Only by Resolving One's Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (1) Part One

You have believed in God for all these years, and though you understand some truths, inside each of your hearts there are your own interpretations, beliefs, and imaginings—and they all completely contravene and contradict the truth and God’s will. What are these things? These things are people’s notions. Even though man has no truth at all, their minds are capable of producing many notions and imaginings, all of which are incompatible with the truth. Everything that is at odds with the truth pertains to the notions and imaginings of man. So how do the notions of man come about? There are many different causes. Partly it is the conditioning of traditional culture, as well as the dissemination and inculcation of knowledge, the impact of social trends and family teachings, and so on. In China—a country that has been ruled by atheism for thousands of years—what understanding and definition of God do people have? Although God is invisible and intangible, He really exists, He can fly here and there through the air, coming and going without a trace, appearing and disappearing suddenly, able to walk through walls, unhindered by any material or space, and with tremendous abilities, totally omnipotent—these are the notions and imaginings people have about God. So, how do people’s imaginings and notions come about? They are predominantly related to the education and conditioning of traditional culture. The teaching of atheism has been around in China for millennia and long ago planted its atheistic seeds in people’s innermost hearts. During this time, Satan and all kinds of evil spirits have performed many signs and wonders among the people in order to mislead and control them. These things spread far and wide among the people, and they have a terrible impact. These evil spirits act recklessly to mislead, fool, and harm people, and so people have developed many notions and imaginings about God. In conclusion, people’s notions and imaginings come entirely from the wicked social conditioning and indoctrination of Satan. From ancient times up till today, generation after generation of people have received Satan’s teaching and have received the dissemination and indoctrination of traditional culture and knowledge, and thus have produced all manner of notions and imaginings. Even though these things have not directly impacted people’s work, studies, and normal lives, it is these notions and imaginings which have been a tremendous obstacle to people accepting and submitting to God’s work. Even if people have accepted God’s work, these things still present a great hindrance to their knowing and submitting to God, causing them to have very little faith, to often feel negative and weak, and to find it very difficult to stand firm in trials, even after many years spent believing in God. These are the consequences of having notions and imaginings.

Most people believe that belief in God means doing good things and being a good person. For example, they believe that someone is only a believer in God if they give alms to the poor. If someone does lots of good things and is praised by others, they thank God from their heart and say to people, “Don’t thank me. You should thank the God in heaven, for it was He who taught me to do this.” After being complimented by people, they feel so satisfied and soothed, and they believe that faith in God is good, that they are affirmed by people and will certainly be affirmed by God as well. Where does this feeling of being soothed come from? (Their notions and imaginings.) Is their feeling of being soothed real or false? (False.) But to them it is real, and they feel very grounded, practical, and real, because what they have pursued is this feeling of being soothed. How does this feeling of being soothed come about? This false impression has come about because of their notions, and it is their notions that have caused them to think that this is how belief in God should be, that they should be this kind of person, that they should act in this way, that God will certainly be pleased with them for having done these things, and that they will certainly attain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven in the end. Where does this “certainly” come from? (From people’s notions.) It’s their notions and imaginings which give them this certainty and this false impression, and which make them feel so comfortable. And how does God actually measure and determine this matter? It is only a kind of good behavior, done in accordance with people’s notions and people’s human goodness. One day, this person does something which goes against principles and they get pruned, and they then discover that God’s criteria for measuring good people are not as they thought and that God’s words do not say any such thing, and so they feel resistant and think, “Am I not a good person? I’ve been a good person all these years and no one has ever said I wasn’t a good person. Only God says I’m not a good person!” Isn’t there a problem here? How has this problem come about? It has come about because of their notions. What is the main culprit here? (Notions.) The main culprit is people’s notions. People’s notions often cause them to misunderstand God and often make all kinds of demands and judgments about God and have all kinds of criteria for measuring God; they cause people to often use certain incorrect thoughts and views to measure whether things are right or wrong, whether someone is good or bad, and to measure whether someone is loyal to God and has faith in God. What is the root cause of these mistakes? It is people’s notions. People’s notions may have no effect on what they eat or how they sleep, and they may not impact their normal lives, but they do exist in people’s minds and in their thoughts, they cling to people like a shadow, following them around all the time. If you aren’t able to resolve them in time, they will constantly control your thinking, your judgment, your behavior, your knowledge of God, and your relationship with God. Do you see this clearly now? Notions are a major problem. People having notions about God is like a wall standing between them and God, one that stops them from seeing the true face of God, that stops them from seeing the true disposition and true essence of God. Why is this? It’s because people live among their notions, and among their imaginings, and they use their notions to determine whether God is right or wrong, and to measure, judge, and condemn all that God does. What kind of state are people often plunged into by doing this? Can people truly submit to God when they live among their notions? Can they have true faith in God? (No, they cannot.) Even when people do submit to God a little, they do so according to their own notions and imaginings. When one relies on their notions and imaginings, it becomes tainted with personal things that are of Satan and the world, and it is at odds with the truth. The problem of people’s notions about God is a serious one; it is a major issue between man and God that urgently needs to be resolved. Everyone who comes before God brings notions, they bring all manner of suspicions about God. Or, it can be said that they bring myriad misunderstandings about God in the face of all that God bestows upon them, in the face of His arrangements and orchestrations. And what will become of their relationship with God? People constantly misunderstand God, they are constantly suspicious of God, and they constantly use their own standards to measure whether God is right or wrong, to measure each of His words and work. What is this kind of behavior? (It’s rebelliousness and defiance.) That’s right, it’s people rebelling against, defying, and condemning God, and it’s people judging God, blaspheming against God, and competing with Him, and in severe cases people want to take God to court and engage in a “decisive struggle” against Him. What is the most severe level that people’s notions can reach? It is denying the true God Himself, denying that His words are the truth, and condemning the work of God. When people’s notions reach this level, they naturally deny God, condemn God, blaspheme against God and betray God. They not only deny God’s existence, but they refuse to accept the truth and follow God—isn’t this frightening? (Yes.) This is a frightening problem. Notions can be said to be entirely harmful to people, without a single benefit. That’s why today we fellowship on and dissect what notions are and what notions people harbor—this is so very necessary. What notions will arise in you ordinarily? Which of your thoughts, understandings, judgments, and views pertain to your notions? Isn’t this worth considering? People’s behavior does not pertain to their notions, but the thoughts and views behind that behavior are directly related to their notions. People’s notions do not fall outside the scope of God’s work. One: The various notions people have regarding belief in God. That is, people have different imaginings and definitions of belief in God, what they should gain from their belief in God, and what path they should walk in their belief in God, and so they come to have all manner of notions. Two: People’s notions about the incarnation of God. People have even more imaginings and definitions of the incarnation, and so naturally they come to have many notions—these are interrelated. Three: The notions people have about God’s work. People have various different imaginings and definitions about the truth God expresses, the disposition God reveals, and the way God works, and so they come to have many notions. We can divide these three points up into even more detail, however these three points basically cover all of people’s notions, so let’s fellowship on them one by one.

Now let’s talk about the first point, the various notions people have regarding belief in God. These kinds of notions are somewhat broad in scope. Regardless of whether people are strangers to belief in God or whether they’ve believed in God before, they have lots of notions and imaginings when they first start to believe in God. When they first start reading the Bible, people feel a surge in their hearts, and think, “I’m going to be a good person; I’m going to get into heaven.” Afterward, they come to have all kinds of imaginings and definitions or fixed ideas about belief in God, and they will certainly come to have different notions. For example, people imagine all kinds of things about the kind of person they should be after they start believing in God. Someone says, “After I start believing in God, I’m not going to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or gamble anymore. I won’t go to those wicked places. I’m going to speak politely to people and wear a smile on my face.” What is this? Is this a notion, or is it the way people should behave? (It’s the way people should behave.) This is an expression of normal humanity, and people should act this way. This is not a notion, nor is it an imagining—this way of thinking is perfectly rational and reasonable. Some elderly brother says, “I’m old and I’ve believed in God all these years. I should set an example to young people in the way I speak and do things. I should not be giggling or acting improperly for my age. I should look dignified and cultured and have the demeanor of a refined gentleman.” So, when he speaks to young people, he’s serious-faced and overflowing with literary words and phrases, and when young people see him they feel uncomfortable and don’t want to go near him. Brothers and sisters dance and praise God at gatherings, and the old brother believes he needs to control the lust in his eyes and looks only at what is appropriate, so he restrains himself from watching but still mutters in his heart, “These young people live so freely; why do I live feeling so aggrieved? Still, it is necessary to feel a little aggrieved when one believes in God, for who has caused me to get so old!” He says he mustn’t watch the dancers, but still he steals glances, clearly keeping up a pretense. How does this pretense come about? How is it he comes to be in this state of embarrassment? It’s because he has an imagining about the behavior and expressions he should have in his belief in God and, dominated by this imagining, his speech and actions become furtive and feigned. For example, when they sing at gatherings, some people clap their hands as they sing, letting themselves go, but this old brother is as numb and dull-witted as a dead person, without any vitality or human likeness at all. He believes that because he is old, he needs to appear as an old man and not act like a child, naïve and making people laugh at him. In short, everything he expresses is just pretense and he just forces himself to pretend like a big shot. Are other people edified when they witness such feigned behavior? (No.) How do you feel when you see this? First, you feel that he’s hypocritical and it makes you feel uncomfortable; second, you feel that he’s false, there is also a feeling of nausea and disgust, and when talking to him, you feel suffocated and constrained, unable to speak freely. If you’re not careful, you get a lecture off of him, saying, “See what you young people have become, you’re so deeply corrupted! You eat well and wear good clothes, eating like we used to do at New Year and other festivals, and you’re still picky and dissatisfied. When we were little, all we had to eat was grain chaff and wild herbs.” He flaunts his seniority and lectures others, and young people avoid him. He doesn’t understand this and even criticizes the young people for not respecting their elders and behaving badly. Aren’t these things he says laden with notions and human will, not in accord with the truth and unable to edify others? All this is small fry, however. What is key is this: Can he understand the truth by acting in this way? (No.) Is this helpful and beneficial to entering the truth reality? (No.) By practicing and conducting himself in this way, living like this day after day, can it allow him to live before God? Has he ever pondered, “Is my understanding of belief in God in line with the truth and with God’s requirements? What is it God requires? What kind of person does God love? Is there any discrepancy between my understanding and what God requires?” He’s certainly never thought about these questions before. If he had then, even if he hadn’t figured out the answers, he wouldn’t be behaving in such a foolish way. What then is the root cause of him acting in this way? (Notions.) And what is the root cause of his coming to have notions? It’s that he has a fallacious understanding of how people who believe in God should behave and express themselves. And how has this fallacious understanding come about? What is its source? There is the conditioning of traditional culture and the teachings given by schoolteachers. For example, young people should respect the old and love children, while elderly people should act their age, and so on. He therefore develops various strange behaviors, sometimes acting strangely and sometimes wearing strange expressions, but in any case, he doesn’t look entirely normal. Whether he acts strangely or wears strange expressions, as long as he doesn’t understand the truth or God’s requirements, and he doesn’t seek the truth, then how he acts will certainly be estranged from the truth. In such a simple matter—just some external behavior—it’s because people have notions rooted inside their hearts that they do these absurd things. When people don’t understand the truth, don’t understand God’s words, and don’t understand God’s will, then they won’t understand what the standards God requires of people are. When elderly people don’t understand the standards God requires of people, they engage in strange behaviors and expressions, and absurd actions; when young people don’t understand the standards required by God, and their belief in God is based on their imaginings and notions, then they too will engage in certain incorrect expressions and behaviors. What incorrect behaviors and expressions do they engage in? For example, some young people see in God’s words that He requires people to live pure and open, fresh and lively, like children, and they think, “We’ll always be infants before God and we’ll never grow up, so we have to walk and talk like children. I now know how to be one of God’s chosen people and a follower of God, and I now understand what it is to be like a child. I used to be deceitful, appearing so sophisticated, numb and dull-witted, but in the future, I have to act fresher and livelier.” Afterward, they observe how young people act in society nowadays and, once they’ve concluded how to act, they begin practicing it among the brothers and sisters, speaking to everyone in a child’s voice, putting pressure on their throats when they speak and speaking in a sweet, childish tone. In their minds, they think that only this kind of voice is a child’s voice, while at the same time they make certain strange gestures which make people feel incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. They haven’t understood what God means by being pure and open, fresh and lively like a child, and all they do is just external behavior—pretense, mimicry, and affectation. The comprehension of people like this is distorted. What is the biggest issue here? Not only are they incapable of purely comprehending the meaning of God’s words, but on the contrary, they mix God’s words up with the behavior, actions, and trends of the unbelievers. Isn’t this a mistake? They don’t come seek before God, they don’t read God’s words, and they don’t seek the truth; instead, they analyze and study things using their own brains, or else they look for a theoretical basis among the unbelievers, in traditional culture, or in scientific knowledge. Isn’t this a mistake? (Yes, it is.) This is the biggest mistake. Where is there any truth in the knowledge of the unbelievers? If you’re looking for a basis for how to conduct yourself, you can only seek the truth in God’s words. In any case, regardless of what level of understanding people can reach, every one of God’s words and every one of His requirements of man are practical and detailed and are absolutely not as simple as they appear in man’s notions and imaginings. God’s requirements of man are not a decoration for their external appearance, they are not simple behaviors, much less are they just a way of doing things, but rather they are the standards God requires of people; they are the principles and standards by which man should conduct themselves and act, and these principles are what people ought to master and possess. If I don’t fellowship clearly on these detailed problems, then people will only understand some doctrine and will find it difficult to enter into the truth reality.

What we just fellowshipped on was the notions and imaginings people have concerning belief in God in terms of their external behavior. What others do you know in terms of external behavior? Speaking of notions, are notions right or wrong? (Wrong.) Are they positive or are they negative? (Negative.) They definitely run contrary to God’s requirements and the truth; they do not accord with the truth. Regardless of whether people imagine them out of thin air or they have some basis, in any case, none of them have anything to do with the truth. So, what is the purpose of fellowshipping on and dissecting these notions? It’s to first make people aware of what notions are and, at the same time as knowing that these are notions, to also allow people to understand what the truth is, before then entering the truth. The purpose of this is to allow people to understand the essence of the truth, which is to genuinely come before God. No matter how reasonable your notions are or how much of a basis they have, they are still notions; they are not the truth, and neither can they replace the truth. If you regard notions as the truth, then the truth will have nothing to do with you, you’ll have nothing to do with belief in God, and your faith will be worthless. No matter how much you work or run about for God, or how great a price you pay for God, what will the final result be if you do all this based on your notions and imaginings? Nothing you do will have anything to do with the truth or with God; God will condemn it and not approve of it—these are the beneficial and harmful outcomes. You should now understand just how important resolving one’s notions and imaginings is.

What is the first step in resolving your notions? It is to discern and recognize what a notion is. When God’s house first began to shoot movies, something repugnant happened in the Film Production Team, which is related to people’s notions. I take this matter to dissect it now not to condemn anyone, but to allow you to grow in discernment, so that you remember this matter, and so that you deepen your understanding of notions through this matter and know just how harmful notions are to people. If I don’t talk about this matter then you may think it’s not a big deal. However, after I’ve dissected it, you’ll surely be nodding your heads and agreeing that this is a big deal. When it comes to making movies, there is the question of what color and style of clothing to choose. Some people were particularly conservative, specifically using dull gray and khaki. I was puzzled by this and wondered what it was all about. Why were they choosing these colors of clothing? The all dull gray and khaki colors made the entire scene particularly dark, and when I saw it I felt very uncomfortable. Why didn’t they choose something more colorful? I’d already said that the clothing could be colorful and that the style had to be appropriate and elegant. So why were people placing God’s words and the requirements of God’s house to the backs of their minds and not paying any attention to them, instead choosing dull gray and khaki fabrics to make the clothes? Why were they behaving in this way? Isn’t this worth reflecting on? What was the root cause of this? People didn’t understand the truth, they weren’t listening to what was said, and they weren’t being submissive—the root cause was that people have a nature within them that betrays God. What is this nature? What is this disposition? Most crucially, people don’t love the truth and can refuse to accept the truth, and their hearts are hardened. People say they’re willing to submit to God’s arrangements and willing to seek the truth, but when they do things, they just do them depending on their own preferences to attain their own aims. If it were a matter of your own personal life, then doing everything as you wish wouldn’t be a big deal, as that relates only to your own life entry. However, you’re now performing your duty in the church, and the consequences of acting in that way concern God’s work and the glory of God, and it concerns the reputation of the church; if people act recklessly according to their own will, they will be liable to dishonor God. God’s house doesn’t interfere with how individuals dress—the principle is to look decent and proper, so that others are edified when they see you. However, is it appropriate for someone to propose wearing all dull gray and khaki when shooting a movie? What was the essence of this problem? This was people doing things in reliance on their notions and regarding dull gray and khaki as a sign and a symbol of someone who believes in and follows God. It may be said that they defined these colors as colors that accorded with the truth, with God’s will, and with God’s requirements. This was a mistake. There’s nothing wrong with these colors in themselves, but if people do things based on their notions and make these colors into a kind of symbol, then that’s a problem. This consequence was brought about by people’s notions, and these ideas and practices came about because these notions were in people’s hearts. People treat these notions and imaginings like they were the truth, regarding dull gray and khaki as a symbol for wearing clothes for believers in God, while putting the truth, God’s words, and God’s requirements to one side and excluding them, replacing them with people’s notions and standards—this was the root cause of the problem. Actually, choosing colors and styles of clothing are external things which have nothing to do with the truth, but these absurd things happened because of people’s notions, and they created a certain negative impact, and so the truth was needed to resolve the matter.

In people’s belief in God, no matter what issue they encounter or what problem they come across, their notions constantly arise and they continue to use them. They always live among their notions and are constrained, dominated, and controlled by their notions. This causes people’s thoughts, behavior, ways of living, principles of conduct, life direction and goals, as well as how they treat God’s words and work to all be colored by their notions, and they are not freed and liberated with the truth at all. By believing in God in this way and always clinging to notions, after 10 years or 20 years, all the way up to today, the notions people had in the beginning remain untouched. No one has dissected them, people themselves have never examined them, much less have they ever accepted being pruned. People have never handled them in earnest, and so regardless of how long they have believed in God, do they reap results or not? They definitely reap no results. The relationship between man and God is gradually improved through the process of constantly dissecting and understanding notions, and then resolving them—isn’t there a practical side to this? (Yes.) However, if your notions remain constantly at the stage they were when you first started believing in God, then your relationship with God can be said to not have improved at all. When it comes to believing in God, what other notions you rely on to live have you not resolved? Which notions do you always believe to be right, to be things which accord with the truth, and which you believe are not a problem? Which notions can affect your behavior, your pursuit, and your views on belief in God, causing your relationship with God to always be lukewarm and neither close nor distant? You mistakenly believe that you love God very much, that your faith in and loyalty to God have grown, that your determination to suffer has grown, when in fact, to God, you haven’t the slightest truth reality at all. You should all dissect this matter, and each of you will certainly have many notions which you rely on to live that are still present and which you haven’t resolved. This is a very serious problem.

I’ve given three examples of the notions people have concerning belief in God, so are you now more aware of which notions you have concerning belief in God? (Yes.) So then tell Me, what other notions and imaginings can obstruct people from practicing the truth and influence the performance of their duty and their normal relationship with God, that is, notions that can obstruct people from coming before God and that have a direct impact on them knowing God? (Quite a strong notion I have is that I believe if I can perform my duty normally every day, then by believing in God in this way, I can attain salvation.) Believing that you can attain salvation by performing your duty is a notion and an imagining. So, is it important to perform your duty up to standard? Can people who don’t perform their duty up to standard attain salvation? If someone performs their duty recklessly, then this pertains to disrupting and disturbing God’s work. Not only can someone who does this not attain salvation, but they will also be punished. You aren’t able to think of these things, you don’t understand them, and you can’t see them clearly, and yet you still say such things as “As long as I perform my duty, then I can attain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven.” Is this in line with God’s words? This idea is just wishful thinking; how could you achieve that so easily? Can not accepting the truth be considered as having faith in God? Can someone attain salvation without casting off their corrupt disposition? You have so many things pertaining to notions and imaginings inside you. All manner of imaginings, understandings, and definitions that don’t accord with the truth all pertain to notions. What other notions do you have? (I think the more important the duty I perform and the more achievements which bear witness to God I make, then the more merit I will earn, the more God will approve of me, and the greater my blessings will be in the future.) This is also a notion. In short, notions are all imagined and inferred by people out of thin air. Even though they may have some basis, they are not derived from any basis in God’s words or the truth, but rather are ideas based on people’s wishful thinking and produced by the desire to be blessed. When people do things dominated by such a thought, they do all kinds of things, and they pay a great price before finally discovering that they’ve made a mistake and gone against the principles, that things aren’t as they imagined they were, and so they become negative. One day, when they look back and realize that they’ve been following a path relying on their notions and imaginings, so much time has already been wasted, and they want to go back but it’s not possible. What other notions do you have that you haven’t resolved yet? (I think that, since I believe in God and expend myself for God, then God should bless me and give me advantages. When I have an issue and I call on God, I feel like God should open a way for me, and because I believe in God, everything should be smooth sailing. That’s why when I’m performing my duty and I encounter a difficult situation, I misunderstand and resent God, and feel like God shouldn’t let those things happen to me.) Most people have this notion; it is a kind of understanding people have concerning belief in God. People think that one believes in God to gain advantages, and if they don’t gain advantages then this path must be wrong. So, has this notion now been resolved? Have you started to rectify it? When this notion controls your behavior or affects your forward direction, have you sought the truth to resolve it? People often delimit belief in God in their hearts, believing that since they believe in God then everything should be peaceful, or else they think, “I expend myself and perform my duty for God, so God should bless my family, bless my whole family with peace, make it so that I don’t get sick, and so that all my family may be happy. And although I perform my duty, this is God’s work, so God should shoulder all the responsibility for it and arrange everything well and make it so that I don’t encounter any difficulty, danger, or temptation when I’m performing my duty. If anything like this happens, then it’s perhaps not God’s doing.” These are all people’s notions; people are liable to have such notions when they don’t understand God’s work. Do these notions often appear while you’re performing your duty? (Yes.) If you always believe that your notions and imaginings are simply normal and reasonable and that this is how things should be, and you don’t seek the truth to resolve them, then you won’t be able to gain the truth and will have no life entry. To you, the truth will have no value or meaning, and your faith in God will also be meaningless. In their belief in God, if people often eat and drink God’s words, attend gatherings, listen to sermons, and live an especially normal spiritual life, yet they act, conduct themselves, and perform their duties in reliance on their notions, basing everything on their notions, and using their notions to measure the right or wrong of all manner of things, then aren’t people like this living within their notions? No matter how many sermons they listen to or how much they eat and drink God’s words, can people who live within their notions ever change at all? Can their relationship with God ever improve? (No.) So, does God approve of this kind of faith? (No.) He certainly doesn’t. That’s why it’s so important to dissect the notions within people.

Most people have no notions when they’ve eaten and drank their fill and everything is well, or when observing traditional religious ceremonies, but when God performs His work and expresses the truth, any number of notions arise. People have no notions when they have yet to perform their duty and only normally attend gatherings, but when God requires them to perform their duty or they encounter difficulties in their duty, then many notions arise. People have no notions when they’re physically comfortable and enjoying life, but when they get sick or encounter adversity, notions naturally arise. For example, before they believe in God, someone’s work and family life are all going smoothly, but after they start believing in God some things happen which they don’t like. Sometimes they’re judged, discriminated against, bullied, and even arrested, tortured, and left with lasting ailments, which makes them feel uneasy and they think, “Why haven’t things gone well during my years of believing in God? I believe in the true God, so why doesn’t God protect me? How can God see me getting beaten by evil people and trampled upon by devils and not care?” Don’t people form these notions? What’s the reason behind them forming these notions? People believe, “Since I now believe in God, then I belong to Him, and God should take care of me, take care of my food and accommodation, take care of my future and my fate, as well as my personal safety, including my family’s safety, and guarantee that everything will go well for me, that everything will go peacefully and without incident.” And if the facts aren’t as people require and imagine, they think, “Believing in God isn’t as good or as easy as I imagined it was going to be. Turns out that I still have to suffer all this persecution and tribulation and go through many trials in my belief in God—why doesn’t God protect me?” Is this thinking right or wrong? Does it accord with the truth? (No.) So then, doesn’t this thinking show that they’re making unreasonable demands of God? Why don’t people who have such thinking pray to God or seek the truth? God’s good will is naturally behind Him causing people to encounter such things; why don’t people understand God’s will? Why can’t they cooperate with God’s work? God intentionally causes people to encounter such things so that they may seek the truth and gain the truth, and so that they will live in reliance on the truth. However, people don’t seek the truth, instead always taking God’s measure using their own notions and imaginings—this is their problem. This is how you must understand these unpleasant things: No one goes their whole life without suffering. For some people, it has to do with family, for some, with work, for some, with marriage, and for some, with physical illness. Everyone must suffer. Some say, “Why must people suffer? How great it would be to live our whole lives peacefully and happily. Can’t we not suffer?” No—everyone must suffer. Suffering causes every person to experience the myriad sensations of physical life, whether these sensations be positive, negative, active or passive; suffering gives you different feelings and appreciations, which, for you, are all your experiences in life. That is one aspect, and it is in order to make people more experienced. If you can seek the truth and understand God’s will from this, then you will draw ever closer to the standard God requires of you. Another aspect is that it is the responsibility that God gives to man. What responsibility? This is the suffering you should undergo. If you can take on this suffering and bear it, then this is testimony, and not something shameful. When they get sick, some people are afraid that other people will come to know about it; they think that getting sick is something shameful, when in fact it is nothing to be ashamed about. As a normal person, if, amid illness, you are able to submit to God’s arrangements, endure all kinds of suffering, and are still able to perform your duty normally, are able to complete the commissions that God gives you, then is this a good thing or a bad thing? This is a good thing, this is testimony to your submission to God, this is testimony to you loyally performing your duty, and it is testimony which shames and triumphs over Satan. And so, any suffering should be accepted and submitted to by every created being and every one of God’s chosen people. This is how you must understand it, and you must learn this lesson and achieve true submission to God. This is in line with the will of God, and it is God’s intention. This is what God arranges for every created being. God’s putting you in these situations and conditions is equivalent to giving you a responsibility, obligation, and commission, and so you should accept them. Is this not the truth? (It is.) As long as it comes from God, as long as God makes such a demand of you and has this intention for you, then it is the truth. Why is it said to be the truth? This is because if you accept these words as the truth, then you’ll be able to solve your corrupt disposition, your notions and your rebelliousness, so that when you encounter difficulties again you will not go against the will of God or rebel against God, that is, you will be able to practice the truth and submit to God. In this way, you’ll be able to bear testimony which brings shame upon Satan, and you’ll be able to gain the truth and attain salvation. If you go by your own notions and ideas, thinking, “I now believe in God so God should bless me. I should be someone who is blessed,” then how is it that you understand this blessing? The blessing you understand is a lifetime of splendor and prosperity, to have everything you want to eat and drink, to have no illnesses, to be born with everything, to have everything ready for the taking, and to enjoy a rich material life without having to work for it. Moreover, it is to live a peaceful life where everything goes smoothly, living in exceptional comfort without any pain—this is what you think blessing is. But, looking at it now, is that a blessing? That’s not a blessing, that’s a calamity. Walking the path of coveting fleshly comforts will cause you to drift further and further away from God, as well as causing you to sink deeper and deeper into this wicked world, unable to pull yourself free. When the Creator calls upon you, there are many things you’re not willing to give up, and you can’t let go of these fleshly comforts. Even if God gives you a commission and asks you to perform a duty, you treat yourself too preciously: Today you don’t feel well, tomorrow you’re not in a good mood, you miss your parents, you miss your partner, thinking only of fleshly things every day, not performing any duty well but wanting to have more enjoyment than others. You live like a parasite—can you put the truth into practice? Can you bear testimony? No, you can’t. People have so many imaginings concerning belief in God. They imagine that after they come to believe in God, they’ll have wealth and peace all their lives, that their relatives will all benefit along with them, eyes all shining with envy, that they will never be poor, and that they’ll never get sick or encounter any kind of disaster. Such imaginings cause people to have many unreasonable requirements of God. When you come to have unreasonable requirements of God, is your relationship with God normal or abnormal? It’s certainly abnormal. So, do these notions and imaginings cause you to stand on the side of God or in opposition to God? They can only cause you to stand in opposition to God, to contest with and resist God, and even betray and abandon God, and these behaviors become increasingly serious. That is to say, once people have these notions, they are no longer able to maintain a normal relationship with God. When people come to have notions about God, their hearts then produce feelings of rebelliousness and negativity. At times like these, they should seek the truth to resolve these notions. When they understand the truth, when they understand the commission God gives them and the many requirements God has for their belief in Him, once they have understood these things, and can behave and act in accordance with God’s requirements, then in this way, their notions and imaginings will be resolved. Once they come to understand the truth, they will naturally give up their notions, and at that point their relationship with God will become more normal. Resolving notions is equivalent to resolving misunderstandings about God. To say it another way, only when they let go of and resolve their notions will they understand what the truth is and what God’s requirements are.

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