The Path of Practice Toward Changing One's Disposition (Part Two)

Do you have a path for achieving dispositional change? Do you know what things will change? Do you usually fellowship on this aspect of the truth? Just now, we fellowshipped on how dispositional change doesn’t refer to changes in outward behavior and conduct, or in regulations, nor does it refer to changes in one’s personality. So, what exactly is it? Have you ever considered this? First, we must discover and understand which dispositions and things God wants us to change. Dispositional change is not a change in behavior or personality, much less a change whereby people become more knowledgeable or learned; God wants to change every person’s thoughts and views through His words, and enable them to understand the truth, so that they can achieve a transformation in how they see things. This is but one aspect, while another is to change the principles underpinning how people conduct themselves, which is a change in their outlook on life; yet another is to change the deep-rooted satanic nature and disposition which is revealed in people. In general, dispositional change encompasses these three aspects.

Let us initially discuss the first aspect of dispositional change—the way people view things. People’s thoughts and views are, namely, the way they see everything. Man has been so deeply corrupted by Satan that many of these thoughts and views are wrong and absurd, and God saves people by first changing the way they view things. Take a simple example: What is your understanding of knowledge? Of science? Are knowledge and science the truth? Can they solve people’s corrupt disposition, and enable them to live out human likeness? Can they save people from Satan’s influence? Can they lead people to know and submit to God? Can they lead to salvation, and obtaining a good destination? They certainly cannot. What use is knowledge in a person’s life? What can it bring to them? Some people think that knowledge is a precious thing in this world, and that the more knowledge they have, the greater their status and the better they are, the more distinguished and cultured, so they cannot do without knowledge. Some people think if you study hard and enrich your knowledge then you’ll have it all. You’ll have status, money, a good job and a good future; they believe that without knowledge it’s impossible to live in this world. If someone has no knowledge, then everyone looks down on them. They’d be discriminated against, with no one willing to associate with them; those without knowledge can only live on the lowest rungs of society. Thus do they worship knowledge, and regard it as extremely lofty and important—even more so than the truth. Someone might say: “Without knowledge, am I able to understand God’s words? Does He not also speak through knowledge and words?” These are two quite different things. The knowledge I’m speaking of now refers to human history, geography, politics, literature, modern science and technology, or certain skills or subjects and so on. People think this is all part of humanity’s strength, and that those with knowledge have everything and can stand firm in this world, and so everyone regards knowledge as phenomenally important. In short, however you look at it, this is one aspect of human thoughts and views. There is an ancient saying: “Read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles.” But what does this mean? It means that the more you read, the more knowledgeable and prosperous you’ll be. You’ll be highly regarded by all groups of people and will have status. Everyone harbors these kinds of thoughts in their heart. If someone is unable to gain a college diploma due to unfortunate family circumstances, they will regret it for their entire life, and be determined that their children and grandchildren should study more, earn a university degree, or even go study abroad. This is everyone’s thirst for knowledge, and how they think, view, and handle it. Many parents, therefore, will spare no effort or expense to nurture their children, even going so far as to squander the family fortune, and all so their children go study. And what of the lengths some parents go to in disciplining their children? Only three hours of sleep permitted a night, continual forced study and reading, or making them emulate the ancients and tie their hair to the ceiling, denying them sleep altogether. These kinds of stories, these tragedies, have always happened from ancient times to the present, and they are the consequences of mankind’s thirst for and worship of knowledge. You may find these words distasteful, as there are those among you with impressive knowledge and academic qualifications. Of course, I’m not saying that it’s bad for you to be educated, but you must treat this matter correctly. That is, you must now have a correct way of dealing with satanic things, and a correct way to comprehend and understand them. I’m not forbidding you to study, let alone preventing you from nurturing your children by having them earn a degree and land a good job. I’m not saying this. I’m not restricting you. I’m only speaking My opinion, and exposing the degree to which corrupt humanity reveres knowledge. Regardless of your current level of knowledge, or how advanced your degrees and academic qualifications are, I’m now speaking about humanity’s views on knowledge and My views on knowledge. Do you know what God thinks about knowledge? Someone might say that God wishes developed science for mankind, and for them to understand more scientific knowledge, as He doesn’t want man to be too backward, ignorant and uncomprehending. This is correct, but God uses these things to render service, and doesn’t approve of them. No matter how wonderful these things are in the eyes of man, they are neither the truth nor a substitute for the truth, so God expresses the truth to change people and their dispositions. Although God’s words can occasionally touch on views or ways of looking at knowledge like Confucianism or social sciences, they’re only representative of such views. Reading between the lines of God’s words, we should see that He detests human knowledge. Human knowledge not only contains basic sentences and simple doctrines, but also some thoughts and views, as well as human absurdity, prejudices, and satanic poisons. Some knowledge can even mislead and corrupt people—it is the poison and tumor of Satan, and once someone has accepted this knowledge and understands it, Satan’s poison will grow into a tumor in their heart. This tumor will spread to their whole body, inevitably resulting in death if they are not healed by God’s words and cured by the truth. So, the more knowledge people gain, the more they grasp, then the less likely they are to believe in God’s existence. Instead, they will actually deny and resist Him, as knowledge is something they can see and touch, and is mostly related to things in their lives. People can study and gain a lot of knowledge in school, but they are blind to the source of knowledge and its connection with the spiritual realm. Most of the knowledge that people learn and grasp goes against the truth of God’s words, with philosophical materialism and evolution in particular belonging to the heresies and fallacies of atheism. It is undoubtedly a load of fallacies which resist God. What will you gain if you read history books, well-known authors’ works, or biographies of great people, or perhaps study certain scientific or technological aspects? For example, if you study physics you will master some physical principles, Newtonian theory or other doctrines but, when learned and taken to heart, these things will take over your mind and dominate your thinking. When you then come to read God’s words, you’ll think: “How come God doesn’t mention gravity? Why isn’t outer space discussed? Why isn’t God talking about whether the moon has an atmosphere, or how much oxygen there is on earth? God should disclose these things, as they’re the things that really need to be made known and told to mankind.” If you harbor these kinds of thoughts in your heart, then you’ll regard the truth and God’s words as secondary, instead elevating to the fore all your knowledge and theories. This is how you will treat God’s word. At any rate, these intellectual things will give people the wrong idea and cause them to stray from God. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not, or whether you can accept it today—the day will come when you will admit this fact. Do you truly understand how knowledge can lead people to destruction, to hell? There are some who may not be willing to accept this, because there are some highly educated and very knowledgeable people among you. I’m not mocking you or being sarcastic, I’m simply stating a fact. Neither am I asking you to accept it right here and right now, but to gradually come to an understanding of this aspect. Knowledge causes you to use your mind and intellect to analyze and deal with everything God does. It will become a hindrance and obstacle to you knowing God and experiencing His work, and lead you to stray from and resist God. But you have knowledge now, so what do you do? You have to differentiate between knowledge which is practical, and that which comes from Satan and belongs to heresy and fallacy. If you only accept atheistic, absurd knowledge, it can obstruct your belief in God, disturb your normal relationship with Him and your acceptance of the truth, and block your life entry. This you need to know, for it is correct, and you should properly comprehend this topic. I know that some brothers and sisters are highly educated, and I’m not attacking, mocking, or sidelining you. This topic suddenly came up today, and these are just a few words to warn you, not to intentionally cause trouble for those of you with high academic qualifications or some knowledge and culture. It’s not to make you negative or depressed, that’s not the aim at all. So, can you properly comprehend it? (Yes, we can.) If you can, then I am relieved, and can breathe a bit easier.

After fellowshipping this much, you can see now that achieving dispositional change isn’t a simple matter. It’s not something that’s achieved by merely understanding doctrines and following regulations. You must first come to understand yourself, be able to reflect on your thoughts and views, and dig out which of those exist in your heart that deny and resist God, as well as those things that God loathes and dislikes. Do you really have any understanding about your own satanic nature, or of the various satanic dispositions you usually reveal? Are you really able to dissect them? Corrupt human beings all have satanic dispositions, and all have deeply-rooted erroneous thoughts and ideas. Everyone is the same, with some corruption within them that is hostile to the truth and resistant to God. None of it is compatible with the truth, and most people can accept this. Just now, I talked about how to understand human knowledge, and why I say that much of it is absurd and wrong. Some of you might feel uncomfortable when you hear this, like you’ve been poked in a sore spot, but it had to be said. Many of your mistaken views are derived from knowledge, and this fallacious knowledge generates erroneous thoughts and views, which become deeply rooted in your hearts. If you don’t resolve these misguided views, it will be difficult for you to accept the truth, let alone put it into practice. I hope, therefore, that you can accept God’s words, and all the truths He expresses. Even if you are unwilling, you should still learn, and try to accept. In this way, your hearts will become closer to God’s, and you will become closer to His requirements. If you don’t practically experience God’s words in this way, putting the truth into practice, then your belief in God will always be mere lip service, and it will be impossible to enter into the truth reality. Is it not this way? Today I’ve spoken a little about knowledge, which may have made you feel awkward. If you do feel uncomfortable then I am sorry, but you have to face these realities as there is no avoiding them. If you avoid them, then when will you be able to know which things within your thoughts and views are right and which are wrong? You can’t know. You will have to one day face these facts; like the unbelievers say: “An ugly wife will eventually meet her in-laws.” Now that you believe in God, if you want to accept His chastisement and judgment, if you want to have life entry, achieve dispositional change and be saved, you have to face these facts, learn your lessons, and endure some torment and suffering. You wish to pray to God in your heart but you lack the right words, so you are left speechless, and the next time you encounter such a thing you’ll again be uncomfortable for several days, and again be left speechless, but the following time you encounter it, you’ll unconsciously discover that there really are some things in your thoughts and views which resist God; you will be able to nod your head and admit—honestly and seriously admit—that everything God has said is true, without any falsehood, and that truly God knows mankind best, and understands best the things that exist in everyone’s heart. The day will come when you have this level of experience, and then you’ll be on the right path of believing in God, and the right path of changing your life disposition. At that time, because you won’t contradict every word God says, you won’t feel uncomfortable when you hear them, and you’ll be able to accept every fact that God exposes without aversion, and without running away. You will face it properly, and this will prove that you have already entered into the word of God. We’ve made but a small beginning today, conducted a small experiment. You may have felt a little uncomfortable, a little awkward, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t mind, and I hope you don’t mind either, because God’s words of judgment are much harsher than these. If God really wants to judge you, His words will be much more severe. Do you think that God will speak in a kindly manner when He sees a corrupt mankind without normal humanity, unreasonable, with eyes wide open yet still denying, condemning, and resisting God? Could God’s attitude be good when exposing man? Of course not. God’s words would definitely be pretty severe, profound, and to the point! If you can accept the few facts on which we’ve fellowshipped today, then this proves you’ve made a good start on accepting God’s word and His chastisement and judgment. On this first aspect, we’ve talked about the problem of thoughts and views, with a little example which you all know, looking at the topic of knowledge. I didn’t fellowship on this topic very much in the fear that it’d make some people uncomfortable, so I’ve only spoken a little in consideration of their feelings, though imperfectly and briefly. I hope that you can gradually figure it out through your experience, slowly seek the truth in this area, and experience what knowledge can bring to people. Perhaps we’ll fellowship more on this topic in the future, and I hope that you won’t feel uncomfortable at that time, and won’t think, “Is this something against me? Is this aimed at me?” None of those thoughts or ideas. But for now, we’ll conclude our fellowship on the first aspect here.

Now we’ll fellowship on the second aspect of dispositional change—outlook on life. What is yours? What are the principles by which you live? Do you have any understanding? Are there even any principles? Do you have any idea? That is, what sort of person do you want to be? What is your outlook on life, your life’s direction? (To be someone God likes.) (To follow God to the end for the rest of my life.) (To know God.) (To cast off my corrupt disposition and be saved by God.) Everything you’ve said is excellent, and proves that all your hearts are hard at work in the pursuit of the truth and you are determined to follow God to gain the truth, and that you have a correct goal and direction for your conduct, which shows that, in your belief in God, your heart is not empty and you’re not just wasting time. You’ve made some progress during this time, and this is change; at the very least you won’t say, like the unbelievers, “Life is just about eating and dressing.” If you hear someone saying such things, you’ll dislike them and spurn them. No matter how far you’ve entered the truth, you should have the will to follow God well. You should know in your hearts, “Since God has revealed to us the goals and mysteries of His management plan, and His intention to save mankind, and since we’ve seen His promises and blessings, then if we remain passive and inconsiderate of God’s will, we would really be letting Him down and we would be so indebted to Him!” Having this kind of heart proves that your spirits have already awakened and have begun to change. In any case, judging by your efforts to do your duty, you’re all striving toward the direction and goals required by God, and this is correct. No matter what differences there are in your viewpoints about pursuit, they are all quite practical and not imaginary or empty. Do you think that we should have the view of seeking to be someone who truly submits to and worships God? Should we not have an outlook on life where we no longer resist God, no longer make Him loathe or be angry at us, constantly furious, but where God’s heart is comforted and we are, like Abraham, true worshipers? This is the outlook on life that people should have. When this sort of outlook on life and these kinds of thoughts have taken root in your heart, and you pursue in this direction, then will not the temptation and seduction of worldly riches, status, fame and gain be lessened? When you work hard, practice, and experience in this direction, without even realizing it, God’s words will become your motto for life in your heart, and the foundation of your existence; before you know it, God’s words will become your life, become your life path within you. At that time, won’t everything in the world just be unimportant to you? Therefore, it is also important what your outlook on life is. In what direction are you pursuing, in your belief in God? Is it the right direction? Is it the right path? How far are you from God’s requirements? If you pursue on the basis of God’s requirements, then you’re going in the right direction. It doesn’t even matter if you go a little astray, or are a little weak, or have some failures; God won’t remember, and will always support you until your life grows. What kind of people do you think God likes? God likes those who pursue the truth, are determined, and are honest. He is not worried by your ignorance, your weakness, or your lack of wisdom; but He loathes it if you do not pursue the truth, or if you understand the truth but do not put it into practice, or if you live without reading His words, like soulless animals, with no goal or direction for your life—God loathes it if you have this attitude of believing in Him. To achieve dispositional change through belief in God, therefore, quality of outlook on life is very important. Some people say, “My goal in life is to be someone of great use to God, someone who can serve Him.” Is this a good pursuit? It may be good, but human stature is limited and people’s calibers and conditions are different, so your pursuit of this goal is right, but it might not be suitable for you. People’s outlook on life should be to become someone with truth, humanity, conscience, and reason who worships God—that is, a real person. This is the most proper pursuit. Someone might say: “Are we not now real people?” Outwardly you are, as you have noses and eyes, and a human form, but based on your essence, you have still not become a real person. You still lack too much and understand too few truths. To be a real person, someone who possesses the truth and has humanity, someone who fears God and shuns evil, who follows His will and worships Him, you must pursue and obtain the truth. This is a matter of personal practice.

The third aspect of dispositional change is one’s satanic nature. This we must understand and grasp the most, as this is the most important aspect related to dispositional change. Satanic nature is humanity’s corrupt disposition and corrupt essence, and this topic makes up a lot of God’s words which expose this aspect the most. God’s words on this aspect are also the strictest, with many different styles: Some directly expose and judge, while others find a more tactful turn of phrase lest people cannot accept it. But no matter how it’s said, or what style or tone is used, it is true that what God exposes is the essence of man. God exposes the most typical aspect of satanic nature in two chapters. What is the typical essence of satanic nature? Do you know? (A betraying nature.) The betraying nature exposed in God’s words “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” and “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (2)” is the typical representation of satanic nature. Other aspects like humanity’s self-righteousness, arrogance, and deceitfulness, or mankind’s wickedness and resistance—these are all mentioned somewhat in every chapter, but there isn’t a single chapter in which the truth of these aspects is especially expounded upon. Only on the topic of “betrayal” has God spoken two full chapters. From this we can see that in God’s eyes, human betrayal is exceedingly serious, and that it directly offends His disposition, and is what He hates most, and what He curses. How does God dissect and deal with the essence of human betrayal? Of course, God dislikes human betrayal. He hates and loathes it, and loathes those who betray Him. Betrayal is archetypical of satanic nature. Where does the root cause of the nature of human betrayal come from? It comes from Satan. We must, therefore, understand this aspect of disposition. The root cause of betrayal is Satan, Satan’s nature is betrayal, and the disposition people reveal by the things they do is seen as betrayal by God. Why does God discuss this matter at such length? It is because human betrayal is constant, irrespective of place or time and, no matter how someone behaves, something deeply rooted in human nature opposes God. Some people say: “I don’t want to oppose or resist God!” But you will, as within you is a betraying nature, which means you cannot submit to God, cannot follow Him to the end, and cannot completely accept God’s words as your life. How should you understand the problem of betrayal? No matter how long you’ve believed in God, or how many of His words you’ve eaten and drunk, or how much understanding you have of Him—so long as your nature betrays God, and you haven’t accepted His words as your life, and you have no entry into the truth of His words, then your essence will forever betray God. That is to say, if your disposition hasn’t changed, you’re someone who betrays God. Some people say: “I can comprehend God’s words, and understand everything He says. I’m also willing to accept them, so how can I be called someone who betrays God?” Just because you’re willing to accept doesn’t mean that you’re able to live out God’s words, let alone that you’ve already been made complete by them. The truth of mankind’s betraying nature is deep, and if you want to understand this aspect of the truth, then you might need a period of experience. In God’s eyes, everything that every person who believes in God does is at odds with the truth, incompatible with God’s word, and hostile to Him. You might not be able to accept this either, and say: “We serve God, worship God, do our duty in God’s house. We’ve done so much, all according to God’s words and requirements, and in line with work arrangements. How can it be said that we resist and betray God? Why do You always knock our enthusiasm? We gave up our family and careers with huge difficulty, and were determined to follow God, so how can You speak about us like this?” The aim of speaking thus is to ensure that everyone understands: It’s not the case that someone who behaves quite well, or gives something up, or suffers some hardships, will change their betraying nature. No way! Suffering is necessary, as is doing your duty, but just because you can suffer, or do your duty, doesn’t mean that your corrupt disposition no longer exists. This is because there has been no real change in life disposition within anyone, and everyone is still far from satisfying God’s will and meeting His requirements. People’s belief in God is too adulterated, their corrupt dispositions revealed too much. Although many leaders or workers serve God, they also resist Him. What does this mean? It’s that they intentionally go against God’s words and don’t practice according to His will. They intentionally violate the truth, insist on acting according to their own will, to achieve their own designs and aims, to betray God and establish their own independent kingdom, where what they say goes. This is the meaning of serving God but also resisting Him. Do you understand now?

Let us fellowship no more on “betrayal” now. There is still a crucial problem, which is the arrogance and conceit that is characteristic of satanic nature. Mankind’s arrogance is revealed and displayed everywhere, and cannot be restrained even if they want to. It is revealed and bursts forth from time to time, and there’s nothing people can do about it. After it bursts forth, they’ll regret it, and after regretting it they’ll firmly resolve never to let it happen again, never to reveal it again, but they still won’t be able to control it. Why is this? It is because people’s disposition hasn’t changed, and their corrupt disposition is still there. This will never just automatically disappear from inside them, and when something happens their corrupt disposition will naturally be revealed. This is all caused by mankind’s arrogant and conceited disposition. When you understand more of the truth, can put it into practice and grasp the truth principles, and when your understanding of the truth is more and more practical, and you have knowledge of God and are closer to His requirements, when your views on things have changed—then your arrogant disposition will gradually lessen, slowly disappear, and your life disposition will begin to change. At that time, the problem of your betrayal can be considered completely resolved, and only then will you be someone who has truly been saved.

Autumn, 2007

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