Chapter 21. Pursuing the Truth Is so Meaningful
Pursuing Entry Into Life Must Be Done With Conscious Acceptance and Practice of the Truth
How does one practice accepting truth? Some people say, “How can’t I accept truth?” What’s the relationship between accepting truth and practicing truth? Does accepting truth mean practicing truth? (It doesn’t.) If you accept truth, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to practice it right away. Accepting truth is a process. For example, when God expresses truth, what is people’s attitude toward it? After they hear God’s words, though not having full knowledge of them, they acknowledge that “These words are good, these words are truth, these words are what God has and is, and I accept them, I agree.” They first express willingness to accept, express agreement. Under these circumstances have they completely accepted it? They haven’t officially accepted it, and they’ve just stated, “This is truth, I agree, but I haven’t understood it thoroughly.” Then under what circumstances can truth be completely accepted into one’s heart as their life and practiced it? This is the most crucial step—understanding truth. You have recognized all of God’s words are truth, but do you understand them? Do you have experience with them? No, you don’t have experience or understanding. You’ve only recognized these words as truth, and after recognizing them agreed with them in your heart, felt fondly toward them, but you can’t carry them out. You just admire them, so what do you need? To seek truth. What does it mean to seek truth? “Let’s have a fellowship.” When fellowshiping about truth, or when praying and pondering God’s word, the truth, the Holy Spirit will be working. When the Holy Spirit enlightens someone, their hearts—poof—suddenly become bright, and then they can communicate some real understanding of truth. When someone else hears this real understanding in investigating the true way, they say: “You’re right, well said, this is real understanding. If you didn’t say I still wouldn’t know it, but as soon as you did, I confirmed it in my heart, agreed in my heart, and supported it in my heart. That’s it.” So they accept it too. This bit of light makes people interested in this truth, and it makes them willing to explore deeper, willing to seek through prayer, willing to listen to the fellowship and sermons. They eventually gain some understanding and are willing to practice it—whenever they understand a bit, they put into practice. Even practicing that bit brings great comfort to their heart. What kind of comfort? “I finally put some of this truth into practice and have some entry into it. I started to understand some of it, open my mind to it, and find my way.” This is the regular pattern of life experience and was mine too. When you have even the shallowest practice of truth (sometimes you’re just practicing letters and doctrines), can you have a sense of comfort in the depths of your heart or not? (There is.) What kind of comfort? “I never practiced truth, now I can practice it some.” Do you not feel some joy in your heart? Take obeying the truth for example. Before you learn to obey, you have to have some respect for people, have the will to practice. Afterward, the conversation has a different mood. You’ll say, “Now you’re a real brother (or sister), and I respect you; we’re equals. I’m not better than you, and you’re better than me in some ways. You’re a good person.” Your heart has this impression of them, this recognition, so when you talk to them, hasn’t your mentality changed? Talking that way, you feel respect for the person, you treat him like a human being, consider him a good person, someone better than you. You’re willing to feel some affection for him. With this attitude you’ll speak differently. This will bring joy, and it’s like there’s finally some real communication between you two—this is being open-hearted. At this time you feel some sweetness in your heart, some joy. The relationship between the two of you starts to become harmonious. If your attitude toward people were right and proper, if you treated everyone this way, how would you feel? You’d feel your attitude was pretty good: “Man, I can’t believe how joyful life is when people live in mutual love, like family. I’ve never felt so close to the brothers and sisters in my own family—how can my relationship with these brothers and sisters be so full of harmony? Life is pretty good, life isn’t bad at all!” As soon as your relationship with others becomes proper, your attitudes change. You’ll feel you’re living happily, and that it’s good to be alive. Is this not the case? When your attitude toward someone changes, what will he feel? “Man, no one ever treated me like a human being. Today I see when someone treats me like a human being, I feel I have some dignity, some confidence.” They also feel joy in their heart. You see, when a relationship between two people changes this slightly, joy comes. So is practicing truth also this enjoyable? One day when you consciously practice obeying God, practice being as honest as God requires, you’ll pray: “God, I must be an honest person. Today I must practice being an honest person. I have to be honest with others, speak honestly, and have an honest attitude, without falsehood, without deceit. I have to treat others properly, respect others.” After praying you’ll carry these principles for being an honest person. Then when you act according to these principles, what will you feel? “Man, for the first time since I started believing in God I consciously practiced truth, consciously acted with some obedience to God, and I feel comfort and joy in my heart—now I have a sense of what it means to be a real person.” Have you had this sort of experience? If you’ve really entered life you’ll have had this kind of experience. If you’ve had a lot of similar experiences, then you’ll have certainly entered life deeply, certainly gotten results, which can certainly bring about changes in your life disposition. If you’ve put a lot of truth into practice, you’ll naturally feel: “Now I can obey God somewhat, now it seems I’m already obeying God. I don’t dare say I can definitely obey God in most important situations, but I can obey Him in regular situations.” With this amount of experience you’ll feel: “This is entering life! This is practicing truth!” Always practice like this, always experience this—it’s being someone who pursues truth. When people pursue truth for a year, two years, three years, five years, they become better and better, each year is better than the last. Progress is gradual like the way a plant grows: start with some obedience this year, next year the obedience deepens, and the year after the obedience is more absolute. What do you think? Does entering life start by practicing God’s word bit by bit? (Yes.) Then how much have you consciously practiced God’s word? If you’ve practiced a lot then you have life experience; if you’ve practiced very little then you don’t have life experience, or you’ve just started. Consciously practicing God’s word, do you have a lot of experience with this? Some people feel: “Man, I’ve been so busy these years. How could I not have practiced God’s word?” What does this prove? You have been busy outside God’s word, and you have not entered God’s word. You ignore the fundamental matter—entering life. You are always busy outside, always busy living the life of the flesh, while ignoring the life of the heart.
Now do you all know what life entry means and where it starts from? Consciously putting God’s word into practice. Can you practice God’s word unconsciously? (No.) If you close your eyes and don’t have a deep desire to strive for God’s word, can you practice it? Impossible. You have to consciously practice it. Everyone knows that consciously doing something is effective. Do you know what kind of things people do consciously now? The things they do deliberately are mostly bad things. So few good things are done consciously. These people are certainly not kind-hearted people, certainly not people who pursue truth. Some people gang up on this one or that one, attack this one or that one—is this conscious or unconscious? He has his sights set: “These people are my circle, I have to form a group with them, then get a firm footing, and later go after bigger goals.” Now his satanic philosophy comes out, his satanic strategy comes out. Just like people in the system of the great red dragon; as soon as they enter official life, they think about how to fall in line: “The position I have to take is with the big, powerful side, the side I can align with, the side with strong backing, deep roots. First I have to hold it, then my prospects will open up.” Where does this satanic strategy and life philosophy lead? Death and destruction. People who do evils are eternally doomed! Such wicked people are always conscious of what they do in church. First, they assemble their own gang to get a foothold, occupy a position, then target their enemy or prey: “Whoever’s in charge, whoever has final say—eventually we’ll finish them off and take over.” Tell me, are these wicked people sinister and vicious? Always considering fixing others, always considering how to defeat people and replace them—what is this? That’s how antichrists are in God’s house. The most ambitious antichrist wants to take my position, a less ambitious antichrist wants to take the position of church leader, one a little more ambitious wants to take the position of district leader, one a little more ambitious still wants to take the position of regional leader—each antichrist has their goal. What do antichrists do? Struggle for status with God. What do people who pursue truth do? They aim to gain truth. What are the steps for gaining truth? They’ll certainly think this way: “My goal is not to gain status—I don’t struggle for status with God—it’s to gain truth. The purpose of gaining truth is to achieve salvation, and live like a real person, to not live in vain! So what should I do in order to gain the truth? What’s the strategy? After coming to a church, I first find out who understands the truth, who pursues the truth. I have to identify such people, keep them near, reach out, develop a bond, so they help me, provide for me.” Isn’t this a great strategy? Here’s the right intention: “Whoever pursues truth in the church, whoever has the best caliber, whoever fellowships most clearly about the truth, and whoever loves God the most, has the closest relationship with God is who I’ll reach out to, is who I’ll keep near. Even if they look down on me, ignore me, I’ll still stay near, and get close. I’ll work hard to gain their approval.” Such a person has aspirations: “You look down on me, but I’ll still keep you near, I’ll still follow you, I’ll still listen to your fellowship, and I’ll still focus on seeking truth from you, ask you questions.” Look, if they meet three to five of these brothers and sisters who pursue truth, then won’t their life entry have greatly benefited? Isn’t it much better than associating with the wicked? What saying does this recall? (If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.) What do you want to draw near to? (Light.) Reuniting with the light, living in the light is the best! What kind of people in the church do you associate with? Is it people who pursue truth? Fully willing to get close to people who pursue truth, this is good—what’s it called? Facing the light, forging ahead, seeking progress, never giving up. Now we have the path toward pursuing truth, that is, getting close to the people who pursue truth in the church and who truly love God. Do you think you’ll be able to tell who pursues truth and who truly loves God? How? They practice truth and they do things with principles. If something isn’t clear they know to seek truth. That’s someone who pursues truth. One manifestation is seeking truth, one is practicing truth, and one is doing things with principles—these three manifestations are enough to prove they’re someone who pursues truth, someone who truly loves God. When you meet someone like this, get close, keep them near. If they avoid you, stay close, don’t be discouraged, don’t feel inferior, push to stay close. One day they’ll see: “You’re a person who pursues truth, are willing to be good. All right. I’ll consider you one of my brothers and sisters, I’ll help you.” Then it’s settled. Wherever I go some people who pursue truth like to get close to me, always listen to my fellowship—why? One reason is that I understand some of the truth, have some experience and knowledge of the truth. Another is that the Holy Spirit uses me, the Holy Spirit often works on me. Those who the Holy Spirit uses are those He often works on, while the Holy Spirit occasionally works on regular people. There’s a big difference between often and on occasion. The words of those who the Holy Spirit often works on are beneficial to everyone, and the truth can be fellowshiped anytime, anywhere. Have you noticed this? (Yes.) Do you all want to be able to fellowship with others anytime, anywhere, and bring benefit to them every time like I do? (Yes.) Then do you see the path now? Remember! Consciously practice God’s word, practice the truth you understand. Afterward, you will have some understanding and you can talk about your experience. You can fellowship with others, you can always fellowship about your understanding, your experience. Then when others have problems you can resolve them. If you train this way, fellowship this way, help others resolve problems this way, you’ll slowly be like me. What’s the key? The heart. Your heart must always focus on practicing truth, always focus on experiencing God’s word. When you have some experiences, you can express this, talk about how you truly feel. The more you talk about your experience, your feelings, your understanding, the less doctrines and theoretical things your words will contain—there will be only real things. When you take the reality you have obtained and the understanding gained from your experience and offer it to others and help others, and while helping others, receive more illumination and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, what you say will go even deeper than your prior understanding. For example, if you’ve experienced three parts, but when you talk the Holy Spirit enlightens you with one or two more parts, what you say will be four or five parts—deeper, right? It is, so you’ll offer others more, and they’ll benefit more. As people always benefit from you, always receive help from you, they’ll be more willing to be close to you and more willing to listen to you. Then you’ll talk more and help people more and the understanding you discuss will deepen, so the Holy Spirit will use you more to help others, provide for others, and lead others. Unwittingly everything you say will be inseparable from your life experience, and it will all come from the heart, all be real, without doctrines, without theory—it will all be real and this way you yourself will be built up. When you help other people a lot, you train yourself, and you’re able to lead others, provide for others. This way, as you lead others, provide for others, and help others, bring others into reality, you’ll completely enter into reality, entering deeper than them. This makes you more fit for God’s use. The Holy Spirit’s work will never leave you. He always uses you, and you unwittingly become one of the people the Holy Spirit uses. Is this the right path? Certainly. Do you all think that we get where we are step by step under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Now that you’re in the Holy Spirit’s stream, if you do your duty well, are willing to fellowship about the truth, willing to help your brothers and sisters, and willing to spread the gospel, then the Holy Spirit will also perfect you. If you’re unwilling to pay this price, unwilling to fellowship about the truth, unwilling to eat and drink the word of God, and unwilling to do your duty, the Holy Spirit has no way to work in you. At most the Holy Spirit will discipline you. So a lot of things one must do oneself. You have to strive forward without the Holy Spirit forcing you (the work of evil spirits forces people), the Holy Spirit does not force people.
Only Doing Your Duty to Satisfy God Is Acceptable to God
When in pursuit of being perfected by God, everyone knows to actively cooperate. How should one cooperate? This is a crucial question. Is it OK to seldom commune the truth? Is it OK to seldom eat and drink God’s words? Is it OK if you really don’t do your duty very much? Much less is it OK not to strive for advancement in your duty. What does it mean to “not strive for advancement”? You hold a conception in your heart: If I believe in God but don’t do my duty, then the Holy Spirit won’t work on me. If I don’t do my duty then you are not doing good deeds. If I don’t do my duty then I can’t be saved. If I don’t do my duty God will weed me out. So I must do my duty. This conception will not do, it is not up to standard, and with this conception you won’t obtain the Holy Spirit’s work. You have too many negative components here, and it amounts to being forced to do your duty, and this will not do. You should have this kind of heart whilst doing your duty: “How can I do my duty to satisfy God? How can I do my duty in a way that is up to standard? How can I do my duty in a way that it becomes testimony? How can I do my duty in a way that means I’m living out the reality of the truth?” If you lift the performance of your duty up into these realms then your duty will be done up to standard, it will then satisfy God, and you will then obtain the Holy Spirit’s work. You have to strive for advancement! When you strive for advancement, you may always be thinking, “If I work a little harder I’ll suffer! If I work a little harder, who will pay me? If I work a little harder, it’ll interfere with my family life! If I work a little harder, won’t I lose out big time?” Do people who think like this have a normal mentality? With no love for God in your heart there’s no way for you to do your duty well! If you always think you’re losing out, and always think that you’re pretty good by doing your duty without asking for money, then you’ve already failed, you’re beyond salvation, you’re done. Some people put a lot of effort into doing their duty, but in the end no one praises them, and so they become negative, and think: “I put in so much effort and no one noticed, no one praised me. So wasn’t it a wasted effort? I did so much and for nothing!” What do you think of this way of thinking? Is it right? (No.) What’s wrong with it? You don’t know that God scrutinizes the innermost heart of man, you aren’t for God, you’re for people, and you want people to see you do it, to praise you, and to commend you, and so your source is wrong. Do you do your duty to please people? Do you only do your duty so that everyone may see you do it? “No one sees, but God knows. I do it for God, I don’t do it for people.” If you have this kind of intention and you suffer some and get a little tired, will you still complain? If you do your duty in order to receive praise from other people, then this mentality means that you have an improper relationship with God; if your relationship with God isn’t proper, then your duty won’t stand firm. Putting in effort today, sweating tomorrow, and then becoming negative the day after doesn’t work. If you do things for God’s sake, then you will think: “I don’t seek to satisfy people; if God is satisfied then I’m satisfied. If I don’t satisfy God, but people are satisfied, then my heart cannot be satisfied, and this isn’t my goal. I just work, suffer and pay the price to satisfy God. When God recognizes this and the Holy Spirit confirms it, God will give me comfort, and this is my goal.” Doing your duty like this will ensure you don’t fall down, and this is the path of practice. So, when it comes to expending for God, a lot of people can’t pay the price and can’t bear the suffering—where does the source lie? Do you know? If you always feel that you work for other people, then you’ll never do your duty well. Tell me, those brothers and sisters tortured in prison, who are they satisfying? Why can they take so much torture? Is it to show other people? It’s to satisfy God. Inside them, God’s words arise, and they think, “If I don’t do that, I’ll sin against God, which would mean betraying God!” They make a stand only to satisfy God. Therefore, your intentions behind doing your duty must be correct. If you always want the church leaders to see and want the higher-up leaders to see, then it’s coming from the wrong source. If your intention really is correct, you will think: “No matter how great a price I pay, or how much people look down on me, I won’t regret it and I won’t feel sorry. Why? I’m doing this for God, and this is the duty I’m supposed to do. If God isn’t satisfied, then I’m not satisfied either; if God is content, I’m content.” If you have this intention then that is correct, and you can fulfill your duty. There are a lot of people who give up everything for God, right? Do they do it to satisfy people? To please people? Whom do they please? There’s no use in pleasing anyone—God’s acknowledgment is paramount. If God doesn’t acknowledge it, then there’s no use in anything, it’s all hollow. When someone really loves God then there are no more difficulties. They become willing to give everything to God, and they don’t seek people’s admiration, or seek people’s praise. They desire only to satisfy God—this is crucial. When everyone rejects you, pray to God in this way: “God, everything I’ve done may not yet be able to satisfy You, and if it is really at odds with Your will then I’m willing to repent. I’ll start again and keep going until I satisfy You.” You must honor your commitment to God in everything you do, you must first build a proper relationship with God and do everything to satisfy God, and only in this way will the things you do stand fast. Those people who don’t understand spiritual matters and who don’t know God, they don’t have proper intentions or goals behind their actions, and instead always try to please people. Whenever they do anything, they ask, “Does the leader know? Does the above know?” And someone replies, “No, they don’t.” And they say, “If they don’t know then isn’t this a waste of effort? Who can I show? There’s no point in doing this. Isn’t it stupid!” Does this kind of person possess the truth? Are their intentions right? (No.) So sometimes when I deal with someone, they become negative, and I ask them: What are you getting negative for? Do you believe in me? If what you believe in is God, then don’t get negative; what’s the use in being restrained by people? What you believe in is God, not me. My dealing with you can be said to come from God, and you should recognize that it comes from God, and pray to God: “God, this dealing comes from You, therefore I submit to it. I want to satisfy You. You scrutinize my heart and the depths within it. If I need to be judged and chastised, then I’m willing to obey, I’m willing to take any judgment and chastisement, and I’ll still obey even if You punish me.” If you pray like this, you’ll stand fast. Some people believe in God without heart. They say they believe in God, but their hearts don’t know who they believe in and they don’t know to do things for God—isn’t this kind of person’s heart dark? Does this belief in God make a proper relationship with God? If there is no place for God in their heart, if they don’t do things for God, don’t seek God’s will or seek His leadership through prayer when they do things, but instead always act for the church and for people, then this kind of person cannot gain the truth, and cannot stand firm. They simply don’t know that God scrutinizes people’s innermost hearts, and don’t know that our relationship with God must be proper, that we must obey God, that everything we do is reviewed by God, that we must accept His judgment and chastisement, obtain His purification, and attain salvation—that’s the goal. There’s no place in their heart for God, and so their intentions are not right. So is this belief in God? This is not belief in God. The two articles of God’s words “What Viewpoint Believers Ought to Hold” and “It Is Very Important to Establish a Proper Relationship With God” tell people the truths concerning people’s views on believing in God and people’s relationship with God. If you can understand these two articles of God’s words then your belief in God can enter onto the right track. Once your belief in God has entered onto the right track, then in every year of your belief you can make progress and achieve results. If your view of believing in God is wrong and your relationship with God is not proper, then you can believe for eight or ten years and you still won’t progress at all—it will be fruitless. Your view of believing in God must be right; don’t always do things for people to see, don’t do things for the church and don’t do things for people. You must honor your commitment to God and accept God’s inspection in everything—this is correct, your heart will then be in the right place and what you do will be accepted by God.