What It Is to Practice the Truth (Part Two)

How does true faith in God come about in someone? It comes from experience. How does it come from experience? If you are able to seek and ponder God’s intentions in every person, event, and thing you encounter, and through it understand Him, then after a lot of experience, you will gradually come to a true understanding of God—not a verbal understanding, but insight deep within you. The God your heart believes in and your mouth acknowledges lives in your heart, and no one can take Him away. Just like Job, when he was tested, his friends said, “You have sinned and offended God. Quickly, beg Jehovah God to pardon you!” Job didn’t think so, but why? It’s because after decades of life, his understanding of God was not based on experience; he did not say: “God blesses and is merciful to man, and never deprives them.” What he experienced was that God gives to man, but He also takes away. When He gives things to man, He sometimes also chastens, disciplines, and punishes. What God does to people is not dictated by humans’ minds, thinking, or imagination. So, Job’s decades of life experiences led him to conclude that “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). That is, everything God does, no matter if it’s considered good or bad in the eyes of man, is part of His orchestrations. Even should bad things happen, Satan does not dare act against man without God’s permission. Mankind is in God’s hands, and under His sovereignty they have nothing to fear. Even if you fell into Satan’s hands, it would be still under God’s sovereignty, and Satan would not dare touch you without God’s permission. Job had this level of understanding and so didn’t complain, no matter what God did. He saw clearly that only Jehovah God is the true God who holds sovereignty over all, and that all those angels, evil spirits, and demons are not God. Who holds sovereignty over everything? Who holds sovereignty over mankind, over all there is? God does. To use a common turn of phrase, God is the greatest. A person’s family, their level of wealth, whether they pass their days in comfort or pain, and their lifespan—all of it is in the hands of God. Job had profound experience in this regard, and not just once or twice in his life. Whenever something happened, if he could understand that it happened within God’s sovereignty, it became etched deeply into his memory. It gave him the profound feeling and sense that these things didn’t happen by chance, or by the will of man or Satan, but that it was God’s work, and he could not complain. What did Job realize when he went through such great trials? That God is supreme, God is wise. He could always praise God, no matter what God did. If things like this happen to you but you cannot understand it, do not judge or impose your own conclusions. If you don’t know what God’s goodwill is then seek it, wait, then submit. This is the best way to practice, and the best path of practice, otherwise you will be humiliated and ashamed. Job had very deep experiential knowledge of these things. If you always misunderstand God, you will not be able to gain the truth, and will forfeit God’s blessings. Even if you suffer many hardships, you’ll gain nothing because your relationship with God is abnormal, you don’t treat God as God, you don’t understand His work, and you don’t truly submit to Him. Because of this, you will not be able to attain true knowledge of God. God speaks and works, and no matter what kind of painstaking efforts He pays for you, and no matter what sort of environment He creates for you, it is all ultimately so that you can know God. Once you know God, your relationship with Him will become closer and more normal. God does not act without reason, let alone play with someone out of boredom, and it is normal if people don’t understand how He works. But they should seek the truth, and at the very least not put God into a box—this is what it means to be a reasonable person. As Peter said, no matter if God treats people as playthings, and no matter what way He treats them, He is always right. “If God treated me like a toy, how could I not be ready and willing?” What led Peter to say these words? (Peter’s experience led to these words. He realized that no matter what God does, His intentions are always good.) Sometimes you won’t perceive God’s intentions, so what should you do? You must wait, seek it out, and try to recognize it. Although Job and Peter lived at different times, had different backgrounds, experienced different things, and spoke different words, their paths and ways of practice were the same, and their attitude toward God when things happened was the same. It’s just that they used different language to express this idea. But what do people understand from this? That you must practice submission, while seeking and waiting to see what it is that God desires. Do not be anxious. It is correct to simply have this attitude first. If you get overly anxious when things happen and don’t know to seek the truth, but keep complaining about God, then there will be trouble. Some people say, “I just don’t understand! Why does God treat us like this? I can’t submit if we are treated like devils and Satans. It’s unreasonable and unjustifiable!” Do you still deserve God’s guidance when your human mind, notions, imaginings, rebelliousness, and disobedience are running loose? Submission is not so simple as just saying you submit, or preaching doctrine, or expressing a little determination, and having a little self-restraint. It’s not that simple. If you submit to God, your ultimate reward is to have knowledge of Him, to understand the environments He puts in place for you, and to possess real experiential knowledge. That is, you will understand God’s heart and His earnest intention, and that He’s disappointed in flawed iron which does not become steel. God doesn’t want to see you living in corrupt dispositions, but wants you to escape them. So He must use such methods as judging and chastising you, pruning, reproaching, and disciplining you, so much so that it seems like God is being insensitive toward your feelings, like He’s condemning and punishing you, or toying with you. What do you do then? If you can fathom God’s earnest intention, even when He acts in this way, then it is enough—you will truly submit. While he was being tested, Job said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.” What was his understanding of the matter? “Everything I have was given by Jehovah God, and He can take it away if He so wishes, because He is God and He has this power. I have no right to refuse, because all that I have is from Him.” This is what Job understood and experienced. What was his resolution at that time? “I must understand God, do reasonable things, and be a reasonable person. All of this was given to me by God, and He can take it away at any time. I cannot try to reason with God about this; to do so would be to rebel against Him. Rejecting God’s actions would hurt His heart, and I would not be a genuinely good person, or a genuine created being if I did.” This was how he practiced at the time, and what results did this practice bring him? In fact, the real result was not that he became richer, or had more cattle and sheep than before, or had more beautiful children than before. These are just things given by the grace of God. Through this experience, what God actually granted him was a better understanding of Him, submission, a closer relationship with Him, and a greater closeness to His heart. Job was able to understand whatever God did, and no longer spoke absurd or presumptuous words, nor words that hurt God’s heart. Is this not what it means to free yourself from your corrupt disposition? Satan can no longer control you; you aren’t under its control anymore, but under God’s. You can submit no matter what God does, and you belong to Him. This was the state Job was in at that time, and the attitude he had. In addition, because he acted in this way and entered into this reality, ultimately God appeared to him. Did God’s appearance, no matter what form it took, deepen his understanding of God? (It did.) Yes, it definitely deepened his understanding. From originally hearing about God in legends, to confirming His existence, to seeing Him—which of these would you say is the greater blessing for mankind, compared with the grace God gives? (Seeing God is the greater blessing.) Definitely. When people believe in God but don’t understand the truth, they always ask that God protect them, bestow grace upon them, elevate them above others and bless their whole family with safety and happiness. They ask to be able to preach wherever they go and to have others envy and admire them. This is what people want, but they aren’t aware of the greatest blessing that God wants to give. They ask only for external material grace, but all their requests just take them further away from God’s heart. They lose the greatest boon of all, and they lose God’s blessing. If you cannot gain knowledge of God, and cannot gain the truth, are you able to live in His presence? Can you really submit to all God’s arrangements? This is absolutely impossible.

The process of putting the truth into practice and entering the truth reality is actually a process of understanding yourself, and casting off your corrupt disposition. It is also a process of interacting with God face to face, and coming to know Him. You say you put the truth into practice, but how come you don’t know God? How come your relationship with God hasn’t gotten closer? You say you pray and open your heart up to Him every day, so do you feel closer to Him at this stage in time? Do you feel your faith in God has increased? During this time, do you feel you have gained a greater understanding of God, have fewer complaints about Him, and that you misunderstand and rebel against Him less? If you see none of this in yourself, and are just the same as before, then you haven’t put the truth into practice and have wasted time, merely exerting strength. No one is forcing you to labor or exert strength, and likewise no one is preventing you from putting the truth into practice. It is your own choice, and you walk the path of laboring. If people don’t put the truth into practice or pursue the truth, they can’t help but become a laborer. It’s so hard for people to put the truth into practice. They don’t know how to submit to God, and are always content to just toil and labor. When they finally manage to understand a few of the doctrines, they don’t know how to put the truth into practice. Instead, they just labor again, but they don’t even realize it. Therefore, you must periodically spend some time reflecting, examining yourself, and fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters on what you’ve gained during this time. You say, “I still harbor a lot of misunderstandings about God, and I still haven’t resolved a lot of them.” Someone else says, “I feel like I’ve gained some understanding of God’s heart these days. It’s a good thing for God to let mankind suffer. I used to be afraid of suffering, and wanted to hide or run away when faced with suffering. Now I feel that people can only quiet themselves before God, and prevent their focus from drifting to external matters, after they have suffered a bit. Suffering is good, so God always creates trying environments to test and refine people. I feel like I understand and feel some of God’s purpose and earnest intention. All God does is good!” This is how you must fellowship. You will reap benefits by fellowshipping. Should a few people get together in their free time to gossip, judge, or say other things prone to cause arguments, they may appear to be speaking about their faith in God or life experiences, but if their hearts are not at peace, then they ought to practice how to seek and strive for the truth, and strive to meet God’s requirements. If you always pursue the truth in this way, then the Holy Spirit will work in and enlighten you. Take your lack of truth as a burden to pursue, go practice and experience, and strive for the truth. How should you put this into practice? You should seek and ask for guidance from someone who understands the truth about things you don’t understand or cannot grasp. If you practice like this all the time, you will be able to understand more of the truth and gain a lot. Most of the time you don’t know how to fellowship on truth, just focus on discussing work, or always talk about methods and not principles. This is a deviation, when in fact you should fellowship on matters involving the truth principles when you talk about work; it will benefit your own life entry. Once you’ve fellowshipped clearly on matters involving the truth principles, then you will have a path to life entry. This is beneficial for doing work and performing your duty, as well as for your own life entry. Isn’t this the best of both worlds? You must fellowship in a pure and open way about your experience of believing in God in order to get results and achieve life entry. Always gossiping or judging has no benefit at all to life entry, and makes one forfeit their chance for salvation through belief in God. Believing in God means always focusing on putting the truth into practice. The more you put it into practice, the greater your chances of salvation. If you understand too little of the truth, you must seek it even more. Only by gaining an understanding of the truth, and putting it into practice, can you experience real change, and achieve a greater and more certain hope of salvation.

July 16, 2017

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