Six Indicators of Life Growth (Part One)

Right now, do you all have a path and growth with respect to your life entry? Do you know what the signs of growth in life entry are? Which changes in your spiritual state, or which manifestations that are different from the ones you previously possessed allow you to feel that you have life growth, or allow the brothers and sisters to see that you have grown up, and that your disposition has begun to change? Looking at the spiritual state, when someone experiences growth in their life entry, they no longer feel vague about believing in God, they do not hesitate, and they have a path to follow; they know that belief in God is for salvation, and they know that only those who pursue the truth can attain salvation. Clearly seeing and stepping onto this path first brings people’s hearts peace and comfort. Do you have this peace and comfort in your hearts now? (Yes. When we encounter people, events, or things, and are able to grasp God’s intentions, and see that these circumstances are arranged specifically for the things we lack—that they are the things we need—at that time, we feel peace of mind. But when we encounter difficulties and do not know how to deal with them, we feel alarmed.) No matter what state you normally have within when you run into difficulties, first look at the big picture: In your hearts, do you not think that choosing the path of belief in God is correct, that it is perfectly natural and justified? Have you not already determined that this path is the correct one for life? Do you not have the resolve and will to continue, without being of two minds? Is this not your state? (It is.) This is one changing aspect, which is the first indication that your life is growing. Additionally, with regard to many matters—for example, people, the world, this society, the path of life, life goals and direction, the meaning and values you have toward life—are there any changes in your thoughts and viewpoints? (There are some changes.) When people regularly listen to sermons, then there are some changes in doing their duty, in their conduct and behavior, and in their thoughts; but are they truly changing in their viewpoints toward people, matters, and life goals and direction? If they do change in this respect, then this involves life entry. The degree to which you change is evidence of how much life entry you have. Many people are still muddled about this aspect of things. They do not know how to view people or matters, nor do they know how to experience the things and circumstances that they encounter. Compared to the time before they believed in God, on the surface they look as though they have accepted some correct viewpoints, which are in line with the truth, but they do not know how to apply them when they encounter matters, and they cannot relate them to the matters. Is this a true change? (It is not.) It is not a true change. How many indicators have been mentioned to see whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life entry? (Two.) These are the first two indicators, which have to do with the truth of visions and theories.

When judging whether or not someone has experienced growth in their life entry, there are several other indicators which have to do with practice. First off, the most preliminary and most basic indicator is this: Each day, no matter what you are busy with or what duty you are doing, how much time your heart is calm before God, and lives in His presence. This ratio is crucial. If you spend almost the whole day busying yourself with outside affairs and working for your living, without setting aside some time to read God’s words or pray to Him, without spending your thoughts on pondering the truth, then your relationship with God is abnormal; you have no place for God in your heart, and you do not treat belief in God as something important. If your heart always lives in such a state, then you will grow further and further away from God, your faith in Him will grow less and less, and you will become negative and weak when things happen to you. When this happens, your inner state becomes increasingly abnormal. That is to say, whether or not you are in a condition of belief in God, whether or not you have the normal state that a believer in God ought to, how much time you live in this kind of normal state, and aside from the many matters of physical life that occupy your heart, how much time you spend before God—this is the first indicator with regard to practice. Some people, aside from their physical life, spend very little time reading God’s words or fellowshipping about the truth. Most of the time, they spend their lives on external matters, living for carnal enjoyment. Is this not living in a corrupt disposition? If someone often lives in a corrupt disposition, their resistance to and rebellion against God will increase, which leads to an abnormal relationship with God, which is equivalent to having no relationship with Him. So, is preserving and upholding a normal relationship with God important or not? (It is important.) How important is it? Where is it important? (If one has no place for God in their heart as they do their duty, then they are relying on themselves, which is not practicing the truth at all. They cannot have life entry this way.) Perhaps you are able to understand this on a theoretical level, but you cannot speak clearly as to the practical aspect; by that, I mean the majority of people are not too clear on and do not understand well this aspect of the truth, and you only have a little perceptual knowledge, right? (Right.) Then I ask you all, if a believer in God frequently has nothing to do with belief in God or with God Himself in their actions, words, conduct, or in doing their duty, then will all they do have anything to do with the truth? (It will not.) Who are they doing all this for? What foundation are they built on? From where do their starting point, motivations, goals, and principles come? If someone is incapable of having a normal relationship with God, and nothing they do has anything to do with God, then what are they relying on to act? What is the source of their actions? (Satanic philosophies.) They rely on satanic philosophies to act, that much is apparent. If what a person acts out and lives out as they act and do their duty has nothing to do with God—the implication being that they have nothing to do with the truth—then what are they relying on as they busy themselves every day? They rely on Satan’s poisons and their satanic, corrupt disposition to act, do their duty, live, and conduct themselves. This is the third indicator for measuring whether or not a person has growth in their life entry—in brief, it is whether or not a person has a normal relationship with God.

There is one more indicator of practice that can be used to judge whether or not a person has experienced growth and change in their life entry. Can you think of what it is? (Isn’t it that when things happen to them, they believe that it is orchestrated and arranged by God, and they have a submissive heart?) That’s right, it is having a submissive heart; it is judged by looking at how submissive a person is toward the people, events, and things they encounter, and the degree to which they are able to submit. Whether or not a person can submit when something happens to them, the degree to which they are able to submit, and after they have submitted to all God’s orchestrations, what truth they are able to obtain—which aspect of someone’s life entry does this test? (It tests whether or not they have true faith.) It tests whether or not they truly believe in God, and it tests how great their faith in God is; that is one part of it. Anything else? (Fear of God.) It tests whether or not people have God-fearing hearts, that is another part of it. What else? (Whether or not they love the truth.) That’s right, it also tests whether or not they love the truth, whether or not they are able to practice the truth. All together, that is three aspects. Whether or not you are able to submit depends on what attitude you have when things happen to you, whether you are resistant or accepting; that is the most basic thing. At times, when something happens, you may have a submissive attitude, but if the thing does not line up with your notions, it takes some effort for you to submit; if it aligns with your tastes and you can be benefited by it, it is easier for you to submit. Does this not mean that you are insufficiently submissive? Is occasional or temporary submission representative of true submission to God? With regard to that which comes from God and God’s arrangements, there are some things you are able to accept, and other things you are not able to accept. This is a problem. Is it not clear rebellion against God? For example, say God called you a muddler, how would you react? You would think a moment, “God’s words are certainly not mistaken,” and you would accept it in your heart, and say amen to God’s word. This way, you would basically be about eighty or ninety percent submissive, but in the process of experiencing it, you might sometimes feel that you are pretty smart, not muddled—this is that last ten percent off, which prevents you from totally submitting. This kind of state is normal. At what point of experience will you fully understand this saying? (One day, when we will be revealed, realize that we are muddlers, and have a true knowledge of ourselves.) That’s right. When you have some knowledge about your own nature, disposition, and principles of action, as well as the quality of your humanity and your caliber, etc., then you will realize: “I am a muddler! My thoughts are not at all clear, nor do I speak clearly; I deal with matters poorly, and I get through the things that happen to me in a muddled way; I don’t take anything seriously, and even if I do, I don’t understand—that’s what a muddler is!” The more you experience, the more you will come to feel that God’s words are right, that He is speaking of you; you will increasingly submit to these words. People have an acceptance process regarding these words, but what is the first thing God wants? When God says that you are a muddler, does He want a resisting, perfunctory attitude, or an accepting attitude from you? (An accepting attitude.) God wants people to have an accepting attitude. People must have such a state, which is that no matter how much they know, they should first learn to accept and submit. Although you might think that you are only a little muddled, not the total muddler that God said you are, you should nevertheless accept it. In the process of experience, in the process of pursuing a change of disposition, you will gradually come to a knowledge of your own humanity, the revelations of your corrupt disposition, your attitudes and the results of your actions, and all the states you have as you do your duty. You will realize that you are not a little muddled, but that you are actually a muddler, and not a small one. At this time, you will have no thoughts or resistance to the muddler God has exposed, nor will you have any notions, and you will be able to accept it. God scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts. Do you accept God’s exposure as fact, or accept it as condemnation of you? (As fact.) Then do you accept it as the truth? In reality, God’s exposure of man is in line with the facts, it is the truth, and people should accept it as such. Some people say: “Is the word ‘muddler’ the truth?” How to explain this? In reality, it is not that this word is the truth, but rather the essence of this word—God’s definition and evaluation of this kind of disposition is the truth. That is the fact of the matter. To say that you are muddlers, you can basically accept it based on your current stature. Is the word “muddler” offensive? (It is not.) Why not? (Because it is a fact.) Some people might not think so in their hearts, and they say: “The word muddler is almost elegant and civilized, and it is not a curse, so why would we not accept it? We have heard much more severe words than this—we can accept those, so how much more should we be able to accept such an elegant word?” Is the implication not that your skin is thick, and so such an elegant, civilized word does not seem like a barb to you? Is that how it is? In fact, it is not. Whether a word is elegant or severe, if you think that you are not such a person, if you do not know whether the words of evaluation are right or not, whether or not that is your essence, then even if the word is pleasant and elegant, you will be unable to accept it. This has to do with the problem of whether or not a person can accept the truth, and also the problem of whether or not they have a true knowledge of their own nature essence. You have heard more severe words before, and you have accepted, endured, and acknowledged the more severe, so the less severe word “muddler” does not bother you, but in reality, you are not truly applying the word to yourselves. This is not an attitude of true submission and acceptance. If you were really able to accept this word as the truth and apply it to yourself, then your self-knowledge would grow deeper. When God calls you a muddler, He is not asking that you accept some statement, or word, or definition—He is asking that you understand the truth within this. So when God does call someone a muddler, what truth is contained inside? Everyone understands the superficial meaning of the word “muddler.” But as for what the manifestations and dispositions of a muddler are, which of the things that people do are muddled and which aren’t, why God exposes people in this way, whether or not muddlers can come before God, whether or not muddlers are able to act according to principle, whether or not they are able to understand what is right and what is wrong, whether or not they are able to discern what is beloved by God and what is detested by God—most of the time, people are unclear about these things; to them they are ambiguous and ill-defined, utterly unapparent. For example: Most of the time people don’t know—it is not clear to them—whether doing something in a certain way is simply following regulations, or practicing the truth. Neither do they know—neither is it clear to them—whether something is beloved of God or detested by God. They do not know whether practicing a certain way is constraining people, or fellowshipping the truth and helping people as normal. They don’t know whether the principles behind the way they act toward people are correct, and whether they are trying to create allies, or to help people. They don’t know whether acting in a certain way is abiding by principle and standing firm in their position, or being arrogant and self-righteous, and showing off. When they have nothing else to do, some people like staring at a mirror; they don’t know whether this is narcissism and vanity, or if it is normal. Some people have a temper and are a little odd; can they tell whether this is related to them having a bad disposition? People can’t even differentiate between these commonly seen, commonly encountered things—and yet they still say they have gained so much from believing in God. Is this not muddled? So can you accept being called a muddler? (Yes.) Right now, it looks like the majority of people can accept this. What should you do after accepting it? You must compare it against your own state and specifically examine which matters you are being muddled in, and which you are being clear-headed in. Compare it against your own state, dig out your own corruption, and then come to know yourself in these matters, and strive to be numbered among the ranks of the muddlers. What do you think of this kind of practice? Is this knowledge total? (It is not. We must pursue the truth, and experience a change in this aspect.) That’s right. And do you want to be muddlers your whole lives? (No.) No one wants to be a muddler. In fact, fellowshipping and dissecting in this way is not to make you try to class yourself as a muddler; no matter how God defines you, no matter what He exposes about you, how He judges, chastises you, and prunes you, the ultimate aim is to allow you to escape those states, understand the truth, gain the truth, and try not to be a muddler. So what should you do if you wish not to be a muddler? You must pursue the truth. First of all, you must know in what matters you are a muddler, in what matters you are always preaching doctrine, always meandering about in theory and words and doctrines, and staring blankly when you are faced with the facts. When you solve these problems and are clear about each aspect of the truth, there will be fewer times when you are muddled. When you have a clear understanding of each truth, when you are not bound by hand and foot in all you do, when you are not bridled or constrained—when, once something happens to you, you are able to find the correct principles of practice and are truly able to act according to principle after praying to God, seeking the truth, or finding someone to fellowship with, then you will no longer be muddled. If something is clear to you, and you are able to correctly practice the truth, then you will not be muddled when it comes to that thing. People have but to understand the truth for their hearts to naturally be enlightened.

God says that some people are muddlers, and in the beginning, they may not be able to accept it, but after some time passes, they realize that they truly understand nothing clearly; they do not know how to discern false leaders and antichrists; they feel quite muddled, and that their caliber is low, so they accept it and submit. “Muddler” is a relatively pleasant-sounding, elegant word, and people have to go through a period of time before they can accept it; it might be harder for them to accept less pleasant-sounding, inelegant words. Among God’s words, some hit the nail right on the head as they expose and judge people; they are more severe. The majority of people have too little stature to accept these. After hearing them, they feel pain and unhappiness; they feel that their dignity has been injured, that their immature hearts have been aggravated and wounded. Which words make you especially uncomfortable to hear, make you think that God should not say them, which you cannot accept? For example: trash, maggot, filthy demon, less than swine or dogs, beast, etc. It sounds like it is not easy for the majority of people to accept these words. Do civilized people usually say such words? You are all well-educated. You all pay attention to being refined and understated in your speech, as well as to the manner in which you speak: You are tactful, and have learned not to do damage to the dignity and pride of others. In your words and actions, you leave people room to maneuver. You do everything you can to put people at ease. You do not expose their scars or shortcomings, and you try not to hurt them or embarrass them. Such is the interpersonal principle by which most people act. And what kind of principle is this? (It is being a people pleaser; it is deceitful and slippery.) It is conniving, slippery, treacherous, and insidious. Hidden behind people’s smiling faces are a lot of malicious, insidious, and despicable things. For example, when interacting with others, some people, as soon as they see that the other person has a bit of status, they think in their hearts: “When I speak with them, I need to choose pleasant-sounding words, otherwise I might damage their reputation—what if they were to punish me?” They just don’t say anything, or if they do speak, they do it in a tactful, pleasant-sounding, flattering way. When they meet, they say: “Ah! I’ve never seen someone as good-looking as you. Are you a fairy? You’re so pretty you don’t even need makeup; if you put makeup on, you’d be even more incomparable. Look at your build, everything you wear looks good! Such good-looking, pretty clothes must have been specially designed for people like you!” They speak especially pleasantly, so whoever hears them feels at ease, but do they actually think those things in their heart? (They do not.) What are they really thinking? They certainly have intents and ulterior motives, which are certainly shameful; they might be especially sinister, wicked, or despicable, which would disgust others. Once they have parted ways, they speak ill of that person to others, saying any offensive and hateful thing they can about them. Their words contain an attack, a venom! The flattering words they just finished speaking cause them to feel annoyed and unwilling; belittling and slandering other people behind their backs brings them back into balance. Such people have darkness in their hearts; they are selfish and despicable. This kind of conduct is disgusting and detestable. What kind of person is this? This is a deceitful person. There are too many such people among the nonbelievers, and there are even some in the house of God. When they say those pleasant-sounding words, they have a shameful and despicable intent and ulterior motive; they say whatever will help them achieve their objective. They do not speak in accordance with the facts at all, and they exaggerate; they have intents and objectives behind their pleasant-sounding words. When they speak offensively, they speak any hateful thing they can, and they are capable of speaking all kinds of venomous words. What kind of person is this? Beyond the surface revelations of their dispositions, which are hypocritical, slippery, and deceitful, what else is in their nature? They are venomous—too venomous! When they compliment others, do the others ask for it? (No.) Why do they compliment them? (They have an objective.) That’s right. By fair means or foul, they toy with people in order to achieve their intents and objectives; they would say anything, no matter how sickening. Is this not venomous? Then to resolve the imbalance in their heart, they stab people in the back, curse, and slander them, and they say any offensive and hateful thing they can. Is this not venomous? It is so venomous! From this matter you can see the nature of man. Nothing they do in front of people or behind their backs is genuine or sincere, nor is any of it in accordance with the truth or with humanity; it is all evil, poisonous. Are there not poisonous elements in everything corrupt mankind says? (There are.) So, are people’s words reliable? Can their words be trusted? People are so unreliable, so untrustworthy! Why? Because as they live, the things that are revealed from their actions and speech, their every deed and action, their every thought and idea, are all of a satanic disposition, totally representative of a satanic nature essence.

Why do people believe in God, but do not believe that His words are the truth? It is because their eyes are blind, they do not understand what the truth is, and they have no knowledge of God. Many people read the words of God and can acknowledge that His words are the truth, but they have notions and resistance over what God has spoken regarding “maggots,” “trash,” “devils,” and “beasts,” to the point that they are totally unable to accept these things. This is because they do not know their own nature. How do people see human nature essence? (They acknowledge their own satanic dispositions, but they think they still have a good side, and they do not see that they themselves are living Satans.) Do people understand their own nature essence as accurately, clearly, and truly as God does? (No.) In fact, human nature essence is totally inimical to God. God looks at human essence and nature. He does not look at what people say or do outwardly, He looks at their hearts, their essence, and their nature. Where do those definitions and modes of address that God has for man come from? They are defined based on human nature essence, as well as the corrupt dispositions man reveals. Having spoken to this point, do you understand what is meant by “God scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts”? People always say that “God scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts,” so what experiences do you have with these words? Have you ever really experienced them? What knowledge and understanding do you have of these words? Some people are muddled; they think it means that God knows the thoughts and ideas that pour out of them, that He knows the things they do which are not in line with the truth, that He knows the filth, corruption, and extravagant desires of their hearts; even if they do bad things without speaking of them, God knows. As God scrutinizes people, does He really only scrutinize the surface level, the things that people are aware of? Could that be called God scrutinizing the depths of people’s hearts? (No.) What is the deepest part of a person’s heart? (Their nature essence.) Are people capable of being aware of their own nature essence? Can they feel it? Can they know it? (They cannot.) If people cannot feel it, then how do they come to truly know themselves? (They can only come to know themselves through the exposure of God’s words and His revelation of them.) God scrutinizes people’s nature essence, which they can neither feel nor know; when God exposes people’s nature essence, when the facts reveal it, they are sincerely convinced. People’s thoughts, ideas, and views are all surface level things. Sometimes they are spoken aloud, and sometimes they are merely a momentary idea, a thought from the heart, or a temporary active thought, but they are all surface level things. These active thoughts can temporarily influence and guide your actions, but can they influence or guide the direction and goals of your life? They cannot. So what can influence and guide your actions, as well as guide the direction and goals of your life? Can you see this matter clearly? This is what is hidden in the deepest parts of people’s hearts, hidden in their minds. This is the thing that controls people’s thoughts and actions, the thing that gives rise to their viewpoints. Some people do not understand the meaning of the phrase “God scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts.” What is meant by “the depths of people’s hearts” here? What things arise at the bottom of a person’s heart? Is it their deepest inner thoughts? From the surface, it would appear so, but what is it in reality? It is the things of human nature essence which no one can move from their place, people’s truest thoughts, which they never speak to anyone; at times, even they themselves do not know what they are. People live according to these things. They think that if they lose these things, if they lose the motivation that these things give them, they might no longer be able to believe in God. So do you know what things lie within the depths of people’s hearts? (Faith in God in order to obtain blessings; this is something that lies within people’s hearts.) That’s right, people believe in God in order to be blessed, to be rewarded, to be crowned. Doesn’t this exist in everyone’s heart? It is a fact that it does. Although people don’t often talk about it, and even cover up their motive and desire to obtain blessings, this desire and motive deep in people’s hearts has always been unshakable. No matter how much spiritual theory people understand, what experience or knowledge they have, what duty they can perform, how much suffering they endure, or how much of a price they pay, they never let go of the motivation for blessings hidden deep in their hearts, and always silently toil in its service. Isn’t this the thing buried deepest inside people’s hearts? Without this motivation to receive blessings, how would you feel? With what attitude would you perform your duty and follow God? What would become of people if this motivation to receive blessings that is hidden in their hearts was gotten rid of? It is possible that many people would become negative, while some would become demotivated in their duties. They would lose interest in their belief in God, as if their soul had vanished. They would appear as if their heart had been snatched away. This is why I say the motivation for blessings is something hidden deep in people’s hearts. Perhaps, as they perform their duty or live the life of the church, they feel that they are able to forsake their families and gladly expend themselves for God, and that they now have knowledge of their motivation to receive blessings, and have put this motivation aside, and are no longer governed or constrained by it. Then, they think that they no longer have the motivation to be blessed, but God believes otherwise. People only view matters superficially. Without trials, they feel good about themselves. As long as they don’t leave the church or deny God’s name, and they persist in expending for God, they believe they have changed. They feel they are no longer driven by personal enthusiasm or momentary impulses in the performance of their duty. Instead, they believe they can pursue the truth, and that they can continuously seek and practice the truth while performing their duty, so that their corrupt dispositions are purified and they achieve some genuine change. However, when things happen that are directly related to people’s destination and outcome, how do they behave? The truth is revealed in its entirety. So at the end of the day, as far as people are concerned, is this circumstance one of salvation and perfection, or one of being revealed and eliminated? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? To those who pursue the truth, it means salvation and perfection, which is good; to those who do not pursue the truth, it means being revealed and eliminated, which is bad. Going through a period of time, do people not all encounter circumstances of trial and refinement? Why does God do this? It certainly has meaning, because God scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts; He knows the real state of people’s innermost parts, He understands people, and He sees their nature essence clearly and completely. After a time, someone might have some success, they might have done some good things, not made any big mistakes, and they might be able to accept being pruned. When things happen to them, they might have a somewhat submissive attitude. So they think that they are pretty good, that they have stepped onto the right track of belief in God, that they have been saved and perfected. When they are most complacent and self-satisfied, God’s discipline, judgment, and chastisement comes. These circumstances reveal people, their stature, their corrupt dispositions, their nature essence, and their attitudes toward God. This revelation is actually good for people. If they pursue the truth, then this revelation, this circumstance, will cleanse them. Cleanse them of what? It will cleanse you of your unreasonable demands of God and your extravagant desires, and cause you to assume the correct viewpoint; you will no longer try to trade with God or make demands of Him for your extravagant desires; rather, more and more you will have a heart of true submission to God. You will not ask for anything, you will only seek to pursue the truth and satisfy God’s heart, causing you to become increasingly pure, until in the end, you are able to attain salvation. Is this not a result achieved by the work of God? (It is.) Does God not have a meaning behind doing this? Does this not cleanse people? Do people need to be cleansed in this way? (They do.) If God did not expose or cleanse people like this, then could people obtain the truth? (No.) They could not obtain the truth. Based on their satanic nature, what kind of road can people walk onto? (Following Satan and resisting God.) Can such a person be blessed? They cannot, they can only be eliminated.

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