Words on Other Topics (Excerpt 81)

Those who follow God must, at the very least, be able to forsake all that they have. God once said in the Bible, “Whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). What does it mean to forsake all that one has? It means to forsake one’s family, to forsake one’s work, to forsake all one’s worldly entanglements. Is this an easy thing to do? It is very difficult. Without the will to do so, it absolutely cannot be accomplished. When one has the will to forsake, they naturally possess the will to endure hardship. If one cannot endure hardship, they will not be able to forsake anything, though they may wish to. There are some who, having forsaken their families and distanced themselves from their loved ones, become homesick after performing their duties for a while. If they really cannot bear it, they may run home in secret to have a look, then return to perform their duties. Some who have left their homes to perform their duties cannot help but miss their loved ones on New Year’s and other holidays, and when everyone else is asleep at night, they cry in secret. When they are done, they pray to God and feel much better, after which they go on doing their duties. Though these people were able to forsake their families, they are unable to endure great pain. If they cannot even cast off their feelings for these relations of the flesh, how will they be able to truly expend themselves for God? Some people are able to forsake all they have and follow God, forsaking their jobs and their families—but what is their goal in doing this? Some people are trying to gain grace and blessings, and some are like Paul, only pursuing a crown and a reward. Few people forsake all they have in order to gain the truth and life, and to attain salvation. So, which of these pursuits is in line with God’s will? It is, of course, the pursuit of the truth and gaining life. This is entirely in line with God’s will, and it is the most important part of believing in God. Can one gain the truth if they cannot let go of worldly things or wealth? Absolutely not. There are some people who have forsaken all they have and undertaken their duties, but they do not pursue the truth, and are always perfunctory in performing their duties. After drifting along like this for a few years, they do not have any experiential testimony and have gained nothing at all. Those who pursue only fame, gain, and status and who walk the path of antichrists are even less capable of gaining the truth. There are many people whose belief in God consists only of performing a bit of their duty in their free time. Will it be easy for such people to gain the truth? It will not, it seems to Me. Gaining the truth is no simple matter. One must endure many hardships and pay a great price. In particular, one must experience the hardships of judgment and chastisement, of trials and refinement, and of being pruned. All these hardships must be endured. One cannot gain the truth without enduring a great deal of pain. How many times must one pray to God and seek the truth during this period? How many tears of regret must one shed to God? How many of God’s words must one read before they can be enlightened and illuminated? How many spiritual battles must one undergo before they can overcome Satan? And how long does the process of experiencing these things take? How many years before one is finally able to gain the truth and win God’s approval? Look at Peter’s experience, and you will know. Is God’s salvation and perfection of man as simple as people imagine? Forsaking all that one has is no simple matter. What does it really mean to forsake all that one has? “All that one has” includes more than just external things, more than family, loved ones, and friends, and more than one’s profession, salary, wealth, and prospects. Beyond these things, it includes things of the mind and spirit: knowledge, learning, one’s outlook on things, the rules of living, one’s fleshly preferences, as well as things one pursues and aspires to, such as fame, gain, and status. Forsaking all that one has mainly consists of these things; they are all part of what it means to forsake all that one has. It is easy to forsake external things in one fell swoop. But it is the things that people like, pursue and uphold deep in their hearts that are the most important and precious to them, they represent all that one has, and they are the hardest things to forsake. The main reason that most people now cannot forsake is that they cannot let go of those things, as they are what they prize and treasure most. Fame, gain, and status, for instance, or glory and fortune, one’s beloved career or most valued things—these are all that one has, and they are the things that are hardest to forsake. There was a bank manager who came to believe in God. He saw that God’s words are indeed the truth, and he saw that everything God does is the work of saving man. But when he decided to forsake all that he had and follow God, he struggled with his position at the bank. One moment, he thought, “My position at the bank is a precious thing. It’s well paid and influential,” and the next moment, he thought, “By believing in God, I can gain the truth and eternal life. That’s what’s important.” He was in constant battle in his heart. One moment, he wanted to be a bank manager, and the next, he wanted to believe in God. One moment, he wanted to grasp for money, and the next, he wanted to gain the truth. One moment, he could not let go of his status, and the next, he wanted to gain eternal life. His heart wavered back and forth. His status as a bank manager was just too precious to him, and he could not let go of it. For countless months, he waged this battle in his heart, until finally, and perhaps reluctantly, he let go. How hard it was for him to forsake all that he had! Although he knew that his position as a bank manager was a fleeting thing that could vanish like a puff of smoke, it was still not easy for him to let go of. Some people are doctors, or lawyers, or high-ranking executives, and their wages and salary are high. It is not easy to let go of these things; who knows how many months it would take them to battle within themselves to let go. If one battles for several years before letting go of these things, and by that point God’s work has already come to a close, will there be any point to it then? At that time, one can only fall into disasters, wailing and gnashing their teeth. You will only be able to enter God’s kingdom if you can forsake everything that is most important to you to follow God and perform your duty, and to pursue the truth and gain life. What does it mean to enter God’s kingdom? It means that you are able to forsake all that you have and follow God, heed His words, and submit to His arrangements, submitting to Him in all things; it means that He has become your Lord and your God. To God, that means you have entered His kingdom, and no matter what disasters befall you, you will have His protection and be able to survive, and you will be one of the people of His kingdom. God will acknowledge you as His follower, or offer you His promise to perfect you—but as your first step, you must follow Christ. Only thus will you have a part to play in the kingdom’s training. If you do not follow Christ and are outside of God’s kingdom, God will not acknowledge you. And if God does not acknowledge you, even if you wish to be saved and to gain God’s promise and His perfection, will you be able to attain these things? You will not. If you wish to gain God’s approval, you must first be qualified to enter His kingdom. If you can forsake all that you have in order to pursue the truth, if you can seek the truth in the performance of your duty, if you can act according to the principles, and if you have true experiential testimony, then you are qualified to enter God’s kingdom and to receive His promise. If you cannot forsake all that you have to follow God, you are not even qualified to enter His kingdom, and you have no claim at all to His blessing and His promise. There are many people now who have forsaken all that they have and are performing duties in God’s house, yet they will not necessarily be able to gain the truth. One must love the truth and be able to accept it before they can gain it. If one does not pursue the truth, they cannot gain it. Not to mention those who perform their duty in their spare time—their experience of God’s work is so limited that gaining the truth will be harder for them. If one does not perform their duty or pursue the truth, they will miss out on the wonderous opportunity to attain God’s salvation and perfection. Some people claim to believe in God, but do not perform their duties, and pursue worldly things. Is this forsaking all that they have? If one believes in God in this way, can they follow Him to the very end? Look at the Lord Jesus’ disciples: among them were fishermen, peasants, and a tax collector. When the Lord Jesus called to them and said, “Follow Me,” they laid down their jobs and followed the Lord. They gave no thought to the issue of their employment, nor to the problem whether they would have a path of survival in the world afterward, and they followed the Lord Jesus at once. Peter devoted himself wholeheartedly, fulfilling the Lord Jesus’ commission until the end and upholding his duty. For his whole life, he pursued the love of God, and in the end, he was perfected by God. There are some people now who cannot even forsake all that they have and yet they wish to enter the kingdom. Are they not dreaming?

To believe in God, it is not enough just to have enthusiasm. You must understand His will, His method of perfecting people, which people He perfects, and the attitude and view that one should have toward God’s perfection of people. Furthermore, as a follower of God, one must know how important it is to follow God’s way. This bears on the issue of whether one can gain the truth. Following God’s way means practicing the truth. Only by practicing the truth is one truly submitting to God, so practicing the truth is essential to gaining the truth. If one does not understand the truth or know how to practice it, they will have no way to gain it. That is why the most important part of believing in God is practicing the truth. Only those who practice the truth can achieve submission to God, only they can completely understand the truth, and only those who completely understand the truth know God. All of these things are achieved by practicing the truth. No matter how many people believe in God, God looks at which of them follow His way, which of them practice the truth, and which of them truly submit to Him. Believers in God must understand the truth and practice it in order to become people who follow His will and submit to Him. Those who pursue the truth must first understand why people should believe in God in their lives, how God has been doing the work of saving man since coming to earth, and what one must achieve in their pursuit of the truth before they attain salvation and are qualified to receive God’s promise and His blessing. In the past, no one understood these truths. Everyone believed in God according to human notions and imaginings, and thought that believing in God was about getting blessings, a crown, and a reward. As a result, they all went against God’s will, strayed from the true way, and embarked on the path of antichrists. Therefore, if one wishes to understand the truth, to gain the truth, and to be saved, they must correct these erroneous views on belief in God from the past. People’s religious notions and imaginings and their theological views are particularly absurd; all of them are hostile to the truth and specious fallacies. God does not approve of at all the ways that religious people believe. If people continue to uphold those ways now, and pursue blessings, a crown, and a reward—if they continue to believe in God with this sort of attitude, will they be able to gain the truth and life? Absolutely not. What outlook is it that people should adopt in their belief in God, then? You must begin by understanding God’s will and seeing clearly how He saves people. If you do not seek the truth, but continue believing in God according to your own notions and imaginings, if you keep pursuing fame, gain, status, wealth, and worldly things, then even if you win the whole world, will it be worth it if it ultimately costs you your life? Some people say, “Once I’ve made enough money and had a successful career, when I’ve fulfilled my ambitions and realized my dreams, then I’ll come and be a good believer.” Does God wait for you? Does God’s work wait for you? If you cannot let those things go now, God does not demand that you do so immediately, but you must practice letting go. If you really cannot, pray to God and rely on Him. Let Him guide you. Furthermore, you must cooperate and perform your duties. What is the purpose of performing one’s duty? Actually, it is meant to prepare good deeds. Even if you ultimately cannot come to be entirely perfected, you must prepare a few good deeds at least, so that when the time comes for God to reward the good and punish the evil, you can give an account of them to Him. One day, God’s work will come to an end, and He will begin rewarding good and punishing evil. He will have you bring forth your good deeds, and if you do not have any, you’re done for—you will certainly be punished. Say, for instance, you have believed in God for around ten years, and the most valuable duty you have performed was only spreading the gospel in your free time and thereby bringing in a few new believers. You do not even know whether those people will be able to stand firm in the end. Can you give an account of this to God? You are bound to be unable to. You must consider what kind of results you can give an account of to God, and what sort of experiential testimony you must have to be able to satisfy God and have Him recognize you as His follower. You cannot be satisfied with just acknowledging the fact of God’s current incarnation and accepting Christ of the last days in your heart, and nothing more. What God wants to see is your true experiential testimony and the fruits of your submission to His work. What God will test in the end is whether you have gained the truth and whether you have life. You must understand God’s will. If you merely add your name to the church’s rosters or perform a duty, but do not pursue the truth, and after a few years of believing in God, you have no experiential testimony, can God still acknowledge you? If God does not acknowledge you, then you remain outside of His house. If you merely claim to believe in God but do not pursue the truth, what can your belief in God gain in the end? You will have fallen too far short of the standards God requires! Gaining the truth is not as simple as people imagine it to be; one must endure many trials and tribulations, and much pain and refinement before they can gain the truth and know God. When you experience this manner of God’s work, if you do not forsake all that you have to follow Him, can you be saved? Can you experience God’s work by just believing in Him in a bit of your free time? How can you experience it by believing in God at home? How can you experience it living in the outside world? Therefore, forsaking all that one has is a condition of following God. If you cannot forsake all that you have, you absolutely cannot gain the truth, and if you cannot gain the truth, you are not qualified to enter God’s kingdom. This is a fact that no person can alter.

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