What Is It, Exactly, on Which People Rely to Live? (Part Two)

Just now I mainly talked about talents and gifts. Do these talents and gifts include knowledge? Is there any difference between knowledge and talents? A talent refers to a skill. It may be an area where a person is more outstanding than others, a part of their caliber that is more prominent, what they are best at, or a skill in which they are relatively competent and well-versed. These are all called talents and gifts. What is knowledge? What exactly does knowledge refer to? If an intellectual has studied for many years, read many classics, has studied a certain profession or area of knowledge in great depth, has achieved results, and possesses specific and in-depth mastery, does this have anything to do with talents and gifts? Can knowledge be included in the category of talents? (No.) If a person uses talents to do their work, it is possible that they are an uncouth and rural person, that they lack an advanced education, haven’t read any famous books, or can’t even understand the Bible, but they might still have a little caliber, and be able to speak eloquently. Is this a talent? (Yes.) This person possesses such a talent. Does this mean that they have knowledge? (No.) So what does knowledge mean? How is it defined? Let’s put it this way, if a person has studied education, for example, do they have knowledge of this profession? Things like how to educate people, how to impart knowledge to others, what knowledge to impart, and so on? They have knowledge of this field, so are they an intellectual in this field? Can they be called a talented individual who possesses knowledge in this area? (Yes.) Let’s use this as an example, if a person is an intellectual engaged in education, what will such a person usually do when they work or lead the church? What are their usual practices? Do they talk to everyone like a teacher talks to a student? The tone of voice they use doesn’t matter, what matters is what they instill in others and teach to others. They have lived by this knowledge for many years, and this knowledge has basically become a part of their life, to the point that in every aspect of their behavior or life, you can see that they possess this knowledge and live out the knowledge they have acquired. This is very normal to see. So what do people like this often rely on to do their work? The knowledge they have acquired. Say, for example, they hear someone say, “I can’t read God’s words. I hold them there, but I just don’t know how to read them. How will I know what the truth is, if I can’t read God’s words? How will I understand His will, if I can’t read His words?” They say, “I know how, I have knowledge, so I can help you. This chapter is divided into four paragraphs. Usually, if the article is a narrative, there are six elements: time, place, characters, the cause of the event, the development process, and the conclusion. The time when this chapter of God’s word was published is at the end—October, 2011. This is the first element. As for the characters, this chapter of God’s word mentions ‘I,’ so the first person is God, and then God mentioned ‘you,’ which refers to us. Then it dissects the states of some people; some states are rebellious and arrogant, which refers to people who are arrogant and rebellious, who do not do actual work, who do mischief, bad and evil people. The course of things is that people do bad things. There are also some other things that relate to different aspects.” What do you think of this method of work? It is a good thing that they so lovingly help people, but what is the basis of their actions? (Knowledge.) Why do I bring up this example? To help people understand more clearly what knowledge is. Some people don’t know how to read God’s word, but they received an education and perhaps did well in humanities subjects in school, so they may open a page of God’s word, read, and say, “This chapter of God’s word is expressed so well! In the first section, God speaks straightforwardly, and then in the second, the tone shows a bit of majesty and wrath. In the third section, everything is exposed specifically and clearly. This is how God’s word ought to be. The fourth section, the general summary, gives people the path of practice. God’s word is perfect!” Does their conclusion and summary of God’s word come from knowledge? (Yes.) Although this example may not be too apt, what is it that I want you to understand by saying this? I want you to clearly see the ugliness of using knowledge to approach God’s word. It’s disgusting. Such people rely on knowledge to read God’s word, so can they rely on the truth to do things? (No.) Absolutely not.

What are the characteristics of how people who live by knowledge do things? First of all, what advantages do they think they possess? Their knowledge and learning, the fact that they are intellectuals, and the fact that they have worked in knowledge-based industries. Intellectuals possess the style, characteristics, and patterns of intellectuals when they do things, so they can’t help but bring a kind of intellectual air to the things they do, which makes other people admire them. That is how intellectuals do things; they always focus on that intellectual air. Regardless of how weak and gentle they outwardly appear, the things inside them are certainly not weak or gentle, and they always have their own views on everything. In everything, they always want to show off, to use their petty devices, and to analyze and handle things based on the views, attitudes, and thought patterns of knowledge. The truth is something extraneous for them, and it is something that is very difficult for them to accept. Therefore, such a person’s first attitude toward the truth is to analyze it. What is the basis of their analysis? Knowledge. I’ll give you an example. Do people who have studied directing possess knowledge of directing? Regardless of whether you have studied directing systematically in books, or studied it practically and done that kind of work, in short, you have a grasp on knowledge in this area. Whether you have studied directing in depth or just superficially, if you were engaged in the work of directing in the secular world, the knowledge you acquired in this field or your experience with directing would be very useful and valuable. However, does possessing this kind of knowledge mean that you will definitely be able to do well in the film work of God’s house? Can the knowledge you have acquired really help you to use movies to testify to God? Not necessarily. If you keep emphasizing what textbooks taught you and the rules and requirements of industry knowledge, can you do your duty well? (No.) Isn’t there a point of contention or conflict here? When the truth principles clash with this aspect of knowledge, how do you resolve it? Do you accept your knowledge as your guide, or the principles of truth? Can you guarantee that every shot, every scene, and every piece you film is not adulterated with or that it contains very little of the adulteration of your knowledge, and that it is completely in accordance with the standards and principles required by God’s house? If this is not possible, then none of the knowledge you acquired is of use in God’s house. Think about this, what is the use of knowledge? What knowledge is useful? What kind of knowledge contradicts the truth? What does knowledge bring to people? When people acquire more knowledge, do they become more pious and possess more of a God-fearing heart, or do they become more arrogant and self-righteous? Having acquired a lot of knowledge, people become complicated, dogmatic, and arrogant. There is something else fatal that they might not have realized: When people have mastered a lot of knowledge, they become chaotic inside, and devoid of principles, and the more knowledge they master, the more chaotic they become. In knowledge, can answers be found to the questions of why people live and the value and meaning of human existence? Can conclusions be found as to where people come from and where they go? Can knowledge tell you that you come from God and were created by God? (No.) So, what is it, exactly, that people study within knowledge? Or what things is it, exactly, that knowledge instills in them? Material things, atheistic things, things that people can see and things of the mind that they can recognize, many of which arise from people’s imaginings and are simply not practical. Knowledge also instills in people philosophies, ideologies, theories, natural laws, and so on, yet there are many things it cannot explain clearly. How thunder and lightning is formed, for example, or why the seasons change. Can knowledge give you those true answers? Why is the climate currently changing and becoming abnormal? Can knowledge explain this clearly? Can it resolve this problem? (No.) It cannot tell you about issues relating to the source of all things, so it cannot solve those problems. There are also those who ask, “Why do some people come back to life after dying?” Has knowledge given you the answer to this? (No.) What is it, then, that knowledge tells you? It tells people about many customs and regulations. For instance, the idea that people must raise children and show filial piety toward their parents is a kind of knowledge about human life. Where does this knowledge come from? It is taught by traditional culture. What, then, does all this knowledge bring to people? What is the essence of knowledge? In this world, there are many people who have read the classics, received a high level of education, who are knowledgeable, or who have mastered a specialized field of knowledge. So, on the path of life, do such people have the right direction and goals? Do they have a baseline and principles for their conduct? Furthermore, do they know to worship God? (They do not.) To go a step further, do they understand any element of the truth? (They do not.) So, what is knowledge? What does knowledge give people? People probably have a bit of experience of this. In the past, when they did not possess knowledge, relationships between people were simple—are they still simple now that people have gained knowledge? Knowledge makes people more complicated and no longer pure. Knowledge makes people more lacking in normal humanity and devoid of life goals. The more knowledge people acquire, the farther they are from God. The more they acquire knowledge, the more they deny the truth and God’s word. The more knowledge people have, the more extreme, stubborn, and absurd they become. And what is the result? The world gets progressively darker and increasingly evil.

We’ve just mentioned how conflicts or clashes between the application of knowledge and the truth principles are to be resolved when they arise. What do you do whenever you’re in such a situation? Some of you would offer doctrine: “What’s hard about practicing according to the truth principles? What is there that can’t be let go of?” But when something happens to you, you go on as before, following your own will and your notions and imaginings, and though there may be times when you’d like to practice the truth and act according to the principles, you just can’t seem to do it, no matter what. Everyone knows that it’s right, as a matter of doctrine, to act according to the truth principles; they know that knowledge is sure not to line up with the truth principles, and that when the two come into conflict or combat, they’re to begin by practicing according to the truth principles and letting go of their knowledge. But is it that simple, as a factual matter? (No.) No, it’s not that simple. So, what difficulties are there when practicing? How should one practice in order to act according to the truth principles? These are practical problems, no? How should they be resolved? First and foremost, one should submit. But people have corrupt dispositions, and sometimes, they can’t bring themselves to submit. They say, “‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink’—trying to get me to submit is a case of that, isn’t it? What’s bad about my acting on the strength of my knowledge? If you insist that I act according to the truth principles, I won’t submit.” What do you do at these times, when a rebellious disposition is set to cause trouble? (Pray.) Sometimes prayer can’t resolve the issue. Your attitude and mindset may be a bit better after praying, and you may turn a part of your state around, but if you don’t understand or lack clarity about the relevant truth principles, your submission may end up as no more than a mere formality. At these times, you need to understand the truth, seek the relevant truths, and strive to be able to know how what you’re doing benefits the work of God’s house, testimony to Him, and the spread of His words. You must be clear at heart about these things. Whatever your duty, whatever you’re doing, you must begin by thinking of the work and interests of God’s house, of spreading God’s words, or what performing your duty is meant to achieve. That comes first. There’s never room for ambiguity about this, nor for compromise. If you compromise at times like these, you’re not performing your duty sincerely, and you’re not practicing the truth—and what’s worse, it’s fair to say, is that you’re engaging in your own business. You’re doing things for yourself instead of performing the duty of a created being. If one would complete God’s commission and perform man’s duty well, the truth they should understand and practice first is that they must satisfy God’s will. You must have this vision. Performing a duty is not about doing things for yourself or engaging in your own business, much less testifying to yourself and promoting yourself, nor is it about your fame, gain, and status. That’s not your goal. Instead, it’s about performing your duty well and testifying to God; it’s about taking up your responsibility and satisfying God; it’s about living out the conscience and reason of normal humanity, living with the semblance of a human being, living before God. With this sort of correct mindset, one can easily vault over the hurdle of living by one’s knowledge. Even if a few challenges remain, they’ll gradually shift throughout this process, and circumstances will change for the better. So, what’s your experience like currently? Is it getting better, or is it stagnant? If you’re always acting by knowledge and your brain, and you never seek the truth principles, will you be able to grow in life? Have you come to a conclusion about that? It seems you all are still pretty confused about the matter of life entry and don’t have specific principles for it, meaning that you’re missing a deeper or more genuine experience of the principles and path for practicing the truth. Some people always act with their knowledge, no matter what happens to them. They only uphold a few truth principles in a big-picture way with simple matters, letting their knowledge take the lead all the while, with the truth principles subordinate. They practice in this sort of mediated, compromised way; they don’t strictly require of themselves full submission or action that’s in absolute accord with the truth principles. Is this right of them, or no? What’s the danger in this kind of practice? Isn’t it liable to stray off course? To resist God and offend His disposition? This is the thing that people ought most to figure out. Is it clear to you now, what the difference is between performing a duty in God’s house and getting a job and muddling through life in the world? Do you have a clear awareness of it in your heart? You should think on this issue and ponder it often. What is the greatest difference between the two? Do you know? (Performing a duty in God’s house is about gaining the truth and bringing about a change to our corrupt disposition; getting a job in the world is about the life of the flesh.) That’s pretty close, but there’s one thing you didn’t mention: To perform a duty in God’s house is to live by the truth. What is the significance of living by the truth? For people, it’s that their disposition can change, and that they can be saved in the end; for God, it’s that He can gain you, a created being, and acknowledge that you’re His creation. What do people live by when they get a job in the world, then? (Satan’s philosophies.) By Satan’s philosophies—taken collectively, this means they live by the corrupt disposition of Satan. It’s the same whether you’re out for fame, gain, and status, or for wealth, or to get through your days and survive—you’re living by corrupt dispositions. When you get a job in the world, you have to rack your brain trying to make money. To climb the ladder to fame, gain, and status, you need to depend entirely on things like competition, fighting, struggle, ruthlessness, malice, and killing—that’s the only way to stay on your feet. To perform a duty in God’s house, you must live by God’s words, and you must understand the truth. The negative things of Satan aren’t just useless—they must also be cast off. Not one satanic thing is tenable. If someone lives by satanic things, they must be judged and chastised; if someone lives by satanic things and is dead set on impenitence, they must be eliminated and abandoned. That’s the biggest difference between performing a duty in God’s house and getting a job in the world.

When people live by their knowledge, what sort of state are they living in? What is it that they experience most deeply? As soon as you learn something in some realm, you feel that you’re competent, that you’re terrific—and then you’re fettered by your knowledge as a result. You’ve taken knowledge as your life, and when something happens to you, it’s that knowledge of yours that emerges, to dictate that you do such-and-such. You’d like to cast it off, but you can’t, because it’s been etched into your heart, and nothing else can replace it. This is what “first impressions are last impressions,” as it were, means. There are some bodies of knowledge that one would be better off not having studied at all. It’s a liability to have learned them, and a nuisance. Knowledge encompasses many fields: education, law, literature, math, medicine, biology, and so on, all of which are derived from people’s hands-on experience. These are forms of practical knowledge; people can’t live without them, and they ought to study them. But there are some forms of knowledge that are poisonous to mankind—they’re satanic poisons, they come from Satan. Take the social sciences, for instance, whose teachings include such things as atheism, materialism, and evolutionism, as well as Confucianism, communism, and feudal superstitions: These are all negative forms of knowledge that come from Satan, and the main purpose they serve is that of infesting, corroding, and twisting human thought, binding and controlling people’s thinking, toward the end of corrupting, harming, and destroying people. Passing on the family name, for example, and filial piety, and glorifying one’s family, and the formula that runs, “Cultivate oneself, put one’s family in order, govern the nation, and bring peace to all”—all these are the teachings of traditional culture. And beyond these are the various theological theories, current in civil society, of Buddhism, Taoism, and modern religion. These, too, fall within the scope of knowledge. Some people, for instance, have served as pastors or preachers, or they’ve studied theology. What comes of having acquired such knowledge? Is it a blessing or a curse? (A curse.) How does it come to be a curse? If such people don’t talk, then so be it—but when they open their mouths, religious doctrine comes out. They’re always trying to preach spiritual doctrine; they instill in people the hypocritical ways of the Pharisees, rather than letting them understand the truth. Theological knowledge is primarily about theological theory. What’s the most notable feature of theological theory? It instills things in people that they hold to be spiritual, and once people have taken in such pseudo-spiritual stuff, it’s their first and last impression. Even if you’ve listened to the words that God expresses, you won’t be able to understand them at that moment, and you will be constrained by the knowledge and theories of the Pharisees. This is a very dangerous thing. Won’t it be hard for a person like that to accept the truth? To sum up, if you live by doctrine and knowledge, and if you perform your duty and act in reliance on your gifts, you may be able to do a few good things, as they seem to others. But when you’re living in a state like that, do you know it? Can you recognize that you’re living by your knowledge? Can you feel what consequences living by knowledge can bring about? Don’t you wind up with a hollow feeling in your heart, a sense that there’s no significance to a life like that? And why is that, exactly? These questions should be cleared up. That’s where we are on the issue of knowledge.

We’ve just discussed the issues of knowledge and gifts. There’s one more issue: Many people have come from their initial belief in God to the present without ever knowing what the truth is, or how they should practice and pursue it. They’ve been living this whole time by a conviction, or by human notions and imaginings. To put it simply, they live by things they believe to be right. They go around obsessively upholding these things, and even take them to be the truth. They think that so long as they persist in their practice until the end, they’ll be overcomers, and they’ll survive onward. They believe in God by virtue of such a notion. They can suffer, and give up their families and careers, and let go of the things they love—and they go on to sum things up in a few regulations, which they practice as though they were the truth. For example, when they see someone is having a hard time, or someone’s family is going through a rough patch, they take it upon themselves to reach out and help them. They ask after them, care for them, and look after them. Where there’s dirty or demanding work to be done, they’ll proactively go and do it. Dirt and demands don’t bother them. They’re not picky. They don’t argue with others in their dealings with them, and they try their best to reach amicable accord with any and everyone. They don’t bicker with others, and they learn to be benevolent and tolerant of people, such that everyone who spends any time with them will say they’re a good person and a true believer. When it comes to God, they do whatever He has them do and go wherever He has them go. They don’t resist. What are they living by? (Zeal.) It’s not just a simple form of zeal—they’re living by a conviction that they hold to be right. Such people won’t understand the truth even after years of believing in God, nor know what it is to practice the truth, or what it is to submit to God, or what it is to satisfy God, or what it is to seek the truth, or what the truth principles are. They won’t know these things. They won’t even know what an honest person is or how to be one. They believe, “All I have to do is live like this and keep on following. Whatever sermons God’s house preaches, I’ll hold fast to my ways of doing things; however God treats me, I won’t give up my belief in Him or leave Him. I can perform whatever duty I’m asked to.” They’re under the impression that they can be saved by practicing like this. What a pity, though, that despite not having any big problem with their attitude, they understand no truths, even after hearing sermons for so many years. They don’t understand the truth of submission or know how to practice it, they don’t understand the truth of being an honest person, or the truth of loyally performing one’s duty, or what it means to be perfunctory. They don’t know whether they lie or are a deceitful person. Aren’t such people to be pitied? (They are.) What do they live by? Might it be said that they’re living by their naked, childlike heart? Why might it? Because, as they believe, “My heart is out there for the universe to see. It’s not clear to people; they can’t see it—but Heaven knows it.” That’s how “sincere” their heart is: No one can understand it, and it’s out of reach to all. Why call this a naked, childlike heart? Because they have a mood of some sort, a sentiment, and they use that personal sentiment or wishful thinking of theirs to interpret what a believer in God should do and what a duty is. They also use such sentiments to codify God’s requirements. They believe, “God doesn’t actually require that people do anything, nor that they have much skill or understand much truth. It’s enough for someone to have a naked, childlike heart. It’s so simple to believe in God—all you have to do is keep on acting on the strength of a naked, childlike heart.” Yet their lies don’t stop, nor their resistance, nor their rebelliousness, nor their notions, nor their betrayal. Whatever they do, they don’t feel that it matters, but think, “I have a God-loving heart. No one can rupture my relationship with God, no one can dampen my love for God, and no one can impinge on my loyalty to God.” What kind of mentality is this? An absurd one, no? It’s absurd, and it’s to be pitied. There’s a state in the spirit of such a person—parched, impoverished, and pitiful. Why “parched”? Because when they’re faced with some simple thing—they’ve told a lie, say—they don’t know it or realize it. They feel no self-reproach; they have no feeling of any sort. They’ve followed God up till now without rigorous criteria for measurement in anything they do. They don’t know what sort of person they are, nor whether they’re a deceitful person, or whether they’ve really been able to be an honest person, or whether they’re able to submit to God’s requirements. They know none of these things. They’re as pitiful as that, and they’re parched in their spirit. Why say they’re parched in their spirit? Because they don’t know what God requires of them, or why they believe in God, or what sort of person they should pursue being. They don’t know what acts are lacking in reason, or what acts violate the truth principles. They don’t know what attitude to adopt with evil people and what attitude to adopt with good people; they don’t know whom they should interact with or whom they should draw close to. When they get negative, they don’t even know what states they’ve fallen into. That’s what it is to be parched in spirit. Are you like this? (Yes.) I don’t like it, to hear you say that, but that’s the sort of state you’re in. You’re always emotional, and no one knows when that’s going to change.

What is being emotional? We’ll look at an example. Some people feel themselves to love God very much. In particular, they feel greatly honored and twice blessed for having been born in the last days, for having accepted this stage of God’s work, and for being able to hear His words with their own ears and experience His work in person. Consequently, they think they ought to find some way to express their naked, childlike hearts. And how do they do that? Their emotions come to the surface, their ardor is fit to burst forth, they get a bit irrational, and their emotions grow abnormal. And ugliness emerges from that. Back in mainland China, they were in an abhorrent environment for belief in God, and they lived lives of oppression. They had ardor then, and wished to shout out, “Almighty God, I love You!” But there was nowhere to do so—they couldn’t, for fear of being arrested. Now they’re abroad and are free to believe; they finally have a place to give vent to their naked, childlike heart. They need to express how much they love God. So, they go out into the streets and find a place without many people around, where they’ll shout as they wish. Before they can, though, they feel as though they don’t have the confidence to proceed. They look at the scene around them, and their shout doesn’t come to them. What’s going through their mind? “This won’t do. It’s not enough just to have a naked, childlike heart. I don’t have a God-loving heart yet. No wonder I’ve got nothing to shout.” And so, saddened and in pain, they go home and pray in tears to God, “Oh God, I didn’t dare shout ‘I love You’ back when I was in a setting that didn’t allow it. Now, I’m in a setting that allows it, but I still don’t have the confidence. My shout won’t come. It seems my stature and my confidence are just too paltry. I don’t have the life.” From then on, they pray about this issue, and make preparations, and apply themselves to it. They often read God’s words and are moved to tears by them, and those emotions and enthusiasm of theirs brew and accumulate in their heart. This goes on until one day, they feel full enough of emotion that they could go to a public square with a several-thousand-person capacity and shout “I love You, Almighty God” in front of the crowd—yet when they go to the square and see all the people there, their shout doesn’t come. Maybe they still haven’t shouted it out, even now. But whether they have or not, what would it mean? Is it practicing the truth to shout like that? Is it testimony to God? (No.) So, why are they set on shouting that out? They hold the belief that that shout of theirs would be stronger and more effective than any other method of spreading God’s words and testifying to God. That’s what it means to be a person with a naked, childlike heart. Is it a good thing or a bad thing for a person to have such emotions? Is it normal or abnormal? Can it be classified as within the ambit of normal humanity? (No.) Why not? What is God’s goal in having people perform duties and in having them understand and practice the truth? Is it to heighten people’s emotion of love for Him or their emotion in performing their duty? (No.) Do you have such emotions sometimes, or maybe often? (Yes.) When you do, do you feel that they come on suddenly and abnormally, or that they’re hard to suppress? You must restrain them, as hard to suppress as they are. All else aside, these are merely emotions, not the achievements that come after people understand and practice the truth, or after they’ve followed God’s way. They’re an abnormal state. Can this abnormal state be classed under radical obstinance, then? That varies by case. There are different degrees; some can be classed under radical obstinance, and some rise to the level of absurdity. It’s normal for someone to pour forth a bit of this mood on occasion. So, what manifestations of it are abnormal, then? Doing something out of insuppressible emotion. When one lives their every day and scrambles around for that thing’s sake, reading God’s words and spreading the gospel for its sake, too, and performing any and all duties for its sake—when everything revolves around that thing, and it becomes the value and significance of their existence and life—that spells trouble. That person’s goal and direction get skewed. There’s an ugliness to people who live by their naked, childlike hearts. There’s something obstinate about them, and they have abnormal emotions. If someone lives by these things and often lives in such a state, can they understand the truth? (No.) If they can’t understand the truth, what’s their frame of mind when they listen to sermons? What intention do they have in reading God’s words? Can one who’s always believing in God with a naked, childlike heart and religious ceremony understand and gain the truth? (No.) Why not? All that they do isn’t based in the truth, but in religious theory and in notions and imaginings. It isn’t about pursuing and practicing the truth, either. They don’t care at all about what the truth really is or what God’s words say. They don’t care about that, as if all one needed to believe in God was a naked, childlike heart, as if all they had to do was handle things and put forth effort in church. It’s that simple to them. They don’t get what it is to understand and practice the truth, nor what to pursue in order to be saved. They may think about these things sometimes, but they just can’t work them out. The whole time, they’re thinking, “As long as I have zeal, reach a heightened level of emotion, and can persevere to the end, I may just be saved,” and consequently, carried away by their heightened emotions, they do nothing but foolish things, things that go against the truth principles. In the end, they are revealed and eliminated. It seems heightened emotions aren’t such a great thing, after all.

There’s another fairly egregious state in living by a naked, childlike heart, and that’s that some people always rely on enthusiasm to believe in God. The fire in their hearts never goes out; they think all they need to believe in God is a naked, childlike heart. “I don’t need to understand the truth, I don’t need to examine myself, and I don’t need to come before God to confess my sins and repent—and I certainly don’t need to accept any judgment, chastisement, pruning, or censure and criticism from anyone” they think. “I don’t need those things. All I need is a naked, childlike heart.” This is the principle of their belief in God. They think, “I don’t have to accept judgment and chastisement. It’s enough for me just to feel good about myself. I believe that God’s certain to be happy with my doing that. If I’m happy, God’s happy—that’s all there is to it. I’ll be saved if I believe in God like that.” Isn’t this a terribly naive way of thinking? You used to be in a state like that, didn’t you? (Yes.) If you live to the end in a state like that, incapable of any reformation, then it’s fair to say that you don’t understand the least bit of the truth. The truth has no bearing on you. You don’t know the goal or significance of God’s salvation of man, and you don’t understand what belief in God is about. What’s the difference between faith in God and belief in religion? Everyone conceives of believing in religion being because that person lacks a livelihood, that they might have difficulties at home. Otherwise, it’s that they want to find something to lean on, to find spiritual sustenance. Belief in religion is often nothing more than getting people to be good, benevolent, help others, be kind to others, do more good deeds to accumulate virtue, not commit murder or arson, not break the law or commit crimes, not do bad things, not hit people or curse at them, not steal or rob, and not cheat or swindle. This is the concept of “belief in religion” that exists in everyone’s minds. How much of the concept of belief in religion exists within your hearts today? Are those things which are associated with belief in religion in line with the truth? Where, exactly, do they come from? Do you know? If you believe in God with a heart that harbors belief in religion, what will the result be? Is this the right way to believe in God? Is there a difference between the state of believing in religion and the state of having faith in God? What is the difference between belief in religion and faith in God? When you first started believing in God, you may have felt that believing in religion and having faith in God were the same thing. But today, after believing in God for several years, just what do you think having faith really is? Is there any difference from belief in religion? Belief in religion means following some religious rituals in order to bring happiness and comfort to one’s spirit. It doesn’t relate to questions of what path people walk or how they live their lives. There is no change in your inner world; you are still you, and your nature essence remains the same. You have not accepted the truths that come from God and made them your life, but have merely done some good deeds or followed ceremony and regulations. You have merely engaged in some activities related to belief in religion—just this, that’s all. So what does faith in God refer to? It means a change in how you live, it means that there has already been a change in the value of your existence and your goals in life. You originally lived for things such as honoring your ancestors, standing out from the crowd, having a good life, and striving for fame and fortune. Today, you have abandoned those things. You no longer follow Satan, but you wish to forsake it, to forsake this evil trend. You are following God, what you accept is the truth, and the path you walk is that of pursuing the truth. Your life’s direction has completely changed. After believing in God, you are approaching life differently, having a different way of life, following the Creator, accepting and submitting to the Creator’s sovereignty and arrangements, accepting the Creator’s salvation, and ultimately becoming a true created being. Isn’t this changing your way of life? It is the complete opposite of your previous pursuit, way of life, and the motivations and significance behind all you did—they’re entirely at odds, not even in the same ballpark. We’ll end there on the difference between faith in God and belief in religion. Can you see in yourselves the state of having a “naked, childlike heart” we’d been talking about? (Yes.) So, are you living by a naked, childlike heart most of the time, or do you just have that state on occasion? If it’s occasional, that proves that you’ve cast off that state already and begun to pursue the truth, that you’ve begun to emerge from that state of affairs; if you’re still living by a naked, childlike heart a majority of the time and don’t know how to live by God’s words, by the truth, nor how to cast off the restraints of a naked, childlike heart and emerge from that state, that proves that you’re not living before God, that you don’t yet know what the truth is or how to seek it. Is that a big distinction? (Yes.) If you go on living that way, without understanding the truth in the least, you’re in danger—you’ll have to be eliminated, sooner or later. As to how that naked, childlike heart comes into being, you’ll have to seek the truth, dissect the state, and change that state. Why one would have that naked, childlike heart; what consequences will come of relying on fervor to believe in God; whether you can gain the truth by believing in God like that; whether it will bolster your faith in God—you must be clear at heart on these questions. This requires you to hold yourself up for comparison, to reflect, and to seek the resolution.

One sort of person is enthusiastic at heart in their belief in God. Any duty is fine for them, and so is a bit of hardship, but their temperament is unstable—they’re emotional and capricious, inconsistent. They act by their mood alone. When they’re happy, they do the job they’re tasked with well, and they get along well with whomever they’re partnered with and whomever they associate with. They’re willing to take on more of the duty, too—whatever duty they’re performing, they have a sense of responsibility for it. That’s how they act when they’re in a good state. There may be a reason that they’re in a good state: Maybe they were praised for doing a good job with their duty, and won the group’s esteem and approval. Or, maybe lots of people appreciate the work they produced, so they’re puffed up like a balloon that gets fuller with every puff of praise. And so, they go on performing the same duty each day, yet all the while, they never grasp God’s will or seek the truth principles. They’re always acting on the strength of their experience. Is experience the truth? Is it reliable to act on experience? Does it accord with the truth principles? Acting on experience doesn’t accord with the principles; there will necessarily be times when it fails. So, a day comes when they don’t perform their duty well. Many things go wrong, and they’re pruned. The group is unsatisfied with them. They get negative then: “I’m not performing this duty anymore. I do it badly. You’re all better than I am. It’s me who’s no good. Whoever’s willing to do it, go ahead!” Someone fellowships with them about the truth, but it doesn’t get through to them, and they don’t understand, saying: “What’s there to fellowship about in this? I don’t care if it is the truth or not—I’ll do my duty when I’m happy and won’t when I’m not. Why make it so complicated? I’m not doing it now; I’ll wait for a day when I’m happy.” This is how they are, consistently. Whether in performing their duty; reading God’s words, or listening to sermons and attending gatherings; or in their interactions with others—in everything that bears on any aspect of their life, what they reveal is cloudy one moment and sunny the next, elevated one moment and depressed the next, cold one moment and hot the next, negative one moment and positive the next. In brief, their state, good or bad, is always quite pronounced. You can see it at a glance. They’re inconsistent in everything they do, just giving themselves over to their temperament. When they’re happy, they do a better job, and when they’re not, they’re shoddy—they may even stop doing the thing and call it quits. Whatever they’re doing, they must do it according to their mood, according to the environment, according to their demands. They have no will at all to undergo hardship; they’re pampered and spoiled, hysterical, impervious to reason, and they do nothing to curb it. No one’s allowed to offend them; whoever does is a target for their temper, which comes on like a storm—and right after it passes, they’re negative and emotionally downcast. What’s more, they do everything based on their preferences. “If I like this job, I’ll do it; if I don’t, I won’t, and never will. Whichever of you is willing can do it. That has nothing to do with me.” What kind of person is this? When they’re happy and their state is good, they’re worked up at heart and say they want to love God. They’re so worked up that they cry, hot tears streaming down their face, loudly sobbing. Is theirs a heart that truly loves God? The state of loving God at heart is a normal one, but to look at their disposition, behaviors, and revelations, you’d think they were a child of ten or so years. This disposition of theirs, their way of living, is capriciousness. They’re inconsistent, disloyal, irresponsible, and feckless in everything they do. They never undergo hardship and are unwilling to take on responsibility. When they’re happy, they’re fine doing anything; a bit of hardship is fine, and if their interests suffer a blow, that’s fine, too. But if they’re unhappy, they won’t do anything. What sort of person are they? Is a state like that normal? (No.) This issue goes beyond that of an abnormal state—it’s a manifestation of extreme capriciousness, extreme foolishness and ignorance, extreme childishness. What’s the problem with capriciousness? Some may say, “It’s an instability of temperament. They’re too young and have been through too little hardship, and their personality isn’t set yet, so there’s often capriciousness in their behavior.” The fact is that capriciousness doesn’t care about age: Forty-somethings and septuagenarians are capricious at times, too. How’s this to be explained? Capriciousness is in fact a problem in one’s disposition, and an extremely serious one, at that! If they’re performing an important duty, it may delay that duty and the work’s progress, incurring losses to the interests of God’s house; and with ordinary duties, too, it affects those duties at times, and hinders things. There’s nothing about it that benefits others, themselves, or the work of the church. The little tasks they do and prices they pay come at a net loss. Particularly capricious people are unfit to perform duties in God’s house, and there are many such people. Capriciousness is the most common manifestation among corrupt dispositions. Practically every person has such a disposition. And what is that disposition? Naturally, every corrupt disposition is one variety of Satan’s dispositions, and capriciousness is a corrupt disposition. In mild terms, it’s not loving or accepting the truth; in weightier terms, it’s being averse to the truth and hating it. Can capricious people submit to God? Certainly not. They can momentarily, when they’re happy and profiting, but when they’re unhappy and not profiting, they fly into a rage and dare to resist and betray Him. They’ll say to themselves, “I don’t care whether it is the truth or not—what matters is that I’m happy, that I’m content. If I’m unhappy, nothing anyone says will help! What does the truth count for? What does God count for? I’m the boss!” What kind of corrupt disposition is this? (Hating the truth.) It’s a disposition that hates the truth, one that’s averse to it. Is there an element of arrogance and conceit to it? An element of intransigence? (Yes.) There’s another egregious state here. When they’re in a good mood, they’re nice to everyone and responsible in performing their duty; people think they’re a good, submissive person, one who’s willing to pay a price, who really loves the truth. But as soon as they get negative, they’ll clock out, complain, and even be impervious to reason. Here, their vicious side emerges. No one’s allowed to reproach them. They’ll even say, “I understand every truth, I just don’t practice it. It’ll do for me just to be at ease with myself!” What disposition is this? (Viciousness.) These evil people aren’t just ready to fight back against anyone who might prune them, they’d even hurt them and harm them, like an evil demon. No one would dare mess with them. Is this not highly capricious and vicious of them? Is this a youth-related problem? Would they not be capricious if they were older? Would they be more thoughtful and rational if they were older? No. This isn’t a matter of their personality or their age. There’s a deep-rooted corrupt disposition hiding in there. They’re governed by a corrupt disposition, and it’s by a corrupt disposition that they live. Is there submission in someone who lives in a corrupt disposition? Can they seek the truth? Is there a part of them that loves the truth? (No.) No, there’s none of those. Have all of you had a capricious state? (Yes.) Would you feel it was a problem if we didn’t fellowship about it? (We wouldn’t.) Now, having fellowshipped about it, do you feel it’s quite a serious problem? (Yes.) Some occasional capriciousness arises from objective causes. That’s not a dispositional problem. All dispositional problems, and all revelations of a corrupt disposition in one’s actions, will yield negative consequences. Here’s an example of an objective cause: Say someone has a terrible stomachache today. They’re in such pain that they barely have the strength to speak. They just want to lie down for a while. Just then, someone comes along and has a few words with them, and their tone in responding is a bit harsh. Is this a problem with their disposition? No, it’s not. They’re only being like that because they’re sick and in pain. If that were the sort of person they were at normal times, one who spoke in that way, that would be a dispositional problem. In this case, there’s a bad tone to their speech because their pain has passed a certain threshold. That’s a normal thing to happen. If there’s an objective cause, and everyone acknowledges that speaking or acting in such a way is pardonable and reasonable, given the circumstances, and that it’s just human nature, then it’s a behavior and revelation of normal humanity. Take the example of someone who lost a relative and begins crying in grief. That’s quite normal. Yet there are people who would pass judgment on them and say, “This person is sentimental. They’ve believed in God for all these years but still can’t let go of their affection for their family. They even cry when a relative of theirs dies. How foolish!” Then, it happens that when the speaker’s mother dies, they cry harder than anyone. How should one view this? You can’t blindly apply regulations or make generalizations about it—some things have objective causes, and they’re behaviors and revelations of normal humanity. What the behaviors and revelations of normal humanity are, and what they aren’t—that varies with the circumstances. Whatever mention is made of what one lives by, what’s being said touches, in one regard, on problems in people’s dispositions, and in the other regard, it’s about problems in people’s viewpoints, their modes of pursuit, and their paths of pursuit. It’s not at all a question of their temper or personality, or of their outward ways of doing things.

Would you like to learn God’s words and rely on God to receive His blessing and solve the difficulties on your way? Click the button to contact us.

Connect with us on Messenger