Words on Other Topics (Excerpt 84)

Taiwan is a democracy with a stable society where people live in prosperity. The public order, quality of life, cultural values, and so on are all much better than in mainland China. People lead very comfortable lives. Though living comfortably is a good thing, many people who believe in God and live in comfort are unwilling to follow Him, let alone suffer or pay a price. It’s very hard to forsake all they have and expend themselves for God. Is this not what it is really like? When people live comfortably, they are always thinking about eating, drinking, and having fun, how to enjoy the flesh and enjoy life. This has a certain effect on people who believe in God and pursue the truth. Therefore, a lot of people in this comfortable social environment want to perform their duties but struggle to do so. They aren’t willing to endure even a little suffering, and they don’t work efficiently when they perform their duties or do different kinds of work for the church. Sometimes the progress of their work is affected, and this has a certain relationship with their social environment. It moves Me to see that every time we gather, you’re able to sit here and listen to sermons from start to finish. Some people in mainland China can believe in God because they are stifled by their environment, oppressed, discriminated against by society and suffer from severe persecution, while some people believe in God purely because they are looking for fairness and reason, or for spiritual support and something to rely on. For some people, their enthusiasm, faith and loyalty were stirred up under the brutal persecution of the great red dragon. Some have been forced to flee overseas out of necessity because believing in God in mainland China is so difficult and many people have been hunted down—they have nowhere to hide. These are the reasons that they flee overseas. Compared to the oppressive and harsh living environment in mainland China, people in Taiwan have it so easy. With life this comfortable, those who believe in God aren’t willing to suffer or pay the price, and when they face any persecution or tribulation they are no longer willing to perform their duties. People just enjoy eating, drinking, and having fun when life is this comfortable. They are always concerned with things like: “What should I have to eat? Where should I travel? Which countries have I not been to yet? A single human lifetime is just a few decades. If I don’t visit countries all over the world and broaden my horizons, won’t I just be living for nothing?” This is how a person’s heart becomes unruly and cannot be reined in. Can one still quietly eat and drink of God’s words before Him like this? Can one still listen attentively to sermons at gatherings? It will certainly be difficult. So, when one is encouraged to believe in God, pursue the truth, and perform their duty, they feel unjustly treated and stifled and keep feeling like they are living for nothing. Does this favorable environment not present a serious temptation and obstacle for people? It does. People all crave fleshly comforts, but to those who believe in God and pursue the truth, comfort is not necessarily a good thing in terms of life growth. Most people become negative and weak when they suffer a little and have no willpower at all; is this not the result of a comfortable environment? There are all kinds of videos of experiential testimony showing brothers and sisters in mainland China being tortured in jail, sentenced, and imprisoned. Have you all seen these? (We have.) And how do you feel about them after seeing them? (God, I’d like to say a little about how I feel. After seeing the brothers and sisters in mainland China experiencing all that persecution by torture and seeing how they can pray to God, rely on Him, and hold onto their faith in such a difficult environment, experiencing step-by-step under God’s leadership while standing firm in their testimony and not betraying Him, I feel that they have more faith and greater stature than we do. If I were in that kind of environment, I wouldn’t necessarily be able to stand firm like they do, which makes me feel that I’m very small in stature.) The brothers and sisters in mainland China can still persist in believing in God, attending gatherings, and performing their duties in the environment where they suffer cruel persecution from the great red dragon. This is a testimony, a powerful testimony. That they can stand firm in such a hostile environment is a testimony, so those of you in this comfortable environment should contemplate how to offer a different type of testimony. First, you should cherish everything in this life and these environments that God has given you. Also, you should contemplate how, in an environment like this, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony, not put God to shame, and become overcomers. Believing in God in a democratic country, one may not be subjected to repression and persecution by torture from the government, but there will be persecution from family and relatives, and one still needs to experience God’s words, gain the truth, and stand firm in their testimony. No matter the environment in which one believes in God, gaining the truth is not an easy thing. You have to suffer and pay the price in order to understand the truth and enter reality. To bear witness for God, you need to achieve understanding of the truth in all aspects of experience. This does not only mean spreading the gospel and God’s name; it mainly refers to life experiential testimony. In any group of people or under any country’s social order, people will suffer some discrimination, exclusion, or persecution if they live according to the truth, endeavor to be honest people and try to submit to God. This is because democratic countries do not submit to God either. There are atheist political parties in power, and they also reject the truth and reject God. Believing in God in a country like this, even if there is no persecution or tribulation, there will be certain limitations as well as subjection to some discrimination, slander, judgment, and condemnation if you want to spread the gospel and bear witness for God—this is all fact. If you cannot understand these things clearly, then you are not someone who understands the truth. Accepting and following Christ in any country comes with some level of persecution and tribulation. You always need to act with caution and pray to and look to God, and you must also have wisdom and intelligence. Whatever country and social environment you are in, they all have a suitable environment that God has laid out and arranged for you. It all depends on whether or not one pursues the truth. A comfortable environment brings temptations for people, while persecution by torture also brings temptations and trials. Are there trials in comfortable environments then? There are also God’s trials. God has arranged this comfortable environment for you, and everything depends on how you experience it—whether you will be fully ensnared by Satan’s traps and in Satan’s temptation, or whether you will be able to triumph over it in all respects and bear witness for God, holding fast to your loyalty and duty. This all depends on how you experience it and the choices you make. Mainland Chinese brothers and sisters have an environment that’s a bit tougher, and God has given them a burden that is a bit heavier and laid out an environment for them that is a bit harsher, but He has also given them more. The tougher the environment and the greater the trials that God lays out, the more that people gain. But in a comfortable environment, people also experience temptations and trials everywhere, and God has given you much, too. If you can triumph over temptation every time you face it, then you won’t gain any less than your brothers and sisters who experience persecution by torture. This also takes pursuing the truth and having stature to overcome. For example, things like being together with your family, eating and drinking well, entertainment and enjoyment, and some social trends that comfort the flesh and cause depravity are all temptations for you. When you face these temptations, they will not only catch your eye, but also disturb and entice you. When you follow worldly things and trends, that is when Satan’s temptations, or one could also say God’s trials will arise. You will need to make a choice about how to respond to these temptations and trials, and this is when God tests people and shows them for who they are. This is the time when what God has said to you and the truths you have understood should take effect. If you are someone who pursues the truth and you have true faith in God in your heart, then you will be able to overcome these temptations and stand firm and bear witness for God in the trials that He has laid out for you. If instead of loving the truth, you love the world, you love trends, you love craving comfort and satisfying your flesh, and you love an empty life, then you will follow these worldly things. You will feel admiration for these things and be attracted to and possessed by them. Little by little, your heart will lose interest in believing in God, you will become averse to the truth, and then, in the midst of temptation, Satan will snatch you away. In a trial like this, you will have lost your testimony. There are many people who have heard a lot of sermons and are performing their duties but still feel empty inside. They still love following pop stars and famous people, keeping up with trends, watching entertainment programs on TV, and even binge-watching shows all night to the point that they become nocturnal. Some young people are even playing video games. To sum it up, they do not hesitate to pay any price and fanatically pursue these trendy things. And why do they do this? It is because they have not gained the truth. People who have not gained the truth have a certain feeling, which is that there doesn’t seem to be much difference between believing in God and not believing in Him. They still feel empty in their hearts and that there is no meaning to their lives. If they follow trends, they feel that they are more fulfilled, that there is a bit more richness to their life, and that they are a bit happier on a daily basis. If they believe in God and do not follow trends, they still feel that life is meaningless and empty. This is because they do not love the truth. You can also say confidently that these people do not understand the truth in the slightest and do not have the truth reality, and therefore they cannot live without following trends. Some people have never pursued the truth and they are unsettled even when performing their duties. They are unable to stand firm when they face temptations, and eventually they have to withdraw. Some people are quite enthusiastic and resolute when they start performing their duties, but they stop wanting to perform them when they face temptations, becoming perfunctory and lacking devotion. There is no testimony in this. If they can let go of their duties as soon as they face temptations and choose whatever they prefer, then they have no testimony. If another temptation comes, they might deny God and want to follow worldly trends and leave the church. Or when another temptation comes, they start to doubt God and are not sure whether He even exists, and even come to believe that they have evolved from apes. These people have been seized completely by Satan. Caught up in all of these temptations, they do not pray to God or seek the truth. They only think of the fate of their flesh, and as a result they fail to stand firm in their testimony. Step by step, they are dragged by Satan into hell and into the abyss of death. God has given this person over to Satan, and they no longer have any chance of salvation. Tell Me, is pursuing the truth not important? (It is.) The truth is very important. What function can the truth serve? At the very least, it can help you to see through Satan’s schemes when you face temptation, to know what you should do and what you should not, and what it is that you should choose. At least it will make you know these things. The most important thing is that the truth will enable you to stand firm in temptation. You will be able to stand firm, steadfast and unwavering, while holding to the duty that God has given you, being loyal to this duty, and being able to reject Satan. You will be able to stand firm in your testimony amidst trials like Job did. This is what people should gain at the very least.

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