F. On Understanding One’s Satanic Disposition and One’s Nature and Essence

493. To know yourself, you must know your own expressions of corruption, your own vital weaknesses, your disposition, and your nature and essence. You must also know, down to the very last detail, those things that are revealed in your daily life—your motives, your perspectives, and your attitude about every single thing—whether you are at home or out, when you are in gatherings, when you are eating and drinking of the words of God, or in every single issue you encounter. Through these things you must come to know yourself. To know yourself on a deeper level, you must integrate God’s words; only by knowing yourself based on His words can you achieve results.

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

494. How can you tell what a person’s substance is? You cannot tell what a person’s nature and substance are when they do either nothing or when they do something trivial. These are shown in what they regularly reveal, in the motives behind their actions, in the intents behind what they do, in the desires they harbor, and in the path they walk. Even more importantly, these things are shown in how they react when they encounter an environment arranged by God, when they encounter something personally done to them by God, when they are tried and refined, or are dealt with and pruned, or else when God personally illuminates and guides them. What does all of this relate to? It relates to a person’s actions, the way they live, and the principles by which they conduct themselves. It also relates to the direction and goals of their pursuit, and the means by which they pursue. In other words, it relates to the path this person takes, how they live, what they live by, and what the basis of their existence is.

Excerpted from “How to Discern the Nature and Substance of Paul” in Records of Christ’s Talks

495. The key to achieving a change in disposition is to know one’s own nature, and this must happen in accordance with revelations from God. Only in God’s word can one know one’s own hideous nature, recognize in one’s own nature Satan’s various poisons, realize that one is foolish and ignorant, and recognize the weak and negative elements in one’s nature. After these are fully known, and you are truly able to hate yourself and forsake the flesh, consistently carry out God’s word, and have the will to absolutely submit to the Holy Spirit and to the word of God, then you will have embarked on the path of Peter.

Excerpted from “To Know Oneself Is Mainly to Know Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

496. When reading God’s 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.

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

497. If people are to understand themselves, they must understand their true states. The most important aspect of understanding one’s own state is to have a grasp on one’s own thoughts and ideas. In every time period, people’s thoughts have been controlled by one major thing. If you can gain control over your thoughts, you can gain control over the things that are behind them. People cannot control their thoughts and ideas, but they do need to know where these thoughts and ideas come from, what the motives behind them are, how these thoughts and ideas are produced, what controls them, and what their nature is. After your disposition has transformed, your thoughts and ideas, the desires your heart seeks after, and your viewpoints about pursuit—which have been produced from the parts of you that have transformed—will be different. Those thoughts and ideas that originate from the parts of you that have not changed, the things that you do not understand clearly, and the things which you have not replaced with the experiences of truth are filthy, dirty, and ugly. People nowadays, who have experienced God’s work for several years, have some sense and awareness of these matters. Those who have experienced God’s work for a short period of time do not yet understand these matters; they are still unclear. They do not know where their Achilles’ heel is or in what areas it is easy that they will fall. You do not currently know what kind of a person you are, and though other people can see to some extent what kind of a person you are, you cannot sense it. You cannot clearly distinguish your ordinary thoughts or intents, and you do not have a clear understanding of what the essence of these matters is. The deeper you understand an aspect, the more you will transform in that aspect; as such, the things you do will be in accordance with the truth, you will be able to meet God’s requirements, and you will be closer to the will of God. Only by seeking in this way can you obtain results.

Excerpted from “People Who Make Constant Demands of God Are the Least Reasonable People” in Records of Christ’s Talks

498. Anyone can use their own words and actions to represent their true countenance. This true countenance is, of course, their nature. If you are someone who speaks in a tortuous way, then you have a tortuous nature. If your nature is cunning, then you act in a sly way, and you make it very easy for others to be tricked by you. If your nature is sinister, your words might be pleasant to hear, but your actions cannot conceal your sinister tricks. If your nature is lazy, then all you say is meant to shirk responsibility for your perfunctoriness and laziness, and your actions will be slow and perfunctory, and quite adept at concealing the truth. If your nature is empathetic, then your words will be reasonable, and your actions, too, will conform well with the truth. If your nature is loyal, then your words are certainly sincere and the way you act is grounded, free of anything that might make your master uneasy. If your nature is lustful or greedy for money, then your heart will often be filled by these things, and you will unwittingly commit deviant, immoral acts that people will not forget lightly and that will disgust people.

Excerpted from “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

499. How do you understand human nature? Understanding your nature actually means dissecting the depths of your soul; it involves what is in your life. It is the logic of Satan and the viewpoints of Satan by which you have been living; that is, it is the life of Satan that you have been living by. Only by unearthing the deep-down parts of your soul can you understand your nature. How can these things be unearthed? They cannot be unearthed or dissected through a mere one or two events; many times, after you are finished doing something, you still have not come to an understanding. It could take three or five years before you are able to gain even a tiny bit of realization and understanding. In many situations, you must self-reflect and come to know yourself, and only when you practice digging deep will you see results. As your understanding of the truth grows more and more profound, you will gradually come to know your own nature and essence through self-reflection and self-knowledge. In order to know your nature, you must accomplish a few things. First, you must have a clear understanding of what you like. This does not refer to what you like to eat or wear; rather, it means the kinds of things you enjoy, the things you envy, the things you worship, the things you seek, and the things you pay attention to in your heart, the types of people you enjoy coming into contact with, the type of things you like to do, and the types of people you idolize in your heart. For example, most people like people of great standing, people who are elegant in their speech and deportment, or like those who speak with eloquent flattery or those who put on an act. The aforementioned is about what people they like to interact with. As for the things people enjoy, these include being willing to do certain things that are easy to do, enjoying doing things that others think are good and that would cause people to sing praises and give compliments. In people’s natures, there is a common characteristic of the things they like. That is, they like people, events, and things that others are envious of due to outward appearances, they like people, events, and things that look beautiful and luxurious, and they like people, events and things that make others worship them due to appearances. These things that people are fond of are great, dazzling, gorgeous, and grand. People all worship these things. It can be seen that people do not possess any of the truth, nor do they have the likeness of genuine human beings. There is not the slightest degree of significance in worshiping these things, yet people still like them. … what you like, what you focus on, what you worship, what you envy, and what you think about in your heart every day are all representative of your nature. It is enough to prove that your nature is fond of unrighteousness, and in serious situations, your nature is evil and incurable. You should analyze your nature in this way; that is, examine what you are fond of and what you forsake in your life. You might be good to someone for a time, but this does not prove that you are fond of them. What you are truly fond of is precisely what is in your nature; even if your bones were broken, you would still enjoy it and could never forsake it. This is not easy to change.

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

500. What things make up a person’s nature? You only know of man’s corruption, disobedience, shortcomings, defects, notions, and intents, and are unable to discover the things within man’s nature. You only know of the outer layer, without being able to discover its origin, and this does not constitute knowledge of man’s nature. Some even think of these surface things as man’s nature, saying, “Look, I understand man’s nature; I recognize my arrogance. Isn’t that man’s nature?” Arrogance is a part of man’s nature, that much is true. However, it is not enough to acknowledge it in a doctrinal sense. What is it to know one’s own nature? How can it be known? From what aspects is it known? Furthermore, how specifically should one’s nature be viewed through the things one reveals? First of all, you can see man’s nature through his interests. For example, some people particularly love to dance, some especially love singers or movie stars, and some particularly idolize certain famous people. From these interests, we can see what the nature of these people is. For example: Some might really idolize a certain singer, even to the point where they are obsessed with the singer’s every move, every smile, and every word. They fixate on the singer, and even photograph everything the singer wears and imitate it. What does this level of idolization show about this person’s nature? It shows that such a person has only those things in his heart, and not God. All the things that this person thinks, loves, and seeks are of Satan; they occupy this person’s heart, which is given over to those things. What is the problem here? If something is loved to an extreme, then that thing can become someone’s life and occupy his heart, fully proving that the person is an idol worshiper who does not want God and instead loves the devil. We therefore can conclude that such a person’s nature is one that loves and worships the devil, does not love the truth, and does not want God. Is this not the correct way to view someone’s nature? It is completely correct. This is how man’s nature is dissected. For example, 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

501. When it comes to knowing man’s nature, the most important thing is to see it from the perspective of man’s world view, life view, and values. Those who are of the devil all live for themselves. Their life view and maxims mainly come from Satan’s sayings, such as, “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” The words spoken by those devil kings, great ones, and philosophers of the earth have become man’s very life. In particular, most of the words of Confucius, who is touted by Chinese people to be a “sage,” have become man’s life. There are also the famous proverbs of Buddhism and Taoism, and the oft-quoted classic sayings of various famous figures; these are all outlines of Satan’s philosophies and Satan’s nature. They are also the best illustrations and explanations of Satan’s nature. These poisons that have been infused into the heart of man all come from Satan; not the least bit of them comes from God. Such lies and nonsense are also in direct opposition to God’s word. It is absolutely clear that the realities of all positive things come from God, and all those negative things that poison man come from Satan. Therefore, you can discern a person’s nature and to whom he belongs from his life view and values. Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of national governments and of the famous and great. Their lies and nonsense have become man’s life and nature. “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost” is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone, and that has become man’s life. There are other words of philosophies for living that are also like this. Satan uses each nation’s fine traditional culture to educate people, causing mankind to fall into and be engulfed by a boundless abyss of destruction, and in the end people are destroyed by God because they serve Satan and resist God. Imagine asking someone who has been active in society for decades the following question: “Given that you have lived in the world for so long and achieved so much, what are the main famous sayings that you live by?” He might say, “The most important one is, ‘Officials do not strike gift-givers, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.’” Are these words not representative of that person’s nature? Unscrupulously using any means to obtain position has become his nature, and being an official is what gives him life. There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives, in their conduct and behavior; they possess almost no truth at all. For example, their philosophies for living, their ways of doing things, and their maxims are all filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. Thus, all things that flow through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan. All of those officials, those who hold power, and those who are accomplished have their own paths and secrets to success. Are such secrets not perfectly representative of their nature? They have done such big things in the world, and no one can see through the schemes and intrigues that lay behind them. This shows just how insidious and venomous their nature is. Mankind has been profoundly corrupted by Satan. Satan’s venom flows through the blood of every person, and it can be seen that man’s nature is corrupt, evil, and reactionary, filled by and immersed in the philosophies of Satan—it is, in its entirety, a nature that betrays God. This is why people resist God and stand in opposition to God. Man’s nature can be known to all if dissected in this way.

Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

502. Until people have experienced God’s work and gained the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates them from within. What, specifically, does that nature entail? For example, why are you selfish? Why do you protect your own position? Why are your emotions so strong? Why do you like those unrighteous things? Why do you like those evils? What is the basis for your liking such things? Where do these things come from? Why are you so happy to accept them? By now, you all have come to understand that the main reason behind all these things is that they contain Satan’s poison. As for what Satan’s poison is, it can be fully expressed with words. For example, if you ask some evildoers why they act that way, they will answer, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. The logic of Satan has become people’s lives. They may do things for this purpose or that, but they are only doing it for themselves. People all think that since it is every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, they should live for their own sakes, doing everything in their power to secure a good position and what food and clothing they need. “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost”—this is the life and the philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. This statement is precisely Satan’s poison, and when internalized by people, it becomes their nature. Satan’s nature is exposed through these words; they completely represent it. This poison becomes people’s lives as well as the foundation of their existence, and corrupted humanity has been consistently dominated by this poison for thousands of years. Everything Satan does is for itself. It wishes to surpass God, break free of Him, and wield power itself, and to possess all of the things that God has created. Therefore, man’s nature is Satan’s nature. Actually, a lot of people’s mottos can represent and reflect their nature. No matter how people try to disguise themselves, in everything they do and in everything they say, they cannot hide their nature. There are some who never speak the truth and are good at pretending, but once others have interacted with them for a while, their deceitful nature and their utter dishonesty will be found out. In the end, others will come to a certain conclusion: These people never speak a word of truth, and are deceitful people. This statement speaks to their nature; it is the best illustration and evidence of their nature and essence. Their philosophy for living is to not tell anyone the truth, and also to not believe anyone. Man’s satanic nature contains a great deal of philosophy. Sometimes you yourself are not even aware of that and do not understand it, yet every moment of your life is based on it. Moreover, you think that this philosophy is quite correct, reasonable, and not mistaken. This is sufficient to illustrate that Satan’s philosophy has become the nature of people, and they are living in complete accordance with Satan’s philosophy, and do not rebel against it in the slightest. Therefore, they are constantly revealing a satanic nature, and in all regards, they constantly live by satanic philosophy. Satan’s nature is man’s life.

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

503. Every single thing that exists in our hearts is in opposition to God. This includes the things we think are good, and even those we already believe to be positive. We have listed these things as truths, as part of normal humanity, and as positive things; however, from God’s perspective, they are things that He loathes. The gulf between what we think and the truth spoken by God is immeasurable. Hence, we must know ourselves. From our ideas, viewpoints, and actions to the cultural education we have received, each thing is worth delving deep into and thoroughly dissecting. Some of these things come from social environments, some come from families, some come from school education, and some come from books. Some also come from our imaginations and notions. These sorts of things are the most frightening, for they bind and control our words and actions, dominate our minds, and guide our motives, intentions, and goals in what we do. If we do not unearth these things, we will never fully accept God’s words within us, and we will never accept God’s requirements without reservation and put them into practice. As long as you harbor your own ideas and viewpoints, and convictions of things that you believe to be correct, you will never fully or unreservedly accept God’s words, nor will you practice them in their original form; you will surely only put them into practice after first processing them in your mind. This will be how you do things, and it will also be the way in which you help others: You may still fellowship on God’s words, but you will always have your own impurities mixed in, and you will think that this is what it means to practice the truth, that you have understood the truth, and that you have it all. Is man’s state not pitiful? Is it not scary?

Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks

504. The key to self-reflection and knowing yourself is this: The more you feel that in certain areas you have done well or have done the right thing, and the more you think you can satisfy God’s will or are able to boast in certain areas, then the more it is worth it for you to know yourself in those areas and the more it is worth it for you to dig deep into them to see what impurities exist in you, as well as what things in you cannot satisfy God’s will. Let us take Paul as an example. Paul was especially knowledgeable, and he suffered a lot in his preaching work. He was especially adored by many. As a result, after completing much work, he assumed there would be a crown set aside for him. This caused him to go farther and farther down the wrong path, until finally he was punished by God. If, at the time, he had reflected upon himself and dissected himself, then he would not have thought that. In other words, Paul had not focused on seeking the truth in the words of the Lord Jesus; he had only believed in his own notions and imaginings. He had thought that as long as he did a few good things and exhibited good behavior, he would be praised and rewarded by God. In the end, his own notions and imagination blinded his spirit and covered his true face. However, people did not know this, and without God’s bringing this to light, they continued to set Paul as a standard to reach for, an example to live by, and regarded him as the one they longed to be like and as the object of their pursuit, and as someone to be emulated. This story about Paul serves as a warning for everyone who believes in God, which is that whenever we feel we have done especially well, or believe that we are especially gifted in some respect, or think that we do not need to change or need to be dealt with in some respect, we should strive to reflect on and know ourselves better in that respect; this is crucial. This is because you certainly have not unearthed, paid attention to, or dissected the aspects of yourself which you believe to be good, in order to see whether or not they actually contain anything that resists God.

Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks

505. People have an overly superficial understanding of their own nature, and there is a huge discrepancy between this and God’s words of judgment and revelation. This is not a mistake in what God reveals, but rather is humans’ lack of profound understanding of their own nature. People do not have a fundamental or substantive understanding of themselves; instead, they focus on and devote their energy to their actions and outward expressions. Even if someone occasionally said something about understanding himself, it would not be very profound. No one has ever thought that he is this type of person or has this type of nature due to having done this type of thing or having revealed something. God has revealed the nature and substance of humanity, but humans understand that their way of doing things and their way of speaking are flawed and defective; therefore, it is a strenuous task for people to put truth into practice. People think that their mistakes are merely momentary manifestations that are revealed carelessly rather than being revelations of their nature. People who think this way cannot put the truth into practice, because they are not able to accept truth as truth and do not thirst after truth; therefore, when putting truth into practice, they only perfunctorily follow the rules. People do not view their own nature as being too corrupt, and believe that they are not so bad that they should be destroyed or punished. They think that it is not a big deal to lie occasionally, and consider themselves to be much better than they were in the past; in fact, however, they are nowhere close to being up to standard, because people only have some actions that do not outwardly violate truth, when they are not actually putting truth into practice.

Excerpted from “Understanding One’s Nature and Putting the Truth Into Practice” in Records of Christ’s Talks

506. 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 Mainly to Know Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Previous: E. On Understanding the Work of the Holy Spirit and Identifying the Work of Evil Spirits

Next: G. On How to Be an Honest Person

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