To Perform One's Duty Well, One Must at Least Be Possessed of a Conscience and Reason (Part Three)

Those who truly believe in God are those who have true faith in God. They have feelings driven by their consciences and reason; they believe in their hearts that God’s words are the truth; they believe that everything God does is right, and is for the purpose of saving and purifying people. Regardless of whether it is in line with people’s notions and imaginings, it is of benefit to them. Those who do not truly believe in God do not have consciences and do not have reason, nor do they care about having consciences or reason. They always have an attitude of half belief and half disbelief toward God’s words; their hearts cannot feel that God’s words are the truth. So what is their view on the existence of God? In their hearts, they think, “If God exists, then where is He? I don’t see Him. I don’t know if God really exists. If you believe He exists, then He does; if you don’t, then He doesn’t.” This is their view. Yet they mull it over, thinking, “So many people believe in God and have testified to Him. Maybe there really is a God. I hope there is, because then I can take advantage of the situation and gain blessings. I will have lucked out.” They use a mentality of luck and gambling and just want to participate for a bit of fun; they think that even if they are not blessed, it is no loss, because they have not invested anything. Their view and attitude toward the existence of God is, “Does God actually exist? I can’t tell either way. Where is God? I’m not exactly sure. Are all these people who testified for real? Or are they lying? I’m not sure either.” Their heart places a question mark over all these issues; they cannot figure it out, and so they constantly doubt it. Their belief in God is tainted with an attitude of doubt and mistaken views. When God speaks and expresses the truth, what is their attitude toward His words? (Doubt and disbelief.) This is not their main view; you do not see this matter clearly. Do they take God’s word as the truth? (No.) What do they think? “So many people like to read God’s words, so why don’t I find it interesting? What can be gained by reading God’s words and understanding the truth? What is the benefit? Can you really get into the kingdom of heaven? People can’t see the kingdom of heaven. The way I see it, there has to be some actual benefit to believing in God; there has to be some real advantage.” They worry that if they do not understand the truth they will be eliminated, so they occasionally listen to sermons. But then they ruminate, thinking, “They say God’s words have authority and power, so why don’t I hear or feel it? They say God’s words can change people, so why haven’t His words changed me? I still lust after the comforts of the flesh as much as I used to; I like food and clothes; my temper is just as bad as it’s always been; I’m still afraid when the great red dragon persecutes me. Why do I still not have faith? God asks people to be honest; He asks them to be people of truth and humanity. Aren’t honest people fools? God requires people to fear God and shun evil, but how many people can actually accomplish this? Human nature is selfish. If you follow your human nature, you must think how to gain blessings for yourself. You must scheme to bring benefit to yourself. Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost. You must take your destiny into your own hands; you must make your own happiness. This is the most realistic. If people do not fight and take things for themselves, and if they do not live for fame, gain, and benefit, they will get nothing. No one will take it upon themselves to drop these things on your doorstep. Manna never actually falls from the heavens!” These are their thoughts and views, their philosophies for worldly dealings, and the logic and rules by which they survive. Are people who possess these thoughts and views nonbelievers? This is exactly the attitude nonbelievers have toward the truth. Their minds do not know what truth is, do not know where the authority and power of God’s words is manifested, and do not know how God arranges for people’s outcome. They just worship power and seek the benefits that are right in front of them. They think that if they believe in God they should be blessed; and that only if God bestows good fortune on people, fills their life with wealth and abundance, and gives them a happy life, is it the true way. They do not believe that God’s words are truth, and do not believe that God has sovereignty over all things, let alone that God’s words can change a person’s disposition or fate. Therefore, they have never pursued the truth while believing in God. In short, because they do not accept God’s words as their life and the goal of their life, their faith in God is increasingly weak; they have no interest in reading God’s words, nor in listening to sermons; they even fall asleep while the truth is being fellowshipped on. On top of this, they feel that performing their duty is an extra burden and that they are working for nothing. Their hearts yearn for the time when God’s work will be complete, when God will give them a statement of resolution, and they can see whether they will actually gain blessings. If they figure out that by believing in God this way they will never gain blessings, that they will definitely be eliminated, and that they will still die in a disaster, then they can withdraw right now. Although they say they believe in God, their hearts doubt Him. They say God’s words are the truth, but their hearts do not believe in the truth. They have never read God’s words, nor have they ever truly listened to a sermon. They have never fellowshipped on the truth, and they have never sought the truth while performing their duty; they just use their own efforts. This is a typical nonbeliever. They are no different than the unbelievers.

Although nonbelievers acknowledge that God exists, they do not believe in the truth and do not accept it. In their hearts, they know that God does not save nonbelievers, so why do they still drag out their stays in God’s house? (To gain blessings.) It is so that they can gain blessings; this is related to their interests. In the hearts of nonbelievers is an expectation of gaining blessings, and they believe that, in the end, good fortune will come upon them if they believe in God, acknowledge Him, and do not doubt Him or leave Him. Consequently, armed with this “faith,” they install themselves in the house of God, and nothing will ever make them leave. In their minds, they understand everything and are not foolish in the slightest; it is just that they do not understand the truth. They believe that as long as they do not do bad things or disturb the church’s work, they will not be cleared out or expelled from the church, and that then, by biding their time until the day when God’s work is finished, they will end up winners and gain blessings. They have their calculations, but there is one thing they cannot change: Because they do not believe that the incarnate God is the one true God, and they doubt God’s sovereignty over everything, they will never accept the truth. What happens in the end to those who cannot accept the truth? (They are eliminated.) Yes, they are all eliminated. These nonbelievers are not interested in the truth but always harbor hope about being blessed. Their understanding and definition of God’s righteousness is tainted by their own imaginings and expectations, and they grasp at straws, clinging to the phrase “God is righteous” for dear life. What exactly does it mean that they are clinging to this phrase for dear life? It means that they always have biases and misinterpretations about God’s righteousness. They think, “God, since You are righteous, You should approach all that I do based on this righteousness. I haven’t committed evil, nor have I caused disruptions or disturbances, so You should show me abundant mercy and let me remain.” This is the straw they are clinging to for dear life. Is this idea of theirs objective and realistic? (It’s unrealistic.) Why is it unrealistic? They do not entirely believe in God’s righteousness, they wish to gamble on it with a mentality of trying their luck, and hope that God will fulfill their desires. Is this not just wishful thinking? They do not know what God’s righteous disposition is like, they do not seek the truth, and they do not seek to know God, and they especially do not seek God’s word. They are just believing in this way out of wishful thinking, and there is a quality of trying their luck to it. Why can they think this way? Because it is of benefit to them: This straw is their final lifeline; it is the last hope that they have placed all their bets on. By placing their own lives on the line with this wish, do they hope to lose? (No.) When people gamble, they usually hope to win, so what do these people need to hold onto so that they feel like they can win, and feel sure that they will win? It’s the phrase: “God is righteous.” Do these nonbelievers who say God is righteous really believe that He is? Do they really believe that He will repay each person according to their actions? Is God’s righteousness as they understand it the same as God’s true righteousness? (It’s not.) Do they know it’s not the same? (They do.) So why do they still keep saying that “God is righteous”? What is contained within this phrase of theirs? What intentions are contained within it? (They want to use these words to get God to fulfill their demands, and allow them to survive and enter into the kingdom of heaven.) Yes, there is an objective behind this phrase: They are trying to coerce God with it. By saying these words, they mean: “Aren’t You righteous? I’ve paid so many prices, so You should act according to Your righteousness. I’ve run around so much and endured so much suffering, now how should I be blessed?” This is coercion, extortion, and clamoring. They think that they are coercing and ingratiating themselves with a person, and that by doing so they can gain blessings and get what they want. Would God really act in this way? No, He would not. It is because they don’t believe that God exists, and don’t believe in His disposition, and certainly don’t believe that His word is the truth, that they dare to flagrantly clamor against God, and contend with God, and dare to gamble in this way. It is precisely because they are nonbelievers that they do such things. Nonbelievers behave like this, saying every now and then, “I’ve endured so much suffering, and what have I gained?” or “God is righteous, and I have faith in God, not people.” Nonbelievers often speak this way, reveal this sort of disposition, and exhibit these behaviors; this is their attitude toward God. They don’t believe in His existence but they still want to curry God’s favor by laboring and paying prices, and use the word of God, words and doctrines, and these theories to coerce and accuse God, in order to achieve their goal of gaining blessings. But aren’t they making a mistake with this kind of wishful thinking? Will this gamble of theirs pay off in the end? (It won’t.) And do they know they will lose? Do they know that they are making a bet and a gamble? (They do.) You’re wrong. They absolutely don’t know, and they believe their faith is genuine. Why do they think their faith is genuine? Tell Me, how can people recognize these states and dispositions? If they live in the secular world and study some of traditional culture’s classic works like “The Analects of Confucius” and “Tao Te Ching,” will they be able to recognize these behaviors and essences? (No.) They will never be able to. What do people have to do in order to be able to recognize these problems with their nature essences? (Accept God’s word.) First, they must accept God’s word and the truth. They must have faith that all of God’s word is correct, accept God’s word, and treat it as a sort of mirror to compare themselves against. Only then can they recognize the states and viewpoints that they harbor inside, and the problem of the corrupt dispositions that exist within their natures. If they do not accept the truth or regard God’s word as the truth, will this mirror exist to them? (No.) It will never exist to them. When they so flagrantly confront and clamor against God deep in their hearts, can they realize that this is a problem? They will never realize this. They figure that the way they are thinking and acting is right, reasonable and fair. They act as they always have, and believe as they always have, and feel no need to dissect or give up any of their existing viewpoints, and see no use in accepting the pruning, judgment, chastisement, or exposure of God’s word. They live for themselves, living in their own internal worlds. Nothing they do is related to God’s word. They think in whatever way they wish to think, and consider anything they believe or think up to be correct, to be the truth. Based on the attitude they have toward God’s word, they will never recognize the problems that exist deep in their hearts. When they pay prices and run about every day, who and what are they running about for? What governs this behavior? What is their motivation? In one respect, they have no real faith in God, but wish to gamble with Him based on a mentality of trying their luck. In another respect, they are dominated by their desire for blessings. Every time they think about gaining blessings, about receiving God’s promise, they run about more enthusiastically. The depths of their hearts bloom with joy, and some get worked up and begin to shed tears, thinking that God gives them so much and that He is so lovable. Aren’t these misconceptions? These states and feelings seem to be the same as what people who pursue the truth feel deep in their hearts when they experience God’s smiting, discipline, and rebuking. Those who pursue the truth also shed tears and give thanks to God, but in what way do these two types of people differ in nature? When pursuers of the truth endure pain and suffering, it is because they feel indebted to God, and unworthy of God’s promises and blessings. They feel very happy that God has already given them so much, but deep in their hearts they are upset, because they feel that they have not done enough and that they are indebted to God. They get worked up and tearful at times, but it is that they are thanking God for His grace, mercy, and tolerance. When they see how God does not look at their transgressions, or their rebelliousness and corruption, but still shows mercy and tolerance to them, and guides them, giving them grace, they actually feel indebted and pained deep in their hearts. They are in a remorseful, repentant state, and do not even dare to think about whether they have any hope of gaining blessings, as they feel unworthy. What is the nature of the tears of nonbelievers? Let Me give you a description and you can see if it’s accurate. When something befalls them, and they see the great work of the Holy Spirit and the grace that God grants, when they are moved by the Holy Spirit, and directed and enlightened by God, and their work is fruitful, they feel happy, and deep in their hearts they pray to God: “Oh God, thank You for Your blessings and guidance. This glory all belongs to You.” They feel very pleased with themselves in the depths of their hearts, and think: “God still hasn’t left me. I used to think I didn’t genuinely believe in God, like a nonbeliever, but now I see that I am still blessed by God and He hasn’t left me. This means that my hope and chances of gaining blessings and a beautiful destination are growing greater and greater. It seems that my decision to believe in God was the right one; I have been chosen by God.” When they have thoughts like these, do they feel indebted? Do they understand themselves? Do they truly hate their satanic natures and arrogant dispositions? (They don’t.) Do they feel real gratitude for the work God has done on them? (They don’t.) Even if they express some superficial gratitude, deep in their hearts they think, “God was obviously right to choose me. How could I have believed in Him if He hadn’t chosen me?” In the end, they chalk it all up to being repaid for all the suffering they endured and the prices they paid, and think they are practically assured of gaining blessings. They do not feel indebted toward God, they have no self-understanding, and they have even less true gratitude toward God, while at the same time their desire for blessings becomes ever more intense. What is the difference between people whose desire to gain blessings grows ever more intense and people who feel unworthy of blessings, unworthy of receiving God’s promise, and unworthy of being directed and guided by God? One is stepping back, not wishing to fight, and feels unworthy of gaining blessings, while the other always wants to fight, they are always scheming, and calculating how they will settle their account with God, thinking: “I’ve been a believer for so many years and suffered so much, so how good are my odds of gaining blessings? Will God grant me blessings in the future?” The contrast is stark: One is fighting, while the other feels unworthy. Which of these two types of people has conscience and reason? (The one who feels unworthy of blessings.) The one who feels unworthy of blessings understands the actual situation. They feel that an insignificant created being is unworthy of blessings in the face of the Creator. They feel indebted and remorseful, while also having true understanding and even more so having real gratitude toward God in the depths of their hearts. They have found their true place. The other kind is fighting: fighting for a destination, for status, and for blessings. What is their goal in enduring all this suffering and paying all these prices? They do these things in order to trade them for blessings and a destination. They hope to sell their own labor in order to obtain a reward from God. Is such a person a true created being in the eyes of God? Is this the created being that God wants? (No.) Has God ever said that the only way to obtain blessings or rewards is to fight for them? (No.) So what does God require of people? (That we behave ourselves to do the duty of a created being well.) (That we become honest people.) Those are some concrete demands, what others are there? (That we follow God’s word and demands in our actions.) (That we practice whatever truths we know.) These are not the objective. You keep missing the crux of the matter. You still don’t know what God requires of people. His requirements are actually quite simple: Listen to His word and submit to Him. Those are the requirements. Listening to God’s word means putting His requirements for people into practice. In addition to the requirements you just mentioned, there are actually many more. What about submitting to God? You do not always understand God’s will, but are you able to submit to Him? This touches on the attitude of a created being toward the Creator. Sometimes you may not understand God’s word after reading it, as He just gives you a command—do you listen to it? You must listen to it, without asking if it’s right or wrong, or the reason behind it. Anything God says or tells you, or charges you to do, you must listen; that is submission. Only when you achieve submission are you a created being in the eyes of God. Listening to God’s word and submitting to Him: these are God’s requirements for people. There is another phrase: following God’s way. What does this “following” mean? It means practicing according to God’s word, living by His word, and being a person who follows His way. What is His way? It’s His word. In fact, “listening to God’s word and submitting to Him” and “following God’s way” both mean the same thing, and this is the kind of person that God wants. Has God ever told people, “You don’t need to listen to My word. You can just pursue blessings. Never forget that you can be blessed. For this aim, you should renounce everything, endure more hardships, pay more prices, and run about more”? Does God have these requirements? Do they appear anywhere in His word? (No.) Are those words the truth? (No.) Isn’t it rebellious for nonbelievers to treat these words as the truth? What is going on when they treat these words as the truth? They can benefit from these words, they are precisely their pursuit and their ambition. Do they take note of what God requires of people in their hearts? Can they comply with or accomplish these requirements? (They can’t.) Why can’t they? Because as soon as they accomplish these requirements—listening to God’s word and submitting to Him—it means they need to give up their desire to be blessed, and the idea that they have a right to pursue blessings and rewards. Blessings and rewards are their lifeblood, so will they agree to give them up? (No.) These things are their very life, so if they give them up, they will lose their souls and their lives will no longer have any meaning. They live for blessings, so if you ask them to give up on gaining blessings, you are asking them to go against the principles and orientation of their conduct, and rebel against themselves, so they cannot accept this. This means that asking them to practice the truth, listen to God’s word, and submit to Him is simply too difficult for them, it is even more strenuous than getting an old cow to climb a tree. Their very nature dictates that they cannot do these things.

Do you want to live by a desire and an intention to gain blessings, or do you want to do your duty well with both feet firmly on the ground, be an adequate created being, and a person who listens to God’s word and submits to Him? What kind of person do you want to be? (I want to be a created being with both of my feet firmly on the ground.) Some people are not willing to do this. They say: “Living like that is too oppressive. I’d rather die, or just stop believing. Without a little desire for blessings, without a little ambition, people lack motivation. There’s no way I can live like that; it’s too oppressive.” Are any among you like this? (God, I am sometimes like this. I am in such a state from time to time.) Are these states common? Do you have them often, or rarely? Which is stronger: your desire for blessings, or your will to be a created being? Does the idea of giving up any desire for blessings and doing your duty with your feet firmly on the ground make any of you feel like a deflated balloon, like your life has no meaning, and that you have no interest in anything, and cannot rouse up your energy? (That describes me perfectly.) Then is this state severe? Do you feel an occasional minor urge to gain blessings, or is this the norm for you? Which is it? Do you know right now if you are a true believer or a nonbeliever? If you feel that all of your states and behaviors are those of a true believer, not a nonbeliever, and that you genuinely believe in the existence of God and are willing to accept His word, but you just have a few ambitions and some vanity, and hope to gain blessings, this is not a problem; you can still be saved and can still change. If you are a nonbeliever with a particularly strong desire for blessings, then you are in trouble. What path are people like this heading toward? (The path of an antichrist.) If they are able to head toward the path of an antichrist, what status will their relationship with God eventually end up in? (That of opposition to God.) Would you be able to go that far, to be in opposition to God? (I don’t want to oppose Him.) Not wanting to is just your wish. Are these things part of your nature essence? Would it be possible for you to go down that path? (If I don’t put in effort regarding the truth, I could easily find myself on that path, but if I am conscious of this and want to change, to reverse my course, and to not walk this path, I can do a bit better.) Being conscious of this indicates that you still have some awareness in your heart, that you still have an aspiration, and that you still wish to strive toward the truth, but corrupt dispositions are deeply rooted in your heart, so there is always conflict there. With every step you take toward the truth, and each time you accept the truth, there is a conflict going on in your heart, and you are constantly living in a period of struggle. This is how it is for new believers. It is quite normal for there to be conflict, and it is inevitable for those who wish to pursue the truth. This conflict reaches its conclusion when they gain the truth, when Satan is defeated, when their satanic dispositions, philosophies, and logic are destroyed, and when the truth prevails, and takes charge of their hearts. Those who don’t pursue the truth, who live according to their satanic dispositions, feel that all is well in their hearts, and there is no conflict there at all. They are numb and dull-witted, they are one of the dead; all those who don’t accept the truth are dead. What is the advantage of having conflict in one’s heart? For example, if half of your thoughts are negative and half positive, then those positive thoughts will grant you the chance to choose to embark on the path of pursuing the truth after the conflict ends, which means that you will have a 50/50 hope of being saved. The negative thoughts may make you follow your fleshly thoughts and ideas, or follow your own intentions, motivations, and viewpoints. This might set you on the path of an antichrist, and make you head toward the path of opposition to God. However, if your love for the truth is great and you are able to accept the truth and rebel against Satan, then your chances of salvation are also great. This is determined by whether you can accept the truth, and use it to cleanse yourself of your corrupt dispositions. This depends entirely on you, no one else can help you; this is your own business. Whether or not you love the truth is your own business, and when there is conflict in the depths of your heart, no one can help you to decide if you’ll choose the truth or satisfy your selfish desires at the end of it, this is your own inner affair. Others can only guide you through fellowship and counseling; however, the path you choose in the end is no one’s business but yours. Everyone should understand this.

August 22, 2019

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