How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve (Part Two)
Walk in the Way of God: Fear God and Shun Evil
There is a saying you should take note of. I believe this saying is very important, because for Me, it comes to mind countless times every single day. Why is that? It is because every time I am faced with someone, every time I hear someone’s story, and every time I hear of a person’s experience or testimony of believing in God, I always use this saying to determine in My heart whether or not this individual is the type of person God wants and the type of person God likes. So, then: what is this saying? I now have you all on the edges of your seats. When I reveal the saying, perhaps you will feel disappointed, because there are some who have been paying it lip service for many years. I, however, have never once paid it any lip service at all. This saying resides in My heart. So, what is this saying? It is this: “Walk in the way of God: Fear God and shun evil.” Is this not an exceedingly simple phrase? Nevertheless, despite its simplicity, people who genuinely have a deep understanding of these words will feel that they carry great weight, that this saying is very valuable for one’s practice, that it is a line from the language of life containing the reality of the truth, that it represents a lifelong objective for those seeking to satisfy God, and that it is a lifelong way which anyone considerate of God’s intentions should follow. So, what do you think: Is this saying not the truth? Does it or does it not have such significance? Also, perhaps some of you are thinking about this saying, and trying to figure it out, and perhaps there are some of you who even feel doubtful about it: Is this saying very important? Is it very important? Is it necessary to emphasize it so much? There may also be some of you who do not much like this saying, because you think that taking God’s way and distilling it into this one saying is too much of an oversimplification. To take all that God said and boil it down to one saying—would that not be making God out to be a bit too insignificant? Is that how it is? It could be that most of you do not fully understand the profound significance of these words. Though you have all made a note of it, you have no intention of storing this saying in your hearts; you have simply written it down in your notebooks to revisit and ponder in your spare time. Some of you will not even bother to memorize this saying, let alone attempt to put it to good use. Why, though, do I wish to mention this saying? Regardless of your perspective and no matter what you think, I had to mention this saying, for it is extremely relevant to how God determines people’s outcomes. No matter what your current understanding of this saying is or how you treat it, I will still tell you this: If people can put the words of this saying into practice and experience them, and achieve the standard of fearing God and shunning evil, then they are assured to be survivors and are certain to have good outcomes. If, however, you cannot meet the standard laid out by this saying, then it can be said that your outcome is an unknown. Thus, I speak to you about this saying for your own mental preparation, and so that you will know what kind of standard God uses to measure you. As I just told you, this saying is extremely relevant to God’s salvation of humanity, as well as to how He determines people’s outcomes. In what way is it relevant? You would really like to know, so we will talk about it today.
God Makes Use of Various Trials to Test Whether People Fear God and Shun Evil
In every age, while working among humans, God bestows some words upon them and tells them of some truths. These truths serve as the way people should adhere to, the way they should walk in, the way that enables them to fear God and shun evil, and the way that people should put into practice and adhere to in their lives and over the course of their life journeys. It is for these reasons that God expresses these utterances to humanity. These words that come from God should be adhered to by people, and to adhere to them is to receive life. If a person does not adhere to them, does not put them into practice, and does not live outin their life, then this person is not putting the truth into practice. Furthermore, if people are not putting the truth into practice, then they are not fearing God and shunning evil, nor can they satisfy God. People who are incapable of satisfying God cannot receive His praise, and such people have no outcome. So, how, then, in the course of His work, does God determine a person’s outcome? What methods does God use to determine a person’s outcome? Perhaps you are still a bit fuzzy on this at the moment, but when I tell you of the process, it will become quite clear, because a lot of you have already experienced it yourselves.
Over the course of His work, ever since the beginning, God has set out trials for every person—or you could say, every person who follows Him—and these trials come in various sizes. There are those who have experienced the trial of being rejected by their families, those who have experienced the trial of adverse environments, those who have experienced the trial of being arrested and tortured, those who have experienced the trial of being faced with choices, and those who have faced the trials of money and status. Generally speaking, each of you has faced all manner of trials. Why does God work like this? Why does He treat everyone this way? What sort of result does He seek? Here is the point I wish to communicate to you: God wants to see whether or not this person is the type who fears Him and shuns evil. What this means is that when God is giving you a trial, and facing you with some circumstance or other, His intention is to test whether or not you are a person who fears Him and shuns evil. If someone is faced with the duty of safekeeping an offering, and this duty leads to coming into contact with God’s offering, would you say that this is something that God has arranged? It undoubtedly is! Everything you encounter is something that God has arranged. When you are faced with this matter, God will observe you in secret, watching what choices you make, how you practice, and what thoughts you have. What God cares about the most is the end result, since it is this result that will help Him to measure whether or not you have lived up to His standard in this particular trial. However, whenever people encounter a problem, they often do not think about why they are being faced with it, what standard God expects them to meet, what He wants to see in them or what He wishes to obtain from them. When faced with this problem, such people merely think, “This is something I’m faced with; I have to be careful, not careless! No matter what, this is God’s offering, and I can’t touch it.” Equipped with such simplistic thoughts, people believe that they have fulfilled their responsibilities. Would the result of this trial bring satisfaction to God or not? Go ahead and talk about it. (If people fear God in their hearts, then when faced with a duty that allows them to come in contact with God’s offering, they will consider just how easy it would be to offend God’s disposition, and that will make them be sure to proceed with caution.) Your response is on the right track, but it is not quite there yet. Walking in God’s way is not about observing superficial rules; rather, it means that when you are faced with a problem, you view it first and foremost as a situation that has been arranged by God, a responsibility He has bestowed upon you, or a task that He has entrusted to you. When facing this problem, you should even see it as a trial God has put to you. When you encounter this problem, you must have a standard in your heart, and you must think that this matter has come from God. You must think about how to deal with it in such a way that you can fulfill your responsibility while remaining loyal to God, as well as how to do it without infuriating Him or offending His disposition. A moment ago we spoke about the safekeeping of offerings. This matter involves offerings, and it also touches upon your duty and your responsibility. You are duty-bound to this responsibility. However, when faced with this problem, is there any temptation? There is! Where does this temptation come from? This temptation comes from Satan, and it also comes from humans’ evil, corrupt dispositions. Given that there is temptation, this issue involves standing the testimony that people ought to stand, which is also your responsibility and duty. Some people say, “This is such a minor matter; is it really necessary to make such a big deal out of it?” Yes, it is! This is because in order to keep to God’s way, we cannot let go of anything that happens either to us or around us, even the little things; whether we think we should pay attention to it or not, as long as any matter is facing us, we must not let it go. All things that happen should be viewed as tests God has given us. What do you think about this way of looking at things? If you have this kind of attitude, then it confirms one fact: Deep down, you fear God and are willing to shun evil. If you have this desire to satisfy God, then what you put into practice will not be far off meeting the standard of fearing God and shunning evil.
There are often those who believe that matters people do not pay much attention to and do not usually mention are but minor trifles that have nothing to do with putting the truth into practice. When faced with just such an issue, these people do not give it much thought, and then they let it slide. In actual fact, however, this matter was a lesson you should study—a lesson on how to fear God and how to shun evil. Moreover, what you should be even more concerned with is knowing what God is doing when this matter arises to face you. God is right by your side, observing your every word and action, and watching everything you do and what changes take place in your thoughts—this is God’s work. Some people ask, “If that’s true, then why haven’t I felt it?” You have not felt it because you have not adhered to the way of fearing God and shunning evil as your primary way; you therefore cannot sense the subtle work God does in people, which manifests itself according to people’s various thoughts and actions. You are a scatterbrain! What is a major matter? What is a minor matter? The matters that involve walking in God’s way are not divided between major or minor ones, they are all a big deal—can you accept that? (We can accept it.) In terms of everyday matters, there are some which people view as very major and significant, and others that are viewed as minor trifles. People often see these major matters as being very important, and they consider them to have been sent by God. However, as these major matters play out, due to people’s immature stature and because of their poor caliber, people are often not up to fulfilling God’s will, cannot obtain any revelations, and cannot acquire any actual knowledge that is of value. As far as minor matters are concerned, these are simply overlooked by people and left to slip away one bit at a time. As such, people have lost many opportunities to be examined before God and to be tested by Him. What does it mean if you always overlook the people, events, and objects, and situations that God has arranged for you? It means that every day, and even at every moment, you are constantly renouncing God’s perfection of you, as well as His leadership. Whenever God arranges a situation for you, He is watching in secret, looking upon your heart, observing your thoughts and deliberations, watching how you think, and waiting to see how you will act. If you are a careless person—one who has never been serious about God’s way, His words, or the truth—then you will not be mindful of or pay attention to what God wishes to complete or the requirements He expected you to meet when He arranged a certain environment for you. Neither will you know how the people, events, and objects that you encounter relate to the truth or God’s will. After you face repeated circumstances and repeated trials like this, with God not seeing any results in you, how will He proceed? After having repeatedly faced trials, you have not magnified God in your heart, nor have you seen the circumstances God arranged for you for what they are: trials and tests from God. Instead, one after the other, you have rejected the opportunities that God bestowed upon you, letting them slip away time and time again. Is this not extreme disobedience that people exhibit? (It is.) Will God feel hurt because of this? (He will.) Wrong, God will not feel hurt! Hearing Me say such a thing has shocked you once more. You may be thinking: “Was it not said earlier that God always feels hurt? Will God not therefore feel hurt? When, then, does He feel hurt?” In short, God will not feel hurt in this situation. So, then, what is God’s attitude toward the type of behavior outlined above? When people reject the trials and tests that God sends them, and when they shirk from them, there is only one attitude that God has toward such people. What attitude is this? God spurns this kind of person, from the bottom of His heart. There are two layers of meaning for the word “spurn.” How should I explain it from My point of view? Deep down, the word “spurn” carries connotations of loathing and hate. What about the other layer of its meaning? That is the part that implies giving up on something. You all know what “give up” means, right? In a nutshell, “spurn” is a word that represents God’s ultimate reaction and attitude toward those people who are behaving in such a way; it is extreme hatred toward them, and disgust, and, thus, it results in the decision to abandon them. This is God’s final decision toward a person who has never walked in God’s way and who has never feared God and shunned evil. Can all of you now see the importance of that saying I mentioned earlier?
Now do you understand the method God uses to determine people’s outcomes? (He arranges different circumstances every day.) “He arranges different circumstances”—these are things that people can feel and touch. So, what is God’s motive for doing this? His intention is to give each and every person various sorts of trials at different times and in different places. What aspects of a person are put to the test during a trial? A trial determines whether or not you are the type of person who fears God and shuns evil in every issue you face, hear about, see, and experience personally. Everyone will face this kind of trial, because God is fair toward all people. Some of you say, “I’ve believed in God for many years, so how come I haven’t faced any trials?” You feel that you have not yet faced any because whenever God has arranged circumstances for you, you have not taken them seriously and have not wanted to walk in God’s way. Thus, you simply do not sense God’s trials at all. Some people say, “I’ve faced a few trials, but I don’t know how to practice properly. Even when I have practiced, I still don’t know whether I have stood firm during God’s trials.” People in this type of state are definitely not in the minority. What, then, is the standard by which God measures people? It is just as I said moments ago: It is whether or not you fear God and shun evil in everything you do, think, and express. This is how to determine whether or not you are a person who fears God and shuns evil. Is this concept simple, or not? It is simple enough to say, but is it easy to put into practice? (It’s not so easy.) Why is it not so easy? (Because people don’t know God, and they don’t know how God perfects people, so when they’re faced with matters, they don’t know how to seek out the truth to solve their problems. They have to go through various trials, refinements, chastisements, and judgments before they can possess the reality of fearing God.) You might put it that way, but as far as you are concerned, fearing God and shunning evil seems very easily doable right now. Why do I say this? It is because you have listened to a lot of sermons and received no small amount of watering from the reality of the truth; this has allowed you to theoretically and intellectually understand how to fear God and shun evil. As for how to actually put that fear for God and shunning of evil into practice, this knowledge has all been very helpful and made you feel as though such a thing is easily achievable. Why, then, can people never actually achieve it? This is because humans’ nature and essence does not fear God, and it likes evil. This is the real reason.
Not to Fear God and Shun Evil Is to Oppose God
Let Me begin by asking you where this saying, “fear God and shun evil,” came from. (The Book of Job.) Since we have mentioned Job, let us discuss him. In Job’s time, was God working for the salvation and conquest of humanity? No! Is that not so? Also, as far as Job was concerned, how much knowledge did he have of God back then? (Not much.) Did Job have more or less knowledge of God than you have right now? Why is it that you do not dare to answer? This is a very easy question to answer. Less! That is for sure! These days you are face-to-face with God, and face-to-face with God’s words; you have much more knowledge of God than Job did. Why do I bring this up? What is My purpose in saying these things? I would like to explain a fact to you, but before I do, I want to ask you a question: Job knew very little of God, yet was still able to fear Him and shun evil; why is it that people these days fail to do so? (They are profoundly corrupt.) “Profoundly corrupt”—this is the superficial phenomenon causing the problem, but I would never view it in such a way. You often take frequently used doctrines and terms, such as “profound corruption,” “rebelling against God,” “disloyalty toward God,” “disobedience,” “not liking the truth,” and so on, and use these catch-phrases to explain the essence of every single issue. This is a flawed way of practicing. Using the same answer to explain matters of different natures inevitably raises blasphemous suspicions about the truth and God; I do not like hearing this kind of answer. Think about it long and hard! None of you has given this matter any thought, but I can see it every single day, and every single day I can feel it. Thus, while you are acting, I am watching. When you are doing something, you cannot feel its essence, but when I watch, I can see its essence, and I can feel its essence, too. So, what is this essence then? Why are people these days incapable of fearing God and shunning evil? Your answers are far from being able to explain the essence of this problem, nor can they resolve it. That is because it has a source of which you are not aware. What is this source? I know you want to hear about it, so I will tell you of the source of this problem.
Since God began to do work, how has He regarded human beings? God rescued them; He has seen humans as members of His family, as the objects of His work, as the ones He wanted to conquer and save, and as those whom He wished to perfect. This was God’s attitude toward humanity at the outset of His work. What, though, was humanity’s attitude toward God at that time? God was unfamiliar to humans, and they regarded God as a stranger. It could be said that their attitude toward God did not reap the right results, and that they did not have a clear understanding of how they should treat God. As such, they treated Him however they liked, and did whatever they liked. Did they have any opinions about God? At first, they did not; their so-called opinions merely comprised certain notions and presumptions about Him. They accepted what conformed to their notions, and when something did not conform to their notions, they obeyed it on the surface, but deep down they felt strongly conflicted and they opposed it. This was the relationship between God and humans in the beginning: God viewed them as family members, yet they treated Him as a stranger. However, after a period of God’s work, humans came to understand what He was trying to achieve, and they knew that He was the true God; they also came to know what they could obtain from God. How did people regard God at this time? They saw Him as a lifeline, and hoped to be granted His grace, blessings, and promises. At this time, how did God regard humans? He saw them as targets for His conquest. God wanted to use words to judge them, to test them, and to put them through trials. However, as far as people were concerned back then, God was just an object they could use to achieve their own goals. People saw that the truth issued by God could conquer and save them, that they had an opportunity to obtain the things they wanted from Him, as well as attain the destinations that they wanted. Because of this, a tiny bit of sincerity formed in their hearts, and they became willing to follow this God. Time passed, and due to their having gained some superficial and doctrinal knowledge of God, it could even be said that humans were beginning to grow “familiar” with God and the words He said, His preaching, the truths He issued forth, and His work. They were therefore under the misapprehension that God was no longer unfamiliar, and that they had already set foot upon the path of becoming compatible with God. By now, people have listened to a lot of sermons on the truth and have experienced a great deal of God’s work. Nevertheless, because of the interference and obstruction caused by many different factors and circumstances, most people cannot succeed in putting the truth into practice, nor are they able to satisfy God. People have grown increasingly slack and are increasingly lacking in confidence. They have a growing sense that their own outcomes are unknown. They do not dare to come up with any extravagant ideas, and they do not seek to make progress; they just reluctantly follow along, going forward, step by step. With regard to the present state of humans, what is God’s attitude toward them? He wishes only to bestow these truths upon them and instill them with His way, and then arrange various circumstances in order to try them in different ways. His goal is to take these words, these truths, and His work, and bring about an outcome whereby humans are capable of fearing Him and shunning evil. Most people I have seen merely take God’s words and regard them as doctrines, mere letters on paper, regulations to be observed. In their actions and speech, or while facing trials, they do not regard God’s way as the one that they should abide by. This is especially true when people are faced with major trials; I have not seen any such person practicing in the direction of fearing God and shunning evil. Therefore, God’s attitude toward humans is full of extreme loathing and aversion! Despite His having repeatedly given them trials, even hundreds of times, they still do not have any clear attitude with which to demonstrate their determination: “I want to fear God and shun evil!” Since people do not possess this resolve and do not make this kind of display, God’s present attitude toward them is not the same as it was in the past, when He extended them mercy, tolerance, forbearance, and patience. Instead, He is extremely disappointed in humanity. Who caused this disappointment? On whom does God’s attitude toward humans depend? It depends on each and every person who follows Him. Over the course of His many years of work, God has made many demands of people and arranged many circumstances for them. Regardless of how they have performed, though, and no matter what their attitude toward God is, people have failed to practice in clear accordance with the goal of fearing God and shunning evil. Thus, I will offer a phrase of summary, and use this phrase to explain everything we just said about why people cannot walk in God’s way of fearing God and shunning evil. What is this phrase? It is this: God regards humans as the objects of His salvation and the objects of His work; humans regard God as their enemy and their antithesis. Do you now have a clear understanding of this matter? It is very clear what humanity’s attitude is, what God’s attitude is, and what the relationship between humans and God is. No matter how much preaching you have listened to, those things about which you have drawn your own conclusions, such as being faithful to God, submitting to God, seeking the way of becoming compatible with God, wanting to expend a lifetime for God, and wanting to live for God—to Me, those things are not examples of consciously walking in God’s way, which is to fear God and shun evil, but instead, they are simply channels through which you can attain certain goals. To attain them, you reluctantly observe some regulations, and it is precisely these regulations that take people even further from the way of fearing God and shunning evil, and that place God in opposition to humankind once more.
Today’s topic is a little heavy, but no matter what, I still hope that when you go through the experiences to come, and the times to come, you will be able to do what I have just told you. Do not regard God as just a bunch of empty air—as though He exists when He is of use to you, but does not exist when you have no use for Him. Once you have such a thought in your subconscious, you have already infuriated God. Perhaps there are people who say, “I don’t regard God as mere empty air. I always pray to Him and I always try to satisfy Him, and everything I do falls within the scope, standard, and principles that God requires. I’m definitely not practicing according to my own ideas.” Yes, this manner in which you are practicing is correct! Nevertheless, what do you think when you come face to face with a problem? How do you practice when you are faced with an issue? Some people feel that God exists when they pray to Him and supplicate to Him, but then whenever they encounter a problem, they come up with their own ideas and want to abide by them. This means they regard God as just a bunch of empty air, and such a situation renders God non-existent in their minds. People believe that God should exist when they need Him, but not when they do not need Him. People think that practicing based on their own ideas is sufficient. They believe they can do whatever they please; they simply do not believe they need to seek out God’s way. As for people who are currently in this sort of situation and stuck in this kind of state, are they not courting danger? Some people say, “Whether I am courting danger or not, I have had faith for so many years, and I believe that God will not abandon me, because He could not bear to.” Others say, “I have believed in the Lord from the time I was in my mother’s womb. It has been forty or fifty years, so in terms of time, I’m most qualified to be saved by God and I am most qualified to survive. Over these four or five decades, I have abandoned my family and my job and I have given up all that I had—things like money, status, enjoyment, and time with my family. I have not eaten many delicious foods, I have not enjoyed a lot of amusements, I have not visited many interesting places, and I have even experienced suffering that ordinary people could not endure. If God cannot save me on account of all of this, then I am being treated unjustly, and I cannot believe in this type of God.” Are there many people with this sort of view? (There are.) Well, then, today I am going to help you to understand a fact: People with such a view are all shooting themselves in the foot. This is because they are covering their eyes with their own imaginations. It is precisely these imaginings, as well as their own conclusions, that take the place of the standard God requires humans to meet and hold them back from accepting God’s actual intentions. It makes them unable to sense His true existence, and it also causes them to lose the opportunity to be perfected by God, forsaking any part of or share in God’s promise.