Words on Knowing Oneself (Excerpt 47)

Do you see clearly now how to follow God and walk the path of pursuing the truth? What exactly is believing in God and following God all about? Is it about renouncing a few things, being able to expend oneself for God and endure a bit of suffering, and following God to the end of the road, and that’s it? Can one gain the truth by following God in this way? Can one obtain salvation? Are you clear about these things in your hearts? Some people think that once a person has experienced being judged, chastised, and pruned, or after their true colors have been revealed, their outcome is set, and they are destined to have no hope of salvation. Most people cannot see this matter clearly, they hesitate at the crossroads, not knowing how to walk the path ahead. Doesn’t this mean that they still lack true knowledge of God’s work? Do those who always have doubts about God’s work and God’s salvation of man have any true faith at all? Ordinarily, when some people have yet to be pruned and have not suffered any setbacks, they feel that they should pursue the truth and satisfy God’s intentions in their faith. However, as soon as they take a bit of a blow or any difficulties arise, out comes their betraying nature, which is loathing to see. Afterward, they, too, feel it loathing, and ultimately pass a verdict on their own outcome, saying, “It’s all over for me! If I’m capable of doing such things, doesn’t that mean I’m done for? God will never save me.” Many people are in this state. It could even be said that everyone is like this. Why do people pass verdicts on themselves like this? It proves that they still do not understand God’s intention to save mankind. Being pruned just once can lead to you falling into negativity for a long period of time, unable to pull yourself out, to the extent that you may even give up your duty; even just a minor scenario can scare you into no longer pursuing the truth, and getting stuck. It is as if people are only enthusiastic in their pursuit when they feel they are flawless and without blemish, yet when they discover they are overly corrupt, they do not have the heart to continue pursuing the truth. Many people have spoken words of frustration and negativity such as, “It’s definitely over for me; God will not save me. Even if God forgives me, I can’t forgive myself; I can never change.” People do not understand God’s intention, which shows they still do not know His work. In fact, it’s natural for people to sometimes reveal certain corrupt dispositions throughout their experiences, or to act in an adulterated manner, or irresponsibly, or perfunctorily and without loyalty. This is because people have corrupt dispositions; this is the inexorable law. Were it not for these revelations, why would they be called corrupt human beings? If human beings were not corrupt, then God’s work of salvation would be meaningless. The problem now is that, because people do not understand the truth or truly understand themselves, and because they cannot see their own states clearly, they need God to express His words of exposure and judgment in order to see the light. Otherwise, they would remain numb and dull-witted. If God did not work in this way, people would never change. Regardless of the difficulties that befall you at every stage, I will fellowship with you about the truth, providing clarity and guidance, and so long as you are able to enter onto the right track, that’s enough. Otherwise, people will always veer to extremes. They will always go down dead-end paths, lacking a way forward, and passing verdicts on themselves as they walk on. When people are just beginning to experience God’s work, they do not yet understand themselves. And after failing and being revealed several times, they ultimately pass a verdict on themselves. They say: “I am a devil; I am a Satan! It’s all over for me. There’s no chance I’ll ever be saved. I am beyond salvation.” People are indeed too fragile and quite difficult to deal with, and will veer to extremes as they walk on. When people cannot see that their corruption runs so deep, that they are devils, they become arrogant and self-righteous; they believe they have endured countless hardships, that they are people who love God and that they are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. However, when people realize the depth of their corruption, that they have not been living out human likeness, but are devils and Satans, they abandon themselves to despair and feel as though they are beyond hope; that they must have been condemned by God, and revealed and eliminated. People are arrogant and self-righteous when they do not understand themselves, and they abandon themselves to despair when they do. That is how troublesome and difficult people are. If they can accept the truth, if one day they truly come to understand God’s intention, they will say: “My corruption was this deep all along and I have finally recognized it. Fortunately, God saves me, and now I can see a brilliant life and can walk on the correct path of life. I don’t know how I can thank God.” It is like waking up from a dream and seeing the light. Have they not received great salvation? Should they not praise God? Some people do not understand themselves even when death is near; they are still arrogant and can’t accept the revelation of the facts. They feel that they are quite good: “I am a good person; how could I have done that?” It seems as if they have been wrongly accused. Some people go through years of God’s work and in the end, they still don’t understand their natures. They always think that they are good people and that they made a mistake in a moment of confusion, and even to this day, when they are eliminated, they do not submit. This kind of person is too arrogant and ignorant and simply doesn’t accept the truth. They will never be able to transform and become human beings. From this you can discover that even though people’s natures are in resistance and betrayal to God, there are differences in their natures. This requires a deeper understanding of people’s natures.

There are certain common traits within people’s natures that must be understood. All people are capable of betraying God—this is a common trait—however, each individual has their own vital weakness. Some people love power, others status; some worship money, while others worship material pleasures. These are differences in people’s natures. Some people are able to stand firm despite enduring many hardships after coming to believe in God, while others become negative, complain, and fail to stand firm when facing a little bit of hardship. So, why is it then, that despite them both believing in God, and both eating and drinking the word of God, their reactions vary when things befall them? This illustrates that, even though deeply corrupt humans all have the nature of Satan, the quality of their humanity varies. Some people are averse to and hate the truth, while others are able to love and accept it. Some people’s displays of corrupt dispositions are more severe, while others’ are less so. Some people are a bit more kind-hearted, while others are very vicious. Although their words, behavior, and manifestations may differ, their corrupt dispositions are the same; they are all corrupt humans that are of Satan. This is a common trait between them. A person’s nature defines who they are. While there are commonalities from person to person in terms of their nature, each individual must be treated differently according to their essence. For example, evil lusts are a common trait shared by all people. Everyone possesses these things and cannot easily overcome them. However, some people have particularly strong inclinations in this regard. Whenever people like this encounter temptations involving the opposite sex, they succumb to them. Their hearts become possessed and they fall into temptation; they are ready to run off with another person at any time and betray God. Thus, it can be said that these people have evil natures. When some people face this kind of thing, even if they exhibit a bit of weakness or reveal some evil lusts, they will not do anything out of line. They are capable of exercising restraint and evading this kind of situation; they can rebel against the flesh and shun temptation. Thus, it cannot be said that their nature is evil. Human beings live in the flesh, so they have evil lusts; but some people are arbitrary and rash, they indulge their lust, and even do things that disturb and disrupt the work of the church. However, some people are not like this. They are able to pursue the truth and act according to it, and they can rebel against the flesh. Although people all have lusts of the flesh, they do not behave in the same way. This is how people’s nature essences differ. Some people are greedy for money. Whenever they see money or nice things, they want to take them for themselves. They have a particularly strong desire to acquire these things. These people are greedy by nature. They covet whatever material possessions they see, and they even dare to steal or misuse God’s offerings—they even dare to touch sums of thousands or tens of thousands of RMB. The more money there is, the bolder they become. They completely lack hearts that are afraid of God. This is a greedy nature. Some people have uneasy consciences after spending a few RMB, or a few dozen RMB of the church’s money. They quickly kneel before God to pray with tears of remorse, begging God’s forgiveness. We cannot say that people like this are greedy for money, because everyone has corrupt dispositions and weaknesses, and these people’s ability to truly repent proves that their actions were merely a revelation of their corrupt dispositions. Some people are judgmental of others. They will say, “Since this person spent a few RMB of the church’s money this time, it could be dozens of RMB next time. They’re certainly a person who steals offerings and should be cleared out.” Speaking in this manner has a bit of a judgmental nature to it. People have corrupt dispositions, so they will surely reveal their corruption and do many bad things. This is normal, but a person revealing their corruption is not the same as somebody having the nature of an evil person. Although these two types of people may do some of the same things, they are different in nature. For example, while a person walks the path of pursuing the truth and seeks to be an honest person, they inevitably reveal lies, deceitfulness, or trickery from time to time, whereas lying and deceitfulness are part of a devil’s nature, and it will lie all the time and about everything. Although both may exhibit lying behavior, the essence of a devil and that of someone who pursues the truth are fundamentally different. Is it appropriate, then, to label people who seek to be honest as devils and Satans, just because of a momentary revelation of corruption? Having committed the transgression of lying or tricking others does not mean that they are devils who always lie and trick others. Because people’s nature essences are not the same, we cannot lump them all in together. Comparing someone who has committed a momentary transgression with a devil is a form of arbitrary judgment and condemnation. This is the thing that harms people the most. If you lack discernment and cannot see things clearly, then you must not speak blindly or indiscriminately apply regulations, otherwise you will harm others. People who lack spiritual understanding and like to adhere to regulations are most likely to judge and condemn others. People who do not understand the truth speak and act without principles, and people speaking carelessly and arbitrarily judging and condemning others benefits neither themselves nor others.

You do not know in your hearts what goal a person must reach in their belief in God in order to be in accordance with His intentions. Very few people are able to believe in God completely in accordance with His requirements. There are too many problems within you, and perhaps you have not yet realized them and are not yet clear about them. This shows that you still do not understand the truth, that you are unable to reflect on yourselves, and that you have not yet uncovered, and are still unable to dissect, the various thoughts and aspects of your nature that lie within you. Someday, when you have heard many sermons, and have experience, you will understand the truth. Only then will you be capable of true self-knowledge. Though you truly believe in God, you have not yet cast off your corrupt dispositions, and there are still many superficial things within your nature, you still like to wear nice clothes and enjoy nice things. When some people wear nice clothes or get a nice cell phone, their tone of voice changes; when some women wear high heels, the way they walk changes, and they no longer know who they are. When it comes to what things people harbor in their hearts, and what nature it is that makes them reveal these wicked, ugly, and superficial things, people need to come to know their own corrupt dispositions and the things within their own nature. Though people can feel these corrupt dispositions, they cannot resolve them, they can only rely on their own will to restrain them and stop them from being revealed externally. As their experiences deepen, as their knowledge of their nature and all aspects of the truth deepens, and as they gradually understand and enter into God’s requirements, people’s corrupt dispositions and aspects of their nature slowly begin to change. At first, their self-knowledge is very shallow. They can acknowledge their corrupt dispositions, but they aren’t able to seek the truth and come to know the essence of their corruption. When they acquire a bit of knowledge, they want to restrain themselves and rebel against the flesh through hard work and achieve results, but their efforts turn out to be in vain, and they still can’t see through to the root of the problem. When they come to truly understand the truth later on, and thoroughly know their corrupt dispositions, they begin to hate themselves. At that time, they do not need to put a great deal of effort into rebelling against the flesh, they can proactively practice the truth, and act according to the principles. Although, at times, they do not completely understand the truth, at least they can act based on their conscience and reason. When people first begin experiencing God’s words, they all encounter difficulties; because they don’t understand the truth, and don’t know to take the principles as their basis, they always ask how to do this thing or that thing, and can only abide by regulations. Moreover, people are always disturbed by negative states, and sometimes have no way forward. When it comes to negative states, people should resolve through fellowship those that can be resolved through fellowship. As for those that cannot be resolved through fellowship, you can ignore them. You should focus instead on practicing and entering normally, and fellowship on the truth more. One day, when you understand the truth clearly, and see through many things, your negative states will naturally disappear. Haven’t your old, negative states already disappeared now? At the very least, you experience a lot less of them than before. Just focus on working hard at pursuing the truth, and you will be able to resolve all your problems. When you can resolve your own problems, you will have made progress and you will have grown. When people experience until the day that their outlook on life, and the meaning and basis of their existence, have entirely changed, when they have been altered to their very bones and have become someone else, is this not incredible? This is a great change, an earth-shattering change. Only when you become disinterested in the fame, gain, status, money, pleasure, power and glory of the world, and can easily forgo them, will you have the likeness of a human being. Those who will ultimately be made complete by God are a group such as this; they live for the truth, live for God, and live for that which is just. This is the likeness of a true human being.

Some people will ask, “What exactly is a human being?” None of the people nowadays are human beings. If they aren’t human beings, what are they? You could say that they are animals, beasts, Satans, or devils; in any case, they are merely cloaked in human skin, but cannot be called human beings, because they do not possess normal humanity. To call them animals comes a little close, but people possess language, minds, and thoughts, and people can engage in science and manufacturing, so they can only be listed as higher animals. However, people have been too deeply corrupted by Satan, they have long since lost their consciences and reason, and they do not submit to or fear God at all. It is completely appropriate to call them devils and Satans. Because their nature is of Satan, and they reveal satanic dispositions, and express satanic views, it is more fitting to call them devils and Satans. People have been too deeply corrupted and they do not have much human likeness. They are like beasts and animals, they are devils. Right now, people are not one thing or the other, they resemble neither human beings nor demons, and they do not possess true human likeness. After many years of experience, some long-term believers gain a bit of intimacy with God, and can more or less understand God a little, and more or less worry about the things that God worries about, and more or less think about the things that God thinks about—this means that they have a little bit of the appearance of a human, and are semi-formed. New believers have not yet experienced being chastised and judged, or much pruning, they also haven’t heard much of the truth, they have just read God’s words, but possess no true experience. As a result, they fall far short. The depth of a person’s experience determines how much they change. The less you experience God’s words, the less you will understand the truth. If you have no experience at all, then you are an intact, living Satan, and you are a devil, plain and simple. Do you believe this? You will understand those words one day. Are there any good people now? If people don’t have a human appearance, how can we call them human beings? Calling them good people is even more out of the question. They just have a human shell, but they do not have a human essence, it would not be an exaggeration to call them beasts in human clothing. If someone wants to become a person with human likeness through experiencing God’s work, then they must go through the exposure, chastisement, and judgment of God’s words, only then can they ultimately achieve change. This is the path; if God didn’t do this, people would not be able to change. God must act in this way, little by little. People must experience judgment and chastisement and constant pruning, and the ways in which they reveal their corrupt dispositions must be exposed. People can only embark on the right path when they are able to reflect on themselves and understand the truth. It is only after a period of experience and coming to understand some truths that people have some certainty of being able to stand firm. I see that you are all still too small in stature, you understand too little of the truth, and cannot perform your duties adequately. Though you appear to be busying yourselves very actively in your duties, in actuality, you are all on the brink of danger. I cannot see that you possess any of the truth realities, and it’s hard to say whether you are people who pursue the truth. This puts you in great danger. I have spoken words like these many times, but lots of people don’t understand what they mean. Some people say: “I have so much enthusiasm in my belief in God now, I won’t stumble or lose my way. God treats me with such grace, I’m not in any danger.” God treats every person with grace, and protects them, but you have not entered into the truth realities, so you are naturally in danger. When faced with trials, can you guarantee that you’ll be able to stand firm? No person dares to give this kind of guarantee. Many people are just able to speak about some words and doctrines. This does not mean that they understand the truth, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they have real stature, and yet they think that they’ve almost made it. If a person can say such a thing, it shows that they fall far short. Every person who doesn’t possess the truth realities is living on the brink of danger. This is absolutely true.

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