Life Entry Begins With the Performance of Duty (Part One)
There are many people who feel like they are lacking after they do their duty, and that they do not possess the reality of the truth, so they always require themselves to listen to more sermons, and leaders and workers to hold more gatherings, as if only that will be able to give them life entry and life growth. If they go a period of time without attending a gathering or a sermon, they feel like their hearts are empty and desolate, as though they have nothing. In their hearts, it is as if only daily gatherings and daily sermons will give them life entry, or enable them to grow into spiritual maturity. In reality, this kind of thinking is entirely incorrect. Those who believe in and follow God must do their duty—only then can they gain life experience. If you say you sincerely believe in God, but you do not want to do your duty, then where is the sincerity in your belief in God? Those who sincerely do their duty are those who have faith. Only those who have faith dare to dedicate their lives to God, and are willing to discard everything to expend for God. People like this experience the work of the Holy Spirit as they do their duty; they are enlightened, led, and disciplined by the Holy Spirit. All this produces life experience. So, life entry begins by formally doing one’s duty.
If people are apathetic about doing their duty, or are always muddle-headed, what kind of attitude do you think this is? Is it not just going through the motions? Is that the attitude you have toward your duty? Is this a problem of caliber or one of disposition? You should all be clear on this. Why are people just careless when they do their duty? Why are they not loyal when they do things for God? Do they even possess reason or a conscience? If you are truly possessed of conscience and sense, then when you do things, you will put a little more heart into them, as well as a little more kindness, responsibility, and consideration, and you will be able to put forth more effort. When you can put forth more effort, the results of the duties that you perform will improve. Your results will be better, and this will satisfy both other people and God. You have to put your heart into it! You can’t be absent-minded, as if you were working in the secular world and just made money based on the time you’d spent. If you have that kind of attitude, you’re in trouble. You can’t possibly perform your duty well. What kind of humanity is this? Do people without a conscience have humanity? They don’t. If you say that you have humanity, and want to put the truth into practice and perform your duty well, then you should put more effort into your duty, and put your heart into it more. You say that you have a conscience, but you never put your heart into your duty. Is your conscience taking effect? You must put your heart in the right place. You should think about these things often—you must understand them all. Simply going through the motions when performing your duty is a major taboo. If you are always going through the motions while performing your duty, then you have no way of performing your duty to an acceptable standard. If you want to perform your duty with loyalty, you must first fix your problem of going through the motions. You should take steps to rectify the situation as soon as you notice it. If you are muddle-headed, are never able to notice problems, always just go through the motions, and do things in a perfunctory fashion, then you will have no way of doing your duty well. Therefore, you must always put your heart into your duty. This opportunity was very difficult for people to come by! When God gives them a chance, yet they do not grasp it, then that opportunity is lost—and even if, later on, they wish to find such an opportunity, it might not come up again. God’s work waits for no one, and neither do chances to perform one’s duty. Some people say, “I didn’t perform my duty well before, but now I still want to fulfill it. I should just get back on the horse.” It is wonderful to have resolve like this, but you must be clear about how to perform your duty well, and you must strive toward the truth. Only those who understand the truth can perform their duty well. Those who do not understand the truth are unqualified even to render service. The more clear you are on the truth, the more effective you will become in your duty. If you can see this matter for what it is, then you will strive toward the truth, and you have a hope of performing your duty well. There are not many opportunities currently to perform a duty, so you must take hold of them when you can. It is precisely when faced with a duty that you must exert yourself; that is when you must offer yourself up, expend yourself for God, and when you are required to pay the price. Do not hold anything back, harbor any schemes, leave any leeway, or give yourself a way out. If you leave any leeway, are calculating, or are wily and treacherous, then you are bound to do a poor job. Suppose you say, “No one saw me acting in a slick way. How cool!” What kind of thinking is this? Do you think you have pulled the wool over people’s eyes, and over God’s, too? In actual fact, though, does God know what you have done or not? He knows. In fact, anyone who interacts with you for a while will learn of your corruption and vileness, and though they may not say so outright, they will have their assessments of you in their hearts. There have been many people who were exposed and cast out because so many others came to understand them. Once everyone saw through to their essence, they revealed those people for who they were and kicked them out. So, whether they pursue the truth or not, people should do their duty well to the best of their ability; they should employ their conscience in doing practical things. You may have defects, but if you can be effective in performing your duty, this will not rise to the level of your being cast out. If you are always thinking that you are fine, that you are sure not to be cast out, if you still do not reflect or try to know yourself, and you ignore your proper tasks, if you are always careless and perfunctory, then when God’s chosen people really do lose their tolerance with you, they will expose you for who you are, and in all likelihood, you will be cast out. That’s because everyone has seen through you and you have lost your dignity and integrity. If no one trusts you, could God trust you? God looks upon man’s innermost heart: He absolutely could not trust such a person. If someone is an unreliable person, do not, under any circumstances, entrust them with a task. If you do not know what a person is like, or have just heard other people say this person is fine at what they do, but in your heart you are not one hundred percent sure, then all you can do is give them a small task to handle first—nothing important. If they do alright with a few small tasks, then you can give them a normal one. And only if they are successful with that task should you give them an important one to handle. If they mess up the normal task, then this person is not reliable. No matter whether a task is large or small, it cannot be entrusted to them. If you notice a person who is kind and responsible, has never just gone through the motions, who treats the tasks others have entrusted to them as their own, puts consideration into every aspect of the task, thinks of your needs, considers every angle, is very thorough and handles things in just the right way, making you particularly satisfied with their work—then, this is the sort of person who is trustworthy. Trustworthy people are people who have humanity, and people who have humanity are possessed of conscience and sense, and it should be very easy for them to perform their duty well, because they treat their duty as their obligation. People without conscience or sense are bound to perform their duty poorly, and they have no sense of responsibility toward their duty no matter what it is. Others always have to worry over them, supervise them, and ask about their progress; if not, things could go awry while performing their duty, and things could go wrong while performing a task, which would be more trouble than it’s worth. In short, people always need to self-reflect when performing their duties, “Have I adequately fulfilled this duty? Did I put my heart into it? Or did I just muddle through it?” If you are always careless and perfunctory, you’re in danger. At the very least, it means you have no credibility, and that people cannot trust you. More seriously, if you always just go through the motions when doing your duty, and if you always deceive God, then you are in great danger! What are the consequences of being knowingly deceitful? Everyone can see that you are knowingly transgressing, that you are living according to nothing but your own corrupt disposition, that you are nothing but careless and perfunctory, that you do not practice the truth at all—which means you are devoid of humanity! If this is manifested in you throughout, if you avoid major mistakes but are unceasing in the minor ones, and unrepentant from start to finish, then you are one of the wicked, a nonbeliever, and should be cleared out. Such consequences are heinous—you are completely exposed and cast out as a nonbeliever and wicked person.
Any duty you fulfill involves life entry. Whether your duty is rather regular or erratic, dull or lively, you must always attain life entry. The duties some people perform are rather monotonous; they do the same thing every day. However, when performing them, the states these people reveal are not all that homogenous. Sometimes, when in a good mood, people are a bit more diligent and do a better job. Other times, due to some unknown influence, their corrupt satanic dispositions stir up mischief in them, causing them to have improper views and be in bad states and bad moods; this results in them performing their duties in a perfunctory manner. People’s internal states are constantly changing; they can change at any place and any time. No matter how your state changes, it is always wrong to act based on your mood. Say you do a bit better when you are in a good mood, and a bit worse when you are in a bad mood—is this a principled way of doing things? Will this allow you to perform your duty to an acceptable standard? No matter what their mood, people must know to pray before God and seek the truth; only in this way can they refrain from being controlled and swayed to and fro by their moods. When fulfilling your duty, you should always examine yourself to see if you are doing things according to principle, if your performance of your duty is up to standard, whether or not you are simply doing it in a perfunctory manner, whether you have tried to shirk your responsibilities, and whether there are any problems with your attitude and the way you think. Once you have self-reflected and these things become clear to you, you will have an easier time fulfilling your duty. No matter what you encounter while performing your duty—negativity and weakness, or being in a bad mood after being dealt with—you should treat it properly, and you must also seek the truth and understand God’s will. By doing these things, you will have a path to practice. If you wish to do a good job in fulfilling your duty, then you must not be affected by your mood. No matter how negative or weak you are feeling, you should practice the truth in everything you do, with absolute strictness, and sticking to the principles. If you do this, then not only will other people approve of you, but God will like you, too. As such, you will be a person who is responsible and who shoulders a burden; you will be a genuinely good person who actually fulfills your duties up to standard and who fully lives out the likeness of a genuine person. Such people are purified and achieve real transformation when fulfilling their duties, and they can be said to be honest in God’s eyes. Only honest people can persevere with practicing the truth and succeed in acting with principle, and can fulfill their duties up to standard. People who act with principle fulfill their duties meticulously when they are in a good mood; they do not work in a perfunctory manner, they are not arrogant and they do not show themselves off to make others think highly of them. When they are in a bad mood, they can complete their everyday tasks just as earnestly and responsibly, and even if they encounter something that is detrimental to the fulfillment of their duties, or that puts a bit of pressure on them or causes a disruption while they do their duties, they are still able to quiet their hearts before God and pray, saying, “No matter how big a problem I come up against—even if the sky comes tumbling down—as long as I am alive, I am determined to do my best to fulfill my duty. Every day I live is a day in which I must perform my duty well, so that I am worthy of this duty bestowed upon me by God, as well as this breath He has put in my body. Regardless of how much difficulty I might be in, I will set it all aside, for fulfilling my duty is of the utmost importance!” Those who are not affected by any person, event, thing, or environment, who are not constrained by any mood or external situation, and who put their duties and the commissions with which God has entrusted them first and foremost—they are the people who are loyal to God and who genuinely submit to Him. People like this have attained life entry and have entered the reality of the truth. This is one of the most genuine and practical expressions of living out the truth. Would living this way put a person at ease? Would you need to worry about how God sees you? How would you say you need to act in order to feel at ease? (Do not let yourself be constrained by any person, event, or thing, and put your duty first. This is the only way you can avoid letting God down.) Correct, this is the secret to being at ease. Have you all mastered this secret? If someone has a bad attitude when speaking to you, and intends to push you aside or deliberately find fault with you, you will feel unhappy, as if a knife had been twisted into you. You will not want to eat, and your sleep will be affected. At any rate, you will be in a bad mood, and your heart will be pained. At this point, what will you do? You might say, “Today I’m in a bad mood, so I’ll put my duty off for a couple days,” or “I’ll still do my duty, but it’s fine if I do it half-heartedly and just go through the motions. Everyone has times when things don’t go the way they want, so if I’m in a bad mood, God won’t ask too much of me, will He? I’ll just put off my duty for a little while today. It’s fine, I’ll do a good job tomorrow. God has been doing His work for six thousand years, so will He really care if I delay it by one day?” What kind of person allows small things to affect their mood, and then necessarily lets it affect their duty? Is this not a childish, unpromising temperament? When anything befalls them, they get into a huff, are completely unreasonable, do not do their duty, have no resolve, and forget their vows. What kind of problem is this? Is it not a problem of willfulness? There may be some people who do not usually behave like this, but when they are in a bad mood they give up on their responsibilities. Things like this happen too often. There are some people who, when they are in a bad mood, receive a little outside influence, so they have no energy while doing their duty, and cannot get their head back in the game. What should be done when this happens? Do these problems not need to be solved? Some people say, “They can’t be solved. In a little while, I still don’t want to do it, and I’ll just go with the flow. In any event, I’m in a bad mood and I don’t want anyone to talk to me. Just let me be unhappy for a bit.” Although they are still here doing their duty, they are only present in body, not mind. It is uncertain where their hearts have wandered off to. They are not responsible in their duty, they put forth no effort, and they are weak. However, when their mood improves, they start to get enthusiastic again; they are able to bear hardship and suffer exhaustion again, and they do not fuss over what they eat. Is this all not a bit abnormal? Why are people influenced by so many different feelings and circumstances? Have you ever searched for the reason? Are you not often troubled by these things? Do you not often get stuck in these states? Is this not the problem you all face? (It is.) If these problems are not solved, then people will never mature; they will always be children. For example, if someone says something without thinking of your feelings, something that is partially directed at you, or if they speak obliquely about you, then you will feel a little uncomfortable. If you talk to someone and they don’t pay attention to you, or they don’t have a nice expression on their face, you will be uncomfortable. If you have a day where your duty does not go as you wish, you will be uncomfortable. If you have a nightmare that seems like a bad omen, you will be uncomfortable. If you hear bad news about your family, you will be uncomfortable, you will be in a bad mood, and you will be unable to get your energy up. If you see someone else doing their duty well, and they receive praise and are promoted to be a leader, it will also make you uncomfortable, and affect your mood…. All these things which are able to influence you, both big and small, can trap you in negativity, make you depressed, and influence your ability to do your duty. What problem do people who behave like this have? (Their dispositions are unstable.) An unstable disposition is one aspect of it. Their humanity is immature and childish, and they have no insight. As far as their life entry goes, they always suffer the constraints of all kinds of people, events, and things, so it is not easy for them to practice the truth. If they cannot put the truth into practice, then they cannot enter into the reality of the truth, and if they cannot enter into the reality of the truth, then they will not have life entry. Is that not how it is? What causes them to be constrained by people, events, and things? It is because they do not understand the truth, because they cannot distinguish between what is true and what is false, and because they cannot distinguish who is right and who is wrong. This results in them not knowing how to practice, with no room to advance or retreat. That is the consequence. Most new believers are in this state. When they understand the truth, can see things clearly, and can distinguish between people, this problem will naturally resolve itself. However, those who do not love the truth do not seek the truth when things befall them. This kind of person will forever be unable to cast off the constraints of all kinds of people, events, and things. What kinds of states do people who often suffer the constraints of people, events, and things manifest? They easily become negative, and when they suffer setbacks or encounter difficulties, they stumble. These things influence their mood and their ability to do their duty. Those who do not understand the truth are easily constrained by all kinds of people, events, and things. Their life entry is very slow, and no matter how many years they have believed, they have no visible progress. They have not changed at all, and are more or less the same as the unbelievers. This is all the result of not pursuing the truth. That is the reason. In a word, no matter how many years you have believed in God, no matter your caliber or your age, so long as you do not love the truth or seek the truth in all things, then you will be easily constrained by all kinds of people, events, and things. You will not know how to act appropriately, nor will you know how to practice the truth or be in accordance with the principles. Even if you act according to the notions of men and do not do bad things, you will still not know whether you are in accordance with the will of God. No matter how many years this kind of person has believed, they will not be able to talk about their experiential testimonies, because they do not understand how to experience the work of God, nor do they understand the truth in the slightest. People who do not pursue the truth are like this; no matter how long they have believed in God, they have no testimony to talk about. Their stature is too small, and they do not have the reality of the truth.
Right now, people are active in doing their duty. They also have the determination to do their duty, to expend themselves for God and make sacrifices for Him, and to offer themselves up to Him. There are even some people who have sworn many times that they would offer their entire lives up to God, and would expend themselves for Him. They possess all these things, but have no life entry. If a person does not have life entry, then with all sorts of complicated people, events, and things, it will be quite difficult for them to keep things together or address the issue. They cannot find a direction, nor can they find a path, and they often feel that they cannot cast off their negative state. They are entangled, constrained, controlled, and bound by all kinds of people, events, and things, and they do not know the most correct way to practice. Now, I will tell you a principle of practice: No matter what befalls you, whether it is a test or a trial, or you are being dealt with, and no matter how people treat you, you should first set these things aside and come before God in diligent prayer, seeking the truth and adjusting your state. This ought to be resolved first. You should say, “No matter how big this matter is, even if the sky itself comes falling down, I must do my duty well. As long as I have breath, I will not give up on my duty.” So how do you do your duty? You cannot just go through the motions, or be physically present but let your mind wander—you must focus your heart and mind on your duty. No matter how big the matters that befall you, you must first set them aside and come before God to seek how to do your duty well, so that it satisfies God. You should try to think, “With this thing I have encountered today, how will I do my duty? Before, I acted perfunctorily, so today I must change my method and strive to do my duty well, so that no one has anything to nitpick. The key is that I must not let God down. I must put His heart at ease, so that when He sees me do my duty, He will know that I am not only obedient and submissive, but also loyal.” If you put this into practice and put forth effort in this direction, then nothing can delay you in doing your duty, or impact the effectiveness of your duty. As you continually pray, seek the truth, and try to figure out, you will be able to easily understand and resolve emotional matters of the flesh; but a person cannot do so unless they accept the truth. As long as you understand the truth, any problem can be solved. The gloom, low spirits, worries, misgivings, and negativity of your heart can all be completely solved. Your mood will slowly improve, and you will be completely liberated. If you truly have real difficulties, then you must learn to seek the truth and submit. When a person is confronted with these kinds of things, it is a test of their stature and reveals who they are, to see whether they can put the truth into practice.