Good Behavior Does Not Mean One's Disposition Has Changed (Part Two)

Pursuing a change of disposition requires first understanding which things are unrelated to dispositional change, and do not fall within the scope of dispositional change, but are instead outward good behaviors, as well as what the dispositional change that God speaks of refers to, and what God wants to change in man—people must understand these matters. What man thinks of as dispositional change is only a change in behavior, and that is a different thing and a different path from the dispositional change that God speaks of. Can what man thinks of as dispositional change ensure that people will not rebel against, resist, or betray God? Can it make them ultimately stand firm in their witness and satisfy God’s will? The dispositional change that God speaks of means that through practicing the truth, through experiencing His judgment and chastisement, and by being pruned, tested, and refined by Him, people achieve an understanding of God’s will and the truth principles, and then live according to the truth principles, obtaining hearts that submit to and fear God, without any misunderstandings of God, and possessing true knowledge and true worship of God. What God speaks of is a change in a person’s disposition, but what does the dispositional change that man speaks of refer to? It refers to improved behavior, to appearing well-behaved and calm, and to not being arrogant; it means speaking in a refined and disciplined way, not being naughty and mischievous, and possessing conscience, reason, and moral standards in one’s speech and behavior. Is there any difference between the change of disposition that man speaks of and the change of disposition that God requires? What is the difference? The change of disposition that man speaks of is a change in outward behavior, a change that conforms to human notions and imaginings. The change of disposition that God requires is casting off one’s corrupt disposition, it is a change in life disposition brought about by understanding the truth, a change in one’s perspective on things, a change in one’s life outlook and values. There is a difference. No matter whether you are dealing with people or things, your motives, the principles of your actions, and your standard of measurement must all be in accordance with the truth, and you must seek the truth principles; this is the only way to achieve a change of disposition. If you always measure yourself by behavioral standards, if you always focus on changes in your outward behavior, and you think that you are living out human likeness and have God’s approval just because you possess a little good behavior, that is completely wrong. Because you have corrupt dispositions, and can oppose God, and are at risk of betraying God, if you do not seek the truth to solve your own corrupt disposition, no matter how good your outward behavior may be, you will not be able to achieve true submission to God, and you will not be able to fear God and shun evil. Can mere outward good behavior produce a God-fearing heart? Can it make a person fear God and shun evil? If people cannot fear God and shun evil, then no amount of good behavior signifies that they have true submission to God. Therefore, no amount of good behavior signifies a change in disposition. Some people speak in a very refined way, never using foul language, like scholars—words even flow from their mouths as if from the pens of masters, like litterateurs or orators. Looking at these surface-level behaviors and manifestations, no problems can be seen, but how can you discover if there are problems in their disposition? How can you measure whether there has been any change in their disposition? What can this be seen through? (By looking at their attitude toward the truth.) This is one indicator for gauging this. Are there any others? (Look at their principles for doing things, and their views on things.) That grasps the crux of it. You mustn’t look at their manner of speech, whether it is elegant or vulgar, or intellectual language—don’t look at the surface. Some people speak in a very long-winded way, don’t know how to express themselves, and fidget when they’re anxious—does this relate to their disposition? (No.) This is just outward behavior, at most it relates to their personal character or family upbringing, it doesn’t relate to their disposition. So how can you see what kind of disposition they have, whether their disposition has changed, and whether they’re people who practice the truth? By looking at the content of their speech. If their every word is true, and comes from the depths of their hearts, without any desire or ambition, and there are no intentions behind their speech, if they only speak frank and honest words, and they are able to open up to others about their own difficulties and weakness, and fellowship and share the light and enlightenment that they receive with others, if they are truthful about whatever they want to do, laying their whole selves bare and open, then are these not pursuers of the truth? Let’s not talk for now about whether or not their disposition has changed, or how much it has changed, but judging from these revelations and manifestations, these are people who practice the truth. Now, let’s look at the way they treat other people. They are able to treat people fairly and not suppress them, they support and help weak brothers and sisters, and they don’t make fun of them. Furthermore, they are loyal and considerate of God’s will in their duties, and regardless of what difficulties they encounter, they don’t throw in the towel, and they are able to defend the interests of God’s house. Are these not manifestations of people who practice the truth? (Yes.) Such people are relatively upright and love the truth to a comparatively high degree. Someone may speak in a very refined way, dress very properly, and look very devout on the outside, but what is the content of their speech? They say, “I used to be paired with so-and-so leader, and he had speech defect, so I had to talk more during fellowship at gatherings—the capable must always do more work, right? As a result, the brothers and sisters started to idolize me, I couldn’t help that they did so, I had to continue fellowshipping. After being watered by me personally, many brothers and sisters became quite close to me, so when any of them had a problem, I could usually solve it. When some people became weak, I just had to fellowship with them, and they regained their strength. I have no other flaws, my biggest fault is my soft heart. I’m not able to watch others suffer; whenever anyone is suffering, it makes me anxious, and I wish that I could suffer in their stead.” What is the meaning of these words? These words don’t sound problematic, but is there a problem with the motives of their speech? (Yes, they are exalting and testifying to themselves.) What is the disposition of such a person? Their disposition is arrogant and deceitful, they want to use this method and use all of these words to produce an effect, to imply a bit of something else, to make others look up to them and worship them. This is the intention and purpose of their words. Muddled people who lack discernment will listen to them and think, “This person is really great, no wonder he’s a leader, he’s better than us, he’s leadership material.” This is the thinking of a muddled person who cannot see through to things. Those with discernment will understand: “He talked so much about how good he is, how hard he works and the services he’s performed, about how he’s benefited and helped the brothers and sisters, so that people will look up to him, all the while saying that he doesn’t want people to look up to him. In fact, he tirelessly rushes and bustles around just so that people will look up to and worship him. He’s not only arrogant but also very deceitful! He wants to win people’s hearts, to vie with God for status, and he uses this method to mislead people. Isn’t he just like Paul? He is a devil! He talked for so long without mentioning any of his own errors or shortcomings, as if he has no corrupt dispositions; the faults that he talked about make people envy and admire him enormously, and feel inadequate. Although he doesn’t directly make people worship and exalt him, the effect his words have is to make people exalt and worship him; he wins over and steals people’s hearts, and he misleads muddled people and those who are ignorant and have immature stature. Isn’t that misleading people? The motives behind his words are so insidious and too sinister! This person fits in the category of antichrists, it’s easy to discern this.” There is a clear difference between these two kinds of people. One kind of person speaks in a very plain and ordinary way, but they are genuine, and they speak truthfully and from the heart; no matter what they say, people will not worship them, but will only favor them in their hearts. This kind of person won’t steal people’s hearts or occupy a space in their hearts, and they can treat people as their equals; people will not be constrained by them, manipulated or controlled by them. This is a truly good person. Nothing in their speech, in the way they conduct themselves and handle matters, reveals any ambitions or desires, or shows that they wish to control people or occupy a space in people’s hearts; they do not have that disposition, they are a person with humanity. People who are wicked, who are always ambitious and want to control others, really revere power and status, so they often say things that show themselves off and bear witness to themselves, and do things that mislead and control people. This is a clearly satanic disposition; these are people without humanity. Some people have no talent, no strengths, and no abilities, and they outwardly appear well-behaved and simple. They seem to be bullied and ostracized in groups of people, and they work diligently and in obscurity. Does this mean that they are pursuers of the truth? Do they have ambitions? (Yes.) Why do we say that this kind of person also has ambitions? (Because all people have corrupt dispositions.) That’s right, they have a corrupt disposition, so they have ambitions, but they simply have no place to carry out these ambitions. No one gives them the opportunity, and they can’t find an opportunity, so their ambitions are hidden. Once this kind of person gets the opportunity to carry their ambitions out, in a suitable context, at a suitable time, their ambitions will be exposed. At that time you will discover that this well-behaved and simple person, who can hardly say anything clearly, is not free of a corrupt disposition. You will see that they are not without ambition, and much less do they have good humanity or less corruption. If I had not shed light on this matter, that kind of person would still think, “I’m a good person, I don’t need to change my disposition, I understand the truth, I’m a person who submits to God, I’ve had the truth reality for a long time already. You all have corrupt dispositions, you need to be judged, chastised, and pruned because you’re deeply corrupt, you all have caliber, and are especially arrogant.” Isn’t this justification that they find distorted? This is another kind of arrogance. People have corrupt dispositions, and arrogance is manifested in many different ways and forms, which makes it difficult for people to discern, and almost impossible for them to guard against. Do those good-for-nothings and slow-witted people not have arrogant dispositions? Do they not have corrupt dispositions? They also have these dispositions; even fools are arrogant. Those with a little knowledge are not only arrogant, but also have learned how to disguise themselves, and are better at misleading people; this is not easy to discern. When unbelievers discern others, they only distinguish between good and bad people according to the moral standards of traditional culture, and pass verdicts about this merely on the basis of a person’s behavior and manifestations. Does this allow them to see through to that person’s nature essence? (No.) Then how can you discern people, exactly? On what basis can you discern people accurately and see through to them? Without a doubt, people can only be accurately discerned based on the truth and the word of God, this is absolutely certain. Some people discern others only by comparing their behavior to human notions and imaginings and traditional morality; is it possible to see through to people in this way? Absolutely not. It is essential to observe the thoughts, viewpoints, and intentions that people reveal, based on the word of God; it is essential to look at the motives and purposes of people’s words and actions—that is the only way to discover what their corrupt dispositions and nature actually are. Regardless of who the person is, as long as they reveal many views on things, and are able to express their own opinions on all matters, it is very easy to discern their corrupt disposition and their nature essence. If their views and opinions are completely out of line with the truth, then isn’t their corrupt disposition and satanic nature thoroughly exposed? Therefore, so long as you discern people according to the word of God and the truth, you will be able to see that all people have corrupt dispositions and a satanic nature, and that they all need God’s salvation.

Those who understand the truth can easily see through to things and discern people. Do you know how to discern people? Do you know how to observe all kinds of people, events, and things in your life? If you don’t, this shows that you still don’t really understand the truth. In order to be able to discern people, you must first be able to discern whether what you say accords with the truth and whether what you do has principles. When you know how to discern your own words and actions, and can perceive problems and solve them, you will be able to discern people. Knowing how to discern all kinds of people, events, and things is not an easy matter; it’s not something that can be achieved just by knowing how to speak a few words and doctrines. You must experience many things, and at least experience many failures and setbacks. Only then will you be able to know yourself. Begin practicing by coming to know yourself, and you will slowly learn to discern all kinds of people, events, and things. Learning first to discern yourself, being able to clearly discern your own behavior and your own corrupt disposition, as well as your own deviations, states, and inadequacies, and being able to see through to the essence of these things—this is what it means to have discernment. If you can thoroughly discern yourself, you will also be able to discern others; if you cannot thoroughly discern your own matters, your discernment of others will not necessarily be accurate. Some people can discern the problems of others very clearly, but don’t admit they have problems when they make the same mistakes. What is the problem here? Isn’t this a problem with their disposition? Under normal circumstances, discerning others is, in fact, the same as discerning yourself. If you can thoroughly discern others but don’t reflect on and know yourself, and even think you’re stronger than others, then you’re in trouble—you have improper intentions and there is a problem with your disposition. Some people are brilliant at discerning others, and everything they say is clear and makes sense, but they can’t discern their own problems. Is this true? This is a facade, this is deceitful. In fact, it’s not that these people lack caliber; they have discernment of themselves, but they don’t speak truthfully about it. They know in their hearts what’s going on, but they don’t put it into words. This kind of person is double-tongued and very dishonest; a person who speaks dishonestly is not an honest person, but a crooked and deceitful person, a person who tells lies. If someone can discern themselves clearly, and can dissect and lay themselves bare for the benefit of others, this is a person who truly understands the truth, whose character is upright and honest, and who opens up in a pure way. This is no simple matter; this kind of person can put the truth into practice as soon as they understand it, and they are definitely a person who pursues the truth, and a person who God delights in. In order to put the truth into practice as soon as you understand it, you must first of all be of good character, and be an honest person. Although everyone is willing to pursue the truth, entering into the truth reality is no simple matter. The key is to focus on seeking the truth and putting the truth into practice. You have to ponder on these things in your heart every day. No matter what problems or difficulties you encounter, do not give up on practicing the truth; you must learn how to seek the truth and reflect on yourself, and ultimately practice the truth. This is the most crucial thing of all. You absolutely must not try to protect your own interests, and if you put your own interests first, you will not be able to practice the truth. Look at those self-seeking people—which of them can practice the truth? Not one of them. Those who practice the truth are all honest, lovers of the truth, and kind-hearted people. They are all people with conscience and reason, who can let go of their own interests, vanity, and pride, who can rebel against the flesh. These are the people who can put the truth into practice. The first thing you need to resolve in order to practice the truth is your own selfishness and your self-seeking disposition; once this problem is solved, you will not have any major difficulties. As long as you can accept the truth, know your own corrupt disposition, and seek the truth to resolve it, you will be able to practice the truth. If you do not accept the truth, you will not be able to resolve the problem of your corrupt disposition, and in this way, you will not be able to practice the truth. The greatest difficulty in practicing the truth is a corrupt disposition, mainly a selfish, despicable, and self-seeking disposition. As long as the problem of your corrupt disposition is solved, other difficulties will not pose any problem for you at all. Of course, the reason why some people cannot practice the truth is because one kind of corrupt disposition still exists within them, that is, the arrogant and self-righteous disposition. Always being conceited, and always thinking their own views are right, always wanting to do things their own way, this is arrogance and self-righteousness and not being able to accept the truth. This is the greatest difficulty that these people face in practicing the truth. If they can seek the truth to solve this difficulty, they will have no major problems practicing the truth. As for other problems, as long as they can reflect on themselves, know their own states, seek the truth, and find some relevant passages of God’s word to ponder and fellowship on, any problem can be solved easily. Those who pursue the truth must ponder and seek the truth to solve their problems every day, because apart from doing their duties, people can encounter several things that directly relate to practicing the truth every day; even if they don’t go outside or come into contact with other people, it is possible that some matters of practicing the truth will be touched on. For example, how you are living that day, what the main focus of your life should be on that day, how you should arrange it, what duties you should perform, how you should seek the truth to resolve difficulties you encounter in your duty, what corrupt things exist in your heart that you need to reflect on, understand, and solve—all these things touch on aspects of the truth, and if you don’t seek the truth to resolve them, you may not be able to perform your duty well that day, and isn’t that a real problem? If everything you think about during your available hours each day has to do with how to resolve your corrupt disposition, how to practice the truth, and how to understand the truth principles, then you will learn to use the truth to resolve your problems according to God’s words. You will thus gain the ability to live independently, you will have life entry, you will face no great difficulties in following God, and gradually, you will enter into the truth reality. If, in your heart, you are still fixated on prestige and status, still preoccupied with showing off and making others look up to you, then you are not someone who pursues the truth, and you are walking down the wrong path. What you pursue is not the truth, nor is it the life, but the things that you love, it is fame, gain, and status—in which case, nothing you do relates to the truth, it is all evildoing, and laboring. If, in your heart, you love the truth, and always strive for the truth, if you pursue dispositional change, are able to achieve true submission to God, and can fear God and shun evil, and if you are restrained in everything you do, and are able to accept God’s scrutiny, then your state will keep improving, and you will be someone who lives before God. People who love the truth walk a different path from those who don’t: People who don’t love the truth always focus on living by the philosophies of Satan, they are satisfied merely with outward displays of good behavior and piousness, but in their hearts there are still ambitions and desires, and they still pursue fame, gain, and status, still wish to be blessed and to enter the kingdom—but because they do not pursue the truth, and their corrupt dispositions have not been cast off, they always live under the power of Satan. Those who love the truth seek it in all things, they reflect on themselves and try to know themselves, they focus on practicing the truth, and they always have a heart of submission to God and fear of God in their hearts. If any notions or misunderstandings of God arise in them, they pray to God right away and seek the truth to resolve them. They focus on performing their duties well, such that God’s will is satisfied; and they strive toward the truth and pursue knowledge of God, coming to have God-fearing hearts and shunning all evil deeds. These are people who always live before God.

February 1, 2018

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