Only by Recognizing One's Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform (Part Two)

In entering the truth reality, self-knowledge is extraordinarily important. Self-knowledge means knowing which things in our thoughts and views are fundamentally incompatible with the truth, and belong to a corrupt disposition, and are hostile to God. It is easy to gain an understanding of the corrupt dispositions of man, like arrogance, self-righteousness, lying, and deceitfulness. You can come to know them a little by simply fellowshipping on the truth a few times or through frequent fellowship, or by having your state pointed out to you by your brothers and sisters. Furthermore, arrogance and deceitfulness are present in every person, differing only in degree, so they are relatively easy to know. But discerning whether one’s thoughts and views are in line with the truth is difficult, and not as easy as knowing one’s corrupt dispositions. When a person’s behavior or outward practices change a little, that person feels as though they have changed, but actually this is a mere behavioral change, and it does not mean that their outlook on things has truly changed. In the depths of people’s hearts, there are still many notions and imaginings, various thoughts, views, and poisons of traditional culture, and many things that are hostile to God. These things are hidden inside of them, yet to be unearthed. They are the origin of the revelations of their corrupt dispositions, and they come from within man’s nature essence. That is why, when God does something that does not line up with your notions, you will resist Him and oppose Him. You will not understand why God has acted so, and though you know there is truth in everything God does and you wish to submit, you will find yourself unable to do so. Why are you unable to submit? What is the reason for your opposition and resistance? It is because there are many things within man’s thoughts and views that are hostile to God, hostile to the principles by which God acts and hostile to His essence. These things are difficult for people to gain knowledge of. Since I’ve fellowshipped on these words, you should be able to gain insight and some understanding. Suppose you have notions about God when something happens and think, “This can’t be God’s doing, for if it were God then He wouldn’t have done it like this, or spoken thus. Everything God does is love, and easy for people to accept,” but then suppose you think, “This way of thinking is wrong. God has said before that there is truth to be sought wherever people cannot understand. I should reflect on myself, as it’s the notions and imaginings in my heart which are playing up, leading me to delimit God’s work. I shouldn’t misunderstand Him”—this is the correct way to reflect on yourself. Whenever you see that God’s work or words don’t conform to your notions, that’s when you should reflect on yourself, hurry to seek the truth in God’s words, measure yourself against and then act in accordance with them. Is this not a way forward?

We’ve just fellowshipped on how to treat one’s parents. Many of you feel you owe your parents a lot, as they’ve suffered much on your behalf throughout their lives, and shown you great love and care. If they one day fall ill, your conscience is disturbed, and you feel blamed. You suddenly think that you should stay with your parents to fulfill your filial duty to them, comfort them and ensure they’re happy in their old age. You think this is your responsibility and obligation as their child. If, as you fulfill this obligation, God asks something of you or gives you an unexpected trial, His intention is that you should not do so, but should take belief in God, performing your duty well, and pursuing the truth as the principle. How would you feel if God asked you directly not to be filial to your parents or treat them in that way? You’d consider this matter through the lens of traditional notions, and complain about God in your heart, thinking that He did it without considering your feelings, and that it doesn’t satisfy your filial piety. You believe that you’re acting full of filial piety, humanity, and conscience, but God doesn’t let you act according to your conscience or filial piety. Then you will resist, rebel against and oppose God, and not accept the truth. I’m saying all this to make people realize that the root and essence of man’s rebellious nature comes primarily from people’s thoughts and views, which are formed by the education they receive from family and society, as well as from traditional culture. After these things are deeply planted in people’s hearts bit by bit, through family convention, or the influence of society and academic education, then people start to live by them. They’ll unconsciously start to believe that this traditional culture is correct, irreproachable, and cannot be criticized, and that only by acting according to the demands of traditional culture can they be real people. If they don’t, they’ll feel they’re devoid of conscience, contrary to and without any humanity, and they won’t be able to come to terms with it. Are these human thoughts and views not far removed from the truth? The things in human thoughts and views, and the goals people pursue, are all directed toward the world, toward Satan. God’s requirement for man to pursue the truth is directed toward God, toward the light. These are two different directions, two different goals. Act according to God’s goals and requirements of man and your humanity will become more normal, you will have more of a human likeness, and you will get closer to God. If you act according to the thoughts and views of traditional culture, you will lose more and more of your conscience and reason, become even more false and fake, follow the trends of the world even more, and become part of the forces of evil. Then you will be living completely in darkness, under the power of Satan. You will have entirely violated the truth and betrayed God.

People who live in this real society have been deeply corrupted by Satan. Regardless of whether they’re educated or not, a lot of traditional culture is ingrained in people’s thoughts and views. In particular, women are required to attend to their husbands and raise their children, to be a good wife and loving mother, devoting their whole lives to their husbands and children and living for them, making sure the family has three square meals a day, and doing the washing, cleaning, and all other housework well. This is the accepted standard of being a good wife and loving mother. Every woman also thinks this is the way things should be done, and that if she doesn’t then she’s not a good woman, and has violated conscience and the standards of morality. Violating these moral standards will weigh heavily on some people’s conscience; they’ll feel they’ve let their husbands and children down, and that they’re not a good woman. But after you believe in God, have read a lot of His words, understood some truths, and seen through some matters, you’ll think, “I am a created being and should perform my duty as such, and expend myself for God.” At this time, is there a conflict between being a good wife and loving mother, and doing your duty as a created being? If you want to be a good wife and loving mother, then you cannot do your duty full time, but if you want to do your duty full time then you cannot be a good wife and loving mother. What do you do now? If you choose to do your duty well and be responsible for the work of the church, loyal to God, then you must give up being a good wife and loving mother. What would you think now? What sort of discord would arise in your mind? Would you feel like you’ve let down your children, your husband? Where does this feeling of guilt and unease come from? When you don’t fulfill the duty of a created being, do you feel like you’ve let God down? You have no sense of guilt or blame because, in your heart and mind, there isn’t the slightest hint of the truth. So, what do you understand? Traditional culture and being a good wife and loving mother. Thus the notion of “If I’m not a good wife and loving mother, then I’m not a good or decent woman” will arise in your mind. You’ll be bound and fettered by this notion from then on, and will remain so by these kinds of notions even after you believe in God and do your duty. When there is a conflict between doing your duty and being a good wife and loving mother, while you may reluctantly choose to do your duty, possessing perhaps a little loyalty to God, there’ll still be a feeling of unease and blame in your heart. Therefore, when you have some spare time while doing your duty, you’ll look for chances to take care of your children and husband, wanting to make it up to them even more, and think it’s fine even if you have to suffer more, as long as you have peace of mind. Is this not brought about by the influence of traditional culture’s ideas and theories about being a good wife and loving mother? You now have a foot in both camps, wanting to fulfill your duty well but also wanting to be a good wife and loving mother. But before God, we only have one responsibility and obligation, one mission: to properly fulfill the duty of a created being. Have you fulfilled this duty well? Why did you stray off track again? Is there really no sense of blame or reproach in your heart? Because the truth has still not laid foundations in your heart, and does not yet reign over it, you can stray off track when doing your duty. Although now you’re able to do your duty, you’re actually still falling far short of the standards of truth and God’s requirements. Can you see this fact clearly now? What does God mean when He says that “God is the source of man’s life”? It is to make everyone realize this: Our lives and souls all come from God and were created by Him—not from our parents, and certainly not from nature, but given us by God. Only our flesh was born of our parents, as our children are born of us, but their fate is entirely in God’s hands. That we can believe in God is an opportunity given by Him; it is ordained by Him and is His grace. There is therefore no need for you to fulfill your obligation or responsibility to anyone else; you should only fulfill your duty to God as a created being. This is what people must do above anything else, the main thing that should be done as the primary affair of one’s life. If you do not fulfill your duty well, you are not a qualified created being. In the eyes of others, you may be a good wife and loving mother, an excellent housewife, a filial child, and an upstanding member of society, but before God you are one who rebels against Him, one who has not fulfilled their obligation or duty at all, one who accepted yet did not complete God’s commission, one who gave up halfway. Can someone like this gain God’s approval? People like this are worthless. No matter how perfect a wife and mother you are, or how high your standards of social morality, or how much approval you earn from others, it does not mean that you are putting the truth into practice, much less submitting to God. If you are averse to the truth and refuse to accept it, this only proves that you have no conscience or reason, no normal humanity, and are someone without God in your heart at all. Is this sort of person not too far removed from God’s requirements? Those who do not pursue the truth are like this, always living according to the ideas and theories of traditional culture, always following society’s trends, but not accepting the truth and unable to submit to God. Are these people not impoverished and pitiful? Are they not foolish and ignorant? Is being a good wife and loving mother, being a good, well-liked woman, worth boasting about and being proud of?

All the things that people hold in their hearts are actually at odds with the truth and hostile to God. That includes things we believe to be positive, good, and things generally regarded to be right. We even see these things as the truth, as human needs and things into which people should enter. To God, however, they are loathsome things. How far from the truths spoken by God are the views that man sees as correct, or the things that man believes to be positive? Far, indeed—the distance is immeasurable. So, we must know ourselves, and everything from the academic education we have received down to our pursuits and preferences, from our thoughts and views down to the paths we choose and walk, are all worthy of deep excavation and dissection. Some of them are inherited from one’s family; some come from one’s schooling; some come from the influence and conditioning of social environments; some are learned from books; and some come from our imaginings and notions. These are the most frightening things, for they dominate our minds, and govern the motives, intents, and goals of our actions. They also bind and control our words and actions. If we do not unearth these things and reject them, we will never fully accept God’s words, and we will never unreservedly accept His requirements and put them into practice. As long as you harbor your own ideas and viewpoints, and things that you believe to be correct, you will never accept God’s words unreservedly, nor will you practice them in their original form; you are certain to process God’s words within your heart, and practice them only after having brought them into conformity with your notions. This is how you will act, and this is how you will “help” others, by leading them to do things according to your methods. You will seem to be putting God’s words into practice, but what you practice will be human adulterations. You will not know this, and you will think that you are practicing the truth, that you have already entered the truth reality, that you have already gained the truth. Is that not arrogant and self-righteous? Is such a state not a fearsome thing? If people are not meticulous in practicing the truth, deviations will occur. If one always relies on their imaginings to put God’s words into practice, then not only are they not practicing the truth, they also cannot achieve submission to God. If one means to enter the truth reality, they must reflect on which notions and imaginings exist in them, as well as which of their views are not in line with the truth. When dissecting these things, a word or two will not suffice to thoroughly explain them or to make them clear. Naturally, in life there are many other matters like these. Like the more than one hundred poisons of Satan that were collected in the past—you may have understood the words and phrases, but how have you measured yourself against them? Have you reflected on them? Do you not also have a share in these poisons? Do they not reflect how you think, too? When you are doing things, do you not also act based on these poisons? You must dig deep into your personal experience, and measure it against those words. If you merely read over the words of God that expose Satan’s poisons, just giving them a glance, or if you think simply about them, admitting that these things are indeed poisons, that they do indeed corrupt and harm people, and then put God’s words aside, you will have no way to resolve your corrupt disposition. Many people read God’s words and cannot link them to reality. They simply read the words and glance over the text, and so long as they understand its literal meaning, they believe that they have understood God’s words, or even that they have understood the truth. Yet they never reflect on their corrupt dispositions, and when they know that they are revealing corruption, they do not seek the truth to resolve it. They are content merely to admit that all states exposed by the words of God are real and that they are revelations of corrupt dispositions, and stop there. Can one who reads God’s words like this truly know themselves? Can they cast off their corrupt disposition? Absolutely not. Most people who believe in God do so in this way, and as a result, they see no change in their disposition after ten or twenty years of belief. The root cause of this is that they do not put effort into God’s words, and they cannot accept the truth and submit to it in their hearts. They merely observe regulations in their practice and avoid committing great evil, and with that they think that they are practicing the truth. Is there not a deviation in their practice? Is practicing the truth as simple as that? People are living beings and they all have thoughts; in particular, people all have corrupt dispositions rooted deep in their hearts, and possess various thoughts and views that arose from the domination of their satanic nature. All these thoughts and views are revelations of a satanic disposition. If people cannot dissect and know these things based on the truth of God’s words, they have no way to know their corrupt essence, and their corrupt dispositions cannot be cleansed. Why are those who do not accept the truth so arrogant, self-righteous and recalcitrant? It is because they all have different thoughts and views on various things, and they all have some ideas and theories to guide them, so they feel themselves to be correct, look down on others, and are arrogant, self-righteous, and recalcitrant. No matter how others may fellowship about the truth to them, they are unwilling to accept it—they continue living according to the thoughts and views within them, because those have already become their life. The fact is that in everything you do, there is a thought or view inside you that dictates how you do it, and the direction in which you do it. If you are not aware of this, you should reflect on yourself often, then you will know what thoughts and views within you are controlling your acts and deeds. Of course, if you were to examine your thoughts and views now, you would feel that there is nothing within them that is hostile to God, that you are honest and loyal, that you perform your duty willingly, that you can forsake things and expend yourself for God. You would feel that you are doing fine in all of these regards. But when God really gets serious with you, when He has you do something that does not accord with your notions, something you are unwilling to do, how will you approach it? That is when your thoughts, views, and corrupt dispositions will be exposed, just like the water that flows from an opened sluice—you cannot control it, as much as you would like to. This will keep you from practicing the truth and submitting to God. You will say, “Why can’t I control myself? I don’t want to resist God, so why am I? I don’t want to pass judgment on God, and I don’t want to have notions about His actions—so why am I judging Him? Why do I still have these notions?” At this time, you should reflect on and know yourself, and examine what is inside of you that resists God, or is hostile and contrary to the work He is currently doing. If you can figure out these things and resolve them according to the truth in God’s words, you will have life progress, and you will be someone who understands the truth.

China is governed by an atheist political party and Chinese people are educated in atheism and evolution, with popular sayings like “All things come from nature” and “Humans are descended from apes.” After believing in God and reading His words, you know that the heavens and earth and all things were created by God, including humans, and everyone is able to feel in their hearts that God’s word is true. All of nature is God’s creation, and nothing would ever have come into being if God had not created them. Humans descending from apes is particularly untenable, as throughout all of human history no one has ever seen an ape become a man. There is no evidence, and thus all this is Satan’s lies and deception. Those who understand the truth reject Satan’s devilish words, heresies, and fallacies, and believe the Bible and God’s words without the shadow of a doubt. But it is impossible for those who do not love the truth to fully accept that God’s words are the truth. Some might wonder, “Man was created by God, but how? Why haven’t I seen it? I don’t believe what I haven’t seen.” Their belief in God is based on what they can see with their own eyes. This is not having faith. Man came from God, and God has led man step by step until now, always with sovereignty over man’s fate. This is a fact. In the last days, God has made known all these mysteries, saying that man has reincarnation and transmigration, and that human life and soul are given by God and come from Him. This is the truth. But whenever you see this aspect of truth, because you don’t accept these words of God to be the truth, you measure them against your own thoughts and views: “Since man didn’t come from apes, but from God, then how did man come from God? How did He give man life?” If you do not understand God then you’ll think it impossible that God has the power, wisdom or authority to create man with but a single breath or word. You don’t believe that this is a fact, or that it’s the truth. When you have doubts, you resist these words of God, saying you don’t believe them, but in fact your heart is in a state of resistance and an attitude of opposition. You are unwilling to listen when God speaks these words, feel hostility in your heart, and cannot Amen God’s words. In reality, looking at the facts, we don’t need to investigate how or when God made man, who saw it, or if anyone can testify to it. There is no need for people to study this. When people genuinely understand the truth and know God’s deeds, they’ll be able to bear witness themselves. What is the key issue they should focus on now? It is to know God’s work. God has, from beginning to end, been performing His work of managing man and saving man among mankind. From beginning to end, there is only one God working, speaking, teaching and guiding mankind. This God exists. God has spoken so many words now, we have already seen Him face to face, heard Him speak, experienced His work, and eaten and drunk His words, accepting His words into us to become our life. And these words are constantly guiding us and changing us. This God indeed exists. Therefore, we should believe, as God said, the fact that God created mankind, and the fact that God created Adam and Eve in the beginning. Since you believe this God exists and you have now come before Him, then do you still need to confirm that the work performed by Jehovah is the work of this God? If no one can confirm it and no one witnesses it, will you not believe it? Or regarding the work from the Age of Grace, do you not believe Jesus was God incarnate because you never saw Him? If you did not personally see the present God speak, work or incarnated in the flesh, then would you not believe it? If you did not see these things or there were no witnesses to confirm these things, would you not believe them all? This is because of the absurdly false viewpoint people have inside them. It is a mistake made by so many people. They have to personally see everything, and if they do not, they do not believe it. This is wrong. If a person truly knows God, is able to believe in His word even without seeing the facts, and is able to corroborate His word, only then are they the type of person who understands the truth and has true faith. Now that we have seen these words of God and heard His voice, it is enough to grant us true faith and to therefore make us follow Him and to make us believe every word and all the work that comes from God. There is no need for us to keep analyzing or researching things. Is that not the kind of reason that people should have? There was no one to witness it when God created mankind, but now God has become flesh to express truths and save mankind, to perform His work practically, and to walk among the churches and work among mankind. Have a lot of people not seen this? Not everyone is able to see it, but you believe it. Why do you believe it? Do you not only believe because you feel the words of God are the truth and that this is the true way and the work of God? Can you still say, “In this stage of God’s work, I heard Him speak, and I also saw God’s words. It’s true that these words came from God. But regarding the Lord Jesus’ work of the crucifixion, I didn’t touch His nail marks, so I don’t believe the fact that He was crucified. I did not witness the work Jehovah God did during the Age of Law, and I did not hear the laws when He proclaimed them. Only Moses heard them and wrote the Five Books of Moses, but I don’t know how he wrote them”? Are people that say these things in a normal state of mind? They are disbelievers and not people who truly believe in God. This is just like when the Israelites said, “Has Jehovah indeed spoken only by Moses? Has He not spoken also by us?” (Numbers 12:2). What they meant was, “We won’t listen to Moses, we must hear it personally from Jehovah God.” Just like when people said during the Age of Grace that, because they did not personally see it with their own eyes, they did not believe that Jesus was crucified or that He rose from the dead. There was a disciple by the name of Thomas who insisted on touching Jesus’ nail marks. And what did the Lord Jesus say to him? (“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).) “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” What does this really mean? Did they really see nothing? Actually, all the things Jesus had said and all of the work He did already proved that Jesus was God, and so people should have believed it. Jesus did not need to perform more signs and wonders or speak more words, and people did not need to feel His nail marks to believe. True faith does not rely only on seeing, but rather, with spiritual confirmation, belief is held until the very end and there is never any doubt. Thomas was a disbeliever who only relied on seeing. Do not be like Thomas.

A portion of people like Thomas do indeed exist in the church. They are constantly doubting God’s incarnation, and they wait for God to leave the earth, return to the third heaven, and to see the real person of God to finally believe. They do not believe in Him because of the words He has spoken during His incarnation. By the time this kind of person believes, everything will be too late, and that’s the time they will be condemned by God. The Lord Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” These words mean that he had already been condemned by the Lord Jesus and that he is a disbeliever. If you truly believe in the Lord and in all He has said, you will be blessed. If you have followed the Lord for a long time but do not believe in His capacity for resurrection, or that He is the almighty God, then you do not have true faith and you will not be able to attain blessings. Only through faith can blessings be attained, and if you don’t believe, you will not attain them. Are you only capable of believing in anything if God appears to you, allows you to see Him, and convinces you in person? As a human being, how are you qualified to ask God to personally appear to you? How are you qualified to make Him personally speak to a corrupt human such as yourself? Moreover, what makes you qualified to need Him to explain everything clearly to you before you will believe? If you possess reason, then you will believe after just reading these words God has uttered. If you truly believe, then it does not matter what He does or what He says. Rather, upon seeing that these words are the truth, you will be one hundred percent convinced that they were said by God and that He did these things, and you will already be prepared to follow Him to the end. You need not doubt this. People who are full of doubts are so deceitful. They simply cannot believe in God. They are always trying to understand those mysteries, and will only believe after they thoroughly comprehend them. Their precondition for believing in God is to have clear answers to these questions: How did God incarnate come? When did He arrive? How long will He stay before He has to leave? Where will He go after He leaves? What is the process of His leaving? How does God incarnate work, and how does He leave? … They want to understand some mysteries; they are here to investigate them, not to seek the truth. They think that they will not be able to believe in God unless they can fathom these mysteries; it is as though their belief has been obstructed. This viewpoint such people have is problematic. Once they have a desire to research mysteries, they do not bother paying attention to the truth or heeding God’s words. Could such people know themselves? Self-knowledge does not come easily for them. This isn’t to condemn a certain kind of person. If someone doesn’t accept the truth and doesn’t believe in God’s words, then they don’t have true faith. They’ll just focus on splitting hairs over some words, mysteries, trivial things, or problems people hadn’t noticed. But it’s also possible that one day God will enlighten them, or their brothers and sisters will help them by regularly fellowshipping on the truth, and they will turn around. The day this happens, they’ll feel that their former views were too absurd, that they were too arrogant and thought far too highly of themselves, and they’ll be ashamed. Those with genuine faith will trust whatever God says without any doubts and, when they have some experience and see that God’s words are all fulfilled and accomplished, their faith will grow even stronger. This type of person is one who has spiritual understanding, who believes in and can accept the truth, and who truly has faith.

Spring, 2008

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