3. The Principles of Pursuing to Know God
1. You must eat and drink all of God’s words to reach an understanding of the truth, and to know the significance and purpose of the three stages of God’s work;
2. You must obey God’s judgment and chastisement, and trials and refinement, to reach a knowledge of God’s righteous disposition and life essence;
3. You must obtain the guidance of the work of the Holy Spirit and walk Peter’s path of pursuing the truth and being perfected, and be able to seek a true love of God;
4. You must practice exalting God and bearing witness for God according to God’s words and the truth, and you must use the truth to resolve problems in order to bring people before God.
Relevant Words of God:
The effects of the lesson of knowing God cannot be achieved in one or two days: Man must accumulate experiences, undergo suffering, and have true obedience. First of all, start from the work and words of God. You must understand what knowing God includes, how to achieve the knowledge of God, and how to see God during your experiences. This is what everyone must do when they have yet to know God. No one can grasp the work and words of God straight away, and no one can achieve a knowledge of God’s entirety in a short time. What’s required is the necessary process of experience, without which no one would be able to know God or truly follow God. The more work that God does, the more that man knows Him. The more at odds the work of God is with the conceptions of man, the more man’s knowledge of Him is renewed and deepened. If the work of God were to remain forever unchanged, then man would have but a small knowledge of God. From the creation of the world until today, you must know clearly the visions of what God did during the Age of Law, what He did during the Age of Grace, and what He does during the Age of Kingdom. You must know the work of God.
from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In this final stage of work, results are achieved through the word. Through the word, man comes to understand many mysteries and God’s work throughout generations past; through the word, man is enlightened by the Holy Spirit; through the word, man comes to understand the mysteries never before unraveled by generations past, as well as the work of prophets and apostles of times past, and the principles by which they worked; through the word, man also comes to know the disposition of God Himself, as well as the rebelliousness and resistance of man, and comes to know their own substance. Through these steps of work and all words spoken, man comes to know the work of the Spirit, the work of God’s incarnate flesh, and moreover, His entire disposition. Your knowledge of God’s management work over six thousand years was also gained through the word. Was not your knowledge of your former notions and success in putting them aside also attained through the word? In the previous stage, Jesus worked signs and wonders, but it is not so in this stage. Was not your understanding of why He does not do so also achieved through the word?
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You must first be equipped with the truth, and the visions that are to be understood. When you are clear about the visions and truth of the different aspects of God’s work, in your heart you come to know the work of God, and regardless of what God does—whether it be righteous judgment or refinement of man—you possess the greatest vision as your foundation, and possess the right truth to put into practice, then you will be able to follow God to the very end. You must know that regardless of what work He does, the aim of God’s work does not change, the heart of His work does not change, and His will toward man does not change. No matter how severe His words, no matter how adverse the environment, the principles of His work will not change, and His intention of saving man will not change. Provided that it is not the revelation of the end of man or the destination of man, and is not the work of the final phase, or the work of bringing God’s entire plan of management to an end, and provided that it is during the time He works man, then the heart of His work will not change: It will always be the salvation of mankind. This should be the foundation of your belief in God. The aim of the three stages of work is the salvation of all mankind—which means the complete salvation of man from the domain of Satan. Though each of the three stages of work has a different objective and significance, each is part of the work of saving mankind, and is different work of salvation carried out according to the requirements of mankind. Once you are aware of the aim of these three stages of work, then you will be aware of how to appreciate the significance of each stage of work, and will recognize how to act in order to satisfy the desire of God. If you can reach this point, then this, the greatest of all visions, will become your foundation.
If you have a clear knowledge of the three stages of work—which is to say, of God’s entire plan of management—and if you can fully correlate the previous two stages of God’s work with the present stage, and can see that it is work done by one God, then you will have no firmer foundation. The three stages of work were done by one God; this is the greatest vision, and is the only path to knowing God.
from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Faced with man’s state and his attitude toward God, God has done new work, allowing man to possess both knowledge of and obedience toward Him, and both love and testimony. Thus, man must experience God’s refinement of him, as well as His judgment, dealing and pruning of him, without which man would never know God, and would never be capable of truly loving and bearing witness to Him. God’s refinement of man is not merely for the sake of a one-sided effect, but for the sake of a multi-faceted effect. Only in this way does God do the work of refinement in those who are willing to seek the truth, in order that their resolve and love are made perfect by God. To those who are willing to seek the truth, and who yearn for God, nothing is more meaningful, or of greater assistance, than refinement such as this. God’s disposition is not so easily known or understood by man, for God, in the end, is God. At the end of the day, it is impossible for God to have the same disposition as man, and thus it is not easy for man to know His disposition. The truth is not inherently possessed by man, and is not easily understood by those who have been corrupted by Satan; man is devoid of the truth, and devoid of the resolve to put the truth into practice, and if he does not suffer, and is not refined or judged, then his resolve will never be made perfect. For all people, refinement is excruciating, and very difficult to accept—yet it is during refinement that God makes plain His righteous disposition to man, and makes public His requirements for man, and provides more enlightenment, and more actual pruning and dealing; through the comparison between the facts and the truth, He gives man a greater knowledge of himself and the truth, and gives man a greater understanding of God’s will, thus allowing man to have a truer and purer love of God. Such are God’s aims in carrying out refinement. All the work that God does in man has its own aims and significance; God does not do meaningless work, nor does He do work that is without benefit to man. Refinement does not mean removing people from before God, nor does it mean destroying them in hell. It means changing man’s disposition during refinement, changing his motivations, his old views, changing his love for God, and changing his whole life. Refinement is a real test of man, and a form of real training, and only during refinement can his love serve its inherent function.
from “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today God judges you, and chastises you, and condemns you, but know that your condemnation is so that you might know yourself. Condemnation, curse, judgment, chastisement—these are all 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 needs of His work, that He works in accordance with His plan for man’s salvation, and that He is the righteous God who loves man, and saves man, and who judges and chastises man.
from “You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you are someone who pursues being made perfect, then you will have borne testimony, and you will say: “In this step-by-step work of God, I have accepted God’s work of chastisement and judgment, and though I have endured great suffering, I have come to know how God makes man perfect, I have gained the work done by God, I have had the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and His chastisement has saved me. His righteous disposition has come upon me, and brought me blessings and grace, and His judgment and chastisement has protected and purified me. If I had not been chastised and judged by God, and if the harsh words of God had not come upon me, I could not have known God, nor could I have been saved. Today I see that, as a creature, not only does one enjoy all things made by the Creator, but, more importantly, that all creatures should enjoy the righteous disposition of God, and enjoy His righteous judgment, because God’s disposition is worthy of man’s enjoyment. As a creature that has been corrupted by Satan, one should enjoy God’s righteous disposition. In His righteous disposition there is chastisement and judgment, and, moreover, there is great love. Although I am incapable of completely gaining God’s love today, I have had the good fortune to see it, and in this I have been blessed.” This is the path walked by those who experience being made perfect and the knowledge of which they speak. Such people are the same as Peter; they have the same experiences as Peter. Such people are also those who have gained life, and who possess the truth. If man experiences until the very end, during God’s judgment he will inevitably completely rid himself of the influence of Satan, and be gained by God.
from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
To summarize taking the path of Peter, it is to take the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly knowing oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by going the way of Peter will one be going the way of being perfected by God. One must be clear on specifically how to take the way of Peter and how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside his own intentions, improper pursuits, and even his family and all things of his own flesh. He must be wholeheartedly devoted, that is, completely devote himself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking the word of God, focus on the search for the truth, the search for God’s intention in His words, and try to grasp the will of God in everything. This is the most fundamental and the most critical method of practice. This is what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one obtains the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God mainly means seeking the truth, seeking God’s intention within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from the words of God. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines and he was even less focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he was focused on understanding the truth and grasping God’s will, and achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. He also tried to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, and understand the corrupt nature of man and man’s true shortcomings, achieving all aspects of the demands God makes of man in order to satisfy Him. He had so many correct practices within the words of God; this is most in line with God’s will, and it is man’s best cooperation in his experience of the work of God. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, he 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 tried to reach for the meaning of God’s words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this way 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 he also came to understand man’s essence, man’s nature, and the various types of shortcomings that man has—this is a true understanding of oneself. From God’s words, he not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s word—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Even though at that time God did not speak as much as He does today, fruit was borne in Peter in these aspects. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. He also particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words, and in what aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will. He put forth great effort in this aspect and achieved full clarity; this was very beneficial for his own entry.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
No lesson is more profound than the lesson of loving God, and it can be said that the lesson that people learn from a lifetime of belief is how to love God. Which is to say, if you believe in God you must love God. If you only believe in God but do not love Him, have not attained the knowledge of God, and have never loved God with a true love that comes from within your heart, then your belief in God is futile; if, in your belief in God, you do not love God, then you live in vain, and your entire life is the most lowly of all lives. If, throughout your whole life, you have never loved or satisfied God, then what is the point of you living? And what is the point of your belief in God? Isn’t that a waste of effort?
from “Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What are you pursuing now? What you should be pursuing is whether you are capable of expressing the deeds of God, whether you can become an expression and a manifestation of God, and whether you are fit to be used by Him. How much work has God really done in you? How much have you seen, how much have you touched? How much have you experienced, and tasted? Whether God has tested you, dealt with you, or disciplined you—no matter what, His actions and His work have been carried out on you, but as a believer in God, as someone who is willing to pursue being perfected by Him, are you able to express God’s actions through your own practical experience? Can you live out God’s word through this? Are you able to provide for others through your own practical experience, and expend yourself for the sake of God’s work? In order to bear witness for God’s actions you must be able to express what His actions are, and this is done through your experience, knowledge, and the suffering you have endured. Are you someone who bears witness for God’s actions? Do you have this aspiration? If you are able to bear witness to His name, and even more, His actions, as well as live out the image that He requires of His people, then you are a witness for God. How do you actually bear witness for God? Seeking and longing to live out God’s word, bearing witness through your words, allowing people to know and to see His actions—if you truly seek all of this, God will perfect you.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you want to do a good job in leading others and serving as God’s witnesses, most importantly, you must have a deeper understanding of God’s purpose in saving people and the purpose of His work. You must understand the will of God and His various requirements of people. You must be practical in your efforts; experience only as much as you understand and communicate only that which you know. Do not boast, do not exaggerate, and do not make irresponsible remarks. If you exaggerate, people will detest you and you will feel reproached afterward; this is just too inappropriate.
from “Providing the Truth Is the Real Way to Lead Others” in Records of Christ’s Talks