Only Knowledge of the Six Kinds of Corrupt Dispositions Is True Self-Knowledge (Part One)

What is the purpose of man’s faith in God? (To be saved.) Salvation is a perennial topic of faith in God. So how can salvation be attained? (By pursuing the truth and always living before God.) That’s one kind of practice. What is to be gained by always living before God? What is the aim? (To build a normal relationship with God.) (To fear God and shun evil, and to understand the truth and achieve the true knowledge of God.) What else? (To seek the truth, to make the truth our life.) These things are often said during sermons, they are spiritual phrases. What else? (To experience being pruned by God, along with His judgment and chastisement, and His trials and refinement in order to come to reflect on and know ourselves and seek the truth to resolve our corrupt dispositions during this process, as well as to attain true knowledge of God, finally becoming someone who is possessed of the truth and humanity.) It seems you have understood much from the past several years of sermons. So, can these things you understand be used in your experiences to solve certain real problems and difficulties? Incorrect thoughts and ideas, and occasional negativity and weakness, for example, as well as certain issues to do with notions and imaginings: can these things be quickly solved? Some people might be able to solve a few minor problems, but they may still struggle with major, root-cause problems. Based on the level of understanding you have of the truths today, would you be able to stand firm if you were faced with the same kind of trials as Job? (We would resolve to stand firm, but we do not know what our true stature would be if something really were to happen to us.) But should you not know what your true stature is, even when nothing has happened to you? To not know this is perilous! Do you know what the practical aspects of these oft-repeated spiritual sayings and set phrases are? Do you understand the true implication of each of these phrases? Do you understand just what the truth in them is? If you know, and have experienced these things, then this proves you understand the truth. If you are only able to repeat a few spiritual sayings and phrases, but they are of no use to you when you actually experience something, and they are incapable of solving your troubles, then this proves that after all these years of believing in God, you still do not understand the truth, and have not had any real experiences. What is the meaning of My saying this? Having made it this far in their belief in God, people understand a little more of the truth than religionists or unbelievers, they understand some of the visions of God’s work, and are able to abide by a few regulatory matters, and can be said to have a certain understanding and appreciation of, and to have some true comprehension of, God’s sovereignty—but have these things brought change to their life disposition? Each of you can, on the whole, talk a little about often-heard truths that relate to visions: the visions of God’s work, the purpose of God’s work, and God’s will for mankind; and the knowledge you speak of is much higher than that of the religionists—but can all this bring about a change in your disposition, or even a partial change in your disposition? Are you able to measure this? This is of critical importance.

Recently, fellowship was given on how exactly to know the God on earth, how to interact with the God on earth, and how to establish a normal relationship with God. Are these not the most practical questions? These are all truths related to the aspect of practice, and the aim of fellowshipping on these things is to inform people how to believe in God, and how to interact with God and build a normal relationship with God in their daily lives. In terms of the truths related to practice, of all the truths you have heard, understood, and are able to put into practice, are they able to change your disposition? Can it be said that if people put the truth into practice in this way, and truly strive to achieve this, then they are practicing the truth; and that if they have made these truths their reality, they are able to achieve changes in their disposition? (It can.) Many people are blind to what changes in disposition are. They think that being able to repeat many spiritual doctrines, and understanding many truths, represents changes in disposition. This is wrong. From the point of understanding a truth, to putting this truth into practice, and then on to changes in disposition, is a lengthy process of life experience. How do you understand changes in disposition? In all that you have experienced up to this point, have there been any changes in your life disposition? You may be unable to see into these things, and all this is problematic. The word “change” in “changes in disposition” is not actually very hard to understand, so what is “disposition”? (The law of human existence, the poison of Satan.) What else? (What is natural in man, what is in the essence of life.) You keep bringing up these spiritual terms, but they are all doctrines and outlines, and they don’t contain any detail. This is not understanding the essence of the truth. We often talk of changes in disposition, and such topics are always being discussed right from the start of people’s faith in God, whether they are attending a gathering or listening to a sermon; these are the things that people should try to figure out when they believe in God. But as for just what exactly changes in disposition are, whether there has been a change in their own disposition, and whether it is possible to achieve change—many people are ignorant of these things, they have never thought about them, nor do they know from where to start thinking about them. What is disposition? This is a major topic. Once you have understood this, then you will more or less understand questions such as whether or not there has been a change in your disposition, to what degree it has changed, how many changes there have been, and whether there has been a change in your disposition after you have experienced certain things. To discuss changes in disposition, you must first know what disposition is. Everyone knows the word “disposition,” everyone is familiar with it. But they don’t know what disposition is. Just what exactly disposition is cannot be explained clearly in just a few words, and it cannot be explained as a noun, as this is too abstract and not easily comprehensible. I’ll give an example that’ll make you understand. Sheep and wolves are both animals. Sheep eat grass, and wolves eat meat. This is determined by their nature. If, one day, sheep ate meat and wolves ate grass, would their natures have changed? (No.) If a sheep didn’t eat grass, it would grow very hungry. Give it some meat, and it will eat it, but the sheep will still be very docile toward you. This is disposition, it is the nature essence of the sheep. In what respect does a sheep’s docility exhibit itself? (It doesn’t attack people.) That’s right—this is a docile disposition. The disposition exhibited in a sheep is pliancy and obedience. It is not vicious, but docile and kind. Wolves are different. Its disposition is vicious and it eats all kinds of small animals. Encountering a hungry wolf is very dangerous, it could try to eat you even if you don’t provoke it. A wolf’s disposition is not docile or kind, but cruel and fierce, without a shred of sympathy or pity. Such is the disposition of a wolf. The dispositions of wolves and sheep represent their nature essence. Why do I say this? Because the things that are revealed in them naturally show themselves regardless of context, without human input or incitement; they are naturally revealed, without any need for additional human input. The ferocity and cruelty of wolves is not forced out of them by humans, nor is the kindness and docility of sheep instilled in them by humans; they were born with these things, these are things revealed naturally, they are their essence. This is disposition. Does this example give you some understanding of what disposition is? (Yes.) This is not a conceptual matter, we are not explaining some noun. There is truth in this. So, what is the truth here? Human disposition is related to human nature. Human disposition and human nature are both of Satan, they are antagonistic and hostile to God. If people do not receive God’s salvation and do not change, then what people live out and naturally reveal would be nothing but evil, negative, and in violation of the truth—of this there is no doubt.

We just spoke of the dispositions of sheep and wolves. These are two completely different animals: They each have their own dispositions and things that are revealed in them. But what is the connection to human disposition? Looking again at what exactly human disposition is through this example, what kinds of corrupt dispositions are there? (We can generally know what kind of disposition people have by interacting with them. For example, while talking to someone, we might feel that they speak in a roundabout way, that they’re always equivocating, such that others can’t tell what they really mean, which means they have a deceitful disposition in them. We can get a general idea from what they usually say and do, from their actions and behavior.) You can see certain problems of disposition from interacting with people. It looks as if, after hearing this example, you have a general idea about what dispositions are. So which corrupt dispositions do all people have? Which dispositions are people unaware of, and unable to feel, yet are, without doubt, corrupt dispositions? Say, for example, some people are highly sentimental, and God says, “You are highly sentimental. When it comes to someone you like or something to do with your family, no matter who tries to understand their situation or what’s really going on, you won’t give away anything about them, and keep covering for them. This is sentimentality.” They hear this, and they understand it, acknowledge it, and they accept it as fact. They acknowledge that God’s words are right, that God’s words are the truth, and they give thanks to God for exposing this to them. Can their disposition be seen from this? Is it evident that they accept the truth, accept the facts, do not resist, and are submissive? (No. It depends on how they act when faced with problems, and whether what they say and what they do are the same thing.) You’re not far off. At the time, they are accepting—but later, when such a thing happens to them, there is no change in how they act. This represents one kind of disposition. What disposition? They were listening at the time, then they thought about it and said to themselves, “How could I not know I am sentimental after having heard so many sermons? I am sentimental, but who isn’t? If I don’t cover for my family and the people I’m close to, who will? Even an able man needs the support of three other people.” This is what they really think. When the time comes to act, what they are thinking and planning in their heart, and their attitude toward God’s words, is all determined by their disposition. What is their attitude? “God can say and expose whatever He wants, and I will accept whatever I am supposed to when I am before Him, but my mind is made up, and I have no intention of putting my feelings aside.” Is this their disposition? Their disposition has shown itself and their true face has been exposed, right? Are they someone who accepts the truth? (No.) So what is this? This is recalcitrance. Before God, they say Amen and feign acceptance. But their heart remains unmoved. They do not take God’s words seriously, they do not take them to be the truth, and much less do they put them into practice as the truth. This is one kind of disposition, is it not? And is a disposition such as this not the revelation of a certain kind of nature? (Yes.) So what is the essence of this kind of disposition? Is it intransigence? (Yes.) Intransigence: this is one kind of human disposition, and it is found in all people. Why do I say this is a disposition? This is something that springs from people’s nature essence. You don’t have to think about it, others don’t have to teach you or work on your thoughts, nor does Satan have to mislead you; it is naturally revealed in you, and it springs from your nature. There are some people who, no matter what bad things they do, always blame Satan. They always say, “Satan put the idea in my head, Satan made me do it.” They put everything bad on Satan, and never admit to problems within their own nature. Is this correct? Have you not been profoundly corrupted by Satan? If you don’t admit this, then how is it that the disposition of Satan is revealed in you? Of course, there are also the times when Satan is disruptive, including when people are misled and put up to something by someone evil or by an antichrist, or when an evil spirit works and sends them thoughts—but these are just exceptions; most of the time people are directed by their satanic nature and they reveal all manner of corrupt dispositions. When people act according to their own preferences and inclinations, when they do things by their own means, according to their own notions and imaginings, then they are living by their own corrupt dispositions, and when they live by these things, they are living by their own nature. These are indisputable facts. When people are governed by their satanic nature, when they live by their satanic nature, everything that is revealed in them is their own corrupt disposition; this can’t be pushed onto Satan, you can’t say that these are thoughts sent by Satan. Because people have been profoundly corrupted, they belong to Satan, and because people are no different from Satan, and they are living demons, living Satans, you therefore must not push everything satanic that is revealed within you onto Satan. You’re no better than Satan, and that is your corrupt disposition.

What kind of state is there inside people when they have an intransigent disposition? It is mainly that they are stubborn and self-righteous. They always stick to their own ideas, they always think that what they say is right, they are utterly inflexible, and they are opinionated. This is the attitude of intransigence. They are like a broken record, not listening to anyone, remaining unalterably fixed on one course of action, insisting on going through with it, regardless of whether it is right or wrong; there is some unrepentance in this. As the saying goes, “Dead pigs don’t fear boiling water.” People know full well what is the right thing to do, and yet they do not do it, they steadfastly refuse to accept the truth. This is one kind of disposition: intransigence. In what kinds of situations do you reveal an intransigent disposition? Are you often intransigent? (Yes.) Very often! And since intransigence is your disposition, this accompanies you in every second of every day of your existence. Intransigence stops people from being able to come before God, it stops them from being able to accept the truth, and it stops them from being able to enter the truth reality. And if you are not able to enter the truth reality, can change occur in this aspect of your disposition? Only with great difficulty. Has there now been any change in this aspect of your disposition that is intransigent? And how much change has there been? Say, for example, you used to be extremely stubborn, but there has now been a little change in you: When you encounter some issue, you have some sense of conscience in your heart, and say to yourself, “I have to practice some truth in this matter. Since God has exposed this intransigent disposition—since I have heard it, and now I know it—I must therefore change. When I encountered these kinds of things a few times in the past, I went along with my flesh and failed, and I am not happy with this. This time I must practice the truth.” With such an aspiration, it is possible to practice the truth, and this is change. When you have experience in this way for a time, and you are able to put more truths into practice, and this brings about greater changes, and your rebellious and intransigent dispositions reveal themselves less and less, has there been a change in your life disposition? If your rebellious disposition has visibly become ever more diminished, and your submission to God has become ever greater, then there has been real change. So, to what extent must you change to achieve true submission? You will have succeeded when there is not the slightest intransigence, but only submission. This is a slow process. Changes in disposition do not happen overnight, they take extended periods of experience, maybe even a lifetime. Sometimes it is necessary to suffer many great hardships, hardships akin to dying and coming back to life, hardships more painful and difficult than having poison scraped from your bones. So have there been any changes in your intransigent disposition? Are you able to measure this? (Before, I believed that certain things should be done a certain way. When people offered a different point of view, I did not listen, and it wasn’t until I hit real setbacks that I came around. Now I’m a little better. I push back when people put forward different views, but am able to accept some of what they say later.) An alteration in attitude is another kind of change; this means there has been a little change. It is not like before, where you knew that the other person was right, but rejected it and refused to accept it, still sticking to your own inclinations; this is not the case now. There has already been a reversal in your attitude. How much have you changed when you have changed this much? Not even ten percent. Ten percent change means that at the very least, after the other person has stated their differing viewpoint, you do not have any feelings of opposition or thoughts of resistance; you have a normal attitude. Although it still doesn’t sit right with you in your heart, you do not have an intransigent attitude, you can discuss this with the person, there is some submission when you practice, and you do not only do things according to your own ideas. Afterward, there are times when you stick to your own ideas, and times when you are able to accept what other people say. Changes in disposition go back and forth. You must experience untold setbacks to achieve a little change, and untold failures to be successful, and so it is not easy for your disposition to change without experiencing several years of trials and refinement. Sometimes, when people are in a good state of mind, they are capable of accepting correct things that others say, but when they are feeling low, they do not seek the truth. Does this not delay things? Sometimes, when you are not getting along well with your partner, you do not seek truth principles, and you live by the philosophies of Satan. Sometimes when you are cooperating with others and their caliber is better than yours and they are better than you, you feel constrained by them, and you don’t have the courage to uphold principles when you encounter an issue. Sometimes you are better than your partner, and they act stupidly, and you look down on them and are unwilling to fellowship the truth with them. Sometimes you wish to practice the truth but are constrained by the feelings of the flesh. Sometimes you covet the pleasures of the flesh, and though you may wish to, you are not able to rebel against the flesh. Sometimes you listen to a sermon and understand the truth, yet are unable to put it into practice. Are these problems easy to solve? By yourself, they are not easy to solve. God can only subject people to trials and refinement, making them suffer greatly and eventually feel emptiness within themselves without the truth, and as if they cannot live without the truth. This refines people to develop faith and makes them feel as if they must strive for the truth, that their heart will not be at ease until they put the truth into practice, and that they will experience great torment if they cannot submit to God. Such is the effect achieved by trials and refinement. This is how difficult changes in disposition are. Why do I tell you they are not easy? Could it be that I am not afraid you will grow negative? It is to let you know how important changes in disposition are. I wish for you to all pay attention to this, to stop pursuing those unrealistic, hypocritical, and falsely spiritual images, to stop always following those fanciful spiritual doctrines, practices, and regulations; doing so will harm you and not benefit you at all.

We just spoke of one aspect of disposition: intransigence. Intransigence is often a kind of attitude that is hidden within the depths of people’s hearts. Generally, it is not clear from the outside, but when it is obvious, it will be easy to detect, and people will say, “They’re recalcitrant! They don’t accept the truth at all—they are so intransigent!” Those with an intransigent disposition fixate on one approach, and only stick to one thing, never letting go. So is this the only side of people’s disposition? Of course not—there are many others. See if you can tell what kind of disposition I am describing next. Some people say, “In the house of God, I submit to no one but God, because only God has the truth; people do not have the truth, they have corrupt dispositions, nothing they say can be relied upon, so I only submit to God.” Are they correct in saying this? (No.) Why not? What kind of disposition is this? (An arrogant and conceited one.) (The dispositions of Satan and the archangel.) This is an arrogant disposition. Do not always say it is the disposition of Satan and the archangel, this way of speaking is too broad and is vague. Satan and the archangel’s corrupt dispositions are too numerous. Talk of the archangel, demons, and Satan all together is too general and not easy for people to understand. Just saying this is an arrogant disposition is more specific. Of course, this isn’t the only kind of disposition they reveal, it’s just that an arrogant disposition reveals itself so obviously. By saying this is an arrogant disposition, people will be able to understand easily, so this way of speaking is most suitable. Some people have some skills, some gifts, some minor aptitudes, and have done a number of deeds for the church. What these people think is, “Your faith in God involves spending all day reading, copying, writing, memorizing the word of God like some spiritual person. What’s the point? Can you do anything real? How can you call yourself spiritual when you don’t do anything? You do not have life. I have life, everything I do is real.” What disposition is this? They have some special skills, some gifts, they can do a little good, and they take these things to be life. As a result, they obey no one, they are not afraid of lecturing anyone, they look down on everyone else—is this arrogance? (Yes.) This is arrogance. Under what circumstances do people generally reveal arrogance? (When they have some gifts or special skills, when they can do some practical things, when they have capital.) That is one kind of situation. So are people who are not gifted or don’t have any special skills not arrogant? (They are arrogant, too.) The person we just spoke of will often say, “I submit to no one but God,” and hearing this, people will think to themselves, “How submissive to the truth this person is, they submit to no one but the truth, what they say is right!” In fact, within these seemingly correct words is a kind of arrogant disposition: “I submit to no one but God” clearly means that they don’t submit to anyone. I ask you, are those who say such words really able to submit to God? They could never submit to God. Those who are liable to utter such words are undoubtedly the most arrogant of all. On the outside, what they said seems right—but in fact, this is the most conniving way in which arrogant disposition is manifested. They use this “but God” to try to prove that they are reasonable, but really, that is like burying gold and sticking a sign on top saying “No gold buried here.” Is this not foolish? What do you say, which kind of person is the most arrogant? What things can people say that make them the most arrogant? Perhaps you have heard some arrogant things before. What is the most arrogant of these? Do you know? Does anyone dare to say, “I don’t submit to anyone—not even Heaven or earth, not even the words of God”? Only the great red dragon demon dares to say this. No one who believes in God would say this. However, if those who believe in God say, “I submit to no one but God,” then they are not much different from the great red dragon, they’re tied for world number one, they are the most arrogant of all. What do you say, people are all arrogant, but is there any difference in their arrogance? Where do you make the distinction? Corrupt human beings all have arrogant dispositions, but there are differences in their arrogance. When a person’s arrogance has reached a certain degree, then they have lost all reason. The distinction is whether there is reason in what someone says. Some people are arrogant yet still possess a little reason. If they are able to accept the truth, then they still have hope of salvation. Some are so arrogant that they have no reason—there is no limit to their arrogance—and such people could never accept the truth. If people are so arrogant that they have no reason, then they lose all sense of shame and are only foolishly arrogant. These are all revelations and manifestations of an arrogant disposition. How could they say something like “I submit to no one but God” if they did not have an arrogant disposition? They certainly would not. Without doubt, if someone has an arrogant disposition, then they have the manifestation of arrogance, and the person will undoubtedly say and do arrogant things, lacking any kind of reason. Some people say, “I do not have an arrogant disposition, but such things are revealed in me.” Do such words hold water? (No.) Others say, “I can’t help myself. As soon as I stop being careful, I come out with something arrogant.” Do these words hold water? (No.) Why not? What is the root cause of these words? (Not knowing oneself.) No—they know they are arrogant, but hearing others mocking them, saying, “How are you so arrogant? What are you so arrogant about?” they feel ashamed, which is why they say such things. Their sense of pride can’t stand it, they are looking for an excuse to cover it up, to disguise it, to package it, and to let themselves off the hook. So their words do not hold water. When your corrupt disposition has yet to be resolved, you are arrogant even when you do not speak. Arrogance is in people’s natures, it is hidden in their hearts, and can be revealed at any time. And so, as long as there is no change in disposition, people remain arrogant and self-righteous. I’ll give an example. A newly elected leader arrives at a church and discovers that the way the people look at him and the expression on their faces is rather unenthusiastic. In his mind, he thinks to himself, “Am I not welcome here? I am the newly chosen leader; how could you treat me with such an attitude? Why aren’t you impressed by me? I was chosen by the brothers and sisters, so my spiritual stature is greater than yours, is it not?” And so as a result, he says, “I am the newly elected leader. Some people might not accept me, but no matter. Let’s have a competition to see who has memorized more passages of God’s words, who is able to fellowship the truths of visions. I will give the position of leader to anyone who can fellowship truths more clearly than me. What do you say?” What kind of tactic is this? When people are indifferent to him, he is discontent and wants to give them a hard time and get back at them; now that he is a leader, he wants to dominate people—he wants to be on top. What disposition is this? (Arrogance.) And is an arrogant disposition easy to resolve? (No.) People’s arrogant dispositions reveal themselves very frequently. To some people, hearing others fellowship new enlightenment and understanding is galling: “Why do I have nothing to say about this? This will not do, I have to think and come up with something better.” And so they spew a load of doctrine, trying to outdo others. What disposition is this? This is vying for name and gain; it is also arrogance. In matters of disposition, you could be sitting still, not saying or doing anything, but the disposition will still exist within your heart, and can even still reveal itself in your thoughts and facial expressions. Even if people try to come up with ways of suppressing it, or controlling it, and are ever so careful to stop it from being revealed, is this any use? (No.) Some people immediately realize when they’ve said something arrogant: “I’ve revealed my arrogant disposition yet again—how humiliating! I must never say anything arrogant again.” But swearing you’ll keep your mouth shut is of no use, this is not up to you, it is up to your disposition. Therefore, if you do not want your arrogant disposition to reveal itself, you must fix it. This is not a matter of correcting a few words, or of putting right one of the ways you do things, much less is it a case of abiding by some regulation. It is a matter of resolving the problem of your disposition. Now that I have spoken on this topic of what exactly disposition is, do you not have a deeper and more penetrating understanding of yourselves? (Yes.) Knowing oneself is not a matter of knowing one’s outward-facing character, temperament, bad habits, ignorant and foolish things one has done in the past—it is none of these. Rather, it is knowing one’s own corrupt disposition and the evils one is able to do in opposition to God. This is key. Some people say, “I have an explosive temper, and there’s nothing I can do to change it. When can I change this disposition?” There are others who say, “I’m terrible at expressing myself, I’m not a good talker. Everything I say ends up offending people or hurting their feelings. When will this change?” Are they correct in saying this? (No.) Where is their mistake? (This is not recognizing the things within one’s nature.) That’s right. Character does not determine nature. No matter how good someone’s personality is, they can still have a corrupt disposition.

I just talked about two aspects of disposition. The first was intransigence, the second arrogance. We don’t need to say too much about arrogance. Every person reveals much arrogant behavior, and you just need to know that arrogance is an aspect of disposition. There is also another kind of disposition. Some people never tell anyone the truth. They deliberate on and polish everything in their minds before they speak to people. You can’t tell which of the things they say are true, and which are false. They say one thing today and another tomorrow, they say one thing to one person, and something else to another. Everything they say contradicts itself. How can such people be believed? It’s very difficult to get an accurate grasp of the facts, and you can’t get a straight word out of them. What disposition is this? It is deceitfulness. Is a deceitful disposition easy to change? It’s the most difficult to change. Anything that involves dispositions relates to a person’s nature, and nothing is harder to change than things to do with one’s nature. The saying, “A leopard can’t change its spots,” is absolutely true! No matter what they’re talking about or doing, deceitful people always harbor their own aims and intents. If they do not have any, they will say nothing. If you try to understand what their aims and intents are, they will clam up. If they do accidentally let something true slip, they’ll go to any length to think of a way to twist it around, to confound you and stop you from knowing the truth. No matter what deceitful people are doing, they will not let anyone know the whole truth about it. No matter how much time people spend with them, no one knows what’s really going on in their minds. Such is the nature of deceitful people. No matter how much a deceitful person speaks, other people will never know what their intents are, what they’re really thinking, or exactly what they are trying to achieve. Even their parents have a hard time knowing this. Trying to understand deceitful people is extremely difficult, nobody can figure out what is on their minds. This is how deceitful people speak and act: They never speak their minds or convey what is really going on. This is a type of disposition, is it not? When you have a deceitful disposition, it does not matter what you say or do—this disposition is always within you, controlling you, making you play games and engage in trickery, toy with people, cover up the truth, and put up a front. This is deceitfulness. What other specific behaviors do deceitful people engage in? I will give an example. Two people are talking, and one of them is speaking about their self-knowledge; this person keeps talking about how they have improved, and tries to make the other person believe this, but they do not tell them the real facts of the matter. In this, something is being concealed, and this indicates a certain disposition—that of deceitfulness. Let us see if you can discern it. This person says, “I’ve experienced some things recently, and I feel that over these years my belief in God has been in vain. I haven’t gained anything. I am so poor and pathetic! My behavior hasn’t been too good recently, but I’m ready to repent.” Yet a while after they say this, an expression of repentance is nowhere to be seen in them. What is the problem here? It is that they lie and trick others. When other people hear them say those things, they think, “This person did not pursue the truth before, but the fact that they can say such things now shows that they have truly repented. There’s no doubt about it. We mustn’t look at them as we used to, but in a new, better light.” That is how people ponder and think after hearing those words. But is that person’s current state the same as they say it is? The reality is that it is not. They have not truly repented, but their words give the illusion that they have done so, and that they have changed for the better, and that they are different from before. This is what they want to achieve with their words. By speaking in this way to trick people, what disposition are they revealing? It is deceitfulness—and it is very insidious! The fact is that they are not at all aware that they have failed in their belief in God, that they are poor and pitiful. They are borrowing spiritual words and language to trick people, to achieve their aim of making others think well of them and hold a good opinion of them. Is this not deceitfulness? It is, and when someone is too deceitful, it is not easy for them to change.

There is another sort of person that is never simple or open in how they speak. They are always hiding and concealing things, gleaning information from people at every turn and sounding them out. They always wish to know the whole truth about other people, yet they do not say what is in their own hearts. Nobody who interacts with them can ever hope to find out the whole truth about them. Such people do not want others to know their plans, and they share them with no one. What disposition is this? It is a deceitful disposition. Such people are extremely shrewd, they are unfathomable to everyone. If one possesses a deceitful disposition, they are without a doubt a deceitful person, and they are deceitful in nature essence. Does this sort of person pursue the truth in their belief in God? If they do not tell the truth in front of other people, are they capable of speaking the truth before God? Certainly not. A deceitful person never tells the truth. They may believe in God, but is theirs true belief? What sort of attitude do they have toward God? They will certainly have many doubts in their heart: “Where is God? I can’t see Him. What proof is there that He is real?” “God is sovereign over everything? Really? Satan’s regime is frantically oppressing and arresting those who believe in God. Why doesn’t God destroy it?” “How exactly does God save people? Is His salvation real? It’s not so clear.” “Can a believer in God enter the kingdom of heaven or not? Without any confirmation, it’s hard to say.” With so many doubts about God in their heart, can they sincerely expend themselves for Him? It is impossible. They see all these people who have forsaken all they have to follow God, who are expending themselves for God and performing their duties, and they think, “I need to hold something back. I can’t be as foolish as they are. If I offer everything to God, how will I live in the future? Who will look after me? I need to have a contingency plan.” You can see how “astute” deceitful people are, how far ahead they think. There are some who, when they see others in gatherings opening up about their knowledge of their corruption, offering up the things hidden within their hearts in fellowship, and truthfully saying how many times they have committed fornication, think, “You fool! Those are private things; why would you tell them to others? You couldn’t beat those things out of me!” This is how deceitful people are—they would rather die than be honest, and they tell no one the whole truth. Some people say, “I’ve transgressed and done some bad things, and I feel a little ashamed to tell people about them face-to-face. They are private things, after all, and they are shameful. But I can’t hide or conceal them from God. I should tell these things to God, nakedly and openly. I wouldn’t dare tell other people my thoughts or private matters, but I have to tell God. No matter who else I keep secrets from, I can’t keep secrets from God.” This is the attitude an honest person takes toward God. Yet deceitful people are guarded toward everyone, they do not trust anyone, and they do not speak honestly with anyone. They tell the whole truth to no one, and no one can figure them out. These are the most deceitful people of all. Everyone has a deceitful disposition; the only difference is in how severe it is. Though you may open your heart and fellowship your problems in gatherings, does that mean that you do not have a deceitful disposition? It does not, you have one as well. Why do I say this? Here is an example: You may be able to open yourself up in fellowship about things that do not touch on your pride or vanity, things that are not shameful, and things that you will not be pruned for—but if you had done something that violates the truth principles, something that everyone would loathe and be revolted by, would you be able to fellowship openly about it in gatherings? And if you had done something unspeakable, it would be even harder for you to open up and reveal the truth about it. Were someone to look into it or try to assign blame for it, you would use all means at your disposal to hide it, and you would be terrified that this matter might be exposed. You would always be trying to cover it up and get away with it. Is this not a deceitful disposition? You may believe that if you do not say it out loud, no one will know of it, and that even God would have no way to do anything to you. That is mistaken! God scrutinizes people’s innermost hearts. If you cannot perceive this, you do not know God at all. Deceitful people do not merely trick others—they even dare to try to trick God and use deceitful means to resist Him. Can such people attain God’s salvation? God’s disposition is righteous and holy, and deceitful people are what He loathes most. So, deceitful people are those for whom it is hardest to attain salvation. People with a deceitful nature are those who lie the most. They will even lie to God and try to trick Him, and they are obstinately unrepentant. This means that they cannot attain God’s salvation. If someone only reveals a corrupt disposition every now and then, if they lie and trick people but are simple and open with God and repent to Him, then this kind of person still has hope of attaining salvation. If you are truly a person with reason, you should open yourself up to God, speak to Him from the heart, and reflect on and know yourself. You should not lie to God anymore, you should not try to trick Him at any time, and even less still should you try to hide anything from Him. The fact is that there are some things people do not need to know about. So long as you are open with God about them, that is fine. When you do things, be sure not to keep secrets from God. You can say to God all those things that are not fit to say to other people. A person who does so is smart. Though there may be some things they feel no need to open up to others about, this should not be called deceitfulness. Deceitful people are different: They believe that they should hide everything, that they cannot tell anything to other people, especially when it comes to private matters. If it will not benefit them to say something, they will not say it, even to God. Is this not a deceitful disposition? Such a person is deceitful, indeed! If someone is so deceitful that they do not tell God the truth, and keep everything secret from God, are they even someone who believes in God? Do they have true faith in God? They are a person who doubts God, and in their heart, they do not believe Him. So, is their faith not false? They are a nonbeliever, a false believer. Do you have times where you doubt God and become guarded against Him? (Yes.) To doubt God and to be guarded against Him, what kind of disposition is this? This is a deceitful disposition. Everybody has a deceitful disposition, it is just a matter of severity. So long as you can accept the truth, you will be able to achieve repentance and change.

For some people, when something happens to them, they reveal a corrupt disposition, they have notions and ideas, they have prejudices about other people, and they make judgments about them and undermine them behind their backs. They can reflect on themselves and be completely open about these things, but when they do certain shameful things, they want to keep to themselves, and forever shut within their hearts. Not only do they not speak of these things with others, but they don’t tell God of them when they pray. They even try everything they can to come up with falsehoods to cover these things up or camouflage them. This is a deceitful disposition. When you have such thoughts, when you live in this kind of state, you should reflect on yourself, and see clearly that you are not someone honest, that nothing of what God describes as an honest person is expressed in you, that you are well and truly someone deceitful, and that even though you are stupid, of poor caliber, and slow-witted, you are still someone deceitful. This is what it means to know yourself. The very least you should be able to achieve in knowing yourself is being able to clearly see and discern the obvious corruption you reveal, and being able to seek the truth in order to address this. If you truly know your own deceitful disposition, you should often pray to God, reflect on yourself, discern and dissect your deceitful disposition in accordance with God’s word, and perceive its essence; then you will have hope of casting off your corrupt disposition of deceitfulness. Some people can’t clearly tell the difference between deceitful people and honest people—which means their caliber is too poor. Some people often use their poor caliber, foolishness, ignorance, clumsiness with words, awkwardness, and liability to be cheated as evidence of honesty. They’re always telling others, “I’m too honest, I often get the worst of it as a result, I don’t know how to take advantage of others—yet God likes me because I am an honest person.” Are these words right? Such words are ludicrous, they are designed to mislead people, they are barefaced and shameless. How could people who are foolish and stupid be honest? These are two different things. It is a major mistake to treat the stupid things you have done as honesty. Everyone can see that even fools are liable to be arrogant and conceited, to think highly of themselves. No matter how ignorant and lacking in caliber people are, they can still lie and deceive others. Is all this not fact? Do fools and people of poor caliber really never do anything bad? Do they really not have corrupt dispositions? They most definitely do. Some people also say they are honest and they open up about their lies to others, but they don’t dare open up about the shameful things they do. When the church deals with them for their problems, they are unable to accept it and do not submit at all, preferring to poke around behind the scenes and ease out the truth. This kind of deceitful person does not accept the truth at all, and they do not submit whatsoever, yet they still think themselves honest. Is this not absolutely shameless of them? This is utter foolishness! This kind of person is absolutely not honest, nor are they guileless. Stupid people are stupid people; fools are fools. Only guileless people who are not deceitful are honest.

How can deceitful people be discerned? What are the behaviors of deceitful people? No matter who they associate or engage with, they never allow anyone to probe at what is really going on with them; they are always wary of others, they are always doing things behind people’s backs, and they never say what they’re really thinking. They may sometimes speak a bit about knowing themselves, but they make no mention of the crucial points or key words, and they are terrified of letting something slip. They are very sensitive to these things, out of fear that others might spot their weak points. This is a kind of deceitful disposition. Also, some people deliberately put on a facade so that others think they are guileless, that they can endure suffering and not complain, or that they are spiritual and that they love and pursue the truth. They are clearly not this kind of person, but they insist on putting on this act for others. This is also a deceitful disposition. All that deceitful people say and do has an intent behind it. If they did not have any intents, they would not speak or act. There is a disposition inside them that governs them to do so, and that is the disposition of deceitfulness. When people have a deceitful disposition, is it easy to change? How much have you changed? Have you entered onto the path of the pursuit of honesty? (Yes, this is the direction we’re working toward.) How many steps have you taken? Or are you stuck at the stage of wanting to do it? (It’s still just something we want to do. Sometimes, it is only after we have done something that we realize that it involved deception, that we were trying to give people a false impression; only then do we realize we were being deceitful.) You realize this is being deceitful—but were you able to realize it is a kind of corrupt disposition? And just where do these deceitful things come from? (From our nature.) That’s right, from your nature. And do these corrupt things disturb you? They are hard to get away from, hard to deal with, hard to escape—and very troublesome, too. What makes them troublesome? What about them pains you? (We want to change, but feel very pained when we don’t manage to.) That’s one aspect, but it doesn’t count as troublesome. When a person is controlled by a deceitful disposition, they can lie to and cheat others at any time or place, and no matter what happens to them, they will be thinking of how to tell lies to cheat and mislead people. Even if they want to control themselves, they are unable to, it’s involuntary. This is where the problem lies. This is a problem of disposition. In how many ways can a deceitful disposition reveal itself? In probing, deception, wariness, as well as suspicion, pretense, and falsehood. The disposition which such behaviors expose and manifest is deceitfulness. After fellowshipping these topics, do you have a clearer knowledge of the deceitful disposition? Are there still those of you who say, “I do not have a deceitful disposition, I am not a deceitful person, I am close to being an honest person”? (No.) There are many people who do not quite understand what an honest person is, exactly. Some say that honest people are those who are guileless and straightforward, who are bullied and excluded wherever they go, or who are slow and always speak and act half a beat behind other people. Some fools and ignorant people, who engage in such folly that others look down on them, also describe themselves as honest people. And all those uneducated people from the lower rungs of society, who feel themselves to be inferior, likewise say that they are honest people. Wherein lies their mistake? They do not know what an honest person is. What is the source of their misapprehension? The main reason is that they do not understand the truth. They believe that the “honest people” God speaks of are fools and idiots, that they are uneducated, slow of speech and tongue, bullied and oppressed, and easily duped and swindled. The implication is that the objects of God’s salvation are those brainless people at the bottom of society who are often pushed around by others. Who will God save if not these lowly, impoverished people? Isn’t this what they believe? Are those really the people God saves? This is a mistaken interpretation of God’s will. The people God saves are the ones who love the truth, who have caliber and the comprehension ability, they are all people who have conscience and reason, who are able to fulfill God’s commissions and do their duty well. They are people who are able to accept the truth and cast off their corrupt dispositions, and they are people who truly love God, submit to God, and worship God. Although most of these people are from the bottom of society, from the families of workers and farmers, they are definitely not muddleheaded people, simpletons, or good-for-nothings. On the contrary, they are clever people who are able to accept, practice and submit to the truth. They are all people of justice, who would forsake worldly glory and riches to follow God and gain the truth and life—they are the wisest people of all. These are all honest people who truly believe in God and who truly expend themselves for Him. They can gain God’s approval and blessings, and they can be perfected into His people and the pillars of His temple. They are people of gold, silver, and precious jewels. It is those muddleheaded, foolish, absurd, and good-for-nothing people who will be eliminated. What do the nonbelievers and absurd people view God’s work and management plan as? As a dumping ground, no? These people are not only of poor caliber, they are also absurd. No matter how many of God’s words they read, they cannot understand the truth, and no matter how many sermons they hear, they are incapable of entering reality—if they are this foolish, can they still be saved? Could God want this kind of person? No matter how many years they have been a believer, they still don’t understand any truths, they still talk nonsense, and yet they still consider themselves honest—do they have no shame? Such people do not understand the truth. They are always misinterpreting God’s will, and yet everywhere they go, they bang on about their misinterpretations, preaching them as truth, telling people, “It’s good to be bullied a little, people should lose out a bit, they should be a little foolish—these are the objects of God’s salvation and they are the people that God will save.” People who say such things are disgusting; this brings great humiliation upon God! It is so disgusting! The pillars of God’s kingdom and the overcomers that God saves are all people who understand the truth, and who are wise. These are the ones who shall have a share in the heavenly kingdom. All those who are foolish and ignorant, shameless and senseless, who do not have a shred of understanding of the truth, who are simpletons and fools—are they not all good-for-nothings? How could such people have a share in the heavenly kingdom? The honest people God speaks of are those who can put the truth into practice once they understand it, who are wise and smart, who open themselves up to God simply, and who act according to principle and submit to God absolutely. These people all have God-fearing hearts, they focus on doing things according to the principles, and they all pursue absolute submission to God and love God in their hearts. Only they are truly honest people. If someone doesn’t even know what it means to be honest, if they cannot see that the essence of honest people is absolute submission to God, fearing God and shunning evil, or that honest people are honest because they love the truth, because they love God, and because they practice the truth—then that kind of person is so foolish, and truly lacking in discernment. Honest people are absolutely not the guileless, muddleheaded, ignorant, and foolish individuals that people imagine; they are people with normal humanity, who have conscience and reason. What is clever about honest people is that they are able to listen to God’s words and be honest, and this is why they are blessed by God.

Nothing has greater significance than God’s request that people be honest—He is asking that people live before Him, that they accept His scrutiny, and that they live in the light. Only honest people are true members of the human race. People who are not honest are beasts, they are animals walking around in human clothing, they are not human beings. To pursue being an honest person, you must behave in accordance with God’s requirements; you must undergo judgment, chastisement, and pruning. When your corrupt disposition is cleansed and you are able to practice the truth and live by God’s words, only then will you be an honest person. People who are ignorant, foolish, and guileless are absolutely not honest people. By demanding that people be honest, God is asking them to possess normal humanity, to cast off their deceitfulness and disguises, to not lie to or trick others, to perform their duty with loyalty, and be able to truly love and submit to Him. Only these individuals are the people of God’s kingdom. God demands that people be the good soldiers of Christ. What are the good soldiers of Christ? They must be equipped with the truth reality and be of one heart and mind with Christ. At any time and any place, they must be able to exalt and testify to God, and able to use the truth to wage war with Satan. In all things, they must stand on God’s side, bear testimony, and live out the truth reality. They must be able to humiliate Satan and win marvelous victories for God. That is what it means to be a good soldier of Christ. The good soldiers of Christ are overcomers, they are those who overcome Satan. In requiring that people be honest and not deceitful, God is not asking them to be fools, but to cast off their deceitful dispositions, achieve submission to Him and bring glory to Him. This is what can be achieved by practicing the truth. This is not a change in one’s behavior, it is not a matter of speaking more or speaking less, nor is it about how one acts. Rather, it is about the intent behind one’s speech and actions, one’s thoughts and ideas, one’s ambitions and desires. Everything that belongs to revelations of corrupt dispositions and to error must be changed at its root, so that it aligns with the truth. If one is to achieve a change in disposition, they must be able to see through to the essence of Satan’s disposition. If you can see through to the essence of a deceitful disposition, that it is Satan’s disposition and the face of the devil, if you can hate Satan and forsake the devil, then it will be easy for you to cast off your corrupt disposition. If you do not know that there is a deceitful state within you, if you do not recognize the revelations of a deceitful disposition, then you will not know how to seek the truth to resolve this, and it will be hard for you to change your deceitful disposition. You must first recognize what things are revealed in you, and which aspect of a corrupt disposition they are. If the things that you reveal are of a deceitful disposition, will you hate it in your heart? And if you do, how should you change? You have to prune your intents and correct your views. You must first seek the truth on this matter to resolve your problems, strive to achieve what God asks and satisfy Him, and become someone who does not try to trick God or other people, even those who are a little foolish or ignorant. Trying to trick someone who is foolish or ignorant is very immoral—it makes you a devil. To be an honest person, you must not trick or lie to anyone. To devils and Satan, however, you must choose your words wisely; if you do not, you are liable to be made a fool of by them and bring shame upon God. Only by choosing your words wisely and practicing the truth, will you be able to overcome and shame Satan. People who are ignorant, foolish, and stubborn will never be able to understand the truth; they can only be misled, toyed with, and trampled by Satan, and ultimately, devoured.

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