Six Indicators of Life Growth (Part Two)

Do you know what a Pharisee actually is? Are there any Pharisees around you? Why are these people called “Pharisees”? How are Pharisees described? They are people who are hypocritical, completely fake, and put on an act in everything they do. What act do they put on? They pretend to be good, kind, and positive. Is this what they are actually like? Absolutely not. Given that they are hypocrites, everything that is manifested and revealed in them is false; it is all pretense—it is not their true face. Where is their true face hidden? It is hidden deep within their hearts, never to be seen by others. Everything on the outside is an act, it is all fake, but they can only fool people; they cannot fool God. If people do not pursue the truth, if they do not practice and experience God’s words, then they cannot truly understand the truth, and so no matter how nice-sounding their words are, these words are not the truth reality, but words and doctrines. Some people only focus on parroting words and doctrines, they ape whoever preaches the highest sermons, with the result that in just a few years their recital of words and doctrines grows ever more advanced, and they are admired and venerated by many people, after which they start to camouflage themselves, and pay great attention to what they say and do, showing themselves to be especially pious and spiritual. They use these so-called spiritual theories to camouflage themselves. This is all they talk about wherever they go, specious things that fit with people’s notions, but which lack any of the truth reality. And through preaching these things—things that are in line with people’s notions and tastes—they mislead many people. To others, such people seem very devout and humble, but it is actually fake; they seem tolerant, forbearing, and loving, but it is actually a pretense; they say they love God, but it is actually an act. Others think such people holy, but it is actually fake. Where can a person who is truly holy be found? Human holiness is all fake. It is all an act, a pretense. On the outside, they appear loyal to God, but they are actually just performing for others to see. When no one is looking, they are not the slightest bit loyal, and everything they do is perfunctory. Superficially, they expend themselves for God and have given up their families and careers. But what are they doing in secret? They are conducting their own enterprise and running their own operation in the church, profiting from the church and stealing offerings secretly under the guise of working for God…. These people are the modern hypocritical Pharisees. Where do Pharisees come from? Do they emerge among the nonbelievers? No, all of them emerge among believers. Why do these people become Pharisees? Did someone make them that way? This is obviously not so. What is the reason? It is because this is what their nature essence is like, and this is due to the path they have taken. They use God’s words only as a tool to preach and profit from the church. They arm their minds and mouths with God’s words, they preach fake spiritual theories, and package themselves as holy, and then use this as capital to achieve the purpose of profiting from the church. They merely preach doctrines, yet have never put the truth into practice. What sort of people are those who continue to preach words and doctrines despite never having followed God’s way? These are hypocritical Pharisees. Their meager, so-called good behaviors and good conduct, and what little they have given up and expended, are accomplished entirely through the restraint and packaging of their own will. Those actions are entirely fake, and they are all pretense. In these people’s hearts, there is not the slightest fear for God, nor do they have any genuine faith in God. More than that, they are disbelievers. If people do not pursue the truth, then they will walk this sort of path, and they will become Pharisees. Is that not frightful? The religious place in which the Pharisees gather becomes a marketplace. In God’s eyes, this is religion; it is not the church of God, nor is it a place in which He is worshiped. Thus, if people do not pursue the truth, then no matter how many literal words and superficial doctrines about God’s utterances they equip themselves with, it will be of no use. Some people say: “It’s useless no matter how many I equip, so I just won’t equip myself at all.” What are they saying? Is that not nonsense? Is that not absurd speech? What is My purpose in fellowshipping on these words? Is it to prevent you from equipping yourself with the words of God? (No.) You must equip yourself with God’s words, but the crucial thing that you must be clear on is that you are not meant to use God’s words to package yourself in any way, nor are you meant to use them as capital to profit from the church, much less use them as a weapon to strike others. What are God’s words? God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life which resolve people’s corrupt dispositions. If you apply and practice these words perfectly, then you will obtain the truth; the truth will not be doctrines or just words to you, but will be your life reality. Once you have obtained the truth, you have obtained life.

On the subject of God scrutinizing the depths of people’s hearts, which I just spoke about, I will share a story: There was once a beautiful woman who was married to a rich man. How does the world usually look on such marriages? The beautiful woman is after the rich man’s money, and the rich man is after the beautiful woman for her looks; they each take what they need, and there is no real love—it is a transactional marriage. According to the imaginations of the world, this beautiful woman would certainly spend money wastefully, living luxuriously, but she did not do so. She lived like an ordinary housewife, doing chores; each day, she was diligent and conscientious, she was good to her husband and his family, such that she could be called virtuous and kind. But how did the rich man treat her? First off, he worried that this beautiful woman would not be able to truly live with him, and he worried that their marriage would not last, so he kept all his riches and important things to himself. He put them all under his own name, instead of under his wife’s control. But the beautiful woman did not care about any of this. No matter how her husband treated her—whether he did not trust her, or whether he restricted her financially—she did not manifest any unwillingness or displeasure. Rather, she was even more diligent. After a few years, the beautiful woman had several children, and she continued to care for her whole family as before, as a good wife and loving mother; she was obedient, gentle, and considerate to her husband. Finally, one day, the rich man felt that his wife was not as he had imagined her: She was not after his riches, nor was she after his material things. She had no extra requirements beyond those of a normal life, and moreover, she expended a great deal to manage the family—her youth, her looks, and her time. She was diligent and conscientious for the family, never complaining. The rich man was moved. After he was moved, what was his first thought? Would he not think: “Ah, my wife is so reliable, but I doubted her and guarded against her. It was unfair of me to treat her that way. I should give her all my riches and my things to take care of, because she is my true love, the person I most ought to trust, and who is most worthy of my trust. If I don’t believe in her, if I guard against her, then I’m being unfair to her. There is no character to such behavior. She has already gone through so many years of trials, I cannot doubt her any longer.” Did this thought not arise after seeing all the facts? (Yes.) This kind of thought comes from human judgment. Observing her behavior as things happened to her gave rise to his judgment, which gave rise to his definition of her. Therefore, when the rich man was stirred, he put all of his riches under his wife’s name, demonstrating his total trust in her, and answering her many years of loyalty and her investment in him. To the majority of people, this is in line with human conscience, judgment, morals, and ethics. Is this matter ended? (No.) After going through the legal procedures, the rich man put all his riches under his wife’s name. One day, the rich man returned home to eat, and as soon as he entered the door, he felt the atmosphere was wrong. His wife did not welcome him home or speak to him, and the house was cold. Why was the table, which was usually filled with food by now, empty today? He looked behind him, and on the dining table he saw a paper, on which were written two big words—Bye-bye!

The story is now over. You probably all more or less understand the point, so what is the purpose behind telling this story? (To let us know that people cannot be trusted, and they pretend too well.) The rich man was deceived by a false appearance. This beautiful woman pretended very well; in all those years, she never let slip a single flaw, and in all those years of living with her, the rich man never saw the tiniest hint. What kind of person is this beautiful woman? (She is insidious and cunning, and especially crafty.) Did she have this intent from the very beginning, or did she only intend to do this in the end, after she had gotten all the riches? (From the beginning.) What were her original intentions when she married the rich man? Did she manifest them? (No, she hid them.) So what did she let pour forth on the surface? (A false appearance.) A totally false appearance. What was behind this false appearance, at its deepest? (She wanted to obtain wealth and profit.) She did not sincerely marry the rich man, she only wanted his riches. Whether it took ten or twenty years, as long as she could cheat him of his riches, then it didn’t matter to her that she had to marry him, or spend all those years of her youth and hard work. That was the deepest thought of her heart. Of what character are the things she did for the sake of this thought? (Pretending and deception.) Is that worth remembering, or should people spurn her? (Spurn her.) Is it good, or evil? (Evil.) It’s all evil. On what basis are all of her actions and all of the external prices she paid determined to be evil? Where does this conclusion come from? (It’s based on the intents and starting point of her actions.) So what do you understand from this story? (People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at people’s essence.) That is for certain. Why do people look at the outward appearance? Can people find out others’ intents and motivations from their words and actions? Do you know how to discern them? (We can see some obvious, surface-level ones.) You can see some external manifestations, but when you understand the truth and possess some of the truth reality, will you not be able to see people’s essence a bit more clearly? (Yes.) Why can God see people’s hearts so clearly? It is because God is the truth, He is almighty, and He scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts. Do you think humans have a correct standard of judgment by which they can judge others like God does? (They do not, because humans are all of the same kind, and God is the Creator.) Humans are all of the same kind, so are there differences between humans? Is there a difference between someone who has the truth and someone who does not? Is there a difference between someone who knows God and someone who does not? Is there a difference between someone who fears God and someone who does not? (There is.) What kind of person can see through another person’s essence? (Someone who knows God and fears Him.) In the final analysis, how can a person see through another person’s essence? With respect to humans, only when they understand the truth and have the truth reality can they discern it. Then with respect to God, why is He able to see through people’s essence? How do you explain this matter? Can it be said that God is the standard by which to judge all people, events, and things, that He is the criterion by which to judge all positive and negative things? (Yes.) What is the practical element of these words? A person’s external conduct might be good and perfect, but if you have the truth reality, you can discern whether or not they practice the truth. However, if you do not have the truth reality, then when you see a person with perfect conduct, who disguises their outward appearance very well, a seamless disguise, then will you be able to see whether or not they practice the truth? You will not know how to discern them. Without the truth reality, you will not have a standard by which to judge others, and you will not know how to judge them. If you see someone with good external conduct, who speaks very genially, who suffers and expends a great deal, who outwardly reveals no problems, and who has no faults to speak of, how do you judge whether they are a good or bad person, whether they love the truth or are averse to it? How do you discern this? If you do not have a standard for your judgment, then you will be easily blinded by their external conduct and actions. If you are blinded and deceived by them, then will you be able to discern whether they are good or bad, whether they are kind or evil? You will not. Some people say: “Are people who understand the truth able to scrutinize the hearts of others the same as God?” Humans do not have this capability. Even if they do have a deeper understanding of the truth, that does not mean they possess the reality of the truth. However, if a person understands the truth, then they are able to discern whether someone else is a good person or a bad person, whether someone else loves the truth or not, whether they are honest or deceitful, whether they fear God or are rebellious and inimical to God, and whether they sincerely follow God or are a hypocrite. You will be able to discern all these things. In the final analysis, what is most important? (Having the truth reality.) People who do not have the truth reality cannot thoroughly understand anything; they always act foolishly, and act in ways which are in conflict with the truth, and which resist God. Such people are pitiable. This touches upon the importance of whether or not a person is able to obtain the truth and enter into the truth reality. How do people see others when they themselves do not understand the truth? They can look at others only with their own notions and imaginings. When they judge and classify another person, they only look at their caliber and knowledge; they only look at whether or not their external conduct is ethical, whether or not it is in accord with traditional culture and human morality, and whether or not their actions benefit others. If they can see that a person’s words and deeds are basically reasonable, that they are totally in accord with human notions of ethics and morality, and that they are in accord with everyone’s tastes, then they will classify that person as a good person. But how does God classify people? Are all these methods that people use to reach conclusions and their starting points the standards by which God determines a person’s essence? (No.) What does God base His determination on? God bases His determination of a person’s nature essence on the thoughts and ideas of their heart, and the motive for their words and deeds, which is their intents and objectives. It is for this very reason that God is said to be the One who scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts. Can a human scrutinize the depths of other people’s hearts? (No.) People can only see the external manifestations of others, and the intentions they reveal through their speech or through reading between the lines; at best, people are able to see these things, so they can only base their determination of others’ behavior on what they see and hear. When God determines people, on the other hand, He does not look only at their actions, the direction they are headed, or the quality of a particular action. God wants to see their truest thoughts, to see what their intents and objectives actually are as they act, what things their nature essence gives rise to, and which road those things compel them to go down. These are the things God looks at. So I ask you, God scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts—what does “the depths of people’s hearts” refer to? Put simply, it is the truest thoughts of people’s hearts. So in the presence of God, no matter how you disguise yourself, how you conceal yourself, or what you fabricate for yourself, God has a clear grasp of all your truest thoughts and the things hidden in your deepest, innermost parts; there is not one person whose hidden, inner things can escape God’s scrutiny. Do you understand what I’m saying? With decades of life and behavior, that beautiful woman deceived the person closest to her—if the same thing happened to you, would you not also be deceived? (We would.) So could you not say that she not only deceived her husband, she also deceived you and everyone else? (Yes.) She did not divulge the truest thoughts of her heart to anyone else—she did not tell anyone—and moreover, her disguise was seamless, and no one was aware of it. Nevertheless, she neglected one thing—God watches everything people do. She may have been able to deceive everyone else, but she could not deceive God. That rich man seemed astute on the outside, he was able to earn a lot of money, but he fell victim to a woman. Was that momentary carelessness on his part? (No.) Then what caused it? It was because he could not see through her. What facts am I telling you with this story? I am telling you that you must walk the correct path as you believe in God and conduct yourselves, and do not engage in crooked and evil ways. What are crooked and evil ways? Believers in God always want to rely on little schemes, on deceptive and crafty games, and on playing tricks, to cover up their own corruption, their defects and faults, and problems like their own poor caliber; they always deal with matters according to satanic philosophies, which they think isn’t too bad. On surface-level matters, they fawn over God and their leaders, but they do not practice the truth, nor do they act according to principles. They carefully weigh the words and expressions of others, always pondering: “How has my performance been recently? Does everyone support me? Does God know about all the good things I have done? If He knows, will He praise me? What is my position in God’s heart? Am I important there?” The implication is, as someone who believes in God, will they obtain blessings, or will they be eliminated? Is always pondering these matters not a crooked and evil way? This is indeed a crooked and evil way, not the right way. So then what is the right way? (To pursue the truth and a change of disposition.) That’s right. For those who believe in God, the only right way is to pursue the truth, obtain the truth, and achieve a change of disposition. Only the way in which God leads people to attain salvation is the true way, the right way.

God scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts; He is able to see the deepest parts of people’s hearts, their truest thoughts. When God says “People are maggots,” on what basis does He speak? (Based on human nature essence.) Have you ever dissected the essence, state, and manifestations of the “maggots” that God speaks of and sees? What elements of man’s essence cause God to say this to them? Why does God say that people are maggots? In God’s eyes, corrupt humanity is clearly His creation; but do humans fulfill the responsibilities and duties that created beings ought to? Many people do their duty, but how is their performance as they do it? They do not take the initiative in doing their duty; if they are not pruned or disciplined, then they do not continue moving forward; they always need to meet, fellowship and be provided for in order to have even a little bit of faith, some small active elements—is this not their corrupt disposition? (It is.) People do not know their own position, nor do they know what they ought to do, what they ought to pursue, or the road on which they should walk; much of the time, they even act according to their own wills, and they run amok. If not for frequent watering and pruning, if not for God constantly arranging circumstances to guide people back to Him, what would people do? You could say that not only could such a person not do their duty well, they would also degenerate to the point that they would become negative, slack off in their work, act perfunctorily, and deceive God. If someone cannot do the duty that they ought to, then what is the quality of all their actions? You could say that they are all evil deeds—they only do evil! All day long, their thoughts have nothing to do with the truth, nothing to do with following God’s way. Every day, they eat three square meals without thinking or putting in any effort; even if they do have a thought, it is not in line with the truth principles, nor does it have any relationship at all to God’s requirements of man. They do disrupting and disturbing things, without testifying of God at all. Their heart is filled with thoughts of how to seek after their physical welfare, how to strive for status and fame, how to stand firm among other people, to have status and renown. They eat the food God grants and enjoy all that God provides, without engaging in human affairs. God does not like such people—He detests them. Some people do their duty as a mere formality. They come to church to observe the work like a nonbelieving leader; they make the rounds once, shout a few slogans, lecture the brothers and sisters, make everyone listen to them obediently, and then they’re done. When they see someone just do their duty perfunctorily, without taking responsibility, they think: “That has nothing to do with me, and it doesn’t constitute a threat to my status, so I don’t care about it.” Day by day, they drift along like this, never doing any actual work, never solving any actual problems. What kind of person is this? (Someone who eats three square meals a day without thinking or putting in any effort.) They do not know what they ought to do each day, so they carelessly drift through the days, not knowing whether God is pleased with them or detests them, or whether He is scrutinizing them. Are the things they do in accord with the truth? Are they fulfilling their responsibilities? Are they loyal? Are they being perfunctory? Are they exalting themselves in the things they do? Are they testifying of God? They do not know any of this. Someone who eats three square meals a day without thinking or putting in any effort is commonly described as a “freeloader.” They do not do any real work; they are too lazy to even serve themselves a plate of food, and they want people to wait on them. What kind of person is this? They stay wherever they drift to each day, they eat wherever the food is good, they go wherever there is a comfortable place to sleep, and they go wherever there are people to flatter them. There is no difference between such a person and a maggot, is there? (No.) There is no difference. Based on these human behaviors, is it unfair to call people “maggots?” (It is not unfair.) People constantly live in this kind of degenerate nature; after they do a little bit of real work, they want recognition of their achievements. Some people say: “I’ve been doing my duty for five or six years already. I persist in doing my duty every day, and my hair is turning white.” Is this not a disgusting way to speak? How could you speak the same way as Paul? What is the objective behind trying to get recognition for your achievements? Is it not that you want a reward from God? What do we commonly call people who want a reward? Is it not “beggars?” Are such people not shameless? You are doing the duty of a created being, and who is your hard work for? Is it for God? God does not value such. In fact, you are acting on your own behalf, acting so that you can attain salvation, so what recognition do you want, and what reward are you asking for? Has God given you only a little grace, or few blessings? Has God given you this life so that you can ask for a reward? Is it so you can reach your hand out to beg God for food? Right now you are doing your own duty. This is your obligation and responsibility. God has entrusted you with a duty, which is gracious on His part, so you should not beg for anything; if you do, God will detest and be disgusted with you. People always want to beg God for grace and rewards. What kind of people are they? Are they not shameless people of inferior character? Are you all in such a state? (Yes.) How should you resolve this state? You must recognize which of your words and deeds belong to this state, and afterward, quickly come before God in prayer, and accept His scrutiny; dissect your ugliness and nature essence. After you have some knowledge and understanding, take these things to your brothers and sisters and fellowship about them, and lay yourself bare before them. At the same time that you fellowship and lay yourself bare in this way, you will actually be accepting God’s scrutiny, and in this way, your state will slowly be resolved. In order to resolve your own corrupt disposition, you must first clearly come to know just how wicked and hideous your corrupt disposition is; only then can you detest and hate yourself in your heart—if you do not hate yourself, you cannot resolve the problem. If you always think that there is nothing wrong with living according to a corrupt disposition, that other people will be fine with it, and that as long as you do not do anything evil, you are alright—is that not nonsense? Can such people obtain the truth? Can they attain God’s salvation? Why does God expose people’s corrupt states? You should earnestly fellowship about God’s words, link people’s corrupt states and revelations of corruption, and then compare them against the words with which God exposes that corrupt mankind is maggots—can you see that this problem is very serious? Are you able to accept it? (Yes.) When God says that people are maggots, who is He primarily addressing? Which of man’s states and corrupt dispositions is He primarily addressing? Which side of man’s corrupt nature is He exposing? First off, someone who is a maggot is worthless, without a sense of shame; in God’s eyes, they are not worth a single cent! Why do I say that they are not worth a single cent? God created you and gave you life, and you cannot even do the bare minimum of your duty; you are a freeloader. From God’s perspective, you are good for nothing, and your life is superfluous! Are such people not maggots? (Yes.) So what should people do if they do not want to be maggots? First off, you should find your own place and, by hook or by crook, find a way to do your duty, so that you can establish a normal relationship with the Creator, and so that you can give an accounting to God. Next, ponder how you can achieve loyalty in doing your duty, without being perfunctory; you should put your whole heart into it. Do not try to deal with the Creator perfunctorily. Do whatever God asks of you, listen, and submit. Now, do you have any other thoughts or resistance to God’s words calling people maggots? Can you relate this to yourselves? Some people say: “I have been doing my duty for many years, so I’m probably not a maggot, right?” Are they right? (No.) Why are they wrong? Whether you are a maggot or not has nothing to do with what you do on the outside. God wants to see how you do your duty, what state you are in as you do your duty, what you rely on to do your duty, whether or not you achieve results as you do your duty, whether or not you fulfill your responsibilities, and whether or not you are able to do your job. If you do your duty according to the truth principles, achieve loyalty, are able to do your duty up to an acceptable standard, and satisfy God, then you will have escaped the “maggot” form of address.

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