Words on Knowing Oneself (Excerpt 45)

There are often some negative states within man. Among them, some states can influence people or constrain them. There are some states that can even make someone diverge from the true way and head off in the wrong direction. What people pursue, what they pay attention to, and what path they choose to take—these are all connected to their inner states. Whether people are weak or strong is even more directly connected with their inner states. For example, many people now lay particular emphasis on the day of God. They all have this desire: They yearn for the day of God to swiftly arrive so that they can extricate themselves from this suffering, these illnesses, this persecution, and other kinds of pain. People think that when the day of God arrives, they will be relieved of the pain they suffer now, that they will never again suffer hardships, and that they will enjoy blessings. If someone seeks to understand God or pursues the truth from within this kind of state, then their life progress will be very limited. When any setback or anything unpleasant befalls them, then all the weakness, the negativity, and the rebelliousness inside of them comes out. So, if someone’s state is abnormal or incorrect, then the goal of their pursuit will also be incorrect and will certainly be impure. You strive for entry from within incorrect states, yet you think you are doing well in your pursuit, that you are doing things in accordance with God’s requirements, and practicing in accordance with the truth. You don’t believe that you have gone against God’s desires or deviated from His intentions. You may feel that way, but when some unpleasant event or environment causes you some suffering, touches on your weak spots, and the things you love and pursue deep in your heart, you will become negative, your hopes and dreams will come to nothing, and you will naturally become weak. So, your state at the time decides whether you are strong or weak. Right now, there are many people who feel that they are quite strong, that they have a bit of stature, and that they have more faith than they did before. They think that they have started on the right track of belief in God, and that they do not need other people to pull or push them along it. In this case, why do they become negative or weak when they face certain environments or encounter difficulties? Why, then, do they make complaints and end up giving up on their faith? This shows that there are some negative and abnormal states within everyone. Some of the impurities in man are not easy to let go of. Even if you are a person who pursues the truth, you cannot completely let go of them. This must be done based on the exposure of God’s word. After reflecting on and understanding their own states, people must compare them to God’s word, and resolve their corrupt dispositions. Only then will their states gradually change. It is not the case that, when people read God’s words, and come to know their states, they can immediately transform them. As long as people regularly read God’s words, see their own states clearly, and pray to God and strive toward the truth, then when they reveal corruption again, or when they are in an abnormal state in the future, they will be able to recognize it, and they will be able to pray to God, and use the truth to solve the problem, and their incorrect state can be reversed and they can gradually change. In this way, they will be able to let go of the impurities and those things that should be let go of that people harbor within themselves. People must have a certain level of experience before results can be achieved.

From the beginning of their belief in God, many people pursue blessings based on their notions and imaginings, and consequently become negative and weak when they encounter things that do not accord with their notions. They start to doubt God and even come up with notions or misconceptions about Him. If nobody fellowships on the truth with them, they will not be able to stand firm, and may betray God at any time. Let Me give you an example. Let’s say that someone has always harbored notions and imaginings in their belief in God. This person believes that, as long as he renounces his family and does his duty, God will protect and bless him, and look after the life of his family, and that this is what God should do. Then, one day something that he did not wish to happen befalls him—he falls sick. Living with his host family is not as comfortable as being in his own home, and perhaps they do not care for him very well. He cannot take it, and he becomes negative and disheartened for a long time. He also doesn’t pursue the truth, and he doesn’t even acknowledge the truth. This means that people have some states within them, and, if they do not recognize, perceive, or feel that these states are wrong, then although they may still have passion and pursue a lot, at some point they will encounter a circumstance that reveals their true internal state, and causes them to stumble and fail. This is what comes from not being able to reflect on or come to know yourself. All those who do not understand the truth are this way; you never know when they will stumble and fail, when they will be negative and weak, or when they could be capable of betraying God. Look how much danger those who do not understand the truth must face! But understanding the truth is not a simple matter. It takes a long time before you can finally gain a flicker of light, have a bit of true knowledge, and understand a bit of the truth. If the intentions within you are seriously adulterated and cannot be resolved, they will extinguish the small light of your understanding at all times, and even erode the small bit of faith you have, and this is certainly very dangerous. Right now, the main issue is that all people have certain notions and imaginings about God in their hearts, but before they are revealed, they don’t acknowledge them; they are hidden inside, and you never know at which time, or under what circumstances, they will come out and cause people to stumble. Although all people have good aspirations, and want to be good believers and gain the truth, their intentions are too adulterated, and they have too many notions and imaginings which greatly hinder them from pursuing the truth and gaining life entry. They want to do these things but they cannot. For example, it is hard for people to submit when they are pruned; when they are tested or refined, they want to argue with God. Whenever they fall ill or encounter some catastrophe, they complain about God for not protecting them. How can people like this experience God’s work? They do not even reach the minimum of having a heart of submission to God, so how can they gain the truth? Some people become negative when the smallest thing doesn’t go their way; they stumble on account of other people’s judgments, and betray God when they are arrested. It is true that one never knows what the future holds, whether it be happiness or ruin. Every person has something inside of them which they want to pursue and obtain; they have things that they like. Pursuing the things that they like could bring misfortune upon them, but they do not feel this, still believing that the things they strive for and like are right, and that there is nothing wrong with these things. But if there comes a day when misfortune strikes, and the things that they pursue and like are taken from them, they will become negative and weak, and unable to drag themselves to their feet. They will not know what happened, they will complain about God for being unfair, and their heart of betrayal against God will come out. If people do not know themselves, then they will not know where their Achilles’ heel is, nor will they know where it is easy for them to fail or stumble. It is truly pitiful. That is why we say that if a person does not know themselves, they could stumble or fail at any time, and bring about their own end.

Many people have said: “I understand every element of the truth, but I just can’t put them into practice.” This exposes the root of why people do not practice the truth. What kind of people understand the truth yet cannot put it into practice? Certainly, only people who are averse to and hate the truth cannot put it into practice, and this is a problem in their nature. Even if they don’t understand the truth, people who love the truth will act based on their conscience, and they will not do evil. If a person’s nature is averse to the truth, then they will never be able to practice the truth. People who are averse to the truth only believe in God to obtain blessings, not in order to pursue the truth and obtain salvation. Even if they do their duties, it is not for the sake of obtaining the truth, but entirely in order to obtain blessings. For example, some people who are persecuted and cannot return to their homes think in their hearts, “I am persecuted and cannot return home because of my belief in God. One day God will give me a better home; God will not let me suffer in vain,” or “Wherever I am, God will give me food to eat, and He will not let me walk down a dead-end road. If He were to let me walk down a dead-end road, then He would not be the real God. God would not do that.” Do such things not exist within man? There are also some people who think, “I have renounced my family to expend myself for God, and God should not deliver me into the hands of those in power; I have pursued with such fervor, God should protect and bless me. We so yearn for the day of God to arrive, so the day of God should come as soon as possible. God should fulfill the wishes of man.” Many people think this way—is this not man’s extravagant desire? People have always made extravagant demands of God, always thinking: “We have renounced our families to do our duties, so God should bless us. We have acted in accordance with God’s demands, so God should reward us.” Many people harbor such things in their hearts while believing in God. They see other people walking away from their families and renouncing everything in order to expend themselves for God so effortlessly, and they think, “They have left their families for such a long time, how do they not miss home? How do they overcome this? How come I can’t overcome this? How come I can’t let go of my family, husband (or wife), and children? How come God is gracious to them and not gracious to me? Why does the Holy Spirit not bestow grace upon me or reside with me?” What state is this? People are so lacking in reason; they do not practice the truth and then they complain about God, and they do not do what they should do. People should choose the path of pursuing the truth, but they are averse to the truth, they crave fleshly pleasures, and they always seek to obtain blessings and enjoy grace, all the while complaining that God’s demands of man are too excessive. They keep asking God to be gracious to them and to bestow more grace upon them, and to allow them to feel fleshly pleasure—are they people who sincerely believe in God? They think, “I have renounced my family to do my duty and I have suffered so much. God should be gracious to me, so that I don’t miss home and so that I have the resolve to renounce. He should give me strength, then I will not become negative and weak. Other people are so strong, God should make me strong too.” These words that people speak completely lack reason and faith. They are all spoken because people’s extravagant demands have not been fulfilled, which has made them dissatisfied with God. These are all things that they reveal from their hearts, and they completely represent people’s nature. These things exist within people, and if they are not cast off, they can lead people to complain about and misunderstand God at any time or place. People will be likely to blaspheme against God, and they may desert the true way at any moment and in any place. This is very natural. Do you now see this matter clearly? People must know the things that their natures reveal. This is a very serious matter which needs to be approached carefully, because this touches upon the issue of whether or not people can stand firm in their witness, and the issue of whether or not they can obtain salvation in their belief in God. As for people who understand a bit of the truth, if they realize that they are revealing these things, and if, when they discover this problem, they can examine it and dig it out, then they will be able to solve the problem. If they do not realize that they are revealing these things, then there is no way for them to solve this problem, and they can only wait for the exposure of God or for the revelation of the facts. People who do not love the truth do not value self-examination. They always believe that it is an insignificant matter, and will indulge themselves, thinking, “Everyone is like this—complaining a little is no big deal. God will forgive it and God will not remember it.” People do not know how to self-reflect or how to seek the truth to resolve problems, they cannot practice any of these things. They are all muddledheaded, and especially lazy, as well as dependent and prone to indulging in fantasies. They yearn: “One day God will bring about a thorough change in us, and then we will no longer be lazy like this, we will become completely holy, and we will look up to the might of God.” This is a fanciful thing to imagine, and it is really unrealistic. If a person can utter this kind of notion and imagining after hearing so many sermons, then they do not have knowledge of God’s work, and to this day, they have still not clearly seen how God saves people. People like this are incredibly ignorant. Why does the house of God always fellowship about knowing oneself and knowing God’s disposition? This is crucial for every person. If you can really clearly see how God saves people, then you should focus on knowing yourself, and you should engage regularly in self-reflection—only then will you have real life entry. When you realize that you are revealing corruption, will you be able to seek the truth? Will you be able to pray to God, and rebel against the flesh? This is a prerequisite for practicing the truth, and it is a crucial step. If, in everything that happens to you, and in everything you do, you can be cognizant of how to practice in a way that accords with the truth, it will be easy for you to put the truth into practice, and you will have life entry. If you aren’t able to know yourself, how can your life progress? If, no matter how negative and weak you are, you don’t self-reflect and come to know yourself, or pray to God, then this only proves that you do not love the truth, that you are not a person who pursues the truth, and that you will never be able to obtain the truth.

Previously, some people thought: “We yearn for the swift downfall of the great red dragon and we hope that the day of God will come quickly. Are these not legitimate demands? Is yearning for the day of God to come soon not the same as yearning for glory to be brought to God as quickly as possible?” They covertly find some nice-sounding ways to express this, but actually, they are only hoping for these things for themselves. What would they yearn for, if they weren’t doing it for their own sake? All that people yearn for is to be quickly freed from their miserable surroundings and this painful world. There are some people in particular who see the promises given before to the firstborn sons of God and they have an incredible thirst for this. Whenever they read those words, it is like they are quenching their thirst by looking at a mirage. The selfish desires within man have not yet been entirely relinquished, so no matter how you pursue the truth, it will only ever be half-hearted. Many people who do not pursue the truth always yearn for the day of God to arrive so that they can be relieved of their suffering and enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. When it doesn’t arrive, they burn with pain, and some people shout out: “When will the day of God arrive? I still haven’t got married yet, I can’t keep waiting anymore! I have to show filial piety to my parents, I can’t take it anymore! I still need to have children so that they can take care of me when I get old! The day of God should hurry up and arrive! Let’s all pray for it together!” How can those people who pursue the truth follow all the way up until now without a single complaint? Are they not guided by the word of God, and supported by the word of God? There are so many impurities within people, is it workable for them to not accept refinement? Without suffering, how can they change? People must be refined to a certain extent, and be willing to let God orchestrate them, without a single further complaint—that is when they will be completely changed.

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