Six Indicators of Life Growth (Part Three)

As you experience God’s work, you must first accept the words of His that expose man’s nature essence. If you are able to clearly see people’s corrupt disposition and the truth of their corruption, and if you truly come to know yourself, then is this not the way forward for you to attain salvation? The way you approach God’s words which judge and expose man is crucial. First of all, you must ponder and understand the words of God which expose man’s nature; if you are able to clearly see that what God’s words have exposed is totally in accordance with your real state, then you will reap the harvest. Some people, when they finish reading God’s words, always compare them against others; they always think that they are aimed at others, and that the words God has spoken have nothing to do with them, no matter how stern they might be. This is troublesome—this kind of person does not accept the truth. Then how should you approach God’s words? Every time you read any of God’s words, you should compare them against yourself, cross-reference them to your own state, to your own thoughts and viewpoints, and cross-reference them to your own behavior. If you are truly comparable to them and seek the truth to resolve your own problems, then in this way, you will reap the harvest. You should then use the reality of the truth you understand to go and help others; help them understand the truth and resolve problems, help them come before God, and accept His words and the truth. This shows love for others, and you can reap the harvest from it; it benefits both you and others, a twofold harvest. Acting this way makes you a useful person in the house of God; if you possess such truth reality, then you are able to testify for God. Do you not then win God’s acceptance? You should use the same methods to accept and submit to the remainder of the words with which God has exposed people, and then dissect yourself and come to know yourself. Do you know how to compare yourselves in this way? (A little bit.) If God said that you were Satan, that you were a devil, that you have a corrupt disposition, and that you resist Him, then you might be able to compare these larger things against yourself; but when His words touch on certain other states and outpourings to ascertain what kind of person you are, you are unable to compare them against yourself, and you cannot accept them—this is very troublesome. What does this mean? (It means we do not truly know ourselves.) You do not truly know yourself, and you do not accept the truth, isn’t that the case? (It is.) People need to slowly come to understand the words God uses to expose people, like “maggots,” “filthy demon,” “not worth a cent,” “trash,” and “good for nothing.” Is God’s objective in exposing people to condemn them? (No.) Then what is it? (To have people know themselves, and to cast off their corruption.) That’s right. God’s objective in exposing these things is to allow you to know yourself, to obtain the truth in the process, and to understand His intentions. If God exposes you as a maggot, as a lowly person, as good for nothing, how should you practice? You might say, “God says I am a maggot, so I’ll be a maggot. God says I am good for nothing, so I’ll be good for nothing. God says I am not worth a single cent, so I’ll be a worthless piece of trash. God says I am a filthy demon, that I am Satan, so I’ll be a filthy demon, I’ll be Satan.” Is this the way to obtain the truth? (No.) God’s objective in saying these words, His ultimate objective in all His judgment, chastisement, and exposure, is to allow people to understand His intentions, to step onto the path of practicing the truth, knowing God, and submitting to Him. If people always misunderstand God as they walk this path, if they are often unable to fully accept His judgment and chastisement, and if their rebelliousness is too great, then what can they do? You must often come before God, accept His scrutiny, allow Him to lead you through repeated trials and refinement, and allow Him to arrange circumstances to cleanse you. People’s corruption is so deep, they need God to cleanse them! If people do not have the will to do this, if they always indulge in comforts, if they are always muddleheaded, and if they do not seek the truth at all, then their hope of obtaining the truth is very slim. There are many practical manifestations of God scrutinizing the depths of people’s hearts, which can be seen from the many things in people’s corrupt dispositions which God exposes. Only God can see the things within man’s nature essence. So, if you do not listen to God’s words, do not live the way God has told you to, and do not believe in Him or do your duty in the way He has told you to, then you have no way to embark upon the path of satisfying God’s intentions; you have no way to embark upon the right track of belief in God, and it is very difficult for you to attain salvation. Is what I say right? (It is.) Can people satisfy God by believing in Him according to their own methods? (No.) People’s methods, imaginings, and the ways and means they arrive at are not in accordance with the truth, so this kind of belief in God can never satisfy Him.

I just spoke about the fourth indicator of how to judge whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life entry, which is the degree to which someone is able to submit to God in the people, events, and things they encounter. What determines the degree to which you are able to submit to God? If you are unable to comprehend or understand God’s words, if you cannot at all grasp the things God says and requires, then can you submit to Him? (No.) This is far too difficult. So in the final analysis, what does someone need in order to achieve submission? (To understand the truth.) If a person understands the truth, is that not equivalent to understanding God’s intentions? (Yes.) Only once they understand God’s intentions can they gradually achieve submission to God and satisfaction of His intentions.

In judging whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life entry, there is another key indicator, which is whether or not you are able to understand God’s intentions and obtain the truth in the midst of the things you encounter. Now, when most of you encounter a matter or circumstance, how much truth are you able to understand from it? Are you able to obtain the truth from it? Do you obtain the truth in the majority of matters, or are you unable to obtain the truth most of the time, always acting muddleheadedly and leaving loose ends? (Most of the time, we leave loose ends.) This is your true state: Most of the time you are unable to obtain the truth. What does this show? It shows that your stature is very small, and when you encounter many matters, you do not have the stature or the truth reality necessary to solve problems. No matter whether you encounter trials or temptations, you do not stand firm in your testimony, so you do not have the truth reality. If you cannot see through your own problems, and you do not know how to seek the truth to resolve your own problems, then you have utterly failed. If you encounter the same kind of trial again, you will still be muddleheaded, and you will use the same method to resolve it and the same attitude in your approach to it. Does this not show a lack of growth? (It does.) To what degree is your stature stuck right now? When things happen to you, you get confused, and then you search God’s words, the hymns, and sermons and fellowships, as well as the various principles you usually use, or else you go find people to fellowship with—is this the stature you are currently at? (Yes.) So is your stature great or small? (Small.) Can you live independently with this kind of stature? Can you independently solve your problems? (No.) If you are currently at this stature, then as soon as you leave the church life, leave your brothers and sisters, leave the circumstances and places in which you do your duty, are you still able to follow God? Can you really follow Him to the very end? This is not yet known. It is also possible that after three or five years, you might still be following God, but your behavior and conduct, the goals you pursue, the direction of your life, your viewpoints on matters, the way you get along with others, and the attitude with which you treat matters, none of these things will have changed, and you will be no different from a nonbeliever. The only difference will be that you just call yourself a believer, you still believe in God in name only, and you still call yourself one of His followers. In essence, however, God is no longer in your heart, you no longer hold His way in your heart, and you have nothing to do with Him. Because you often come before God without knowing what to say in prayer to Him or what to seek, and have nothing to say to Him in your heart, you start to get farther away from God. When you encounter things, God’s words do not act as your guide, nor do you know how to seek the truth, and you act according to your own imaginings. Have you not thus become a through-and-through disbeliever? What do I mean by these words? Before a person has obtained the truth, they always get confused when things happen to them, they do not know how to apply the truth, and they do not know how to deal with things in line with God’s intentions. Regardless of whether you are in good or terrible circumstances, whether you are being tempted or tested, you are always at a loss; you merely passively cope with it, and you are unable to use a positive attitude or the truth to resolve things. No matter what circumstances you encounter, you totally lack the ability to withstand them, and you are unable to take the initiative to use the truth to solve problems. Even if you were to seek the truth right at that moment to resolve them and try to satisfy God’s intentions regarding this matter, you would be unable to do it. So how much of your conduct and life is related to God, related to the conduct and life that a believer ought to have? If only one percent in terms of formality and the subjective wishes of your heart is related to God, and ninety-nine percent is unrelated to the truth, then you are just as God has said: “You have done much that is irrelevant to the truth.” Is this not frightening and dangerous? (It is.) This is very frightening, and very dangerous. So what are the problems people face? If people leave the circumstances that God has arranged, then they lose the opportunity to have God make them perfect, they become unworthy of God’s thoughtful consideration, and they give up on the lessons that God deliberately arranges for them. This is the thing that grieves God the most. God arranges appropriate circumstances for people so that they can pursue the truth. If people give up on their duties, give up on pursuing the truth, do not read God’s words, and are capable of departing from God at any time and place, then are they a sincere follower of God? Absolutely not. You can probably see this clearly—this is your real stature at the moment. People who do not pursue the truth do not understand God’s intentions at all. If people do not at all understand the circumstances that God arranges for them, nor do they know how to pray to or fellowship with God, what kind of stature do these people have? Is it not that their stature is too small, and they do not know how to pursue the truth? If they do not know how to pursue the truth, then how can they obtain it? From a subjective perspective, you might think that you have cast everything away and that your belief in God is true, but in fact, you do not accept the truth, and God has not obtained your heart—is this not the case? (It is.) God has not obtained your heart, which means that in many matters, you are still capable of resisting and betraying God, and departing from God, to the point that you would even deny God’s existence. Not only can you not submit to God, not be loyal to God, and not fear God, but you are also capable of resisting and betraying God at all times and places. This is the situation that people are in before they have obtained the truth. What is My purpose in saying all this to you? Why do I say these words? Is it to douse you with cold water? (No, it is to allow us to know our own true stature.) These words are a wake-up call for you and will benefit you. As a believer, if you do not obtain the truth, you will never gain God, and He will have no way to gain you. Thus, pursuit of the truth in your belief in God is the most important thing.

To pursue the truth, one must focus on practicing the truth, but where should one begin to practice the truth? There are no regulations for this. You should practice whichever aspects of the truth you understand. If you have started a duty, then you should start practicing the truth in the performance of your duty. In the performance of your duty, there are many aspects of the truth to practice, and you should practice whichever aspects of the truth you understand. For example, you can start by being an honest person, by speaking honestly, and by opening your heart. If there is something about which you are too embarrassed to speak with your brothers and sisters, then you should kneel down and tell it to God through prayer. What should you say to God? Tell God what is in your heart; do not give empty pleasantries or attempt to deceive Him. Start with being honest. If you have been weak, then say you have been weak; if you have been wicked, then say you have been wicked; if you have been deceitful, then say you have been deceitful; if you have had vicious and insidious thoughts, tell God about them. If you are always competing for status, tell Him this, too. Let God discipline you; let Him arrange environments for you. Allow God to help you get through all your difficulties and resolve all your problems. You should open up your heart to God; do not keep it shut. Even if you shut Him out, He can still scrutinize you. However, if you open up your heart to Him, you can gain the truth. So which path should you choose? You should open up your heart and tell God what is in your heart. By no means should you say anything false or disguise yourself. You should start by being an honest person. For years, we have been fellowshipping on the truth concerning being an honest person, and yet today there are still many people who remain indifferent, who speak and act only according to their own intents, desires, and aims, and to whom it has never occurred to repent. This is not the attitude of people who are honest. Why does God ask people to be honest? Is it to make it easier to understand people? Certainly not. God requires people to be honest because God loves and blesses honest people. Being an honest person means being a person with conscience and reason. It means being someone who is trustworthy, someone whom God loves, and someone who can practice the truth and love God. Being an honest person is the most fundamental manifestation of possessing normal humanity and living out a true human likeness. If someone has never been honest, or considered being honest, then they cannot understand the truth, much less can they gain the truth. If you don’t believe Me, go and see for yourself, or go and experience this for yourself. Only by being an honest person can your heart be open to God, can you accept the truth, can the truth become your life, and can you understand and gain the truth. If your heart is always closed, if you don’t open up or say what is in your heart to anyone, such that no one can understand you, then your walls are too thick, and you are the most deceitful of people. If you believe in God yet cannot purely open yourself up to God, if you can lie to God or exaggerate to deceive God, if you are incapable of opening your heart to God, and can still speak in circles and hide your intentions, then you will only harm yourself, and God will ignore you and not work in you. You won’t understand any of the truth, and you won’t gain any of the truth. Now can you see the importance of pursuing and gaining the truth? What is the first thing you should do to pursue the truth? You should be an honest person. Only if people seek to be honest can they know how deeply corrupted they are, whether or not they really have any human likeness, and clearly take their own measure or see their deficiencies. Only when they are practicing honesty can they become aware of how many lies they tell and how deeply hidden their deceit and dishonesty are. Only while having the experience of practicing being honest can people gradually come to know the truth of their own corruption and know their own nature essence, and only then will their corrupt dispositions be constantly purified. Only in the course of their corrupt dispositions being constantly purified will people be able to gain the truth. Take your time experiencing these words. God does not perfect those who are deceitful. If your heart is not honest—if you are not an honest person—then you will not be gained by God. Likewise, you will not gain the truth, and will also be incapable of gaining God. What does it mean if you do not gain God? If you do not gain God and you have not understood the truth, then you will not know God, and so there will be no way you can be compatible with God, in which case you are the enemy of God. If you are incompatible with God, God is not your God; and if God is not your God, you cannot be saved. If you do not seek to attain salvation, why do you believe in God? If you cannot attain salvation, you will forever be a bitter enemy of God, and your outcome will be set. Thus, if people wish to be saved, then they must start by being honest. In the end, those who are gained by God are marked with a sign. Do you know what it is? It is written in Revelation, in the Bible: “And in their mouth was found no lie; they are without blemish” (Revelation 14:5). Who are “they”? They are those who are saved, perfected and gained by God. How does God describe these people? What are the characteristics and expressions of their conduct? They are without blemish. They speak no lies. You can probably all understand and grasp what speaking no lies means: It means being honest. What does “without blemish” refer to? It means doing no evil. And what foundation is doing no evil built on? Without any doubt, it is built upon the foundation of fearing God. To be unblemished, therefore, means to fear God and shun evil. How does God define someone without blemish? In God’s eyes, only those who fear God and shun evil are perfect; thus, people who are unblemished are those who fear God and shun evil, and only those who are perfect are unblemished. This is totally correct. If someone lies every day, is that not a blemish? If they speak and act according to their own will, is that not a blemish? If they always ask for recognition when they act, always asking God for a reward, is that not a blemish? If they have never exalted God, always bearing witness to themselves, is that not a blemish? If they do their duty perfunctorily, act opportunistically, harbor evil intentions, and slack off, is that not a blemish? All these revelations of corrupt dispositions are blemishes. It’s just that before people understand the truth, they do not know it. Right now, you all know that these revelations of corruption are blemishes and filth; only once you understand a little bit of the truth can you have this kind of discernment. All that pertains to revelations of corruption is related to lies; the Bible’s words, “found no lie,” are the key element to reflecting on whether or not you have blemishes. So, in judging whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life, there is one more indicator, which is: whether or not you have entered into being an honest person, how many lies can be found in the things you say, and whether your lies are gradually decreasing or if they are the same as before. If your lies, including your disguising and deceiving words, are gradually decreasing, that proves that you have started to enter into reality, and your life is growing. Is this not a practical way to look at things? (Yes.) If you feel like you have already experienced growth, but your lies have not decreased at all, and you are basically the same as a nonbeliever, then is this a normal manifestation of entering into the truth reality? (No.) When someone has entered into the truth reality, they will at the very least speak much fewer lies; they will basically be an honest person. If you lie too much and your words are too adulterated, this proves that you have not changed at all, and you are not yet an honest person. If you are not an honest person, then you do not have life entry, and so what growth can you experience? Your corrupt disposition is still intact, and you are a nonbeliever and a devil. Being an honest person is an indicator by which to judge whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life; people must know how to compare these things against themselves and know how to take their own measure.

In all, how many indicators of whether a person has experienced growth in their life entry have we fellowshipped about? (Six.) Summarize what these six things are. (The first is whether or not someone believes in their heart that choosing the path of believing in God is correct, and perfectly natural and justified, whether they have already determined that this path is the correct path in life, and whether they have the determination and will to follow God without being in two minds about it. The second is whether or not they have changed their viewpoints regarding people, the world, this society, life’s path, goals, and direction, and the meaning and value of life. The third is whether or not people have a normal relationship with God. The fourth is whether or not they are able to submit to God in the people, events, things, and circumstances they encounter, and the degree to which they are able to submit. The fifth is whether or not people can come to an understanding of God’s intentions and obtain the truth when things happen to them. The sixth is whether or not they have entered into being an honest person.) You must frequently examine yourselves to see whether or not you have entered into these things, and fellowship on them in gatherings. If you do not always focus on these things, your life will have no way to grow, and your disposition will have no way to change. People get results in whichever things they focus on, wherever they put forth effort. If you always focus on doctrine, then you will only obtain doctrine; if you focus on getting status and power, then your status and power might be stable, but you will not have obtained the truth, and you will be eliminated. Regardless of the duty you do, life entry is the important thing. You cannot relax in this regard, nor can you be neglectful.

January 31, 2017

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