Discussing Church Life and Real Life
People feel that they are only able to transform within the church life. If they are not within the church life, then they feel unable to transform, as though transformation cannot be achieved in real life. Can you see the problem in this? I have discussed bringing God into real life before; for those who believe in God, this is the path to enter into the reality of God’s words. In fact, church life is only a limited way of perfecting people. The primary environment for perfecting people is still real life. This is the actual practice and actual training that I talked about, which allow people to achieve a life of normal humanity and to live out the likeness of a true person during daily life. On one hand, one must study in order to elevate one’s own level of education, understand God’s words, and achieve the ability to receive. On the other hand, one must be equipped with the basic knowledge required to live as a human being in order to achieve the insight and reason of normal humanity, because people are almost entirely lacking in these areas. Furthermore, one must also come to savor God’s words through church life, and gradually come to have a clear understanding of the truth.
Why is it said that in believing in God, one must bring God into real life? It’s not just church life that transforms people; more importantly, people should enter into reality in real life. You used to always talk about your spiritual state and spiritual matters while neglecting to practice many things in real life, and neglecting your entry into them. You wrote every day, you listened every day, and you read every day. You even prayed while you were cooking: “Oh, God! May You become my life within me. However today goes, please bless me and enlighten me. Whatever You enlighten me about today, please allow me to understand it in this moment, so that Your words may act as my life.” You also prayed while you were eating dinner: “Oh, God! You have bestowed us with this meal. May You bless us. Amen! May we live by You. May You be with us. Amen!” After you finished your dinner and were washing the dishes, you started rambling: “Oh, God, I am this bowl. We have been corrupted by Satan and are just like bowls that have been used and must be cleansed with water. You are the water, and Your words are the living water that provides for my life.” Before you knew it, it was time for bed, and you started rambling again: “Oh God! You have blessed me and guided me through the day. I am truly grateful to You. …” This was how you spent your day, and then you entered into your slumber. Most people live like this every day, and even now they neglect actual entry, focusing only on paying lip service in their prayers. This is their previous life—their old life. And most are like this; they lack any actual training, and they undergo very few real transformations. They only pay lip service in their prayers, drawing closer to God in their words alone, but lacking depth in their understanding. Let us take the simplest example—tidying your home. You see that your home is messy, so you sit there and pray: “Oh, God! Look at the corruption that Satan has wrought on me. I am just as dirty as this home. Oh, God! I truly praise and thank You. Without Your salvation and enlightenment, I would not have realized this fact.” You just sit there and ramble on, praying for a long time, and afterward you act as if nothing has happened, as though you were a rambling old woman. You pass your spiritual life this way without any true entry into reality at all, with too many superficial practices! Entering into actual training involves people’s real lives and their practical difficulties—this is the only way they change. Without real life, people cannot be transformed. What is the use of paying lip service in prayer? Without understanding human nature, everything is a waste of time, and without a path for practice, everything is a waste of effort! Normal prayer can help people maintain their normal state within, but they cannot be thoroughly transformed by it. Knowing human self-righteousness, arrogance, conceit, hubris, and knowing the corrupt dispositions of man—knowledge of these things does not come through prayer—they are discovered by savoring God’s words, and they are known through enlightenment by the Holy Spirit in real life. People nowadays can all speak quite well, and they have listened to the loftiest preaching—loftier than any others through the ages—yet very little of it is actually implemented in their real lives. That is to say, there is no God in their real lives; they do not possess the life of a new person after transformation. They do not live out the truth in real life, nor do they bring God into real life. They live like the children of hell. Is this not a glaring deviation?
In order to restore the likeness of a normal person, that is, to achieve normal humanity, people cannot merely please God with their words. They only harm themselves in doing so, and it does not benefit their entry or transformation. Therefore, to attain transformation, people must practice little by little. They must enter slowly, seek and explore bit by bit, enter in from the positive, and live a practical life of truth; a life of a saint. Thereafter, real things, real events, and real environments allow people to have practical training. People are not required to pay any lip service; instead, they are to train in real environments. People first come to realize that they are of poor caliber, and then they eat and drink of God’s words normally, and enter into and practice normally as well; only in this way can they obtain reality, and this is how entry may occur even more rapidly. In order to transform people, there must be some practicality; they must practice with real things, real events, and real environments. Can one achieve true training by relying on church life alone? Could people enter into reality this way? No! If people are unable to enter into real life, then they are unable to transform their old lifestyle and ways of doing things. This is not entirely due to people’s laziness and high level of dependency, but rather it is because people simply do not have the capacity for living, and, moreover, they have no understanding of God’s standard of the likeness of a normal person. In the past, people were always talking, speaking, communicating—and they even became “orators”—yet none of them sought transformation in their life disposition; instead, they blindly sought profound theories. Thus, people of today must change this religious style of belief in God in their lives. They must enter into practice by focusing on one event, one thing, one person. They must do it with focus—only then can they attain results. People’s transformation begins with a change in their substance. The work must be aimed at people’s substance, their life, and at their laziness, dependency, and slavishness—only in this way can they be transformed.
Even though church life can produce results in some areas, the key is still that real life can transform people. One’s old nature cannot be transformed without real life. Let us take, for example, the work of Jesus during the Age of Grace. When Jesus abolished the previous laws and established the commandments of the new age, He spoke using actual examples from real life. As Jesus was leading His disciples through the wheat field on a Sabbath, His disciples became hungry and plucked ears of grain to eat. The Pharisees saw this and said that they were not observing the Sabbath. They also said that people were not allowed to save the calves that had fallen into a pit on the Sabbath, saying that no work might be performed during the Sabbath. Jesus cited these incidents to gradually promulgate the commandments of the new age. At the time, He used many practical matters to help people understand and transform. This is the principle by which the Holy Spirit performs His work, and it is the only way that can transform people. Without practical matters, people can only gain a theoretical and intellectual understanding—this is not an effective way to transform. So how does one acquire wisdom and insight through training? Can people acquire wisdom and insight simply from listening, reading, and advancing their knowledge? How could this be so? People must understand and experience in real life! Therefore, one must train, and one must not depart from real life. People must pay attention to different aspects and have entry in various aspects: level of education, expressiveness, the ability to see things, discernment, the ability to understand God’s words, the common sense and rules of humanity, and other things relating to humanity that people must be equipped with. After understanding has been attained, people must focus on entry, and only then can transformation be attained. If someone has attained understanding, yet they neglect practice, how can transformation occur? Presently, people understand much, but they do not live out reality; thus, they possess little substantive understanding of God’s words. You have only been marginally enlightened; you have received a little illumination from the Holy Spirit, yet you have no entry into real life—or you might not even care about entry—thus your transformation is lessened. After such a long time, people understand a lot. They are able to talk a lot about their knowledge of theories, but their external disposition remains the same, and their original caliber remains as it was, not advancing in the slightest. If this is the case, when will you finally enter in?
Church life is only a kind of life where people gather to savor the words of God, and it makes up only a small sliver of one’s life. If people’s real life could also be like their church life—including a normal spiritual life, normally savoring God’s words, praying and being close to God normally, living a real life where everything is carried out in accordance with God’s will, living a real life where everything is carried out in accordance with the truth, living a real life of practicing prayer and practicing being quiet before God, of practicing the singing of hymns and dancing—then this is the only kind of life that would bring them into a life of God’s words. Most people only focus on the several hours of their church life without “caring for” their life outside those hours, as though it were of no concern to them. There are also many people who only enter into the life of the saints when eating and drinking God’s words, singing hymns, or praying, and then they revert to their old selves outside those times. Living like this cannot transform people, much less make them know God. In believing in God, if people desire transformation of their disposition, then they must not detach themselves from real life. In real life, you must know yourself, forsake yourself, practice the truth, as well as learn the principles, common sense, and rules of self-conduct in all things before you are able to achieve gradual transformation. If you only focus on the theoretical knowledge and only live among religious ceremonies without going deep into reality, without entering into real life, then you will never enter into reality, you will never know yourself, the truth, or God, and you will forever be blind and ignorant. God’s work of saving people is not to allow them to live normal human lives after a short period of time, nor is it to transform their erroneous notions and doctrines. Rather, His purpose is to change people’s old dispositions, to change the entirety of their old way of life, and to change all of their outdated ways of thinking and mental outlook. Focusing only on church life will not change people’s old life habits or change the old ways in which they have lived for a long time. No matter what, people must not become detached from real life. God asks that people live out normal humanity in real life, not just in church life; that they live out the truth in real life, not just in church life; and that they fulfill their functions in real life, not just in church life. To enter into reality, one must turn everything toward real life. If, in believing in God, people cannot come to know themselves through entry into real life, and if they cannot live out normal humanity in real life, then they will become failures. Those who disobey God are all people who cannot enter into real life. They are all people who speak of humanity, but live out the nature of demons. They are all people who speak of the truth, but live out doctrines instead. Those who cannot live out the truth in real life are those who believe in God, but are detested and rejected by Him. You have to practice your entry in real life, know your own deficiencies, disobedience, and ignorance, and know your abnormal humanity and weaknesses. That way, your knowledge will be integrated into your actual condition and difficulties. Only this kind of knowledge is real and can allow you to truly grasp your own condition and achieve dispositional transformation.
Now that the perfecting of people has formally begun, you must enter into real life. Therefore, to achieve transformation, you must start from entry into real life, and transform little by little. If you avoid normal human life and only talk about spiritual matters, then things become dry and flat; they become unrealistic, and then how could people transform? Now you are told to enter into real life to practice, in order to establish a foundation for entering into true experience. This is one aspect of what people must do. The work of the Holy Spirit is mainly to guide, while the rest depends on people’s practice and entry. Everyone may attain entry into real life through different paths, such that they can bring God into real life, and live out a real normal humanity. This is the only kind of life with meaning!