What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty? (Part Four)

What is the standard for determining whether one has performed their duty adequately? If the path of performing one’s duty is correct, the direction is correct, and the intention is correct; if the origin is correct and the principles are correct—then if these aspects are correct, the duty one has performed is adequate. Many people understand this in theory, but become confused when something actually happens to them. To sum it up, I’ll tell you a principle: Do not act arbitrarily and unilaterally when facing situations. Why can’t you act arbitrarily and unilaterally? For one thing, acting in such a manner is not in line with the principles of performing duty. For another, a duty is not your own private affair; you are not doing it for yourself, you are not engaging in your own management, it is not your own personal business. In God’s house, no matter what you do, you are not working on your own enterprise; it is the work of God’s house, it is God’s work. You must constantly bear this knowledge and awareness in mind and say, “This is not my own affair; I am doing my duty and fulfilling my responsibility. I am doing the church’s work. This is a task God entrusted to me and I am doing it for Him. This is my duty, not my own private affair.” This is the first thing people should understand. If you treat a duty as your own personal affairs, and do not seek the truth principles when you act, and carry it out according to your own motives, views, and agenda, then you will very likely make mistakes. So how should you act if you make a very clear distinction between your duty and your own personal affairs, and are aware that this is a duty? (Seek what God asks, and seek principles.) That’s right. If something happens to you and you don’t understand the truth, and you have some idea but things still aren’t clear to you, then you must find brothers and sisters who understand the truth to fellowship with; this is seeking the truth, and before all else, this is the attitude you should have toward your duty. You shouldn’t decide things based on what you think is appropriate, and then slam the gavel down and say case closed—this easily leads to problems. A duty is not your own personal affair; whether major or minor, matters of God’s house are no one’s personal affair. As long as it relates to duty, then it is not your private matter, it is not your personal affair—it concerns the truth, and it concerns principle. So what is the first thing you should do? You should seek the truth, and seek the principles. And if you do not understand the truth, you must first seek the principles; if you already understand the truth, identifying the principles will be easy. What should you do if you don’t understand the principles? There is a way: You can fellowship with those who do understand. Don’t always assume that you understand everything and are always right; this is an easy way to make mistakes. What kind of disposition is it when you always want to have the final say? This is arrogance and self-righteousness, it is acting arbitrarily and unilaterally. Some people think, “I am college-educated, I’m more cultured than you, I have the comprehension ability, you all have small stature and don’t understand the truth, so you should listen to whatever I say. I alone can make the decisions!” How is this view? If you have this kind of view, you will run into trouble; you will never perform your duties well. How can you perform your duties well when you always want to be the one to have the final say, without harmonious cooperation? Performing your duties this way will absolutely not meet the mark. Why do I say this? You always want to constrain others and make them listen to you; you don’t take in whatever anyone else says. This is biased and stubborn, it is also arrogance and self-righteousness. In this way, not only will you fail to perform your duties well, but you will also hinder others from performing their duties well. This is the consequence of an arrogant disposition. Why does God demand harmonious cooperation from people? In one respect, it is beneficial for revealing people’s corrupt dispositions, thus allowing them to know themselves and cast off their corrupt dispositions—this benefits their life entry. In another, harmonious cooperation is also beneficial for the work of the church. Since everyone lacks understanding of the truth and has corrupt dispositions, if there can’t be harmonious cooperation, then they will not be capable of performing their duties well, which will impact the work of the church. The consequence of this is severe. In summary, to achieve adequate performance of duty, one must learn to cooperate harmoniously and, when faced with situations, fellowship the truth to find solutions. This is essential—it benefits not only the work of the church but also the life entry of God’s chosen people. Some people just can’t get this; they always think that harmonious cooperation is too troublesome, and that at times, fellowshipping the truth doesn’t easily yield results. These people then raise doubts, saying, “Is it really necessary to harmoniously cooperate to achieve adequate performance of duty? When faced with some situation, will everyone’s fellowshipping together definitely produce results? I think this is all just going through the motions; following these regulations is pointless.” Is this view correct? (No.) What problem does this view expose? (Their attitude toward performing duty is problematic.) Some people have an arrogant and self-righteous disposition; they are unwilling to fellowship the truth and always want to have the final say. Can someone so arrogant and self-righteous cooperate harmoniously with others? God requires people to harmoniously cooperate in performing their duties to resolve their corrupt dispositions, to help them learn submission to God’s work in the course of performing their duties, and cast off their corrupt dispositions, thereby achieving adequate performance of duty. Refusing to cooperate with others and wanting to act arbitrarily and unilaterally, making everyone listen to you—is this the attitude you should have toward your duty? Your attitude toward performing your duty is related to your life entry. God is not concerned with what happens to you each day, or how much work you do, how much effort you put in—what He looks at is what your attitude toward these things is. And what does the attitude with which you do these things, and the way you do them, relate to? It relates to whether or not you pursue the truth, and also to your life entry. God looks at your life entry, at the path that you walk. If you walk the path of pursuing the truth, and you have life entry, you will be able to cooperate harmoniously with others when you perform your duties, and you will easily perform your duties in a way that is adequate. But if, while performing your duty, you constantly emphasize that you have capital, that you understand your line of work, that you have experience, and are mindful of God’s will, and pursue the truth more than anyone else, and if you then think that because of these things, you are qualified to have the final say, and you don’t discuss anything with anyone else, and are always a law unto yourself, and engage in your own management, and always want to be “the only flower in bloom,” then do you walk the path of life entry? No—this is the pursuit of status, it is walking the path of Paul, it is not the path of life entry. The way God has people walk the path of life entry and the path of pursuing the truth doesn’t involve such behaviors or display these manifestations. What is the standard for adequate performance of duty? (Seeking the truth in all things, being able to act in accordance with principles.) That’s right. To perform your duty adequately, it does not matter how many years you have believed in God, how many duties you have performed, nor how many contributions you have made to God’s house, much less does it matter how experienced you are in your duty. The main thing God looks at is the path a person takes. In other words, He looks at one’s attitude toward the truth and the principles, direction, origin, and starting point behind one’s actions. God focuses on these things; they are what determine the path you walk. If, in the process of your performing your duty, these positive things cannot be seen in you at all, and the principles, path, and basis of your action are your own thoughts, aims, and schemes; your starting point is to protect your own interests and safeguard your reputation and position, your modus operandi is to make decisions and act alone and have the final say, never discussing things with others or cooperating harmoniously, and never listening to advice when you have made a mistake, let alone seeking the truth, then how will God see you? You are not yet up to standard if you perform your duty so, and you have not set foot on the path of pursuing the truth, because, as you do your duty, you do not seek the truth principles and always act as you wish, doing whatever you like. This is the reason why most people do not perform their duties adequately. So how should this problem be resolved? Would you say it is difficult to fulfill one’s duty adequately? In fact, it is not; people must only be able to take a stance of humility, possess a bit of sense, and adopt an appropriate position. No matter how educated you are, what awards you have won, or what you have achieved, and no matter how high your status and rank might be, you must let go of all of these things, you must get off your high horse—this all counts for nothing. In God’s house, however great these glories are, they cannot be higher than the truth, for these superficial things are not the truth, and cannot take its place. You must be clear about this issue. If you say, “I am very gifted, I have a very sharp mind, I have quick reflexes, I’m a quick learner, and I have an exceedingly good memory, so I am qualified to make the final decision,” if you always use these things as capital, and see them as precious, and as positive, then this is trouble. If your heart is occupied by these things, if they have taken root in your heart, it will be hard for you to accept the truth—and the consequences of that don’t bear thinking about. Thus, you must first put down and deny those things that you love, that seem nice, that are precious to you. Those things are not the truth; rather, they can block you from entering the truth. The most pressing thing now is that you must seek the truth in performing your duty, and practice according to the truth, such that your performance of your duty becomes adequate, for the adequate performance of duty is merely the first step onto the path of life entry. What does “the first step” mean here? It means to begin a journey. In all things, there is something with which to begin the journey, something that is most basic, most fundamental, and achieving the adequate performance of duty is a path of life entry. If your performance of duty merely seems fitting in how it is done, but is not in line with the truth principles, then you are not performing your duty adequately. So how, then, is one to work on this? One must work on and seek the truth principles; being equipped with the truth principles is what is crucial. If you merely improve your behavior and your temper, but are not equipped with the truth realities, it is useless. You may have something of a gift or specialty. That is a good thing—but only by putting it to use in performing your duty are you using it properly. Performing your duty well does not require an improvement in your humanity or personality, nor that you set aside your gift or talent. That is not what is required. What is crucial is that you understand the truth and learn to submit to God. It is all but inevitable that you will reveal corrupt disposition as you perform your duty. What should you do at such times? You must seek the truth to resolve the problem and come to act in line with the truth principles. Do this, and it will not be a problem for you to perform your duty well. Whatever realm your gift or specialty is in, or wherever you may have some vocational knowledge, using these things in the performance of a duty is most proper—it is the only way to perform your duty well. One prong is relying on conscience and reason to perform your duty, and the other is that you must seek the truth to resolve your corrupt disposition. One gains life entry by performing their duty in this way, and they become able to perform their duty adequately.

As it appears now, adequate performance of duty is inseparable from seeking the truth and acting according to the truth principles. If one cannot seek the truth to resolve problems and reach the level of acting according to principles, then they cannot achieve adequate performance of duty. The definition of adequate performance of duty is as explained. Are God’s requirements for man high? Actually, they’re not high. He just asks you to have a correct attitude, intention, and view in your actions. On this basis, you can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and deepen your knowledge of yourself. You will then be able to undergo trials and refinements, enabling you to enter into deeper truths and undergo changes in disposition. Before you undergo trials and refinements, God will, on the basis of your understanding of the truth, give you some judgment and chastisement. But what is the foundation for judgment and chastisement, as well as trials and refinement? It’s whether you have reached the level of performing your duty adequately—in other words, whether you have achieved life entry. Your life entry is not disconnected from your work and responsibilities in the church. If you spend all day at home reading God’s words and emptily talk about performing your duty and life entry, this is unrealistic and fruitless. It’s like armchair strategizing; you talk all day about performing your duty adequately, about receiving God’s commission, but without any dedication or expenditure, and certainly without suffering or experiencing hardships. Even if sometimes you’re moved to tears by singing hymns or reading God’s words, this won’t produce any effect. From this perspective, is there a relationship between reaching the level of performing your duty adequately and attaining salvation? Or, is it related to receiving God’s judgment and chastisement? They are related. To receive God’s judgment and chastisement, one must achieve adequate performance of their duties. Why does God set such a standard, requiring people to achieve adequate performance of their duties? It’s because God uses your performance of duty to gauge the degree of your life entry. If you have achieved adequate performance of your duties, it means your life entry has already attained a standard that qualifies you to accept judgment and chastisement, which also means you are eligible for accepting God’s perfecting work on you. So what conditions has God put forward to man for achieving this? Your performance of your duty must be seen as adequate in God’s eyes, meaning, in other words, that there is a fundamental path and direction to your life entry which God acknowledges and deems qualified. How does God test this? Mainly through your performance of duty. Once you’ve earned God’s affirmation by performing your duties adequately, the next step immediately begins: God will start subjecting you to judgment and chastisement. No matter what mistakes you make, you will be disciplined; it’s as if God has begun to closely monitor you. This is a good thing—it means you have been validated by God, you’re no longer in danger, and you’re the right kind of person who absolutely will not commit glaringly evil acts. In one sense, God will protect you; in another, subjectively speaking, the path you’re on, your life goals and direction, have been rooted in the true way. You won’t leave God, nor will you deviate. Next, God will certainly perfect you; this blessing is upon you. So, if one wishes to receive this blessing and walk the path of being perfected, the first requirement is to achieve adequate performance of one’s duties. God observes your various performances in the house of God, as well as the tasks, commissions, and missions He gives you, to understand your attitudes toward God and the truth. Through these attitudes, God assesses exactly which path you are walking. If you are on the path of pursuing the truth, then your performance of your duties will meet the mark, and you will surely also have life entry and varying degrees of dispositional change. These are all achieved during the process of performing your duties. Before God formally perfects you, this is as far as you can get relying on human effort. Without God’s work, you can only reach this level; striving further would be difficult. You can only rely on yourself to accomplish what’s within your means and within human capacity, such as restraining yourself through willpower, enduring suffering, paying prices, forsaking, pruning feelings, abandoning the world, recognizing evil trends, rebelling against the flesh, loyally performing duty, discerning, and not following man. When you have achieved all these, you are qualified to be perfected by God. God basically doesn’t interfere with what humans can accomplish. He continually supplies you with the truth, continually waters you, supports you to understand the truth, tells you how to comprehend the truth in various aspects, and how to enter the truth realities. Once you have understood and entered these, God will give you a qualification certificate, and your chance of being saved will be 80 percent. However, before reaching 80 percent, all your energy and effort must be invested; you can’t live this life in vain. Some people say: “I’ve been believing in God for twenty years now; have I invested all my energy?” This isn’t measured by the number of years. Some say: “I’ve been believing in God for five years now, and I’ve come to understand some truths. I know how to do my duty adequately and am striving in this direction; I know some ways now and seem to feel somewhat peaceful and comforted in my heart.” This feeling is basically accurate, but does it mean that you have an 80 percent chance of being saved? No; how much have you really reached? Between 10 to 15 percent. Because in the process of fulfilling your duty adequately, you still have to go experience being pruned many times; you have to experience many circumstances. In these circumstances, on the positive side, God will expose you to quite a bit. In the process of exposure to these people, events, and things—that is, in these practical circumstances—God lets you understand some truths. Why does He let you understand truths through these people, events, and things? If you don’t go through these experiences, your understanding of the truth will forever remain at the level of words, doctrines, and slogans. Once you’ve experienced various circumstances in life, those doctrines you previously came to understand or have been able to comprehend and grasp within your memory will become a kind of reality. This reality is the practical side of the truth, and it’s what you should understand and enter into.

What are the odds of someone being saved when they haven’t yet met the standard of performing their duty adequately? At most, it’s between 10 and 15 percent, because they do not understand the truth and absolutely cannot have true submission. Can a person who doesn’t understand the truth act according to principles? Can they take their duty seriously and responsibly? Absolutely not. Those who do not understand the truth definitely all act according to their own will, do things in a perfunctory manner, mix in a lot of selfish motives, and act based on their own preferences. Even if you can speak many doctrines, and can spout theories and slogans, it doesn’t mean you have the truth reality, so your chances of being saved are not high. To attain true salvation, and to break free from Satan’s influence and live by the word of God, the next step is to put effort into various truths. What is the purpose of this effort? It is to enter into the truth reality more accurately and solidly. Only when you have entered into the truth can you embark on the right path for your life. If you only know how to spout doctrines and slogans, but do not grasp the truth principles of performing your duty, and are even capable of acting recklessly based on your own whims, then you lack the truth reality; and you are still a long ways off. After someone has experienced many things in the course of performing their duties and realizes they do not understand the truth, as well as how much they lack, they start to put effort into the truth. Gradually, they shift from spouting doctrines and slogans to having a true understanding, to accurately practicing the truth, and to truly submitting to God. In this way, their hope of being saved increases, and the odds become higher. What is this increase based on? (It’s based on the degree to which they understand the truth.) The degree to which one understands the truth is not the most important factor; what matters most is practicing and entering the reality of the truth. Only by practicing the truth can you understand it; you will never understand the truth if you don’t practice it. Merely understanding words and doctrines is not the same as understanding the truth. The more you practice the truth, then the more reality you have, the more you change, and the better you understand the truth. Hence, your hope of being saved will increase accordingly. In the process of performing your duties, on the positive side, if you can treat your duties in the correct manner, never abandon them regardless of the circumstances you face, and even when others lose faith and stop performing their duties, you still hold fast to yours and never abandon them from start to finish, remaining steadfast and loyal to your duties until the end, then you are genuinely treating your duties as duties and demonstrating complete loyalty. If you can meet this standard, you’ve essentially met the mark for performing your duties adequately; this is on the positive side. However, before reaching this standard, on the negative side, one must be able to withstand various temptations. What kind of problem is it when someone can’t withstand temptations in the process of performing their duty, so they abandon their duty and flee, betraying their duty? That amounts to betraying God. Betraying God’s commission is to betray God. Can one who betrays God still be saved? This person is done for; all hope is lost, and the duties they previously performed were merely laboring, which vanished into nothingness with their betrayal. So, it’s essential to hold fast to one’s duty; by doing so, there is hope. By loyally fulfilling one’s duty, one can be saved and earn God’s approval. What does everyone find to be the most difficult part of holding fast to one’s duty? It is whether they can stand firm when faced with temptation. What do these temptations include? Money, status, intimate relationships, feelings. What else? If some duties carry risks, even risks to one’s life, and performing such duties might result in arrest and imprisonment or even being persecuted to death, can you still perform your duty? Can you persevere? The ease with which these temptations can be overcome depends on whether one pursues the truth. It depends on one’s ability to gradually discern and recognize these temptations while pursuing the truth, to recognize their essence and the satanic tricks behind them. It also requires recognizing one’s own corrupt dispositions, one’s nature essence, and one’s weaknesses. One must also continually ask God to protect them so they can withstand these temptations. If one can withstand them, and hold fast to their duty without betrayal or escape under any circumstance, then the likelihood of being saved reaches 50 percent. Is this 50 percent easily achievable? Each step is a challenge, fraught with peril; it’s not easy to attain! Are there people who find pursuing the truth so hard that they feel life is too exhausting and would rather be dead? What kind of people feel this way? This is how nonbelievers feel. For mere survival, people can rack their brains, endure any hardship, and still cling to life tenaciously in disasters, not giving up until their last breath—if they believed in God and pursued the truth with this kind of vigor, they would definitely achieve the results. If people do not love the truth and are unwilling to strive for it, they are good-for-nothings! The pursuit of the truth isn’t something that can be achieved through mere human effort; it requires human effort combined with the work of the Holy Spirit. It requires God orchestrating various environments to test and refine people, and the Holy Spirit working to enlighten, illuminate, and guide them. The suffering one undergoes to obtain the truth is entirely warranted. Just like mountain climbers who risk their lives to scale peaks, they aren’t afraid of hardship in their quest to challenge the limits, even to the point of venturing their lives. Is believing in God and attaining the truth harder than climbing a mountain? What kind of people are those who desire blessings but are unwilling to suffer? They are good-for-nothings. You can’t pursue and obtain the truth without willpower; you can’t do it without the ability to suffer. You must pay a price to obtain it.

People have come to understand the definition of adequacy, the standard for adequacy, the reason why God has set forth this standard for adequacy, the relationship between performing one’s duty adequately and life entry, and other such factors related to the truth of adequate performance of duty. If they can then get to where they can hold fast to their duty regardless of time or place, without giving up on it, and can withstand all manner of temptations, and then comprehend and gain knowledge of and entry into all the various truths that God requires in all the different situations He lays out for them, then in God’s view, they have basically achieved adequacy. There are three fundamental ingredients to achieving adequacy in the performance of one’s duty: First, having a correct attitude toward their duty, and not abandoning their duty at any time; second, being able to withstand all sorts of temptations while performing their duty, and not stumbling; third, being able to understand every aspect of the truth while performing their duty, and entering into reality. When people accomplish these three things and have met the mark, then the first prerequisite for accepting judgment and chastisement and being perfected—performing one’s duty adequately—will have been completed.

Regarding adequate performance of duty, some content concerning the term “adequate” has been discussed before. How was “adequate” basically defined in previous discussions? (As acting according to principles.) The “adequacy” discussed today has risen to God’s intentions and the standards God requires for man. Why does God require that people perform their duty to an adequate standard? This relates to God’s intention to save people and His standards for saving and perfecting people. If you do not achieve adequacy in performing your duty, God will not perfect you; it is the most crucial condition for God to perfect people. Therefore, whether one can be perfected by God crucially depends on whether their performance of duty is adequate. If your performance of duty is inadequate, then God’s work of perfecting people has nothing to do with you. Now, some people are on the right path in performing their duty, and their direction is also correct, but they still cannot be considered as performing their duties adequately. Why? Because people understand too little of the truth. It is like some children who want to share some household responsibilities with their parents, but they may not have the stature to do so. At what point will they have the stature to truly share some household responsibilities? It’s when they can do some things without worrying the adults; then they can share in the household duties—that’s when they can do it. Although you can do some things now, you still remain at the stage of exerting effort and laboring because the truth you understand is too shallow, the truth you can put into practice is too little, and the principles you can grasp are too few. You are often in a process of groping, often acting in a state of haziness, so it is very difficult for you to confirm whether what you are doing is in line with God’s intentions; you are always unclear in your mind. Can your performance of duty be considered adequate, then? It still cannot, because you understand too little of the truth, and your life entry has not reached the level God requires; your stature is too small. What does it mean for one’s stature to be too small? Some say it’s shallow understanding of the truth, but actually it’s not just about a shallow understanding of the truth. It is also directly related to one’s immature humanity or their poor caliber and having too many negative things. For example, if a duty comes upon you now and you don’t know how to do it, you may feel that you are useless and that you can’t be considerate of God’s will. This leads you to become negative and weak, feeling that God’s arrangements are bad and that you can’t do anything, and that you’re sure to be eliminated. Then you no longer want to perform your duty. Isn’t this a manifestation of small stature? Moreover, there are now many young brothers and sisters who are not yet married. If they encounter a good-looking man or woman, they may feel smitten, and a few glances exchanged between them can generate feelings; with such strong affections brewing, can they still perform their duties well when they start dating? This is falling into temptation. Isn’t this indicative of a small stature? It is indeed. Additionally, some people have some special gifts, and they perform some special duties in God’s house. This makes them feel they have some capital, so they want to put on airs, always wanting to show off. As soon as they show off, they lose principles in doing things. And if others praise them even a bit, they will certainly lose their principles in doing things, becoming complacent and forgetting their duties. This too is falling into temptation. Isn’t this indicative of a small stature? Even minor matters can cause a person with small stature to stumble. For example, some people work as actors within God’s house; with their looks and charisma, they appear in a few movies and then feel like they’ve gained a bit of fame. They think, “I’ve made a bit of a name for myself now; if this were in the secular world, wouldn’t people be asking for my autograph? Why doesn’t anybody in the house of God want my autograph? Seems I’d better act in another good movie.” However, when they don’t get the lead role in the next movie, they feel like giving up their duties, deeming them pointless. They always want to play leading roles and be a famous actor, and when they don’t achieve that, they become dispirited, moody, and even consider quitting. This is having a small stature. Having a small stature means you’re unfit for significant responsibilities. Even if you are granted a duty by God, you still can’t earn His trust. With one wrong thought or one thing that goes against your wishes, you could relinquish your duties and turn against God. Isn’t this also indicative of a small stature? (Yes.) It’s an exceedingly small stature. With such small stature and these behaviors, how far away is one from performing their duties adequately? Where does the gap lie? It lies in how much one loves the truth. There are also some people who, in the process of performing their duties, find that their closest family member has fallen ill. They then stop attending gatherings and neglect their duties, thinking that skipping their duties for a couple of days is inconsequential—after all, if their family member were to die, they’d be gone forever. But they fail to consider that performing one’s duties is a crucial matter related to life, that it is one’s only chance for attaining salvation. They place feelings and family above their duties and attaining salvation. Is this not indicative of a small stature? Their stature is far too small! This shows they don’t understand the proper affairs of life, and they don’t know to engage in proper tasks. Does the size of one’s stature depend on their age? It does not. Corrupt human beings, whether male or female, and regardless of age, birthplace, or nationality, all have the same corrupt disposition. They all possess the nature of Satan and can rebel against and resist God, committing all kinds of evils. If one does not pursue the truth, can they have genuine repentance? Never; they will not change. Some people fall sick and shout about relying on God and not fearing death, yet they also feel they can’t just sit around and do nothing. They think that if they don’t perform their duties they’ll surely die, so they immediately go to perform their duties. They look at which duty entails the busiest tasks and is most important, which one is valued by God, and rush to sign up for it. Throughout the process of performing their duty, they keep wondering, “Can this illness be cured? I sure hope it can be. I’ve devoted my life; shouldn’t I be cured?” In actuality, the illness they have is terminal; whether they perform their duty or not, they will die. Although they’ve come to perform their duty now, God observes the hearts of man—with such small stature and such a motive, can they perform their duty well? Absolutely not. People of this kind don’t pursue the truth, and their humanity is not good. They always have their own little schemes in mind. Once their illness flares up or they feel even slightly unwell, they start thinking, “Has God really blessed me? Has He really cared for and protected me? It seems like He hasn’t, so I’m not going to perform my duties anymore.” The moment they feel a little uncomfortable, they want to give up on their duties. Do they have any stature? (No.) Therefore, don’t think that just because various people can sit here and listen to sermons, or that they can abandon their families and careers to perform their duties in some position in the house of God—doing work related to their own professional skills or areas of expertise—that they are necessarily performing their duties. Nor does it mean that everyone who performs their duties does so willingly, much less that all those who perform their duties possess a certain stature. On the surface, people seem busy and appear to be willingly doing things and expending themselves for God on the foundation of genuinely believing in God. In actuality, deep in their hearts, everyone is often weak. They often harbor thoughts of giving up their duties, often have their own plans, and even more often hope that God’s work will finish soon so that they can quickly receive blessings. Their goal is just that. What God aims to resolve are these human weaknesses, rebelliousness, and small stature, as well as people’s ignorant thoughts and actions. When these issues are all resolved and are no longer problems, when nothing that arises can affect your ability to perform your duties, then that’s sufficient, and your stature has grown. The path a person will ultimately walk, and the extent to which they will walk it, is not determined by how loudly they shout slogans, nor by their fleeting emotions or desires. Rather, it depends on their pursuit and the degree of their love for the truth.

In what situations will you give up your duty? Is it when you are facing death? Or when you encounter some minor disappointments in life? Some people have many demands when it comes to performing their duty. In one respect, they must not be exposed to wind or sun, and their work environment must be comfortable. They cannot bear even a slight grievance. Additionally, they must often be with their husband (or wife), live a world for two, and also have their own private lives, such as going out for entertainment, going on vacations, and so on, all of which must satisfy them. If they are not satisfied even a little bit, in their hearts they will become uncomfortable and incessantly resentful, and they’ll even disturb others by spreading notions. Some people who understand the truth can discern that these people are no good, that they are nonbelievers, and they will distance themselves from them. But there are some people who don’t understand the truth; they have a small stature and lack discernment, and they will be affected by these people’s disturbances. Tell Me, should such evildoers be cleared out from the church? (Yes.) This kind of person, who consistently disturbs and disrupts the work of the church, must be cleared out to protect those who have small stature and are ignorant. In what circumstances might you yourselves abandon your duties and leave without notice? For example, while spreading the gospel, you see someone who is especially good-looking and speaks charismatically, and the more you look at them the more your adoration grows, thinking, “How great it would be to not perform my duties and find a partner like this!” Once you think this way, you are in danger; it will be easy to succumb to temptation. And once you’ve thought about it too much, you’re set on pursuing this relationship. But when you finally win them over, you realize that they are also a corrupt human being and aren’t that great after all, but by then it’s too late for regret. Once someone falls into the temptation of romantic entanglements, it’s not easy to get out. It won’t be easy to turn back without spending one or two years, or three to five years. During these three to five years you’ve forfeited, how much truth will you miss out on? How great will the loss to your life be? How much will your life growth be delayed? Some other people see others making a lot of money in the secular world, wearing designer clothes, eating and drinking well, and their heart stirs; they want to go make money too. That’s how temptation arises. Anyone whose mind starts racing when they face situations, thinking about abandoning their duty, is not able to withstand temptation; they’re in danger. This is a sign of small stature. You feel upset and discontent when you see someone else eating some good food. You also feel discontent when you see someone else with a good partner. And you become unhappy when you see someone who is around your age and similar in attractiveness, but who is dressed better than you and even famous. You start to think, had you not abandoned your education and had you graduated and found a career, you would definitely be doing better than them. Whenever you face these situations, you’re troubled for days. These temptations are a kind of constraint, a kind of vexation for you, which shows your stature is small. When you’re spreading the gospel and you meet a suitable member of the opposite sex, a “tall, rich, and handsome” type or a woman who is fair-skinned, rich, and beautiful, you might not necessarily be able to avoid temptation. What does it mean that you might not be able to avoid it? It means your stature hasn’t reached a level where you can overcome various temptations; you cannot avoid them, so your heart gets taken over and lured away. What you think about, what you ponder in your head, even what you dream about and discuss with others all become about these matters. It affects the performance of your duties; while fellowshipping the truth, others have a lot to say while you contribute less and less, and you lose interest in believing in God. Isn’t this being lured away? It’s falling into temptation, and it’s dangerous. Some people think that you’ve only fallen into temptation when you’ve started dating someone or gone off with them, but by the time you’ve reached that point, you’re done for. Could situations like this arise if you encountered such matters? (I don’t know.) If you don’t know, that proves your stature is small. Why does this prove your stature is small? In one respect, you’ve never been faced with such matters, so you don’t know how you’d react; you don’t have a handle on yourself. In another respect, when faced with this kind of situation, you don’t have the right attitude and approach to deal with this kind of problem. If you can’t seek the truth to resolve the problem, that means you are passive. Being passive proves that you have small stature, and you are ignorant. While you may not actively seduce others, others can certainly seduce you, which brings temptation your way. If you can’t overcome it, that’s a problem. For instance, what if someone offers you money and status, or what if an even better person comes along and tries to entice you? Would it be easy to overcome that? What are the odds you could overcome it? It’s said that some people, upon receiving just two chocolates from someone who fancies them, get infatuated and consider starting a relationship with that person—that’s how small their stature is. Is this a matter of not believing in God for long enough? Not necessarily. Some people have been believers for over a decade and can still fall into temptation when encountering such situations. Whether it’s their first, second, or third time encountering this, they can still be enticed. What’s the reason for this? Their stature is small, and they truly lack understanding of some truths. Why do they lack understanding? Because they don’t pursue the truth; they’re always muddleheaded. In their view, such matters are not significant. They think, “If a suitable match really does come along, why can’t I get married? It’s just that I haven’t met anyone suitable yet, and I’m not impressed by anyone, so I’ll just muddle through.” This muddling through is not an attitude of pursuing the truth; it’s not walking the path of attaining salvation and being perfected—it is not this mindset. They just want to scrape by, living each day as it comes, going wherever life takes them. And if there really comes a day when they can’t go on, then so be it. They are not interested in God’s intention to save people or the work God does for this salvation. Moreover, they don’t earnestly seek the various truths related to God’s salvation of man, nor do they take it to heart. Some might say: “But they always show up to sermons; how can You say they don’t take it to heart?” But merely observing the ritual of attending gatherings and listening to sermons is different from accepting the truth. There are plenty of people who listen to sermons, but how many actually practice the truth? Even fewer are those who embark on the path of pursuing the truth. There are many people who focus solely on understanding doctrines and enriching their own notions and imaginings when they listen to sermons. Those who love the truth listen with the aim of seeking and accepting it. They are able to listen to sermons and reflect upon themselves, comparing what they heard to their own states, and focus on resolving their corrupt dispositions. They latch onto the practical aspects of the truth; they emphasize practicing and experiencing these aspects, and gaining the truth. Therefore, those who love the truth listen to sermons in order to obtain life, to understand the truth and transform themselves. They accept the truth in their heart, and when they practice it, the truth they understand benefits them; understanding the truth provides a path. As for those who don’t pursue the truth, they listen to sermons in a muddled way. They’ll listen to an entire sermon from beginning to end, and when you ask them what they’ve understood afterward, they’ll say, “I understood it all. I took clear notes about everything.” But if you ask them how this helps them, they’ll just vaguely say that it’s somewhat helpful. Is this actually helpful? No, because they haven’t acquired the sermon’s truths. Why haven’t they? Because they haven’t accepted it, how could they acquire it? Some people say: “How could they not have acquired it? How could they not have accepted it? They listened very attentively and even took notes.” Some people take notes just for the sake of formality, not because they yearn for the truth. Some who fellowship the truth may not necessarily accept it; it depends on whether their hearts truly yearn for the truth. What does it mean to truly accept the truth then? It means that after reading God’s words, one can align them with their own states, their own conduct and deeds, the principles of believing in God, the commissions and responsibilities given by God, and the path they are walking. They can reflect on themselves in relation to all these things, discern them clearly, achieve understanding of the truth, and then practice and enter into it. Only this is one who accepts the truth; only this is one who pursues the truth.

Just now, the manifestations of people with small stature were discussed. In the gradual process of understanding the truth, people will gradually resolve the issues of their small stature, such as foolishness, ignorance, timidity, and weakness. What does weakness refer to? It means that the component of your belief in God is particularly small; your belief in God is very minimal. In doctrine, you believe that God can accomplish everything and that He reigns sovereign over all things, but when faced with actual situations, you dare not trust in God; you dare not wholeheartedly hand everything over to Him and you cannot submit—this is weakness. People’s foolishness, ignorance, timidity, and rebelliousness, these negative things, can only be resolved gradually or improved to varying degrees through seeking the truth in the performance of duty. What does improvement mean? It means that these negative things are gradually resolved; the results of your performance of duty get better and better, and when faced with situations you can endure more than you could before. For instance, in the past, when confronted with such situations, due to your small stature, you would be weak, you would become passive, and it would even affect your attitude toward performing your duties. You would throw tantrums, give up duties, be perfunctory, and not demonstrate loyalty. Now, when faced with such situations, your degree of loyalty to performing your duty does not diminish; if you have difficulties or weaknesses in your heart, you can seek the truth to resolve them. That is to say, the issue of life entry will no longer impact your performance of your duty. Your moods, your state, and your weakness will no longer affect your designated work, nor will they affect your responsibilities, duties, and obligations. Isn’t this an increase in your ability to handle matters and cope with external events? This is growth in stature. Some people, if asked to play the leading role, become very happy, and even walk as if floating on air; but if asked to play an extra, they are reluctant and become moody, and walk with their head bowed. Some people always want to stand out when spreading the gospel, but cannot fellowship the truth. They do not practice training but still always want to stand in high places and show their faces. Is this genuine submission? Is this the correct attitude toward performing one’s duty? When one’s mindset is incorrect and their state is wrong, they should seek the truth for resolution, and eventually be able to seek and practice the truth no matter what situation arises; this is having life experience. Once you can discern all sorts of matters, then you have gained immunity. No matter what you encounter or when it occurs, it will not affect your performance of your duty; nor will your performance be affected by any minor issue, any slight mood, or changes in people, events, things, and circumstances; your capacity to overcome sin and overcome various circumstances and moods will become stronger—this means your stature has grown. How does stature grow? It is the result achieved when people gradually enter into the truth reality by seeking the truth to resolve problems. Once you’ve understood some truths, and these truths become your life, become the foundation of your conduct, become your view for observing matters, and become your guiding light, then you are resilient; you will not weaken so often. For example, you would be very happy if you were made a leader before; if you were replaced, you’d be negative for a month or two, unwilling to do anything you were asked to do, performing any task with a negative attitude, acting in a perfunctory manner, even to the point of giving up altogether. Now, if you were going to be replaced, you’d say, “Even if I am replaced, it won’t affect me. I won’t be negative for a single day. If I’m replaced today, I’ll continue with what I should do tomorrow. I accept and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements.” This is resilience. How does this resilience come about? If you do not pursue the truth, and when faced with matters you do not seek the truth for resolution, and do not focus on acting with principles, will you have this stature? You won’t ever be resilient if you live by the unbelievers’ philosophies for worldly dealings. Only if you live by the truth can you gradually let go of pride, status, and vanity, so that in the end, nothing can topple you and nothing can affect you in performing your duties well. This is having stature; it is being resilient. When you are resilient and your stature has grown, don’t you perform your duties more and more up to standard? When you perform your duties adequately, does it not mean that you already have a certain stature? What does this stature include? Genuine faith in God, genuine submission to God, and loyalty to God, as well as the ability to treat your duties correctly; accepting everything from God, and being able to submit to God, fear God, and shun evil. These are the manifestations of the growth of stature.

Now, have you felt in your consciousness that being saved needs to be put on the agenda, and that you can no longer be muddled about it? Understanding each and every truth is extremely important for being saved; you cannot be muddled about any single truth. Believing in God is not merely exerting some effort, running around, enduring some suffering, and being able to persevere through trials without stumbling. If people who believe in God truly regard being saved as a significant matter in life and treat obtaining the truth as a significant matter in life, then they can let go of anything; letting go will be easy for them. If one hasn’t yet felt how important it is to be saved, then that’s foolish and ignorant; their faith is too small, and they’re still living in dire straits. If someone doesn’t love the truth, it will be difficult for them to achieve adequate performance of duty. This is because to achieve adequate performance of duty, one needs to understand many truths and also enter into many truths. In the process of understanding and entering into the truth, the duty one performs will gradually become adequate; their various weaknesses and moods will gradually change, and their various states will also gradually improve. In the process of understanding the truth and entering into the truth reality, one will be increasingly clear within them about the vision concerning belief in God and being saved, and at the same time, one’s desire and demand for being saved will become increasingly urgent. What is meant by urgent? It means you can feel that being saved is an urgent matter, an extremely important matter; and that if you don’t resolve your corrupt dispositions, it could be very dangerous and you won’t be able to attain salvation. This is the kind of mindset that carries a sense of urgency. In the beginning, you have no concept of being saved or perfected. Gradually, you come to understand that humans have corrupt dispositions and need God to save them. You discover that people live in sin, trapped in a corrupt disposition with no freedom, living a life of extreme suffering, and that sooner or later they’ll be swept away by Satan’s evil trends. You realize that humans can’t stand firm on their own—no matter how resilient or determined you are, you can’t guarantee that you will follow God to the end—and that you must pursue the truth, you must experience judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinements in order to understand the truth and know yourself, and only then will you have the resolve to follow God to the end. It is at this point that you begin to feel some urgency about being saved. Understanding the truth is crucial for being saved. Pursuing the truth is a significant matter that one must never abandon or overlook. Whether or not you pursue the truth has a direct relationship with being saved, and it is inextricably linked to whether you can be perfected by God. In the process of performing your duties, all the problems and difficulties you encounter must be resolved by seeking the truth; your weakness, ignorance, and foolishness will gradually change as well. What does this change refer to? It means that your ability to overcome sin has grown stronger, and you are becoming increasingly sensitive to your corrupt dispositions and to wicked things. You are gaining more discernment and feeling toward these matters in your heart. Currently, some people still lack this awareness, and feel nothing when they see sin, wickedness, or satanic things—this is unacceptable and shows their stature is still some ways off. Some others have no feelings, no discernment, and not even a trace of genuine hatred toward various sinful behaviors and the various ugly aspects of Satan. Nor do they have any awareness or discernment, or much less any hatred, for their own actions and the corruption they reveal, as well as the corrupt dispositions and ugly things deep within their hearts—these people are still far from having stature. However, no matter how far the gap is, no matter how weak one is or how small their stature is at the moment, this is not a problem, because God has provided people with a path and direction to resolve these issues. As you gradually reach the standard of performing your duties adequately, you’re also pursuing an understanding of the truth and entry into the truth realities. As you pursue understanding the truth and entering the truth realities, your ability to overcome sin grows stronger, and your capacity to discern wicked things also increases, thereby resolving your weakness and rebelliousness to various extents. For example, when your stature is small and you encounter a situation, even if you know it’s not good, you might still be constrained and bound by it, and even engage in it. When you understand the truth and can practice some truths, aside from detesting such matters in your heart, you will also reject and refuse to engage in them; at the same time, you will also help others break free from them. This is progress; this is the growth of stature. What are the markers of the growth of stature? First of all, one has loyalty in the performance of duty, with no more perfunctory behavior. Additionally, one’s faith in God becomes more genuine and more practical, and there is true submission to God. Furthermore, one can discern and overcome Satan’s temptations and disturbances; Satan can no longer mislead or control them, and they can break free from Satan’s influence. With this, one has truly met the standard for being saved.

After today’s fellowship, do you know how to gauge whether the duties you perform are up to standard? If you do, it proves that you have some understanding of these truths and have made progress; if you do not, it proves that you haven’t understood what was said, and you’ve fallen short. You need clarity in two aspects: One is the ability to evaluate yourself, and the other is knowing how to perform your duty so as to meet the standard and knowing the path. In the past, the focus most of the time was on the performance of duty, with little mention of performing it adequately. Today, the main discussion has been about the standards for adequate performance of duty. The standards for adequacy and the various truths involved in this aspect have been basically fellowshipped quite clearly. Additionally, what issues should be avoided and what principles should be upheld in the process of performing duties, as well as the mistakes that should not be made—these are all very important. In particular, don’t steal offerings, don’t recklessly engage in romantic relationships, and don’t defy work arrangements. If you commit these errors, then you are utterly finished; there is no hope of being saved. So, do not take the wrong path, do not walk the path of an evil person. Once you set foot on that road, there truly is no hope; no one can save you. If God doesn’t save you, then you certainly cannot save yourself either. If someone reaches that point, it’s a serious problem; it’s not easy to turn back. That is essentially a road to nowhere.

November 28, 2018

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