In Believing in God, Gaining the Truth Is Most Crucial (Part One)

Some people have believed in God for years but still cling to the pleasures of food, dress, and other enjoyments of the flesh. Can these things meet the needs of man’s heart? What people need the most is even unclear to some who have believed in God for many years. Some people see Me give something to someone and start making a fuss, saying, “How come God is taking care of them and not me? I don’t have it yet.” In actuality, you are not going hungry, and you do not lack clothing. You are just being greedy; you do not know contentment, and you like competing for things. Taking care of you is not My obligation. You must comport yourself with principles. Do not ever fight over your interests or over advantages. These things are all external; they are no substitute for your gaining the truth and the life. No matter how well dressed you are on the outside, your heart will still be empty if you have not gained the truth. People understand these things when it is just talk, but they cannot help themselves when actually confronted with them. They cannot know them for what they are. There are many people in this world with wealth and power, and what kind of lives do these people lead? It is all eating, drinking, and diverting themselves; wining and dining every day; entertaining guests and presenting gifts; and acting recklessly. This is how they live. Do they have human lives? They do not. What they focus on all day long is gorging themselves silly, wearing designer brands, showing off everywhere they go, and throwing their weight around. What are such people? They belong to devils and Satan; they are brutes. When some wealthy people have had enough of their pleasures, they lose interest in living and kill themselves. They may have had enough of the pleasures of food, dress, and diversions, but why do they go on to kill themselves? From this one can see that fame and gain, status, wealth, food, dress, and enjoyments are not what people really need at all. You must not pursue those things. If you wait to reverse until you have degenerated beyond saving, it will be too late! When an intelligent person sees another person fail, they derive experience from it directly, with no need to experience it themselves. An ignorant person, on the other hand, can experience failure after failure and still be unable to draw lessons from them. They must be pruned before they begin to have some awareness, but by then, it is too late. Those who are too ignorant are unable to gain the truth. Only intelligent people who experience God’s work are able to gain the truth. The fact is that all humanity needs the truth, and only by pursuing the truth can they be saved. Whether you are one of God’s chosen people or a Gentile, you need the provision of the truth, and you need the salvation of God. Some people have no humanity at all and do not accept the truth in the slightest—such people are brutes. They may attend gatherings, but what they pursue in their hearts are sinful pleasures, the pleasures of food, dress, and diversions, and they are filled with these things. They do not seek the truth at all, and their hearts are filled with atheistic views, and ideas on the theory of evolution. They do not hear you no matter how you fellowship with them on the truth, and even though they know that believing in God is a good thing and are able to persevere in their belief, they are unable to embark on the path of pursuing the truth. That is why those who have no love for the truth are not those whom God has ordained for His salvation.

Many people currently have a terribly confused belief in God. They do not know what should be gained in believing in God; they do not understand what believing in God is for—they have no idea. They know nothing at all about what man should live for, what they should live by, or how to live in a way that is valuable and significant. If you are unsure in your heart about why you must believe in God, then the persecution and pain you suffer for your belief in God have no value or significance. What, exactly, do people mean to gain by their belief in God? If your belief is not to gain the truth and life, will you not be filled with regret when God’s work is finished and people’s outcomes are decided? When you first resolved to follow God, was that just a moment’s impulse, or did you think through the matter of believing in God and figure it out before you made your decision? What exactly are you living for? What is your direction in life, and what are your goals? Do you have the resolve to follow God till the end and ultimately gain the truth? Can you ensure you will not give up halfway? Are you able to loyally perform your duty no matter what situations may arise or what tribulations, trials, difficulties, or troubles you face? Some people do not even have this little bit of faith or the determination to pursue the truth. Gaining the truth will not be easy, then. When people are not interested in the truth, they are unable to perform their duty willingly and do not sincerely expend themselves for God. How can people like that follow God till the end? If you asked them, “Why do you believe in God? What do you want out of believing in God? What path should you walk?” they would not know and would be unable to answer. This proves that they are not following God to gain the truth and life, but looking for an opportunity to gain blessings. How can someone like that fulfill their duty sincerely? The more those who truly love the truth understand it, the more enthusiastic they are in performing their duty. Those who do not understand the truth often get negative when performing their duty. If they cannot accept the truth, they will drop out. Those who pursue the truth are different: The more they perform their duty, the more they understand the truth, and as they do, their corruption is cleansed. The more someone understands the truth, the more they feel that what they gain in following God is all the greater, and they can sense that the path of following God grows brighter the longer they follow it. These are the people who have gained the truth. If people truly understand the truth, they will be confident in following God and remain loyal to the end.

When some people face sickness and their lives are hanging in the balance, they ask God to save them, and once they get through it, they come to understand a little of the truth. But it is not necessary for everyone to experience calling on God in a life-or-death situation. Just look at the experiences some people have and listen to their fellowship and their feelings, and you will be able to gain from it. Even if you have not had an experience yourself, you can apprehend some of it from the experiences of others. Some people, when they are approaching death, feel that they have not changed a great deal, that they know little of God, and that what they have done and expended for God is limited. They feel that they have not pursued the truth during their years of believing in God, that they have gained too little and owe God too much. If they do happen to die, they will not do so willingly, as they would no longer have a chance to repent. When Job faced trials, his body became covered in sores; his wife did not understand him and mocked him, and his friends did not understand him and even judged and condemned him, believing that he must surely have done something bad and offended Jehovah God. They spoke to Job, saying, “How have you offended Jehovah God? Go ahead and confess your sins. Jehovah God is righteous.” But Job understood in his heart and did not feel that he had done anything bad. Yet still, it was painful for him to face such a trial! He sought death over life in his suffering; he suffered so much that he thought death was his only escape from it, that death would be the end of it, and yet he was still able to praise God in his heart. This is not something an ordinary person can achieve. Most people do not praise God when they are in pain. They just make demands of Him, saying, “God, give me just one more breath. Hurry up and make me well again! I’ll do whatever You want of me when I’m better.” They begin trying to bargain. How should you experience sickness when it comes? You should come before God and pray, seek and grope for God’s intention; you should examine yourself to find what it is you have done that went against the truth, and what corruption in you has not been resolved. Your corrupt disposition cannot be resolved without undergoing suffering. Only in being tempered by suffering can people not be dissolute, and able to live before God at all times. When someone suffers, they are always at prayer. They have no thought for the pleasures of food, dress, and other enjoyments; they pray constantly in their hearts, examining themselves to see whether they have done anything wrong or where they may have gone against the truth. Normally, when you face a serious illness or strange malady that makes you suffer very badly, this does not happen by chance. Whether you are ill or in good health, God’s intention is there in that. When the Holy Spirit works and you are physically well, you can usually seek God, but you stop seeking God when you get sick and suffer, nor do you know how to seek Him. You live in sickness, always pondering what treatment will make you better faster. You envy those who are not sick at times like these, and you want to get rid of your sickness and pain as soon as you can. These are negative and resistant feelings. When people get sick, they sometimes think, “Did I bring about this sickness through my own ignorance, or is it God’s intention?” They just cannot figure it out. In fact, some illnesses are normal, things such as chills, inflammation, or the flu. When you are afflicted with a major illness that suddenly knocks you down, that you would rather die than suffer, such an illness does not happen by chance. Do you pray to God and seek from Him when sickness and suffering come your way? How does the work of the Holy Spirit guide you and lead you? Does He only enlighten and illuminate you? That is not His only method; He will also test you and refine you. How does God test people? Does He not test people by making them suffer? Suffering goes hand in hand with being tested. Why would man suffer if it were not a test? How can people change without suffering? Suffering goes hand in hand with being tested—that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes God gives people some suffering because they would otherwise not know their place in the universe, and become insolent. A corrupt disposition cannot be completely resolved through fellowship on the truth alone. Others may point out your issues, and you may know about them yourself, but you cannot change them. No matter how much you rely on your willpower to restrain yourself, even slapping your own face, hitting yourself on the head, banging yourself against the wall, and harming your own flesh will not resolve your issues. Because there is a satanic disposition inside you that constantly torments you, disturbs you, and gives you all kinds of thoughts and ideas, your corrupt disposition will be revealed. So, what do you do if you cannot resolve it? You must be refined through ailment. Some suffer so much in this refinement that they cannot take it, and they begin to pray and seek. When you are not sick, you are so dissolute and wildly arrogant. When you get sick, you come to heel—can you still be wildly arrogant then? When you barely have enough energy to speak, can you lecture others or be arrogant? At times like those, you make no demands; you wish only to be rid of your suffering, without a thought for any food, clothing, or enjoyment. Most of you have not experienced that feeling, but you will understand when you do. There are some now who fight for position, for the pleasures of the flesh, and for their own interests. This is all because their ease is too great, their suffering is too slight, and they are demeaned. These people have hardship and refinement ahead of them!

Sometimes God will arrange some situations for you, pruning you through the people around you and causing you to suffer, making you learn the lessons and allowing you to understand the truth and see things for what they are. God is doing this work right now, in having your flesh accompanied by suffering, so that you can learn your lesson, resolve your corrupt disposition and fulfill your duty well. Paul often said he had a thorn in his flesh. What was this thorn? It was an illness, and he could not escape it. He knew all too well what that illness was, that it was directed at his disposition and his nature. If he had not been stuck with this thorn, if he had not been followed with this illness, he might, at any place and time, establish his own kingdom, but with his sickness he did not have the energy. Therefore, much of the time sickness is a kind of “protective umbrella” for people. If you are not ill, but are bounding with energy, you may well do evil of some sort and bring about some kind of trouble. People can easily lose their reason when they are wildly arrogant and dissolute. They will regret it when they have done evil, but by then they will be unable to help themselves. That is why having a little illness is a good thing, a protection for people. You may be able to solve all of other people’s problems and you can fix all the problems in your own thinking, but there is nothing you can do when you are not recovered from an illness. Falling ill is really beyond your control. If you get sick and there is no way to cure it, then that is the suffering you should endure. Do not try to be rid of it; you must first submit, pray to God, and seek God’s desires. Say: “Oh God, I know I am corrupt and my nature is bad. I’m capable of doing things that are rebellious and resistant against You, things that hurt You and cause You pain. How wonderful that You have given me this illness. I should submit to it. Please enlighten me, allow me to understand what Your intention is, and what in me You wish to change and make perfect. I ask only that You guide me, so that I may understand the truth and set off on the right path of life.” You must seek and pray. You cannot be in a muddle, believing that there is nothing to being sick, that it could not be the discipline you face for offending God. Do not make hasty judgments. If you are truly someone with God in their heart, then whatever you encounter, do not let it pass you by. You should pray and seek, feel for God’s desire in every matter, and learn to submit to God. When God sees that you can submit and that you have a heart of submission to God, He will ease your suffering. God achieves such effects by means of suffering and refinement.

Throughout history, devout Christians, disciples, apostles, and prophets have been stoned to death, dragged to their deaths by horses, cut to pieces, boiled in oil, crucified…. They have died in all kinds of ways. What I mean by this is, do not plan on the company of ease when you follow God. Do not ask for this; do not have the extravagant wish for it. Why do I say that it is wrong for people to make demands of God? It is because any little demand amounts to an extravagant wish, and you should not have these. Do not wish for things, saying, “Oh God, You clothe me well, as I have reason to wear nice things. Oh God, I am doing my duty now, so I have good reason to ask that You bless me and give me good health.” If you become sick one day, will you become negative? Will you stop believing in God? Would you still perform your duty if you were not healthy? Is performing your duty not what you should be doing anyway? It is a heaven-sent vocation, a responsibility that cannot be thrown off. You should perform your duty, even if no one else does. This is the determination you must have. Many people think, “If I still have to suffer when I believe in God, then what do I follow Him for? I follow God to enjoy His blessings. Without blessings to enjoy, I won’t follow Him!” Is this not a mistaken way of looking at it? You have all seen, in your experience over all these years, that for those who truly pursue the truth, there are no clearly visible blessings on them like people imagine. Being in good cheer and carefree every day, being well dressed, having everything go smoothly, and prospering in the world—things are not like this for anyone. They all get through life day by day, hitting obstacle after obstacle. Some people are discriminated against and bullied at their jobs elsewhere; some people are followed always by illness; still others are unsuccessful in business, and their nonbelieving family members abandon them. Life has its ups and downs; it is never just smooth sailing. The more someone pursues the truth, the more they suffer, whereas those who do not pursue the truth at all live comfortable lives. They have no ailments or troubles; everything goes smoothly for them, and others envy them. Yet they do not have the slightest life entry, and they live like nonbelievers. Those who sincerely follow God must inevitably suffer persecution and hardship. And what does it prove when you suffer persecution and hardship? That God has not left you, that God has not abandoned you, that God’s hand is always on you and does not let go. If He did let go, and you fell into Satan’s snare, would you not then be in danger? If you live every day in sin seeking fame and gain, coveting pleasures, and degenerating into drink, gambling, and promiscuity, then God will abandon you. He will take no more notice of you, and you will surely be eliminated. You may gain worldly wealth and status, but in fact, you will have lost the most precious thing of all—the truth, which is everlasting life—and you do not even know it!

Some people say, “Why is God always disciplining me? Why are other people so healthy while I am always ill? Why am I always suffering? Why is my family so poor? Why can’t we get rich? Why can’t I ever wear nice clothes? How come other people can wear nice clothes?” Do not be jealous of how much of God’s grace and blessings other people enjoy. It may be because their statures are small and God understands their weakness, so He bestows some grace on them to enjoy, letting them experience it little by little, so that they gradually come to understand His deeds. For you, God has extremely strict requirements. Your life, as seen by man, is not at all happy, and you are constantly suffering, yet you have understood many truths, and you should give God great thanks and praise. This is someone who knows God’s deeds. So long as someone can understand the truth, that is God’s greatest blessing, whatever they may suffer. To be disciplined often by God and to be faced often with trials, such that you may often learn lessons and understand truths—this means that God’s love follows you. If you are always dissolute and have not yet been disciplined, and are not disciplined, however long your dissolution goes on, with no one pruning you or taking notice of you, then you are finished. This means God has abandoned you. There are some people who perform no duty and take on no responsibilities. They live leisurely and carefree lives, in great comfort. They cannot learn any lessons, and they gain nothing. Is this happiness? What could they gain from their own willingness to be dissolute, from their pursuit of freedom and their fleshly enjoyments? You suffer and tire yourself performing your duty, and everyone cares for you; sometimes they prune you. This shows that God loves you and takes responsibility for you. With many matters, you must seek, and you must pray to God more. You will then be able to understand His intentions. No matter what duty you perform, you must not under any circumstances be wayward, or dissolute, or perfunctory, or obstinate in your errant ways. Hurry and seek the truth when you have a problem. To be able to fulfill your duty and satisfy God is what is foremost, and your heart will naturally be able to enjoy peace and good cheer. If you are too willful or dissolute, and do not accept discipline, and are quite stubborn, too, then you will be in danger. Once you have been eliminated, you will have no more chances, and it will be too late for regret. Some people pray all the time when they first fall ill, but later, when they see their prayers have not cured them, they sink into their sickness, complain all the time, and say in their hearts, “Believing in God hasn’t done me any good. I’m sick, and God won’t heal me!” This is not true faith. There is no submission at all in it, and what comes of it is their death, once they are done complaining. This is God’s revocation of their flesh and sending them to hell; it is the end of everything for them. They have no chance to gain salvation in this life, and their soul must go to hell. This is the last stage of God’s work of saving humanity, and if someone is eliminated, they will never have another chance! If you die while God is doing His work of salvation, this death is a punishment, not a normal death. Those who die as punishment have no chance to be saved. Is Paul not being constantly punished in Hades? It has been two thousand years, and he is still there, being punished! It is even worse when you knowingly do something wrong, and the punishment will be even more severe!

Some people say, “I’ve always been sick, always suffering and in pain. There have always been some circumstances around me, but I never felt the work of the Holy Spirit.” This is right. This is how the Holy Spirit works most of the time—you cannot sense it. This is refinement. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and allow you to understand some truth through fellowship. Sometimes He will have you realize something through your environment, and test you, temper you, and train you in that environment, making you grow—this is how the Holy Spirit works. You had no knowledge when you went through things before because you did not focus on seeking the truth in your heart. When a person does not understand the truth, they cannot see anything for what it is and are always distorted in their comprehension. It is just as when someone gets sick and believes it is God disciplining them, when in fact some illnesses are man-made, caused by a lack of understanding of the rules for living. When you eat with abandon and do not understand healthy living, then you get sick in all kinds of ways. Yet you say it is God’s discipline, when in fact it has come about due to your own ignorance. But then again, whether an illness has a human cause or it is bestowed by the Holy Spirit, it is a special kindness from God; it is meant to have you learn a lesson, and you must thank God and not complain. Each complaint you make leaves a stain, and that is a sin that cannot be washed away! When you make a complaint, how long will it take to turn your state around? If you are a little negative, you may come around after a month. When you give a complaint and you give voice to some negative feelings, you may not come around even after a year, and the Holy Spirit will not work on you. It will be terrible for you if you always complain, and it will be even harder for you to gain the work of the Holy Spirit. One has to make a great deal of effort in prayer to set their mindset aright and receive some of the Holy Spirit’s work. It is no easy thing to turn a mindset around completely. This can only be done by seeking the truth and gaining the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. There are in fact times in your own experience when you gain the work of the Holy Spirit. Most of these are when you are facing persecution and hardship or sickness and pain. Only then do you earnestly pray to God, asking Him to heal you, to grant you faith and strength. You pray for this one thing only. You may want to pray more and seek God’s intention, but you do not know what to say. You want to fellowship some words from your heart with God, but you have none to offer. Your stature is too small. Sometimes God will give you a hard time through the people around you. At those times, you can do nothing but come back before God and begin to reflect, “What exactly have I done wrong? Please God, enlighten me and allow me to understand. If God doesn’t enlighten me, I’ll just keep praying. If I’ve prayed and I still don’t understand, then I’ll keep seeking in this matter, and I’ll seek with someone who understands the truth.” This is what it is to take responsibility for yourself. Some people never seek the truth when things happen to them. They understand some words and doctrines and think they understand the truth. They fool themselves, and that is foolishness. They are the most foolish and ignorant of people, and the only possible result is that they will harm and destroy themselves, without gaining any truth at all.

You do not pray much normally, do you? When people do not pray much, they do not seek much, and if they do not seek much, it is hard for them to understand the truth, and they have no submission. If you do not have a seeking attitude, how can you have submission? How will you be able to understand God’s deeds? You do not even know how God works on you, nor to whom you should submit or whose words you should heed. Submission is out of the question for you. Submission is not a vague thing. It requires a purpose and an object. If you do not even know why God expresses the truth or what He does, how can you be submissive? Submission becomes an empty word when you say it. When something happens to you, how should you pray, and how should you seek by saying what is in your heart? What should you seek? You must be clear on these things before you can have real prayer. Do not imitate what other people say when you pray, much less imitate Jesus’ words, “Your will be done.” Do not blindly copy these words. What you have in you is nothing more than enlightenment and illumination, and it cannot amount to fulfilling God’s will. When you are sometimes pruned or you endure some suffering, do not say that this is God perfecting you or that it is His will. It is wrong to say this, and you must not pray like this. You are occupying the wrong status, and the Holy Spirit will not work on you. Some people imitate Jesus’ prayer, saying, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.” Will it do to put yourself on an equal footing with God? Christ, from the perspective of the flesh, spoke that prayer to the Spirit in heaven. They were on an equal footing, of the same status. They were one God, different only in perspective. Christ prayed in that way; if people also pray like that, it shows that they have no reason, and it is no wonder that the Holy Spirit does not enlighten them at all! Those words you say are words of imitation, not words spoken from the heart. They are totally empty and not practical, which shows that your stature is too small to be capable of understanding God’s words or requirements. How will the Holy Spirit enlighten you? People are so confused! If they cannot even figure this out, then they will never understand the truth. Do not randomly imitate others when you pray. You must have your own thoughts and views. If you do not understand something, then you must seek the truth. You must often contemplate how to pray when matters of different sorts befall you, and if you find a way forward, you must lead your brothers and sisters to pray in that way, too. This is what God delights in. Everyone must learn how to come before God. Do not try to handle everything blindly by yourself, and do not base what you do on your imaginings. If in doing so, you do things that cause disruptions and disturbances and go against God’s intentions, then that will spell trouble. If you are asked to lead a church and you are always preaching words and doctrines, but do not fellowship on how to eat and drink God’s words or how to pray to God, then you have gone astray. If you are always preaching words and doctrines and teaching people empty prayers, in which they only recite some words from the Bible and words of doctrine, then there will be no results, however they pray. Their life will not progress, their relationship with God will not be a normal one, and this means you will also lead them astray. What sort of prayer is it that achieves results? It is open-hearted fellowship with God. Most importantly, one must pray to God and seek the truth in accordance with His words and His requirements. This requires one to be wholehearted. Those who are not wholehearted will find this hard to achieve. What kind of people does the Holy Spirit enlighten? Those who are keen and subtle of thought. When the Holy Spirit gives them a feeling or enlightens them, they can sense that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, that it is God doing it. Or sometimes, when they are being enlightened or reproached by the Holy Spirit, they can tell right away and rein themselves in. These are the sort of people the Holy Spirit enlightens. If someone is careless and does not have spiritual understanding, they will not realize when they are given a feeling by the Holy Spirit. They pay no mind to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit may enlighten them three or four times, and still, they do not accept it, so the Holy Spirit will no longer work on them. Why is it that some people go on believing, yet cannot reach God or feel the Holy Spirit working, and are dark inside, and depressed, and have no energy? They have no enlightenment of the Holy Spirit at all. How could they have any energy, with those lifeless things and doctrines? One cannot last long on enthusiasm alone; one must understand the truth to have strength. Therefore, to believe in God, one must be subtle of thought, and they must focus on reading God’s words, on knowing themselves, and on understanding and practicing the truth. Only then can they gain the work and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Some people just have an ability to comprehend the truth, but they have never observed or experienced the work of the Holy Spirit. Going forward, you must focus on the subtlest feeling and the subtlest light. Each time something happens to you, you should view it and treat it according to the truth. This is how you will gradually get on the right track of believing in God. If you view everything with your fleshly gaze; if you analyze everything using doctrine, logic, and regulations; and if you analyze and handle everything based on human thought, that is not seeking the truth, and you will not be capable of submission to God. No matter how many years you have believed in God, you will be outside of God’s words, you will be an outsider, and you will not be able to understand the truth. You must now gradually move your focus in this direction and strive toward the truth. After several years of experience, you will grow a little in stature and be able to understand some of the truth. Do not think that coming late to faith in God is not a problem, that you can also enter into the truth reality when others have, or that you will never fall behind. You must not think like this. If you do, you are sure to fall behind. If you have come late to faith in God, then you should be in even more of a hurry. You must do all you can to catch up, as only then will you be able to keep pace with the footsteps of God’s work and stop yourself from falling behind and being eliminated.

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