Only by Seeking the Truth Principles Can One Perform One's Duty Well (Part One)

Whether one can attain the truth through their belief in God depends on whether or not they can accept being pruned while performing their duty, whether they can conduct matters according to principle, and whether they are capable of always submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements—this is the most crucial. What does it mean to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements? It means that no matter what the house of God arranges for you to do, or where it arranges for you to perform your duties, you are able to accept it from God. Accepting it from God is true faith, and it is one aspect of practice. And how does one accept it from God? You say: “Although it was people who arranged this matter, it is my duty. Whatever duties the church arranges for me to perform come with the consent of God. I should accept and submit. How should I treat my duty, then?” Does God have any requirements for how you treat your duty? What is the truth that God requires people to put into practice? (To devote one’s heart, mind, and effort to performing one’s duty well.) Following this principle, when you are being lazy and don’t want to perform your duty, or when you have complaints, you should seek: “Where does the problem lie here? I am not practicing as God requires! I must let go of my ideas, let go of my demands and desires. I have to reverse my incorrect inner state.” You must be able to let go of these. But sometimes there are some things that prevent people from letting go. What sorts of things? For instance, some people always feel jealous that other people’s duties are more glamorous, that they allow them to interact with many people. They always think their own duty is insignificant, that the people they meet while performing it are too few, and this makes them discontent. Additionally, because of the small scope of their duty’s responsibility and the small number of people they have to manage, they feel they have no status. What kind of thoughts are these? What is the source of these ideas? (Corrupt dispositions.) They all come from corrupt dispositions. What are these things which corrupt dispositions produce? They are personal designs, plans, desires, and ambitions. How should these things be resolved? Firstly, you must let go, and then, through dissection, realize that in your heart you are still seeking status rather than earnestly fulfilling your duty so as to satisfy God; you still have ambitions and desires, you covet the benefits of status, you have excessive demands, and you have not submitted to God. So you come before God and pray: “God, my state is not right. Please discipline and chasten me, please let Your judgment and chastisement befall me so that I may know myself and repent.” If you have a repentant heart, when you come before God and ask Him to reprimand and discipline you, He will respond according to your stature. He may discipline you, or perhaps He may guide you little by little. If He disciplines you, it is because you have some stature. But He may not discipline you, and that is because you are weak, in which case He may support and guide you little by little so that you will be able to submit in the course of performing your duty. What prerequisites are needed for God to do this? Only when you have a repentant heart, a heart that submits to and cooperates with God, and a heart that yearns for and craves the truth, will God judge, chastise, and cleanse you. If you lack the resolve for this and you do not pray, but instead follow your flesh and do not let go of your designs, ambitions, and desires, will God still do this for you? God will not work in you. God will conceal Himself from you, He will hide His face from you. At gatherings, everybody else will feel uplifted by the sermons but you will always feel drowsy, with no way to invigorate yourself. No matter what, you won’t be able to absorb any of it, and this state will persist interminably, even lasting for a year or two, or even three to five years. This means God has already spurned you, He has hidden His face from you, and this is very dangerous. Some will say: “How is that dangerous? I’m performing my duty. I have not left God. I still read God’s words, listen to hymns, and have a spiritual life. I’m still a member of God’s house.” These are merely outward representations that don’t decide anything. What is it, on the other hand, that does have a decisive effect? It is whether God is watching over you and guiding you; whether the Holy Spirit is working on you and disciplining you. This is the crux. And what do God’s guidance and the Holy Spirit’s work depend on? (They depend on people’s hearts.) That’s right. They depend on people’s attitude toward God, on their hearts, on their yearnings and cravings, and what they seek. They depend on the path people take. These are the most critical aspects, and God bases His treatment of people on them.

The most pressing issue to resolve now is how to treat one’s duty. Because the performance of duty is what best reveals whether a person’s belief is true or false, whether or not they love the truth, whether they choose the right or wrong path, and whether they possess or lack conscience and reason. All of these issues can be revealed in the performance of duty. In order to address the question of how to treat one’s duty, you must first of all understand what duty is, as well as how to properly perform it and what to do when you encounter difficulty while performing it—what principles to follow and to practice in accordance with which truths. You must understand what to do when you misunderstand God and when you cannot let go of your designs. Additionally, in the course of performing your duties, you must frequently reflect upon the incorrect thoughts in your heart that are thoughts and views belonging to Satan, which influence and obstruct the fulfillment of your duty; which can cause you to rebel against and betray God while doing duty; and which cause you to fail at that which God entrusts to you—you must know all of this. Is duty important to a person? It is extremely important. This vision must be clear to you now: Performing duty is of the utmost importance for believing in God. The most crucial aspect of believing in God now is performing duty. Without performing your duty well, there can be no reality. By performing duty, people are able to understand God’s will, and can gradually build a normal relationship with Him. By performing duty, people gradually identify their problems, and come to recognize their corrupt disposition and essence. At the same time, by reflecting on themselves, people can gradually discover just what God demands of them. Do you understand now just what it is you believe when you believe in God? In fact, it is a belief in the truth, an attainment of the truth. Performing duty allows for the attainment of the truth and life. The truth and life cannot be attained without performing duty. Can there be reality if one believes in God without performing duty? (No.) There can be no reality. Thus, if you do not perform your duty well, you cannot attain the truth. Once you are eliminated, this shows you failed to believe in God. Even though you say you believe in Him, your belief is already bereft of meaning. This is something that must be grasped through and through.

The principles you must understand and the truths you must put into practice are the same regardless of what duty you are performing. Whether you are asked to be a leader or a worker, or whether you are cooking up dishes as a host, or whether you are asked to take care of some external affairs or do some physical labor, the truth principles that should be observed in performing these different duties are the same, in that they must be based in the truth and in God’s words. What then is the biggest and the chief among these principles? It is to devote one’s heart, mind, and effort to performing one’s duty well, and to perform it to the required standard. To perform your duty well and perform it up to standard, you must know what duty is. Just what is duty, anyway? Is duty your own career? (No.) If you treat your duty as your own career, willing to put in all your effort to do it well, so that others can see how successful and distinguished you are, thinking that this gives your life meaning, would that be the correct view? (No.) Where does this view go wrong? It goes wrong in taking God’s commission as one’s own enterprise. While this seems fine to humans, to God it is walking the wrong path, violating the truth principles, and He condemns it. Duty must be performed according to God’s requirements and the truth principles in order to conform to God’s will. Contravening the truth principles and acting instead upon human inclinations is sinful. It opposes God and demands punishment. This is the fate of those foolish and ignorant people who do not accept the truth. Those who believe in God should be clear about what God demands from people. This vision must be made clear. First let’s talk about what duty is. A duty is not your own operation, your own career, or your own work; it is God’s work. God’s work requires your cooperation, which gives rise to your duty. The part of God’s work with which man must cooperate is his duty. The duty is a portion of God’s work—it is not your career, not your domestic affairs nor your personal affairs in life. Whether your duty is to deal with external or internal affairs, whether it involves mental or physical labor, this is the duty that you ought to perform, it is the work of the church, it forms one part of God’s management plan, and it is the commission God has given to you. It is not your personal business. So then, how should you treat your duty? At the very least, you must not perform your duty whichever way you please, you must not act recklessly. For instance, if you are in charge of making food for your brothers and sisters, that is your duty. How should you treat this task? (I should seek the truth principles.) How do you seek the truth principles? This touches upon the reality and the truth. You must think about how to put the truth into practice, how to perform this duty well, and which aspects of the truth this duty involves. Step one is that you must first of all know, “I am not cooking for myself. This is my duty that I am doing.” The aspect involved here is vision. What about step two? (I must think about how to cook the meal well.) What is the criterion for cooking well? (I must seek out God’s requirements.) That’s right. Only God’s requirements are the truth, the standard, and the principle. Cooking according to God’s requirements is one aspect of the truth. You must first of all consider this aspect of the truth, and then contemplate, “God has given me this duty to perform. What is the standard required by God?” This foundation is a requisite. How should you cook so as to meet God’s standard, then? The food you cook should be healthy, tasty, clean, and not harmful to the body—these are the details involved. As long as you cook according to this principle, the food you cook shall be made according to God’s requirements. Why do I say this? Because you sought the principles of this duty and did not exceed the scope delineated by God. This is the right way to cook. You have done your duty well, and you have done it satisfactorily.

No matter what duty you are performing, you must seek the truth principles, understand God’s will, know what His requirements are with regard to the duty in question and understand what you should accomplish through that duty. Only in so doing can you carry out your work according to principle. In performing your duty, you absolutely cannot go by your personal preferences, doing whatever you would like to do, whatever you would be happy doing, or whatever would make you look good. This is acting in accordance with one’s own will. If you rely on your own personal preferences in the performance of your duty, thinking this is what God demands, and that this is what will make God happy, and if you forcibly impose your personal preferences on God or practice them as though they were the truth, observing them as if they were the truth principles, then is this not a mistake? This is not performing your duty, and performing your duty in this way will not be remembered by God. Some people do not understand the truth, and they do not know what it means to fulfill their duties well. They feel that they have made effort and put their heart into it, rebelled against their flesh and suffered, so why then can they never fulfill their duty satisfactorily? Why is God always dissatisfied? Where have these people gone wrong? Their mistake was to not seek out God’s requirements, and instead act according to their own ideas—this is the reason. They treated their own desires, preferences, and selfish motives as the truth, and they treated them as though they were what God loved, as though they were His standards and requirements. They saw what they believed to be correct, good, and beautiful to be the truth; this is wrong. In fact, even though people might sometimes think something is right and that it accords with the truth, that does not necessarily mean that it accords with God’s will. The more people think something is right, the more cautious they should be and the more they should seek the truth to see whether what they are thinking meets God’s requirements. If it precisely runs counter to His requirements and counter to His words, then it is unacceptable even if you think it is right, it is but a human thought, and it will not accord with the truth no matter how right you think it is. Whether something is right or wrong must be determined based on God’s words. No matter how right you think something is, unless there is a basis for it in God’s words, it is wrong and you must discard it. It is acceptable only when it accords with the truth, and only by upholding the truth principles in this way can your performance of your duty be up to standard. Just what is duty? It is a commission entrusted by God to people, it is part of the work of God’s house, and it is a responsibility and obligation that should be borne by every one of God’s chosen people. Is duty your career? Is it a personal family matter? Is it fair to say that once you have been given a duty, this duty becomes your personal business? That is absolutely not the case. So how should you fulfill your duty? By acting in accordance with God’s requirements, words, and standards, and by basing your behavior on the truth principles rather than on human subjective desires. Some people say, “Once a duty has been given to me, is it not my own business? My duty is my charge, and is what I am charged with not my own business? If I handle my duty as my own business, doesn’t that mean I will do it properly? Would I do it well if I didn’t treat it like my own business?” Are these words right or wrong? They are wrong; they are at odds with the truth. Duty is not your own personal business, it is God’s business, it is part of God’s work, and you must do as God asks; only by performing your duty with a heart of submission to God can you be up to standard. If you always perform your duty according to your own notions and imaginings, and according to your own inclinations, then you will never meet the standard. Only ever performing your duty as you wish is not performing your duty, because what you are doing is not within the scope of God’s management, it is not the work of the house of God; you are, instead, running your own operation, carrying out your own tasks, and so this is not remembered by God. Is the concept of duty clear to you now? What is the most basic, most fundamental truth that should be put into practice in performing duty? It is to devote your heart, mind, and effort to performing your duties well. Why do so many people, in the course of performing their duties, still do all manner of evil deeds, and disrupt and disturb the church’s work, so that in the end they are eliminated? Because these people are not earnestly expending themselves for God. They are always trying to bargain with God and do not accept even a bit of the truth. No matter how much of their corruption they reveal or how much evil they do, they never seek resolution through the truth. They do not truly repent even after being pruned many times, but carry on committing wrongs without scruple and doing all manner of evil deeds, utterly exposing their evil essence. God’s chosen people see through this, and they are revealed and eliminated. It’s really unbearable, watching the way these people perform their duties. They’re not just subpar, they’re wholly inadequate. They can’t even wash a plate without breaking a bowl. Their laboring does more harm than good. No matter how you fellowship with them about the truth, they cannot accept it, and they do not repent even after being pruned. Continuing to use a person like this, they would become an obstacle in the path, a stumbling block obstructing and disrupting all of the church’s work. Tell Me, should these people not be replaced and eliminated? (They should.) As long as someone has even a little conscience and reason, then they can attend to their proper tasks, conduct their proper affairs, and be able to self-reflect while performing their duties. Upon noticing their mistakes and identifying their problems, they will be able to promptly rectify them. After three or five years of experiencing this, changes will occur. In this way, they will have a foundation and be relatively secure; barring any exceptional circumstances, there is no way this person will be eliminated. But those who believe in God for years without accepting a bit of the truth have no way of performing their duties well, and they may even do things that cause disruptions and disturbances. This type of person will naturally be eliminated, because these people would sooner die than repent. They have believed in God for many years but they are not much different from unbelievers. They are all nonbelievers.

Having too many personal designs is the greatest impediment to the performance of one’s duty. What, then, is the precondition for performing one’s duty well? It is that you must let go of your various designs. For instance, when something has happened that really upset you, but you also have a duty to perform, you are faced with a choice. This is a critical moment, one that is very important. Even though you may be upset and feeling emotional, or you may have some personal matters going on, you must be able to put all of these things aside and perform your duty well first. Only then, under circumstances when it does not affect your duty, should you consider your own issues. What is it called when you consistently put your duty first? It is called respecting your duty, and this is being loyal to God. Letting go of your designs and desires, letting go of your emotions and personal affairs, doing your duty well without being constrained, and completing God’s commission—this is what it means to let go, this is what it means to rebel against the flesh. When some people have not performed a duty yet, they think, “God hasn’t given me a duty to perform, but my heart is absolutely sincere. Why doesn’t God ever see this?” But then when the church arranges a duty for them to perform, they want to pick and choose. There are some people who cannot perform the role of a leader or worker, or spread the gospel, and they have no other special skills. So, the church arranges for them to perform hosting duties, and they think, “Hosting is, of course, something that I’m capable of doing, but given my caliber and gifts, isn’t the church underestimating me by assigning me to this? Aren’t I a little overqualified for this duty?” On the surface they accept the church’s arrangements, but their resistant emotions prevent them from working hard at their duties. They only do a bit of their duties when they’re in a good mood, and do not perform them when they’re in a bad mood, ignoring their brothers and sisters. Why do they have these emotions and reactions? Is this the attitude one ought to have toward one’s duty? These people are not content with their duties. What is the source of this discontent? (The duty they were given does not satisfy their fleshly preferences.) And if they were satisfied, would they be happy then? Not necessarily. They might not be happy even if they were satisfied, because these are people whose hearts can never know contentment. This is how people who do not pursue the truth treat their duties. People always want to perform duties that are dignified and make them look good, and they also want them to be easy and physically comfortable. They aren’t willing to withstand the wind and the sun or to endure any suffering in their duties whatsoever. On top of this, they still want to be able to understand the truth and receive God’s grace and blessing through their duties. They want all of these things. Ultimately, they even want God to tell them that they’ve performed their duties well. Is this not wishful thinking on their part? If you cannot let go of this wishful thinking, you will not be able to do your duty well. In the past, I often stated simply that this kind of person does not pursue the truth, but now, speaking more precisely, I say that they are too greedy and rebellious, they are not the least bit loyal to their duty, and they do not truly submit to God’s commission. So, just how should you practice letting go of your designs? In one respect, you must be restrained and rebel against them. In another respect, you must pray and have the desire to submit. You must say: “God, You have orchestrated and arranged this duty for me. Although I have a fleshly choice, and I do not want to perform this duty, in my subjective will, I wish to submit to You. It’s just that I am too corrupt and rebellious, and the quality of my humanity is not good. Please, discipline me!” Would this not allow you to perform your duty with greater purity? If someone persists in clinging to their own desires and refuses to let go of them, if they always see the glory of those chosen to be leaders, and how those chosen to spread the gospel get to meet a lot of people and gain knowledge and experience, and then do not want to do their own duty, is this an attitude of submission? Is this an attitude of accepting God’s orchestrations and arrangements? (No.) You go west when God tells you to go east, and you complain about and misunderstand God because He didn’t allow you to go west. You’re always struggling against God, so will the Holy Spirit still work in you? He most certainly will not. What states and manifestations emerge when the Holy Spirit does not work in someone? Such a person will not understand God’s words when they read them. When listening to fellowship and sermons, nothing will make sense to them, and they will even keep dozing off. They will not be able to see through anything that happens to them. They will always be speculating and doubting: “Other people can comprehend God’s words so well; why do I not gain any light from reading them? Their states are always so pure and liberated; why do I always feel so aggrieved, emotional, and ill at ease? Everything goes so smoothly for them. They have God’s guidance. Why don’t I?” They cannot see the cause of all of this. They do not have an attitude of submission toward God. They’re always demanding that God satisfy their desires before they will try hard at their duty. If they don’t get what they want, they become negative, resistant, and don’t perform their duty. Would God work in a person like this? They lack true faith, and they are full of rebelliousness and resistance. God can only set them aside.

How should people treat their duties? They should submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and let go of all of their own designs. What designs do people have? (Their intentions, plans, and fleshly preferences.) For instance, let’s say there’s a host family that you really enjoy visiting. They make great food, their house is beautiful, and they have air conditioning and heating. You think to yourself, “If only I could live there!” And then you pray, “God, could You let me live with that host family? I know that I am coveting ease and comfort, but I cannot rebel against this desire. Show consideration for my small stature and let me go there! I promise I’ll work hard in my duty, be loyal, and not betray You or make You sad.” You pray like this for around two weeks, and then it is arranged for you to go someplace with terrible conditions, and you become upset. You inwardly complain, “Isn’t God supposed to scrutinize the depths of our hearts? God doesn’t have the slightest clue what’s in my heart. I asked for something good and He’s given me something rotten. It’s like He’s deliberately setting Himself against me.” And then resistance rises up in you and you say, “If You won’t satisfy me, God, then I won’t satisfy You. I’m not going to work hard at my duty. And I won’t work hard at it until I get what I want.” Is this believing in God? Is this performing your duty? This is rebelling against God, it is an intransigent disposition. You say: “If God won’t satisfy me, I won’t satisfy Him. This shall be my attitude toward performing my duty. If I’m going to do my duty, God has to give me some pleasure. How come other people get to live in nice houses, but I don’t? How come other people get to perform their duties in nice environments, but I have to perform mine in a shabby one? Why doesn’t God satisfy my demands even though I perform my duty?” These are the sort of justifications you keep repeating to yourself. Is there an attitude of submission toward God in this? Is this performing your duty with conscience and reason? I have spoken these words before: “You absolutely mustn’t compete with God.” This is competing with God. When you compete with God, what attitude will God adopt toward you? (God will not work. He will put me aside.) God will put you aside and ignore you. Will God get serious with you? He will not. If it is some minor bit of evil that you have done, and it is not severe, He will retain you and have you labor a while longer. But if you have committed too many evil deeds, and you have seriously disrupted and disturbed the church’s work, then you will be cleared out. When you are kept to labor, if at some point you repent, God will enlighten you. If you never repent and always compete with God, then you are indeed too wicked and too stubborn—and who will be the one to suffer a loss in the end? It will be you. You must see this clearly: Competing with God is the most troublesome thing, and it is the greatest problem. When everything is going fine, people think that believing in God is great, and they don’t have any notions about God. But when a bit of disaster or misfortune befalls them, they begin to have notions about God, so much so that they even complain about Him and dare to raise their voices at Him: “Does God even exist? Where is He? I am the supreme ruler. I’m the greatest. And I do dare to compete with God. What can He even do to me, anyway?” God won’t do anything to you. But it has been revealed that you are sordid, intransigent, and bothersome. What does you being bothersome refer to? It means that you do not love positive things. You are not willing to submit to God, and even when you know that He is God, you are not able to submit to Him. It is very difficult for you to accept the truth. You are intransigent, ignorant, and stubborn. God heavily dislikes people like this. It will be very hard for you to keep performing your duty, and you might be revealed and eliminated before you can labor until the end. This is the outcome. It is already very clear to see. Isn’t this dangerous? (Yes.) Knowing it is dangerous, what should people do? They must, first of all, know who they are. They must know their place and also know what they are. Humans are created beings, who absolutely must not compete with God, doing so will not bear any results. If God wants to give you something, even if you do not want it and did not ask for it, He will give it to you anyway—this is God’s righteousness. If God does not plan on giving you something, if He does not look upon you with favor, then there is no use asking Him for it. If He does plan on giving you something, if He sees that you ought to be guided, helped, and blessed, then He will give it to you without you even asking. If He plans to test or reveal you, then He will do so deliberately, and there is no use in pleading with Him. This is the disposition of God. People must not decide how they treat God based on God’s attitude. What should they do then? (Submit to God in all things.) That’s right; they should submit. Submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements is the highest wisdom and one who does this is the most possessed of reason. Those arrogant, self-righteous individuals think that they are so smart and so calculating. It’s one thing to try to play tricks on other people—this is a revelation of your corruption—but you absolutely must not struggle against God by playing little tricks. You must not scheme against God. For once you invoke His wrath, death will descend upon you.

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