Words on Knowing Oneself (Excerpt 46)

In corrupt mankind, people’s nature essence is the same, apart from reincarnated demons or those possessed by evil spirits. Some people always like to study what spirits different kinds of people have inside them, but this isn’t realistic; focusing on this can easily lead to deviations. Some people always feel there’s something wrong with their spirit because they experienced some supernatural events, while others think their spirit has a problem because they can never change. In fact, regardless of whether one’s spirit has a problem, human nature is the same—it resists and betrays God. The extent of people’s corruption is pretty much the same too, as are the commonalities in their nature. Some people always suspect that something is wrong with their spirit and wonder, “How could I do such a thing? I never would have thought! Is something wrong with my spirit?” They even doubt whether they’ve been chosen by God, and as a result they become ever more negative. Some people comprehend things purely and, no matter what they have done, they only focus on seeking the truth and reflecting on themselves in accordance with God’s words: “How could I do this? What disposition did I reveal? What nature controls it? How can I act in line with the truth?” By reflecting on yourself like this, it’s easy to understand the truth and find a path of practice, as well as achieve self-knowledge. Everyone’s methods and paths of self-examination are different; some focus on seeking the truth and knowing themselves, while others always focus on vague and unrealistic things, which makes it difficult to progress and easy to get stuck in negativity. You need to understand now that no matter what your spirit is, no one can see nor touch things of spirit, so paying too much attention to this will just get in the way of things. The key thing to focus on is mankind’s nature essence, which is related to discerning people, and if you can discern people’s nature essence, then you can discern people themselves. Seeing clearly what things exist in one’s nature essence, what corrupt dispositions can be revealed, and what aspects of the truth are needed to solve them—this is what’s most important to focus on when believing in God. Only by experiencing God’s work in this way can one gain the truth and cleanse their corrupt disposition. But how to know oneself? How to know one’s own nature? One can see what their nature essence is according to the dispositions they reveal through their actions, so the key to knowing oneself is to know one’s own corrupt disposition. Only through this will one be able to understand their nature essence, and to see this clearly is to thoroughly understand oneself. Knowing oneself is a profound task, and the key to whether someone can be saved is how they know themselves. Only when someone really knows themselves can they truly repent, easily accept the truth, and step onto the path to salvation. It is impossible for those who don’t know themselves to accept the truth, much less truly repent. The key issue, therefore, is to understand one’s own corrupt disposition. Absolutely do not pursue false spirituality; always focusing on what someone’s spirit is makes it easy to deviate and easy to misguide or harm people. It’s realistic for people to focus on knowing themselves, understanding their corrupt disposition, and seeing man’s nature essence clearly, and all of this will be advantageous to solving the problem of corrupt disposition and to people pursuing the truth and attaining God’s salvation.

Mankind’s nature essence, after their corruption by Satan, is basically the same, with only minor differences. This is because all have the same ancestor, live in the same world, and have experienced the same corruption. They all have the same things in common. Yet, some people are capable of doing one kind of thing in one environment, and some people are capable of doing another kind of thing in another environment; some people are somewhat cultured, having been educated, and some people are uncultured, having not been educated; some people have one kind of view on things, others have another kind of view on things; some live in one kind of social environment, and some live in another kind of social environment, and they have different inherited customs and living habits. The essence of the things that are revealed within man’s nature, however, is all the same. So there’s no need for you to always concern yourself with what kind of spirit you possess, or always worry whether it’s an evil spirit. This is something that man cannot reach; only God can know this, and it would be of no use for man to know it even if they could. There’s no benefit in always wanting to dissect or deliberate over one’s spirit; this is something done by the most ignorant and muddleheaded of people. Don’t doubt yourself when you do something wrong or transgress in some way, saying: “Is there something wrong with my spirit? Is this the work of an evil spirit? How could I do such a ridiculous thing?” No matter what you do, you should look to your nature for the root of the problem, and seek the truths that people should enter. If you examine your spirit, then you will come up empty-handed—even if you come to know what kind of spirit you have within you, you still won’t be able to know your own nature, nor be able to solve your problems. Therefore, some people are always talking about what spirit they have as though they are exceptionally spiritual or professional, when in fact they are even more amateur and foolish. Some people speak especially spiritually, thinking that the words they say are so profound, and that ordinary people won’t understand them. They say, “It is crucial that we examine what our spirits are. If we don’t have human spirits, then even though we may believe in God, we cannot be saved. We must not let God develop an aversion toward us.” Some people become poisoned and misled when they hear this, feeling deeply that these words are reasonable, and begin to examine what kind of spirit they have. Because they pay such particular attention to their spirit, they get neurotic, examining their spirit when doing anything, and eventually they discover a problem: “Why do I go against the truth in everything I do? Why don’t I have even a shred of humanity or reason? I must be an evil spirit.” In fact, with a bad nature and without the truth, how can man do anything that is in line with the truth? No matter how good their actions are, they are still not putting the truth into practice, and are still hostile to God. Man’s nature is bad and has been corrupted and processed by Satan; they simply have no human likeness, they utterly rebel against God and resist Him, and are so far from God that they cannot possibly do anything that accords with God’s intentions. There is nothing within man’s innate nature that is compatible with God. This is all obvious.

Some people are always overly sensitive and attach great importance to whether they have spiritual understanding, or to which type of spirit they belong, all while setting aside the matter of understanding their nature. This is like picking up sesame seeds only to lose a watermelon. Isn’t it foolish to seize onto the illusory while neglecting the real? In these years of study, have you thoroughly understood things of the spirit or matters of the soul? Have you seen what your spirit is like? If you don’t dig into the stuff of the nature essence deep in your soul and instead always study your spirit, will your study produce any results? Isn’t this like a blind man lighting a candle and wasting the wax? You lay aside your real difficulties and you don’t think about how they can be resolved, you always employ crooked methods and are always deliberating about what kind of spirit you have, but can this resolve any problem? If you believe in God but don’t pursue the truth, never engaging in honest work but always studying your spirit, then you are the most foolish person. Truly intelligent people have the following attitude: “No matter what God does or how He treats me, no matter how profoundly corrupted I am or what my humanity is like, I will be unswerving in my determination to pursue the truth and to seek to know God.” Only by knowing God can one resolve their corrupt disposition and fulfill their duty to satisfy God’s intentions; this is the direction for human life, it is what humans should be seeking to achieve, and it is the one and only path to salvation. Now, what’s realistic is pursuing the truth, knowing your own corrupt nature, understanding the truth to cast off your corrupt disposition, and being able to perform your duty well to God’s satisfaction. Entering into the truth reality and living out the likeness of a genuine person—this is what’s realistic. What’s realistic is loving God, submitting to God, and bearing testimony to God. These are the results God wants. It is useless to research things that can neither be touched nor seen. They have nothing to do with what’s realistic, and also have nothing to do with the effects of God’s work. As you now exist in a physical body, you must pursue understanding the truth, performing your duty well, being an honest person, and changing your disposition. These are all things that most people can achieve.

Some people obviously have the work of evil spirits and might be possessed by them. Can someone like this be saved by believing in God? This is hard to say, and depends on whether they act reasonably and have a normal mental state. The most important thing is whether or not they can understand the truth and put it into practice. If they cannot meet this criterion, then there’s no way they can be saved. Now you all have normal reason, speak normally, and have not experienced any supernatural or abnormal phenomena. While sometimes your states are a little abnormal and some of your ways of doing things are wrong, these are all revelations of human nature. In fact, this is the same for other people—it’s just that the background and timing of their revelations differ. It seems that now you have a little stature, and after hearing others talk about matters and statements of spirit, you imitate and follow along, as if you understand matters of the spirit so well yourself and are such a great person. Only God knows and controls matters of the spiritual realm, and it’s good enough if people can understand even a little from His words, so how could anyone thoroughly understand the spiritual realm? Is it not easy to go astray by always pondering such things? People nowadays all have this state within them. Although you may not always be seriously discussing these matters, and you may not become weak or fall down because of them, you can still be temporarily affected by those words of others. Though you may not pay much attention to this kind of matter, you are still susceptible to focusing on the things of spirit in your heart, and should the day come when you genuinely do some things wrong, suffering a setback and stumble, you should then doubt yourself, saying: “Is my spirit also wrong?” You usually never doubt, and think others absurd when you see them mired in doubt. But if a day comes when you are pruned, or someone else says you are Satan, or that you are an evil spirit, then you will believe it, and just like them you’ll become mired in doubt, unable to extricate yourself. In fact, most people are susceptible to this problem, seeing matters of the spirit as incredibly important and neglecting matters like understanding their own nature or life entry. This makes them utterly divorced from reality and it is an experiential deviation.

You should all pay attention to knowing your own nature, and which aspects of your nature can easily cause you to do wrong things or go astray, and you should, on this basis, summarize experience and lessons. Particularly in terms of serving, life experience, and knowing your own nature, only by gradually developing deeper knowledge will you be able to grasp your own state and grow in the correct direction. If you can possess these aspects of the truth, and make them your inner life, then you will be much more steady, no longer make irresponsible and arbitrary remarks about things you don’t understand, focus on the reality of your words, and fellowship about real things. When people gain a deeper knowledge of their own nature and a deeper understanding of the truth, they will then speak more with a sense of propriety, and will no longer speak arbitrarily. Those who are without the truth are always simple-minded, and they dare to say anything; there are even some people who, when they are spreading the gospel, for the sake of gaining a few more people, don’t hesitate to follow religious people and speak blasphemy against God. They have no idea what they are, nor have any understanding of their own nature, and they do not fear God. Some people believe this isn’t a big deal, but is it really not a big deal? When a day comes when they recognize the seriousness of the problem, they will become afraid. What a terrible thing it is to have done this! They can’t see through to the essence of this matter, and they even think themselves so wise and that they understand everything; but they are unaware that they offend God and are unaware of how they will perish. It is futile for you to understand all matters to do with hell or the spiritual realm if you don’t know your own nature. The key now is to resolve the difficulties of knowing oneself and knowing one’s nature essence. You must grasp every one of the states revealed by your nature—if you cannot do this, then any other understanding is useless; it’s all useless no matter how much you dissect yourself to see what kind of spirit or soul you have. The key is to grasp the various things in your nature which actually exist within you. Now, no matter what spirit is within you, you are now a person with normal thinking, so you should pursue understanding and accepting the truth. If you can understand the truth, then you should act in accordance with the truth—this is man’s duty. Deliberating over matters of the spirit is simply of no use to you, and is futile and of no benefit. Nowadays, people who have the work of evil spirits are being revealed at churches all over. These people still have hope if they can comprehend the truth, but if they cannot comprehend nor accept the truth then they can only be cleared out. If one can comprehend the truth, it shows that they still have normal reason, and if they understand more truths, then Satan will not be able to mislead or control them, and there is hope that they can be saved. If they are possessed by demons and most of the time their reason is not very normal, then they’re completely done for and must be cleared out to avoid inviting trouble. For anyone with relatively normal reason, no matter what spirit they have inside, as long as they have a little spiritual understanding, and they can understand and accept the truth, they have hope for salvation. Although man might not have the faculty to accept the truth, if one listens effectively to sermons, is able to understand and comprehend when fellowshipping on the truth, and has normal thinking and is not absurd, then they have hope of achieving salvation. But I’m afraid that there will be people who lack spiritual understanding or don’t understand human words, and who cannot understand no matter how others fellowship the truth with them; these people are troublesome and cannot even work as laborers. Moreover, those who believe in God should only focus on the truth and their pursuit of it. They should not keep focusing on talking about, studying, or understanding the spirit. This is absurd and ridiculous. The key now is whether someone can accept the truth, understand the truth, and enter realities. This is key, but whether one can know themselves and reflect on themselves, and whether they are someone who understands their own nature is most critical! It’s meaningless and especially worthless to study what your own spirit is. If you always study things like what your own spirit is, what’s going on with your soul, what spirit you have, whether yours is a high-grade or a low-grade spirit, from which spirit have you been reincarnated, how many times you’ve come before, what your ultimate outcome will be, or what the future holds—always studying these things will interfere with the important matters. Even if you study them thoroughly, when one day others understand the truth and enter realities, you will have nothing. You will have interfered with the important matters and brought it on yourself. You will have taken the wrong path and believed in God in vain. Who will you blame then? It’s useless to blame anyone; it’s all caused by your own ignorance.

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