Only in the Frequent Reading of God's Words and Contemplation of the Truth Is There a Way Ahead (Part One)

If you wish to perform your duty well, you must first understand the truth. You must seek the truth with all your heart. In seeking the truth, the key is to learn to contemplate the words of God. The purpose of such contemplation of God’s words is to understand their true meaning. It is through seeking that you will understand the meaning of God’s words, what God requires of people, and the intentions of God that can be found in His words. When you reach such an understanding, you will understand the truth. Once you have understood the truth, it is easy to grasp the principles that must guide your practice, and then you can practice the truth. Once you learn to practice the truth, you will begin to enter into the truth reality. At such a time, you will understand things that you could not understand before, you will perceive things that you could not see clearly before, and you will solve problems that were previously impossible for you. In many things you will begin to receive inspiration and new insight, paths of implementation will open up to you, and you will be able to consistently practice truth. This is how you will fully enter into the truth reality. However, if you do not put your heart into your duty, nor seek the truth principles, if you are muddled or confused, just doing things in the easiest way you can, then what sort of mentality is this? It is one of doing things in a perfunctory manner. If you are not loyal to your duty, if you have no sense of responsibility toward it, or any sense of mission, will you be able to perform your duty properly? Will you be able to perform your duty to an acceptable standard? And if you are unable to perform your duty to an acceptable standard, will you be able to enter the truth reality? Absolutely not. If, every time you perform your duty, you aren’t diligent, you don’t want to make any effort, and just muddle your way through, as thoughtless as if you were playing some game, is this not trouble? What can you gain from performing your duty in this way? Ultimately, people will see that when you perform your duty, you have no sense of responsibility, are perfunctory, and are merely going through the motions—in which case, you are in danger of being eliminated. God is scrutinizing throughout the entire process as you perform your duty, and what will God say? (This person is not worthy of His commission or His trust.) God will say that you are not trustworthy, and that you should be eliminated. And so, no matter what duty you perform, whether it is an important or an ordinary one, if you do not put your heart into the work you have been entrusted with or live up to your responsibility, and if you do not see it as God’s commission, or take it on as your own duty and obligation, always doing things in a perfunctory manner, then this is going to be a problem. “Not trustworthy”—these two words will define how you go about your duty. What they mean is that your performance of your duty is not up to standard, and you have been eliminated, and God says that your character is not up to par. If a matter is entrusted to you, yet this is the attitude you take toward it and this is how you handle it, then will you be commissioned with any further duties in the future? Can you be entrusted with anything important? Absolutely not, unless you demonstrate true repentance. Deep down, however, God will always harbor some distrust and dissatisfaction toward you. This will be a problem, will it not? You might lose any opportunity to perform your duty, and you may not be saved.

When people perform their duty, they are, in fact, doing what they ought to do. If you do it before God, if you perform your duty and submit to God with an attitude of honesty and with heart, will this attitude not be far more correct? So how should you apply this attitude to your everyday life? You must make “worshiping God with heart and honesty” your reality. Whenever you want to be slack and just go through the motions, whenever you want to act in a slippery way and be lazy, and whenever you get distracted or would rather be enjoying yourself, you should consider: “In behaving like this, am I being untrustworthy? Is this putting my heart into doing my duty? Am I being disloyal by doing this? In doing this, am I failing to live up to the commission God has entrusted to me?” This is how you should self-reflect. If you come to find out that you are always perfunctory in your duty, that you are disloyal, and that you have hurt God, what should you do? You should say, “In the moment I sensed that there was something wrong here, but I didn’t treat it as a problem; I just glossed over it carelessly. I didn’t realize until now that I really had been perfunctory, that I had not lived up to my responsibility. I truly am lacking in conscience and reason!” You have found the problem and come to know a bit about yourself—so now, you must turn yourself around! Your attitude toward performing your duty was wrong. You were careless with it, as with an extra job, and you did not put your heart into it. If you are perfunctory like this again, you must pray to God and let Him discipline and chasten you. You must have such a will in performing your duty. Only then can you truly repent. You may turn yourself around only when your conscience is clear and your attitude toward performing your duty is transformed. And as you repent, you must also reflect often on whether or not you really have put all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength into performing your duty; then, using God’s words as the measure and applying them to yourself, you will learn what problems still lie in the performance of your duty. By constantly resolving problems in this way, according to God’s word, are you not bringing the performance of your duty with all your heart, mind, and strength into reality? To perform your duty in such a way: have you not already done so with all your heart, mind, and strength? If there is no longer any recrimination of your conscience, if you are able to meet the qualifications and demonstrate loyalty in the performance of your duty, only then will there truly be peace and joy in your heart. Performing your duty will feel like a responsibility that is perfectly natural and justified, rather than an added burden, and not at all like a job done for someone else. Performing a duty in this way, you feel fulfilled, and you feel that you are living in the presence of God. Conducting yourself like this brings peace of mind. Would it not make you a bit more human and less like a zombie? Is it easy, conducting yourself like this? It is, actually, but not for those who do not accept the truth.

In fact, whether or not a person performs their duty to an acceptable standard, in either case there exists a weighted scale in their heart. If they constantly listen to sermons, constantly read the word of God, and constantly fellowship with others, even if they have but a shallow understanding of the truth, they will at least be able to understand certain doctrines. Taking these doctrines as their measure, they can also judge how well they are performing their duty and whether they are abiding by correct principles. This clarity is within the grasp of all those who possess conscience and reason. Many times, when people perform their duties, they do so perfunctorily. They do not devote their whole strength, let alone seek the truth and act in accordance with the principles. Whatever their duties may be, they turn a blind eye. Though they may see a problem, they do not seek to find a solution, but act as though it were not their concern and make some perfunctory attempts to resolve it. In their hearts, they see no need to make things hard for themselves, no need to be earnest in this matter. However, accommodating themselves in this way causes their internal condition to worsen imperceptibly. If you perform your duty without a sense of burden, your heart will inevitably become perfunctory. It will not be able to take on responsibilities, much less be loyal. As a result, the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit will be denied. You are always following established rules and regulations without any new light or insight, doing nothing more than merely going through the motions. Performing your duty in such a way is pointless, even when you labor it is inadequate. If even your laboring is inadequate, can you be a loyal laborer? Absolutely not. Those who labor inadequately can only be eliminated. Some muddleheaded people have not the slightest understanding of the truth. They regard merely performing their duty as practicing the truth. They think that simply by performing their duty, they are practicing the truth. If you ask such a person, “Can you practice the truth?” then they will answer, “Am I not practicing the truth by doing my duty?” Are they correct? Those are the words of a muddleheaded person. To perform your duty, at the very least, you must put all your heart, mind, and strength into it in order to effectively practice the truth. To effectively practice the truth, you must act according to principles. If you perform your duty in a perfunctory way it has no real effect. You cannot call this practicing the truth, it is nothing but laboring. You are clearly only laboring, this is different from practicing the truth. Laboring is simply doing the things that please you according to your own will, while disregarding everything that you do not enjoy doing. Regardless of the difficulties you encounter, you never seek the truth principles. Outwardly, it may look like you are performing your duty, but it is all just laboring. Anyone who does not perform their duty by acting in accordance with the truth principles is accomplishing nothing but laboring. In God’s family, many people attempt to perform their duty by relying on human notions and imaginings. They toil for years with nothing to show for it, they cannot practice the truth or act according to principles in performing their duty. Therefore, if people often act according to their own will and perform their duties according to their own will, even though they are not doing evil, neither is this considered practicing the truth. In the end, their years of work do not lead them to understand anything of the truth, and they have no experiential testimonies that they can share. Why is this so? It is because the intentions which lead these people to perform their duty are not correct. The reason they perform their duty is definitely in order to receive blessings, they want to make a deal with God. They do not perform their duty simply for the sake of gaining the truth. They perform their duty because they have no other choice. For this reason, they are always confused and going through the motions in a perfunctory manner. They do not seek the truth, and so it is all just laboring. No matter how many duties they perform, their actions have no real effect. It is different for those who have the fear of God in their hearts. They are constantly contemplating how to act in accordance with the intentions of God and how to act for the benefit of God’s family and His chosen people. They are always thinking deeply about principles and results. They are always striving to practice the truth and demonstrate submission to God. This is the correct attitude of the heart. These are the people who seek truth and love positive things. This kind of person, when performing their duties, is accepted by God and receives His approval. Although those who do not love the truth may outwardly seem to be performing their duty, they do not seek the truth in the slightest. They act in accordance with their own will and only do things that avoid any disadvantage and are beneficial to themselves. They give only minimal effort and shun any hardship, yet they still want the approval of God’s chosen people and a good reputation. If this is the focus of their hearts, will they be able to perform their duties to an acceptable standard? Certainly not. Although you appear to be performing your duty on the outside, in fact your hearts are not living before God. With all your attention bent on self-serving schemes and calculations, you will not make any progress at all although you have held your faith for many years. Although you often gather together, eat and drink God’s words together, listen to sermons and fellowship, as soon as you close God’s word and leave your meeting place, nothing of it remains in your heart. Not one of God’s words, not one word of the truth, resides in your heart. Sometimes you write His words down in a notebook, but do not keep them in your heart, and you forget everything in the blink of an eye. In addition, you never contemplate the truth of God’s word in your everyday life. In performing your duty, you never seek the truth principles. No matter what difficulties you encounter, you adopt a perfunctory attitude. Even in the midst of pruning, you never pray to God or seek the truth. In this, you appear no different than the nonbelievers. You have believed in God for several years, but have neither life entry nor the truth reality at all. Your performance of duty is purely laboring, and your intention is to exchange such laboring for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. Of this, there is no doubt. Believing in God in this manner, it is difficult for you to enter into the truth reality, difficult to gain life and the truth. Among you, there are those who possess good caliber, but though their faith is over a decade old, they can only spout a few words and doctrines, and they stop at the superficial words and doctrines. They are satisfied with understanding a little doctrine and think that simply following regulations is enough. It will be difficult for them to go deeper. As such people’s hearts have not tried to understand the truth, the extent to which they can enter into the truth reality is very limited. All they can do is follow certain regulations. If you were asked how you should practice the truth in performing your duty, maybe you would say, “Pray more, willingly receive suffering, while performing your duty do not be lazy or perfunctory, act according to principles, and submit to the family of God in whatever it requires.” You are capable of discussing the outward, doctrinal aspects of performing your duty, but on specific issues involving the truth principles, you have but a small understanding. This demonstrates that most people only understand the literal meaning of the truth, but do not understand the reality of the truth. As such, they really do not understand the truth at all. People who do not understand the truth may offer some words and doctrines about the truth, but should we consider them to have gained the truth? (Of course not.) So, what must you focus on in the future? You should lead a normal spiritual life, praying, gathering, eating and drinking God’s words, listening to sermons, and singing hymns to praise God. In addition to outwardly adhering to these practices, you must not put off your duty, but rather you should perform it well. There is also the most important thing for you to understand: If you wish to pursue the truth, if you wish to understand and gain the truth, then you must learn how to be quiet before God, how to ponder the truth, and how to ponder God’s words. Are there formalities to consider while pondering the truth? Are there any regulations? Are there any time limitations? Do you have to do it in a certain place? No—you can ponder over God’s words at any time or in any place. Put aside that time you normally spend on leisure or daydreaming and spend it on contemplating God’s words and the truth, so that the day is not squandered. How do people squander time? They spend their days in idle chit-chat, doing things that interest them, or engaging in frivolous things that have nothing to do with the truth, and when they have nothing else to do, they think about pointless things and things that have already happened. They imagine what the future may hold, where the future kingdom will be and where hell is, and so on. Are these not frivolous things? If you spend this time on positive things—if you are quiet before God, spend more time pondering God’s words and fellowshipping about the truth, examine each of your actions, and hold them up before God for His scrutiny; if you then reflect on what issues remain unresolved in you and what difficulties remain to be tackled in performing your duty, and on whether your corrupt dispositions that are frequently revealed—especially those that are most rebellious against God and most deadly—have been resolved through seeking the truth in God’s words; if all of these issues can be resolved within a given period, then you will gradually be entering into the truth reality.

How should the contemplation of God’s words be practiced? First, think and fellowship frequently about the spiritual terms and expressions that you commonly use. Ask yourself: “I may know what these things mean literally and theoretically, but what do they mean in practical terms? What is it that they practically cover? How can I possess the reality implied within those spiritual expressions? Where should I begin practicing them and entering into them?” This is how you should contemplate. This is where contemplation of God’s word begins. It is hard to understand the truth and put it into practice if one believes in God but has not learned how to contemplate God’s words. If one is unable to understand the truth, can they enter into the truth reality? (No.) Without entering into the truth reality, can one gain the truth? (No.) Without gaining the truth, can one satisfy God’s intentions? (No.) They cannot—that is certain. Because people do not understand the truth, they live only by their corrupt disposition, and they resist God. How could such people ever satisfy God’s intentions? It absolutely cannot be done. How, then, is one to contemplate God’s words? For example, when you consider the oft-repeated phrase “fearing God and shunning evil,” this is what you should ponder: What is it to fear God? Does saying something wrong amount to not fearing God? Is speaking in such a way evil? Does God deem it a sin? Which actions are evil? My thoughts, intentions, ideas and opinions, the motives and source of my speeches and actions, and the various dispositions that are revealed in me—are these all in accordance with the truth? Which of these does God approve, and which does He detest? Which does He condemn? In which matters are people prone to make big mistakes? All this is worth pondering. Is it typical for you to ponder the truth? (We do not spend much time pondering the truth; most of the time, our brains are on autopilot.) Think about how much time you have wasted over the years! How often have you thought about matters relating to the truth, to belief in God, to life entry, and to fearing God and shunning evil? Have you given serious thought to these matters? When you have contemplated God’s words to the point of understanding the truth and practicing it in accordance with principles, that is when you will begin to see the fruit, and that is when you will have life entry. You do not yet know how to contemplate God’s words, nor have you arrived at an understanding of the truth. You have not yet entered into life. You must strive after this and not squander your time. Just as when a person, no matter how old, starts to think about how to learn a trade, how to earn a living and support their family, how to live a good life, how to treat others, what their future will look like, and so on, this means that this person’s mind has matured and they are starting to live an independent life. Someone who does not think about such things and has never thought about such things is someone with no thoughts or independent opinions. They cannot understand these things about life, so they must rely on their parents for everything. They depend on them for money to spend, for food to eat, and for clothes to wear. If their parents did not take care of them, they would be destitute, hungry, and cold. Can such a person live independently? Is this a mature person? (Of course not.) In which stage are you right now? Have you reached the stage of adulthood in your faith? Right now, if no one were to water you, if the Above were not to preach to you, if no one were to lead you and instead let you eat and drink God’s words and listen to hymns by yourself, would you be able to have life entry? Would you be able to practice the truth, perform your duty well, and act according to principle? (No.) Herein lies the problem. This means that you are still too small in stature. You cannot even perform your duty well and have not yet reached adulthood. In present circumstances, if someone leads and shepherds you, you can believe in God and perform your duty. You have the likeness of a person of faith. But if in the future no one is there to guide you, would it not be revealed whether you can stand firm and fulfill your duty properly, and how much truth reality you have acquired? If you do not realize that you have none of the truth reality until that time comes, is it not worrisome? It is a very dangerous thing! When you face trials, you will not know how to stand firm in your witness, and you will not know how to satisfy the intentions of God. You will have no path, no direction in your heart, and no truth will plant its roots inside you. How, then, will you be able to stand firm? If you do not possess the truth reality, you will likely stumble when you encounter temptations. When you encounter false leaders or antichrists who do evil and attempt to thwart the work of the church, you will not be able to recognize them for who they are and break away from their grasp. If you can still follow such false leaders and antichrists, you will be in trouble. These two questions will have revealed you, and you will be in danger of being eliminated. Therefore, faith in God requires you to constantly contemplate the word of God and ponder the truth. It is in this way that you can enter into the truth reality and gain the truth.

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