Only by Practicing the Truth and Submitting to God Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition (Part One)

The great majority of you have believed in God for at least ten years, more or less, so what stage in your life experience have you now arrived at? At what stage is your stature presently situated? (When I see myself constantly revealing a corrupt disposition, I make up my mind that I must not be one of God’s people but only a laborer; I then become negative and worried that I am unfit to receive salvation.) To grow fearful upon determining that one is a laborer: this is a sign that your stature is childish and immature. To be childish of stature means to lack judgment, to lack the normal ability to weigh and consider problems, to lack an adult’s thought processes, and always to be constrained by one’s future prospects and fate. Would anyone else like to say a few words? (When, in doing my duty, I deviate from my course, I always get worried, wondering whether God will reveal and eliminate me.) Why are you afraid of being eliminated? This thing that you take as “being eliminated”: what, in the final analysis, does it mean? (To come to no good end.) When you take “being eliminated” to mean not being allowed to do your duty, or losing any chance you may have of salvation, is this—the thing that you have determined it to be—the same thing as the way in which God sees you and how He treats you? Those who are childish of stature will as a matter of course approach everything on the basis of human notions and imaginings, rather than according to the word of God or the truth. But those who have grown up and matured in life will approach everything in accordance with the word of God and the truth; examining an issue in this way is much more accurate. It is common, when doing one’s duty, to fall into deviations and difficulties; if one were to be eliminated at the first error, no one would be able to do their duty properly. You should understand that the whole thrust of doing one’s duty is so that one’s corrupt disposition may be purified through the experience of God’s judgment, so that one may in the act of doing one’s duty come to understand the truth and enter into the reality, and so that one may in the act of doing one’s duty break free from Satan’s influence and receive salvation. This is why God demands of people that, in the act of doing their duty, they learn how to seek the truth in all things, and solve problems in accordance with God’s word: This is a necessary progression in the experience of life. Under ordinary circumstances, no one individual is proficient at everything, nor does any one individual have all-encompassing skills, so it is well-nigh impossible to avoid error in doing one’s duty. But as long as this is not an intentional act of disturbance, it falls within the bounds of normal expectations. If, however, this comes about through human contrivance, if it is an evil consequence brought about by a deliberate misdeed, then there is something wrong with the humanity of the person concerned, and it would be a case of intentional disturbance and destruction. The evil person would then be completely revealed. God takes, in His own eyes, an accurate measure and assessment of people; that is, in using a person, in making them do something, God is certain to have standards that He requires this person to meet. God does not want you to be superhuman, to be omnipotent; rather, He makes demands of you, and renders you treatment, based on what lies within the capacity of ordinary people. According to the knowledge with which you are equipped, your caliber, the conditions in which you live, and all the insights you have gained, including what lies within your capacity given your present age and experience, God will set the most accurate and the most appropriate standard for your evaluation. What is God’s standard of evaluation? It is to examine the intent, principles, and goals in your way of doing things, to see if they conform to the truth. Maybe what you do conforms to the standards set for you by other people, and you should get a perfect score for this; but how does God evaluate you? The standard by which God measures you is whether you are capable of giving your whole heart, mind, and strength, whether you can arrive at the point where you can offer up your all, offer up your loyalty. This is God’s standard of evaluation. If you have already offered up your all, then God will see you as already having met the standard. The demands that God makes of people are all within their capacity to meet, and do not lie beyond their reach.

At times, God uses a certain matter to reveal you or discipline you. Does this then mean that you have been eliminated? Does it mean your end has come? No. It is like when a child has been disobedient and made a mistake; his parents might chide and punish him, but if he cannot fathom his parents’ intention or understand why they are doing this, he will misunderstand their intent. For example, the parents may tell the child, “Don’t leave the house alone, and don’t go outside by yourself,” but this goes in one ear and out the other, and the child sneaks out alone anyway. Once the parents find out, they give the child a scolding and, as punishment, make him stand in the corner to reflect on his behavior. Not understanding his parents’ intentions, the child starts to have doubts: “Do my parents not want me anymore? Am I really theirs? If I’m not really theirs, would that mean I was adopted?” These are the things he ponders. What are the parents’ actual intentions? The parents said it was too dangerous to do that and told their child not to. But the child did not listen, and it went in one ear and out the other. Therefore, the parents needed to use some form of punishment to properly educate their child and make him learn from his mistakes. What is it that the parents want to achieve by doing this? Is it only to make the child learn from his mistakes? This kind of learning is not what they ultimately want to achieve. The parents’ aim in doing this is to make the child do as he is told, behave in accordance with their advice, and not do anything disobedient to make them worry—this would be the desired effect. If the child listens to his parents, it shows that he has matured in understanding, and then his parents will have less on their minds. Will they not then be satisfied with him? Will they still need to punish him like that? They will not need to anymore. Believing in God is just like this. People must learn to heed God’s words and understand His heart. They must not misunderstand God. In fact, in many cases, people’s concern stems from their own self-interest. Speaking generally, it is the fear that they will have no outcome. They’re always thinking, “What if God reveals me, eliminates me, and rejects me?” This is your misinterpretation of God; these are only your one-sided conjectures. You have to figure out what God’s intention is. When He reveals people, it is not for the sake of eliminating them. People are revealed in order to expose their shortcomings, mistakes, and their nature essences, to make them know themselves and become capable of true repentance; for this reason, revealing people is in order to help their lives to grow. Without a pure understanding, people are apt to misinterpret God and become negative and weak. They may even give in to despair. In fact, being revealed by God doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be eliminated. It is to help you get to know your own corruption, and to make you repent. Oftentimes, because people are rebellious, and do not seek to find resolution in the truth when they reveal corruption, God must exercise discipline. And so, sometimes, He reveals people, exposing their ugliness and pitifulness, getting them to know themselves, which helps their life to grow. Revealing people has two different implications: For the evil people, being revealed means they are eliminated. For those who are able to accept the truth, it is a reminder and a warning; they are made to reflect on themselves, to see their true state, and to stop being wayward and reckless, because to carry on like this would be dangerous. Revealing people in this way is to remind them lest, in performing their duty, they grow muddleheaded and careless, fail to take things seriously, become satisfied with only a few results, and think they have performed their duty to an acceptable standard when, in fact, measured by God’s demands, they have fallen far short, and yet they are still complacent and believe themselves to be doing fine. In such circumstances, God will discipline, caution, and remind people. Sometimes, God reveals their ugliness—which is patently to serve as a reminder. At such times you should reflect on yourself: Performing your duty like this is inadequate, there is rebelliousness within you, there are too many negative elements, everything you do is perfunctory, and if you still do not repent, by rights you should be punished. Now and then, when God disciplines you, or reveals you, this does not necessarily mean you will be eliminated. This matter should be approached correctly. Even if you are eliminated, you should accept it and submit to it, and make haste to reflect and repent. To sum up, whatever meaning lies behind revealing you, you must learn to submit. If you show passive resistance, and instead of mending your flaws keep on going from bad to worse, you will surely be punished. Therefore, in dealing with matters of being revealed, one must show submission, one’s heart must become imbued with fear, and one must become capable of repentance: Only then does one conform to God’s will, and only by practicing in this way can one save oneself and be spared God’s punishment. Reasonable people should then be able to recognize their own faults and correct them, at the very least attaining to the point where they rely on their conscience to fulfill their duty. In addition, they must also reach up toward the truth, attaining not only to the point where their behavior is principled, but also to the point of giving their whole heart, their whole soul, their whole mind, their whole strength: Only doing it thus is an acceptable way of fulfilling their duty, only doing it thus makes them people who truly submit to God. What should one take as the standard for satisfying God’s will? One must base one’s actions on the truth principles, the major aspect of which is to place emphasis on the interests of God’s house and on the work of God’s house, to keep the whole picture in mind, and not focus on any one aspect at the risk of losing sight of another, and the minor aspect of which is to get one’s own work done properly, and to achieve the desired effect according to what is demanded of one, without going through the motions in a perfunctory manner, without bringing shame on God. If people master these principles, will they not let go of their worries and misconceptions? Once you put aside your worries and misconceptions, and no longer have any unreasonable ideas about God, negative elements will slowly cease to hold a dominant position within you, and you will approach these sorts of matters in the correct manner. Thus, it is important to seek the truth and strive to understand God’s will.

When performing their duty, some are often in a state of negativity and passivity, or resistance and misunderstanding. They are perpetually afraid of being revealed and eliminated, and perpetually constrained by their future and destiny. Is this not the expression of a small stature? (Yes.) Some people always say they are afraid they will not perform their duty well, and without analyzing the details one might even take them to be quite loyal. What are they really worried about in their hearts? They worry that if they do not do their duty well, they will be eliminated and have no good destination. Some people say they are afraid to become laborers. When others hear this, they take it to mean that, in not wanting to become laborers, these people just want to perform their duty well as one of God’s people, and mistake them for people with resolve. Actually, in their hearts, those people who are afraid to become laborers are thinking, “If I become a laborer, in the end I will still perish and have no good destination, and will not have a share in the kingdom of heaven.” This is the implication of their words; they are worried about their outcome and destination. If God says they are laborers, they put somewhat less effort into performing their duty. If God says they are one of His people and they have been approved of by God, they devote somewhat more effort to doing their duty. What is the problem here? The problem is that when performing their duty in the house of God, they do not act according to the truth principle. They always consider their own prospects and fate, and are always constrained by the designation “laborer.” As a result, they cannot do their duty well, and even though they want to practice the truth, they lack the strength to do so. They always live in a state of negativity, and look for the meaning behind God’s words, trying to ascertain whether they are people of God or laborers. If they are people of God, then they will bend themselves to perform their duty well. If they are laborers, then in performing their duty they will be perfunctory, giving rise to many negative elements, and be constrained by the title of “laborer,” unable to free themselves. Sometimes, after being harshly pruned, they say to themselves, “There’s no hope for me, this is just how I am. I’ll just do what I can.” And with passive, negative, and degenerate thoughts, they resist it and go about performing their duty with reluctance. Can they possibly perform their duty well? At gatherings, such a person is constantly fellowshipping about the truth and talking about loving God, submitting to God, relying on God’s word to live life, and showing loyalty to God, and yet he is nevertheless unable to put any of these things into practice, but instead is mindful only of his own future prospects and fate, perpetually under the sway of his greed for blessings, incapable of accepting any aspect of the truth. In this way, he is resistant and oppositional, negative and full of grievance, in his heart always harboring notions about God, putting up barriers against God, and keeping God at a distance. He is always on his guard against God, fearful lest God see through him, take control of him, and act against his interests. And, in following, he is always reluctant and begrudging, with people dragging him along from the front, and people pushing him forward from behind, as though he has fallen into a mire and every single step is so much hardship, and being alive is so much suffering! How did things get this way? It became like this because the human heart is too deceitful, it always misunderstands the work that God does to save humanity. Whatever treatment God renders unto them, people will always be doubtful, thinking, “Does this mean that God doesn’t want me anymore? Is God going to save me in the end or not? For someone like me, is there any point in carrying on with my pursuit? Can I get into the kingdom?” When people are constantly harboring negative and contrary thoughts like these, will this not affect their ability to fulfill their duty? Will this not also affect their pursuit of the truth? Unless all these negative elements are disposed of, when will they ever be able to enter upon the right track of believing in God? That is hard to say. And so, people who refuse to accept the truth are the most difficult to handle, and in the end the only thing that can be done with them is to eliminate them.

Amongst corrupt humanity, certain contrary elements have become deeply entrenched in their hearts, for example, such things as face, vanity, status, fame and gain, and so forth. When you believe in God, if you wish to accept the truth, it means doing ceaseless battle with these contrary elements, and grappling with all manner of arduous experience and struggle. Not until the truth, triumphant within people, becomes life, will this battle come to an end. During this period, when people have come to understand the truth through eating and drinking God’s word and gained a grasp on God’s will, they will begin to practice truth and rebel against the flesh. By the time that truth becomes their life, it will become possible for them to use truth to dispose of these negative and contrary elements. Vanity and personal prestige, fame, gain, and status, human appetites, impure human intents, people’s misunderstanding of God, their choices and preferences, their self-righteousness, arrogance, deceitfulness, and what have you—all these problems will gradually find a solution after people come to understand the truth. The process of coming to believe in God is, in fact, none other than the process of accepting the truth, the process of using the truth to overcome the flesh, and the process of ceaselessly eating and drinking God’s word, seeking the truth, and using the truth that you have come to understand, the word of God that you have come to know, and the truth principles that you have come to grasp in order to solve these problems. To have life entry is to have undergone these experiences, and in doing so people will gradually become transformed. These corrupt elements are present in everyone, and there is not a single individual who does not live for the sake of profit and fame. Human beings all live for these things; only the way in which each person handles them and expresses a desire for them may be different. But what they reveal is, in essence, the same. Some people talk out loud, others will not; some reveal themselves in an obvious way, while others attempt to hide, using all sorts of methods to cover things up and keep them from getting out into the open, so that others will not see through them. Not letting other people see through you, and covering things up—do you think that, by doing this, you will keep God from finding out? Do you think that if you do this your corrupt disposition will be no more? Every single individual’s corrupt essence is the same—what is different between one individual and another? The attitude with which one approaches the truth may differ from one individual to the next. Some people, as soon as they have finished hearing the truth, are able to accept it. They take it as they would swallow medicine that is bitter in the mouth but good for healing, using it to treat the illnesses and solve the problems that afflict them from within. In managing affairs, conducting themselves, doing their duty, interacting with others, and setting their aim and orientation in life, they seek answers in the word of God and use the word of God to solve the problems they encounter in life, practicing what they come to understand, bit by bit. For example, when God says, “You must all strive to become honest people,” such an individual will ponder, “How do I become an honest person?” God demands that people become honest; they must speak honest words, open up their hearts to fellowship with their brothers and sisters, and accept God’s scrutiny. These are the principles involved, and such a person will put them into practice as soon as he has heard them. Naturally, there will be times during the period of his practice when he might veer to the left or to the right, failing to find the right principles no matter how hard he looks, and there will be times when there are slight distortions in his practice. But in ceaselessly striving to meet this standard of becoming an honest person, he will in a few years come closer and closer to the desired effect. The more he lives, the more human he becomes and the more he feels himself to be in the presence of God, and the better his progress in life. Such are the people who are blessed by God. Such are the people of the first type.

Now that we have finished discussing people of the first type, let us go on to talk about the second. Although both types listen to sermons and read the word of God, a person of the first type is able to grasp the truth, and when they reveal corrupt dispositions, they are able to reflect on themselves and open themselves up, saying, “I am arrogant and self-righteous. I like to show off in doing things, always harboring my own intents and appetites, taking pleasure in status and deriving enjoyment from jockeying for fame and profit.” So saying, they become capable of self-knowledge and of reaching up toward the truth. It is different, however, for the second type. Such a person may admit that he is corrupt within himself and, when faced with being pruned, may even be able to admit that he has done wrong, but he simply will not reform. However much he listens to sermons, and however many words and doctrines he grasps, he just refuses to put the truth into practice, and keeps on doing as he feels he ought. Such a person is likewise able to open up to fellowship, and to accept being pruned, as well as God’s discipline. But having accepted it, he takes it as doctrine, he’s all done as soon as he’s grasped it, and afterward returns to his old ways, remaining unchanged. To take the truth and treat it as if it were doctrine—what will the consequences be for such a person? Most certainly he will mistake observing the regulations for practicing the truth. Such a person does not do his duty according to God’s word or God’s demands, but rather attempts to solve problems according to Satan’s philosophy for worldly dealings and such ways and means as he has summarized for himself. For all that he may pay lip service to acknowledging God’s word to be truth and Satan’s philosophy to be fallacy, he still practices satanic fallacy in real life, and even feels peace of mind in doing so. One who acknowledges God’s word to be truth and yet fails to put it into practice—is this not someone who deceives God? For all that he may acknowledge God’s word to be truth and Satan’s philosophy to be fallacy, he senses that Satan’s philosophy could also come in handy, and so he adopts a method of compromise, choosing to walk the middle line between the two, and regards this to be practicing the truth. To stand neither on God’s side nor on Satan’s, thereby offending neither, he even finds himself mighty clever, thinking, “I am one who does his duty, and also one who pursues the truth, so I will most definitely be able to receive God’s approval.” You tell Me, is this kind of person someone who practices the truth? (No.) He earnestly listens to the word of God, earnestly noting it down and memorizing it, and even spends time mulling it over, but what does he actually do with the word of God? What is his purpose in listening to God’s word? (He takes it to explicate for others, for the sake of showing himself off.) That’s one aspect. Anything more? (He takes it as regulations to be observed.) Sometimes he takes it as regulations to be observed, but what else? There are many situations here. Some people make the word of God into regulations to be observed, following the literal meaning of God’s words and that’s all. For instance, when everyone fellowships about how to be an honest person, he fellowships along with them. And when someone else says, “Where is your actual experience of being an honest person?” he will say, “Ah, let me take a look at my notebook.” If he had any experience at all, wouldn’t he simply come out with it? If it is indeed his own experience, why would he need to read from a script? This completely exposes him as having no reality whatsoever. And then there are some people who, when they finish listening to the sermons, believe that they have understood them, and who, if they can quote a few lines of doctrine, believe that they have understood the truth: Isn’t this a mistaken way of thinking? Such a person says, “I am able to comprehend the truth, I have spiritual understanding, I can understand every aspect of God’s word and every aspect of what I have heard about the sermons, and this means that I possess the truth reality.” He is blind to the fact that God’s word is the truth, that it is what makes the life of a person, that not only does the truth need to be put into practice, but it should also be applied to solving every problem and difficulty that arises within a person. Because such a person is incapable of accepting the truth, whenever he rebels against God he always tries to make a plausible case for his behavior. Unaware that this is rebelling against God, it becomes impossible for him to seek the truth in order to solve this problem of his own rebelliousness. In that case, how do people of this type find a solution to their difficulties, do you know? For a person who does not take the word of God as the truth principle, once he has finished listening to God’s word, he will ponder as follows: “Am I indeed being rebellious? This is quite excusable under the circumstances. Anyone would think the same way, this is just a way of thinking, and doesn’t count as rebellion. It will be fine if I don’t think this way next time, I’ll be nice and submissive!” Then, he continues mulling it over, “If I can be submissive, this means I am still someone who loves God, someone God delights in.” And so, in this way, he lets himself off. He does not dissect why he is capable of rebelling against God or the source of his rebellion, he seeks no more to know himself in regard to this matter, and however much rebellion he harbors, he does not reflect on himself—this is someone who does not pursue the truth. Because such a person does not regard truth as life, no matter what he does, and no matter what rebellion or corruption he reveals, he makes no attempt to match up to or find a correlation with the truth and learn a lesson. This is enough to confirm that he does not love the truth and that he is not one who pursues the truth. Confronted with an issue, he never examines himself, never reaches up toward the truth, never tries to find a correlation with the truth—is he not the same as an unbeliever? However many years he has been a believer, he has not had the slightest life entry, and all he does is keep observing a few regulations and try to do fewer evil deeds: How can this be called practicing the truth? How can this manner of believing in God win His approval? A good many people profess belief in God for upward of ten or twenty years and can cite a whole bunch of words and doctrines. Hearing them, someone who has just started believing would be mighty impressed, and yet they do not have a single jot of the truth reality, nor are they able to share any genuine experiential testimony. How has this come about? Not having a jot of genuine experiential testimony becomes a problem. It means not having a jot of life entry! When others fellowship with him about the truth, such a person will say, “Save it; I understand everything, and I have grasped all doctrines.” What is his basis for saying this? And what is wrong with his saying this? Why is it that, when he listens to sermons and reads the word of God, he can only grasp doctrine and not the truth? He knows how to talk about doctrine but not how to experience God’s word, with the result that, however many years he has been a believer, he is unable to solve a single problem. How has this come about? (He does not accept the truth.) That’s it. It’s because he does not accept the truth. As in the case of a doctor who regularly treats his patients’ illnesses, writing them prescriptions and performing surgeries on them; he may understand every single aspect of the doctrine behind medical practice, and yet when he himself is diagnosed with cancer, he will say, “No one will be able to cure my illness.” When someone says to him, “You must get chemotherapy, you must have an operation!” he will reply, “You don’t need to tell me this, I know all about it.” But if, knowing all about it, he takes no steps to cure his own illness, would he be able to recover from it? Being a doctor won’t do him any good. One who understands every aspect of doctrine, and yet simply will not put it into practice—this is the second type of person. To all outward appearances, a person of this type seems to accept being pruned, to listen to sermons and participate in gatherings on a regular basis, and to be enthusiastic about doing work, doing duty, enduring hardships, and expending himself. But there is one point on which such a person falls short, and it is a failing of the deadliest nature: He never takes what he hears of the sermons or the word of God as the truth to be put into practice. This means he does not accept the truth. What is the essential problem with a person who does not accept the truth? (He does not love the truth.) For someone who does not love the truth, what is his perspective, what is his attitude, toward God? Why does such a person not love the truth? The main reason is that he does not regard the truth as truth. Seen from his perspective, the truth is just good doctrine. Does this type of person know how to discern Satan’s heresies and fallacies in all their multifarious shapes? Decidedly not, because Satan’s heresies and fallacies all appear to humans to be good doctrine. Even an evil person, in committing evil deeds, looks for fine-sounding reasons to mislead others, so that they will back him up, approve of him, and see him as being in the right. If one who believes in God sees the truth as good doctrine, that would be simply too absurd. Not only does this type of person lack the comprehension ability, it is also easy for him to be misled by others and to serve as a tool of Satan. This is why I say: Whosoever lacks the ability to comprehend the truth, he is a person without spiritual understanding. He thinks that to understand the truth means to understand doctrine, and as long as one knows how to spout doctrines, it means that one has understood the truth. This type of person will most decidedly not know how to put the truth into practice, nor will he be able to grasp what is meant by principle. All he can do is take a shot at observing the regulations according to his own understanding of doctrine. Having believed in God for a good many years, and having come to understand a good bit of doctrine, he will observe a few more regulations and do a few more good deeds, or he may make a bit of sacrifice, enduring many hardships without complaint. These things he considers to be practicing God’s word, to be practicing the truth. In fact, no matter how much one appears to follow the regulations on the outside, and no matter how much one suffers and how much of a price one pays without complaining, none of this means that one is practicing the truth, let alone submitting to God.

When all is said and done, what is the standard for practicing the truth? How does one measure whether you are practicing the truth or not? When all is said and done, are you one who listens to and accepts the word of God—how does God look at this? God looks at the following: While professing belief in God and listening to sermons, have you taken your incorrect inner state, your rebellion against God, and all the different forms of your corrupt disposition, and replaced them with the truth? Have you changed? Have you only changed in your outward behavior and actions, or has your life disposition undergone a change? God measures you on the basis of these considerations. Having listened to sermons for so many years, and eaten and drunk of God’s word for so many years, are the changes within you superficial or are they of a fundamental nature? Have you changed in your disposition? Has your rebelliousness against God lessened? When confronted with an issue and your rebelliousness is revealed, are you capable of self-reflection? Are you capable of showing submission to God? Has your attitude toward your duty and the commission God has entrusted to you undergone any change? Has your loyalty grown? Do you still have impurities within you? The intents, ambitions, appetites, and plans that you harbor as an individual—have these things been cleansed away during the period you have been listening to sermons? All these are standards of evaluation. In addition to the above, how many of your notions and misconceptions about God have been eliminated? Are you still holding onto those vague notions, imaginings, and conclusions from before? Do you still harbor grievance, resistance, or negative emotions toward trials and refinements? If these negative elements have still not been truly addressed, and if you have still not undergone any real change, this goes to corroborate one fact—that you are not a person who practices the truth. In the same way, when a seed, after being sown in the ground, is watered and fertilized and yet fails to germinate after many days, this proves that the seed has no life. For instance, there are some people who believe in God because, previously, they were always being bullied, ostracized, and disdained, and they now believe in God so that in future they can hold their heads high. Having professed belief for a time, such a person continues to harbor this intent while doing his duty and expending himself, and he keeps putting more and more energy into expending himself, until eventually he becomes a leader in the church, and then he feels that he can hold his head high. Inwardly, his intent still unresolved, he ponders: “If I were to become an even bigger leader, wouldn’t that allow me to hold my head even higher? Believing in God is the way to go!” His coming to the house of God was all for the sake of gaining status so he could hold his head high, and this intent remains unresolved throughout. He has done work for so many years, listened to sermons for so many years, and eaten and drunk of God’s word for so many years, and yet failed to address this one problem. Isn’t his believing in God this way neglecting his proper tasks? One listens to sermons and reads the word of God for the sake of gaining the truth, of gaining life, but he has professed belief for so many years without gaining any aspect of the truth or life. This is a problem worthy of contemplation. Some people, though they may not know how to fellowship about the truth or bear witness to God, nevertheless do have some real experience. When faced with being pruned, they are capable of self-reflection, and they can moreover accept the truth, afterward genuinely making changes to reform themselves. This proves that these people have real faith. No matter how much suffering and misfortune are visited on them, they do not shrink back, but their God-loving heart grows ever more real. In managing affairs, they are now guided by principle, the corruption they reveal has lessened a good deal, and they have a stronger sense of responsibility when doing their duty. Can you say, of this kind of person, that he does not understand the truth? Seen from the perspective of the changes in him, this person is assuredly living out the reality of the truth. Only in doing so has he imbibed God’s word down into his heart’s core. Though he may not have the gift of gab, he does know how to practice the truth, and is moreover guided by principles in his handling of affairs, doing his best to accomplish concrete goals and enduring all manner of hardship without a word of complaint. This is proof that God’s word is working within him, achieving its effect, and starting to become his life.

Just now we were talking about two types of people. The first type of person’s behavior is simple: Upon hearing God’s word, he is able to put it into practice. The second type, after listening to God’s word a great deal, does not entirely fail to put it into practice. In his own mind, he imagines himself to be practicing it, because he has forsaken his family and occupation and offered up his all. There are even some who give their whole lives to God, choosing the path of celibacy, rejecting the pursuit of wealth, and offering up everything, but their inner state never changes. Their grievances, misunderstandings, notions, and imaginings toward God, as well as their arrogant disposition, despotic and arbitrary conduct—all of these remain forever unchanged, and they go on living by Satan’s philosophy, with little difference from an unbeliever. This type of person only pays lip service to believing in God, and is only slightly better than unbelievers in that they don’t commit acts of great evil. On the outside, such a person appears to be good. Yet he does not pursue the truth, and however much he listens to sermons, he makes no change in his life disposition. What does this type of person make of God’s word? He takes it as good doctrine. He regards God’s word as the truth, but what he regards to be the truth is in fact doctrine—something of a doctrinal nature, something that’s not too bad. He can observe a few regulations, but his life disposition doesn’t change a bit. These are the people of the second type.

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