that God is picking on them and being hurtful. They think that there is no dignity to living before God, they do not wish to hurt God any longer, and take it upon themselves to leave God. They think the way they live is sensible, and so they take it upon themselves to leave God—but in fact, God had not forsaken them. Such people have no inkling of the will of God. They are somewhat oversensitive, going so far as to give up on God’s salvation. Do they really have conscience? There are times when God shuns people, and times when He places them to one side for a time so that they may reflect upon themselves, but God has not truly forsaken them; He is giving them the opportunity to repent, and is not genuinely forsaking them. God only truly forsakes antichrists and the wicked who commit many evil acts. Some people say, “I feel devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit and long have I been without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Has God forsaken me?” This is a misconception. You say that God has forsaken you, that He will not save you, so has He set your end? There are occasions when you cannot feel the work of the Holy Spirit, but has God deprived you of the right to read His words? You are possessed of normal human thought, and the path to salvation is not blocked to you, so why do you feel sad? People are not in a good state, they do not seek the truth to resolve it, but instead always lay the blame on God, saying “God, You don’t want me, so I don’t want You, either.” This is just being unreasonable.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

At times, God uses a certain matter to expose you or discipline you. Does this then mean that you have been eliminated? Does it mean your end has come? No. It is like when a child has been disobedient and made a mistake; his parents might chide and punish him, but if the child cannot fathom his parents’ intention or understand why they are treating him this way, then he will start to wonder whether he is actually their biological child. What was the actual reason behind one’s parents’ actions? They are meant to make you learn your lesson, and primarily so that in the future you will take what they say seriously, be able to do as you are told, behave in accordance with their advice, and not do anything that disobeys them or makes them worry, and then they will have achieved the desired effect. If you have listened to your parents, will you not make progress? And will it not spare them from having to worry? Will they not then be satisfied with you? Will they still need to punish you like that? Thus, in many cases, people’s concern stems from their own interests. Speaking generally, it is the fear that they will have no outcome: “If, by chance, God exposes and eliminates me, and rejects me, then there’ll be nothing I can do; if He says He doesn’t want me, then He doesn’t want me.” This is your misinterpretation of God; these are only your thoughts. You have to figure out what God’s intention is. His exposing people is not done to eliminate them, but to make them grow. Moreover, sometimes you might think you are being exposed, when in fact, you are not. Often, due to being of low caliber and not understanding the truth, as well as having an arrogant disposition, loving to show off, having a rebellious disposition, being unconscientious, careless, and casual in performing their duties, do their work poorly, and do not fulfill their duties properly. On the other hand, sometimes you might fail to abide by the principles that have been imparted to you; they just go in one ear and out the other. You do as you please, acting rashly without first fellowshiping more with others, and being a law unto yourself. Your actions have no good effects to speak of, and run counter to principle. In this, you should be disciplined, so how could it be said that you have been eliminated? You must approach this the right way. What is the right way to approach it? With matters in which you do not understand the truth, you must seek. What does seeking include? It is not merely a matter of seeking to understand doctrine; you must come to understand God’s will, as well as the principle for this work done by God’s house. What is principle? Principle is not doctrine. It has several criteria: What the work arrangements stipulate for such matters, what the Above has ordered with regard to doing such work, what God’s words say about performing this kind of duty, and the necessity to satisfy His will. What are the criteria for satisfying God’s will? They involve acting according to the truth principle. Broadly speaking, they are putting the interests of God’s house and its work first. More specifically, in all regards, no major problems should occur, and that no shame should be brought upon God. If people master these principles, will their worries not gradually recede? And will they also not let go of their misconceptions? Once you put aside your misconceptions, and no longer have any unreasonable thoughts about God, negative things will slowly cease to hold a dominant position within you, and you will approach these sorts of matters in the correct manner. Thus, it is important to seek the truth and strive to understand God’s will.

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

From the beginning, I have often exhorted you that each of you must pursue the truth. So long as there is a chance to do so, do not give up; pursuing the truth is the obligation, responsibility, and duty of each person, and the path that each person should walk, as well as the path all who would be saved must walk. Yet no one heeds this—no one thinks it a matter of import, believing it to be mere cant, each person thinking what they will. This is why, from the beginning unto today, though there have been many who clutch books of God’s words in their hands and read them, who listen to sermons, who all seem to have accepted judgment and chastisement in the course of performing their duties, and who accept God’s guidance, a relationship between man and God has not, in fact, been established, and all people are guided by their imaginings, notions, misunderstandings, and speculations, such that they live each day in doubt and negativity in how they treat God’s words and work, as well as His guidance. If you live in such states, how can you cast off negativity? How can you cast off rebelliousness? How can you cast off the mindset and attitude of deceit and evil or the speculations and misunderstandings with which you approach the commission and duty that God has given you? Certainly, they cannot be cast off. Therefore, if you wish to embark on a path of pursuing and practicing the truth and entering truth reality, you must come at once before God, pray to Him, and try to grasp His will—and figuring out His will is what matters most. You should do this instead of living your days within the thoughts and ideas in your head, constantly wondering: What am I thinking? What do I want? What sort of misunderstandings and notions do I have of God? In what things do I question God? What has God done that has hurt me, or made me unhappy, or caused speculations and doubts to arise in me? If you are occupied all day in pondering these things, will you be able to understand the truth? The further you go along this path, the deeper your misunderstandings of God and the more distant your relationship with Him grows; it may be said that the further you go, the more evil deeds and transgressions you accumulate. You may perform your duty, but as you do, there is a careless, slipshod, resistant, and rebellious attitude, or even a perfunctory, irreverent attitude, in your approach to your duty and responsibilities. What must come of this in the end? The result will be that, at such times as you suffer and perform your duty, you will not have gained the truth, nor can you gain it or enter truth reality. What is the cause that engenders this result? It is that there are notions and misunderstandings of God in people’s hearts—these practical problems have not been resolved. There is thus always a gulf between man and God. So, if man wishes to come before God, he must first resolve whichever misunderstandings, as well as whichever notions, questions, speculations and imaginings, he still has toward God. He must examine these things in himself. If someone truly has notions or misunderstandings of God, it is not a simple problem. If that person has not gained the truth and does not resolve their notions and misunderstandings by seeking the truth, then these things will not disappear on their own. Though they may not affect your performance of your duty or your pursuit of the truth, when you encounter certain matters or particular circumstances, they will reemerge, and will continue to do so until you have resolved them. To come before God in self-reflection is primarily a means to resolve man’s misunderstandings and notions of God, and as each issue is resolved, man’s relationship with God grows a bit more normal, and man’s life takes a step toward maturation. Once one resolves many of their notions and misunderstandings, the gulf between them and God grows much smaller, and their faith in God grows—and with great faith, far fewer things adulterate one’s practice of the truth, and there are far fewer adulterations and hindrances in one’s pursuit of the truth.

Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

If an issue befalls you and you can seek the truth, then you can understand an aspect of the truth and gain that aspect of the truth. What can be achieved by understanding the truth? When you understand an aspect of the truth, you understand an aspect of God’s will, and you understand why God visited this thing on you, why He would make such a demand of you, why He would orchestrate circumstances to chasten and discipline you so, why He would use this matter to discipline you, and why you have fallen down, failed, and been exposed in this matter. If you can understand these things, you will be able to pursue the truth and will achieve life entry. If you cannot understand these things and do not accept these facts, but insist on opposition and resistance, on using your own techniques to cover up after yourself, on facing all others and facing God with a false countenance, then you will be forever unable to gain the truth.

If you have an attitude of honesty and of accepting the truth; if, no matter how hard it is to bear, and no matter the loss to your prestige, you treat these matters with an attitude that submits to the truth and loves it; if you come before God to seek and accept them, and, as you accept them, you dissect and reflect without cease on all you do and all you reveal, and on your motives—then, unawares, you will make progress, and the truth will be worked in you. And when these problems are resolved, and your attitude, point of view, and state when you encounter an issue increasingly tend toward the positive, will there still be a gulf between you and God? Even if there is, it will grow smaller, and your questions of God, as well as your speculations, misunderstandings, grievances, rebelliousness, and resistance directed at Him, will grow fewer. When there are fewer of these things, then, when something befalls you, you will be calmer; you will grow quiet and seek the correct path of practice. If, whenever an event befalls you, you are anxious, and you wish always to use the methods of man, without seeking the truth in the least, then this is troublesome. You will certainly rely on the methods of man to handle it—this is the first reaction that comes to a person’s mind, and so come the slippery methods, the “clever” techniques, and the philosophies for living. There are people whom these things have tormented for a long time, who never apply themselves toward the truth, instead constantly wondering how to apply the techniques of man; they struggle for so long that they become wan with exhaustion. This is how pitiful man is when he does not practice or pursue the truth. Though you may now perform your duty willingly, and you make sacrifices and expend of yourself willingly, if your misunderstandings, speculations, doubts, or grievances regarding God, or even your rebelliousness and resistance against Him are unresolved, or if the various methods and techniques you use to resist Him and reject His sovereignty over you are unresolved, then it will be nigh impossible for the truth to reign in you, and your life will be exhausting. People often struggle and are tormented in these negative states, thrashing about as if they had sunk into a quagmire, always living among truths and falsehoods, rights and wrongs. How can they discover the truth? To seek the truth, one must first submit. After a period of experience, they will be able to see some results, at which point it is easy to understand the truth. If one is always trying to work out what is right and wrong and gets caught up in what is true and false, they have no way to discover or understand the truth. And if one can never understand the truth, what will this lead to? Not understanding the truth gives rise to misunderstandings; with misunderstandings, it is easy to feel aggrieved; when grievances burst forth, they become resistance; resistance turns at once to transgression; and many transgressions turn at once to manifold evils, and so one should then be punished. This is the sort of consequence that may come of it. So, the pursuit of truth is not merely meant to have you perform your duty well, to be obedient, to behave by the rules, to appear devout, or to have saintly decorum. It is not merely meant to resolve such issues, but to resolve all manner of wrong views with which you treat God. The purpose of understanding the truth is to resolve man’s corrupt dispositions; when those corrupt dispositions are resolved, man will no longer have misunderstandings about God, and the relationship between man and God will gradually improve and become increasingly normal. Once a corrupt disposition is resolved, therefore, man’s misgivings, suspicions, misunderstandings, questions, and grievances regarding God, as well as his resistance and even his test of God, will all be resolved, bit by bit. What immediate manifestation occurs when a corrupt disposition is resolved? (Man’s attitude toward God changes.) In what ways do each of the attitudes man has regarding God manifest? They manifest in every event that befalls you, in your treatment of it, in your attitude toward it, in your first reaction, and in your state. What decides your attitude? It is decided by whether you have the truth in this matter, whether you have sought the truth, whether you wish to gain the truth, and whether you understand the truth. In what way does an improved relationship between man and God manifest? It manifests in how you treat the people, events, and things you encounter in daily life. Does this include the performance of duty? (It does.) That is the relationship. This is why practicing and pursuing the truth are of the utmost importance! If you do not pursue the truth, yet still wish to resolve the problem of your notions, grievances, and misunderstandings regarding God, will you be able to? There are some people who say they are simple of thought and so these thoughts do not arise in them. Are they able to achieve this? Does a corrupt disposition come from thinking? It does not come from thinking—it is the life of man, and man relies on it to live. Its roots are within man and it is man’s essence. Man is without any means to eradicate it or remove it. Only by using the truth can these things be resolved.

Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

When people do not understand God and do not know His disposition, their hearts can never truly open up to Him. Once they have understood God, they will begin to appreciate and savor what is in His heart with interest and faith. When you appreciate and savor what is in God’s heart, your heart will gradually, bit by bit, open up to Him. When your heart opens up to Him, you will feel how shameful and contemptible your exchanges with God, your demands of God, and your own extravagant desires were. When your heart truly opens up to God, you will see that His heart is such an infinite world, and you will enter into a realm you have never experienced before. In this realm there is no cheating, there is no deception, there is no darkness, and no evil. There is only sincerity and faithfulness; only light and rectitude; only righteousness and kindness. It is full of love and care, full of compassion and tolerance, and through it you feel the happiness and joy of being alive. These things are what God will reveal to you when you open up your heart to Him. This infinite world is full of God’s wisdom and omnipotence; it is also full of His love and His authority. Here you can see every aspect of what God has and is, what brings Him joy, why He worries and why He becomes sad, why He becomes angry…. This is what every single person can see who opens up their heart and allows God to come in. God can only come into your heart if you open it up to Him. You can only see what God has and is, and you can only see His intentions for you, if He has come into your heart. At that time, you will discover that everything about God is so precious, that what He has and is is so worthy of treasuring. Compared to that, the people who surround you, the objects and events in your life, and even your loved ones, your partner, and the things you love, are hardly worth mentioning. They are so small, and so lowly; you will feel that no material object will ever be able to draw you in again, or that any material object will ever again be able to entice you to pay any price for it. In God’s humility you will see His greatness and His supremacy. Moreover, you will see in some deed of God that you previously believed to be quite small His infinite wisdom and His tolerance, and you will see His patience, His forbearance, and His understanding of you. This will engender in you an adoration for Him. On that day, you will feel that mankind is living in such a filthy world, that the people by your side and the things that happen in your life, and even those you love, their love for you, and their so-called protection or their concern for you are not even worth mentioning—only God is your beloved, and it is only God that you treasure the most. When that day comes, I believe that there will be some people who say: God’s love is so great, and His essence is so holy—in God there is no deceit, no evil, no envy, and no strife, but only righteousness and authenticity, and everything that God has and is should be longed for by humans. Humans should strive for and aspire to it. On what basis is mankind’s ability to achieve this built? It is built on the basis of their understanding of God’s disposition, and their understanding of God’s essence. So understanding God’s disposition and what He has and is, is a lifelong lesson for every person; this is a lifelong goal pursued by every person who strives to change their disposition, and strives to know God.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Previous: 56. The Principles of Addressing Notions and Imaginings

Next: 58. The Principles of Living the Church Life

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