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

God’s requirements for each individual are not one-size-fits-all. In one respect, they depend on the individual’s caliber; in another, they depend on their humanity and pursuits. Some people have no problem speaking honestly; for others, it requires a lot of effort, but after experiencing several years of being pruned, they can finally speak something honest from their hearts. Does God view this as transformation? Is it the result of His work? This is the desired outcome of God’s work. After doing this work for so many years, when He finally sees this desired result, He cherishes it. So, no matter what you experienced in the past, regardless of the mistakes you made or the many times you failed, do not have worries. You must believe that God is righteous. Believe that submitting to God is right. Believe that submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements is right. This is the highest truth. Follow this path in your practice and your actions, and you will not go wrong! Do not doubt or research it. Some people say: “I didn’t gain much from the sacrifices I made before. If I make more sacrifices now, will I lose out again?” Well, did you practice the truth when you made those sacrifices? Did you do things according to the truth principles? Did you walk the right path? If you walked the right path, it would be impossible to not attain the truth or lack testimony. But if your previous sacrifices were entirely for the sake of status, fame and gain, what could you possibly have gained? All you would have gotten was being pruned, and if you did not repent, you would have only gotten punishment and destruction. You made sacrifices for the sake of fame, gain, and status, and you expected to attain the truth—is this not wishful thinking? What could someone gain from always scheming and trying to outwit God? After all the calculating and scheming, it is ultimately themselves they outwit. They do not gain anything, and isn’t this deserved? What, at the very least, is the baseline for believing in God? It is not doing evil, not offending God’s disposition, not angering Him, not competing with Him; it is letting go of one’s own designs, ambitions, and desires during critical moments. Actually, when people scheme this way and that, they end up duping themselves in the end. If this is clear to everyone, why do people continue to scheme? It is because of their nature. Humans have brains, thoughts, and ideas; they also have knowledge and learning. It is because these things exist that people cannot control themselves; this is an inexorable law. If you love to scheme, scheming against other people might not be such a big problem. But if you persist in scheming against God, making Him the target of your machinations, you will only contrive your own outcome and scheme away the opportunity that God gave you. This is not worth it. You absolutely cannot let your scheming reach this point. No matter how it is you scheme, ultimately you must undergo dispositional change and produce results, and these results must be good and positive. If someone schemes this way and that and ultimately does not attain the truth, but instead winds up being punished, then this is the consequence for one who loves to scheme and schemes constantly. Such a person is not clever; they are the stupidest of fools.

All people have impurities when they first start believing in God. After many years of reading God’s words and fellowshipping about the truth, you may have cast off some of your corrupt dispositions. Are there still times when you scheme and plot for the sake of your own interests? (Yes.) You often find yourselves in these states. How should you treat them then? Are there any principles of practice? This requires a great deal of seeking. Whenever you feel you’re being dishonest and find yourself mired in a wicked, deceitful state, your heart brimming with these corrupt dispositions, you must pray to God and rebel against your flesh. Do not resort to reasoning or analyze and treat this matter according to your notions. If you’re controlled by your corrupt dispositions and your own desires take control, it will be troublesome. You know in your heart when the dark hand of sin is about to reach out. When that happens, you must control yourself, refraining from action. You will have to quiet your mind, come before God, and pray. In actuality, you will not need to examine yourself. Having come to this stage in your belief in God, having heard so many sermons, you should be quite clear about what’s on your mind, and know right from wrong. The key is that you must rebel against your flesh and not be led by it. What should you do then? (Submit.) And what if you cannot submit right away? What if you still want to argue, scrutinize, and analyze? Then you have to let your ambitions cool off and simmer down, and at the same time come before God and pray, or fellowship with your brothers and sisters. You will also need to open up and lay yourself bare, and dissect the situation using the truth, and after one or two days your state will be much better. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Letting go of one’s own designs means, in one aspect, being able to rebel against, relinquish, and correct one’s erroneous thoughts and ideas. In another aspect, if someone’s ambitions and desires are exceptionally strong and they want to act on them, and they are unable to change course despite knowing that acting this way would not accord with the truth and would not be the right path, then this requires prayer; they must pray fervently to cool down their ambitions. For instance, there might be something you want to do, and when that desire is at its most intense, you feel you absolutely must do it, as if you can’t live without doing it. But after waiting two or three days, you will see this previous attitude as shameless, unreasonable, and conscienceless. This means you’ve made a reversal. How did it come about? It came about through prayer and the enlightenment and reproach of the Holy Spirit, who provided some insights or feelings that helped you look at the problem from a different angle. What you had seen as proper and felt restless about not doing, you suddenly realize is wrong and that doing so would be a rebuke of your conscience. This indicates a transformation of state, which results in a change of mind. If someone corrects their erroneous state, it proves there is still hope for that person. It means they are someone who pursues the truth and receives God’s protection. But if they never correct their erroneous state, persisting even though they know what they’re doing is wrong and not listening to anyone’s advice, then they are not a person who pursues the truth, and they will not receive God’s discipline or obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. No matter what someone who pursues the truth is confronted with, if they cannot make sense of it, they only have to pray for one or two days, read God’s words, listen to sermons, or engage in fellowshipping—regardless of which method they use, they will gradually come to understand the situation and be able to find the correct path of practice. This shows that this person has obtained the work of the Holy Spirit and is led by Him. The results are distinct, and the principles by which this person does things will also undergo a change. If you never change, there is a problem with your pursuit and your attitude. If you change the way you look at things, you will find practicing the truth quite easy. For instance, when you see some delicious food but it’s not the kind you like or you’re not hungry at the moment, is it easy to refrain from eating it? (Yes.) And if you’re really hungry but you’re not allowed to eat it, would this be easy to accept? (No.) You must rebel against this; rebel against your own appetite, your own desire. If you say, “I love eating that food, and I’m dead set on eating it. Who’s to tell me I shouldn’t?” and you persist in arguing and acting obstinately, then you won’t be able to let go, you won’t be able to rebel against your appetite. How can you rebel against it, then? You must first calm down and quietly reflect before God. Then, go read some of God’s words on this topic and carefully think them over: “How could I be so greedy? Being so dead set on eating it, isn’t that shameless of me? What would I even gain from eating it anyway? I was being willful, wasn’t I?” Being dead set on eating—what disposition is this? It involves willfulness and intransigence, as well as peremptoriness and unreasonableness. This is a corrupt disposition. This is the disposition that causes you to be peremptory, defiant, and unable to submit. If you ponder this, you’ll realize that your corrupt disposition is quite severe and all too capable of causing you to rebel against and resist God. If you do evil, the consequences would be unimaginable. If you can reflect upon yourself in this manner, you will naturally gain insight and easily grasp the essence of the problem. At this point, when you pray to God again, your mindset will also be normal, and the effect will be different. Isn’t this state quite different from the initial rebellious one? What will you think at this time? You will be able to recognize how intransigent and willful you were being. You’ll feel you were shameless and meritless. This understanding of yourself will be more accurate, and you will engage in practice more rationally. I have heard some people often say, “How could I have acted so foolishly before? How could I have said such idiotic things? Why was I so rebellious? Why didn’t I know any better?” For someone to say these things proves they have indeed changed and grown. Thus, just because you cannot put the truth into practice for a while does not mean you will not be able to do so your whole life. What do I mean by this? Regardless of whether someone is deceitful, willful, intransigent, or arrogant, not changing momentarily does not mean they cannot change at all. Dispositional change sometimes requires time; sometimes it requires the right environment or God’s judgment and chastisement. However, you might say, “This is just how I am. I give up. I’m past caring.” And this is dangerous; it is not God eliminating you, but you eliminating yourself. You do not choose the path of pursuing the truth but the path of self-abandonment. This is betraying God, and doing so you will forever lose the opportunity to receive salvation. If someone wants to attain the truth, if they want their life disposition to change, they must frequently read God’s words. Within God’s words they must examine and reflect upon themselves at all times and in various aspects to gradually resolve their corrupt dispositions, intentions and impurities. This is how people must cooperate, but it also requires God’s work. God arranges various environments and, according to His time, does His work in you. In one respect, He reveals your corrupt dispositions, allowing you to understand and reflect. In another, the work of the Holy Spirit corrects your state. Whether it’s a corrupt disposition or depressed, negative emotions, there is always a process of correction and repentance. If during this process you pray to God and seek the truth, your negative state will be corrected and you will be able to perform your duty normally. If you do not change even after having been given several opportunities to repent, but instead stick to your old ways, retaining your willful, intransigent disposition, then you are not one who pursues the truth. People who do not pursue the truth are troublesome, and they cannot attain salvation. Evaluate yourselves: When faced with these issues, how much can you change? Have you turned things around and repented? If you’ve turned things around and repented, there’s hope for receiving salvation; but if you never make a change, there will be no such hope.

Some people do not perform their duties properly, they are always perfunctory, causing disruptions or disturbances, and ultimately, they are replaced. They are not, however, expelled from the church, which is them being given a chance to repent. Everyone has corrupt dispositions, and everyone has times when they are muddled or confused, times when they are of small stature. The aim of giving you a chance is so that you can turn all this around. And how can you turn it around? You must reflect on and come to know your past mistakes; don’t make excuses, and don’t go about spreading notions. If you misunderstand God and blithely pass on these misunderstandings to others, so that they, too, misinterpret God with you, and if you have notions and go around spreading them, so that everyone has notions with you, and tries to reason with God alongside you, is this not rabble-rousing? Is this not opposing God? And can anything good come from opposing God? Can you still be saved? You hope that God will save you, yet you refuse to accept His work, and you resist and oppose God, so will God still save you? Forget these hopes. When you made a mistake, God did not hold you accountable, nor did He eliminate you because of this single error. God’s house gave you a chance, and allowed you to continue to perform a duty, and to repent, which is the opportunity given to you by God; if you have conscience and reason, you should treasure this. Some people are always perfunctory when they perform their duties, and they are replaced; some are transferred. Does this mean they have been eliminated? That is not what God has said; you still have a chance. So what should you do? You should reflect on and come to know yourself, and attain true repentance; this is the path. But that is not what some people do. They fight back, and go all about saying, “I wasn’t allowed to perform this duty because I said the wrong thing and offended someone.” They don’t look for the problem in themselves, they don’t reflect, they don’t seek the truth, they don’t submit to the arrangements and orchestrations of God, and they oppose God by spreading notions. Have they not become Satan? When you do the things that Satan does, you are no longer a follower of God. You have become an enemy of God—could God save His enemy? No. God saves people with corrupt dispositions, real people—not devils, not His enemies. When you go against God, and complain about God, and misinterpret God, and pass judgment on God, spreading notions about God, then you are wholly against God; you are raising an outcry against God. What role are you playing when you believe in God yet also raise an outcry against Him? You are playing the role of Satan. Have you done this kind of thing before? (Yes.) And how did you feel after doing it? (My heart darkened, and my state became worse.) That is not the right way. You are all aware of this, but some people have no awareness. Why is it some people lack awareness? (They have no heart and no spirit.) Aren’t those without heart and spirit just like beasts? People who lack awareness of conscience are bound to not be true believers in God. They are evil people who infiltrate God’s house seeking to profit from His blessings. Anyone with heart and spirit has awareness; if they are replaced or transferred, they will be able to self-reflect and come to know themselves. When they see where they erred, they can repent and change. There is still hope for this kind of person to be saved.

Fulfilling one’s duty is the greatest and most valuable thing in a person’s life. One must act in accordance with the truth principles, and never plot for their own sake, for the more one plots for their own sake, the more their life growth is delayed. Some people are always plotting: “When will God’s day come? I haven’t found a partner yet; when will I get married? When will I live my own life?” There are many trifling concerns within each person. When they have fleshly comfort, they start making plans for their future life, prospects, destiny, and destination. If you can see through all of this and let go, you will perform your duty better and better, without being constrained or held back. For instance, suppose you are asked to make food or send letters for your brothers and sisters, if you can view these simple tasks as your duty and treat them seriously, performing them according to the truth principles, you will be able to perform your duty better and better—this is performing your duty up to standard. Standing firm in your position and fulfilling your duty is one aspect; another aspect is that you must also know how to perform your duty and what principles to follow. Once you grasp these, and if you adhere to these principles in your daily tasks, as well as when you are given duty or during the process of performing it, you will undergo an inner transformation without even realizing it. It is like taking medicine when you’re sick. Some people say, “How come I don’t feel much better after taking the medicine for two days already?” What’s the rush? The illness did not develop in a few days, and it cannot be cured in a few days either. It requires time. Some people say: “I’ve been practicing the truth and acting in a principled manner for a long time; why haven’t I received God’s blessings? Why don’t I feel filled with the Holy Spirit?” You cannot rely on feelings for this. So how will you know when these changes occur? You will know when, after something happens to you, it becomes easier and easier to submit. At first it took effort to submit; you always rationalized, scrutinized, and analyzed, wanting to challenge and resist, and you’d have to exercise self-restraint. But now you don’t have to restrain yourself. When something happens to you, you don’t scrutinize it. When you have some notions or ideas, you pray and read God’s words to dispel them and let go. You resolve your problems more quickly and easily. This proves you understand the truth and have changed. At first this is a change in behavior, but it gradually becomes a change in life and disposition. It becomes easier and easier to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Moreover, your intentions, designs, and plans become fewer and fewer, gradually decreasing. If, however, they do not decrease but instead increase, then there’s trouble. This proves that during this period you were not pursuing the truth but merely exerting yourself. Those who do not pursue the truth feel that the more effort they put in, the more merit they will earn, and the greater the crown they will receive in the future. Unknowingly, they follow the path of Paul. Those who do not pursue the truth are always concerned with the size of the crown or halo on their head. Always focusing on these leads to a desire for quick success and instant benefits. They always want to put in more effort, thinking that the more they exert themselves the more blessings they will receive, that great effort will bring great blessings, that performing a great duty will garner great merits and rewards. Can they perform their duty well if this is what they are always focusing on? Those who do not accept the truth cannot fulfill their duty.

There are indicators of achieving life growth by pursuing the truth. You can feel it in your heart too. People’s thoughts and viewpoints undergo some changes after experiencing a period of being pruned. For instance, you might say, “I no longer care about personal gain and loss. Whether God grants rewards doesn’t seem important now, and whether I receive blessings in the end doesn’t seem to matter much either; these concerns no longer have a place in my heart. Now, if God says He will not bless me, that He wants to refine me, to deprive me of something, I seem to be able to submit. There will be some sadness in my heart, but there will also be some submission.” What does this prove? You now have somewhat of a God-fearing heart, you’ve cast off quite a bit of your corrupt disposition, and you’ve truly changed. For instance, in the past if you were chosen to perform a duty that required some physical suffering, you might have wept about it for a couple of nights. But now you can submit after shedding just a few tears. It has become easier to submit, and you no longer fear hardship. How did this submission come about? It came about from establishing a normal relationship with God, and from gradually accepting being pruned by God, as well as accepting His orchestrations and arrangements. After achieving this result, your subjective desires, plans, intentions, and ambitions become less apparent, and you stop considering personal gain and loss. In the past you made these things your second, third, or fourth priority, but they are not important anymore; you do not consider any of them. Your desire to submit to God’s will has grown stronger, and gradually you are able to say, “I’m fine with whatever God gives me and whatever He wants to take away,” without these being just empty words. Just as Job said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah,” you too can now say the same. But do you have the stature of Job? (No.) Would you dare pray to God for Him to test you as He did Job? You would not; you do not have the faith or the stature for it. When you imagine Job covered in sores, scraping his sores with a piece of pottery, you feel afraid and tremble, thinking to yourself, “How painful that must've been. I hope that never happens to me. I wouldn’t be able to endure it. I don’t have that kind of faith.” Is this not so? So, do not take on that which you do not have the faith to see through. Do not be impatient for results and don’t think you have stature. Let your feet convey you with steady steps, learn to let things proceed naturally, and deepen your experience bit by bit. When you truly understand the truth, you will be able to clearly perceive the corrupt things that exist within you, and you will easily let go of your personal thoughts, designs, plans, and intentions. Your relationship with God will become increasingly normal. The normality of your relationship with Him depends primarily on whether you can practice the truth to achieve submission to God. As for submission, it means direct and absolute obedience, acceptance, and practice, without any scrutinizing or quibbling. Scrutinization is not obedience. And what about quibbling? It’s even less so. If you say, “God wants me to do it this way, but I will do it my way regardless,” is that okay? (No.) It is worse than not okay; it is not submission. You must know the practical manifestations of submission, and if you cannot achieve them, then do not say you are one who submits to God. Instead, speak according to the level you have attained; speak objective facts. Do not exaggerate and certainly do not lie. If you cannot grasp something, simply state that you do not understand it, and then seek the truth to comprehend it; there will always be time for you to speak about it later. Some people clearly can’t achieve this and still talk big, claiming they submit to God. Is this not arrogant and unreasonable? This is something those who do not pursue the truth and do not understand the truth love to say. When they see someone has forsaken their family and work to perform their duty, they say, “Look how much that person loves God.” These are the words of a blockhead, and they completely lack any understanding of the truth. Do you dare proclaim you are someone who submits to and loves God now? (No.) You have some reason about yourself then. Those arrogant, unreasonable blockheads are always saying they love and submit to God, and when they make even a little bit of sacrifice or endure some minor hardship, they think: “Did God reward me? Was my family blessed? Will my children get into the college they want? Is there hope for my husband to get a promotion and a raise? Have I gotten anything from the duties I fulfilled these past two years? Have I been blessed? Will I obtain a crown?” Always contriving for these things—is this a manifestation of the pursuit of the truth? (No.) What is your understanding of pursuing the truth then? (To pursue the truth, we must recognize our corrupt dispositions, pursue change in our dispositions, and live like a true person.) In fact, you need not evaluate anything else, and it doesn’t have to be so complicated; simply observe whether, in the course of performing your duty, you had any submission and loyalty, whether you did it with all your heart and strength, and whether you acted according to the truth principles. These criteria can clearly determine whether you are a person who pursues the truth. If someone puts a lot of effort into performing their duty but resists and dislikes practicing the truth, then they are not a person who pursues the truth. Some people are always talking about all the things they do for the church, about how great their contributions to the house of God have been. They still talk about these things even after believing in God for some number of years—is this someone who pursues the truth? (No.) People like this are pitiable! Their statures are minute, and they never grow. They have no life. Why do people with no life still exert so much effort? (To receive blessings.) Correct. They are directed by their personal ambitions and desires. If they do not pursue the truth, they can never let go of these things. You see, they also attend sermons and listen to others fellowship about the truth at gatherings, so why can’t they understand? Day after day they ponder to themselves, “How can I listen more, read more, remember more, and then speak more when I work? Then I will have performed good deeds and can be remembered by God, and I can receive blessings.” In the end, it’s all done to receive blessings. And this person believes receiving blessings would be justified. Once a person who pursues the truth understands and attains the truth, they no longer pursue blessings; they believe doing so is unreasonable. What blessings can you receive if your corrupt disposition has not transformed at all and you have no submission to God whatsoever? Who would give you blessings? How do blessings come about? (God grants them.) And if He does not give you them, can you snatch them from Him yourself? (No.) Some people even want to take them by force; is this not idiotic? Most people believe they’re quite clever, but are unwilling to seek the truth more in performing their duties and to act according to principles. How can they receive God’s blessings like this? They’re too clever for their own good!

August 28, 2018

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