Daily Words of God: Knowing God's Work | Excerpt 203
What does it mean to be perfected? What does it mean to be conquered? What criteria must be met in order for people to be conquered? And what criteria must be met for them to be perfected? Conquering and perfecting are both for the purpose of making man complete so that he may be restored to his original likeness, and be freed of his corrupt satanic disposition and the influence of Satan. This conquering comes early in the process of working man; indeed, it is the first step of the work. Perfecting is the second step, and it is the concluding work. Every human being must undergo the process of being conquered. If not, they would have no way of knowing God, nor would they be aware that there is a God, which is to say, it would be impossible for them to acknowledge God. And if a person does not acknowledge God, it is also impossible for them to be made complete by God, since they do not meet the criteria for this completion. If you do not even acknowledge God, then how can you know Him? How can you pursue Him? You will not be able to bear witness to Him, either, and much less will you have the faith to satisfy Him. So, for anyone who wants to be made complete, the first step must be to undergo the work of conquest. This is the first condition. But both conquering and perfecting are in order to work people and to change them, and each is part of the work of managing man. Both steps are required to make someone whole, and neither can be neglected. It is true that “being conquered” does not sound very nice, but in fact, the process of conquering someone is the process of changing them. Once you have been conquered, your corrupt disposition may not have been completely eradicated, but you will have known it. Through the work of conquest, you will have come to know your lowly humanity, as well as much of your own disobedience. Although you will be unable to discard or to change these things within the short period of the work of conquest, you will come to know them, and this will lay the foundation for your perfection. As such, conquering and perfecting are both done in order to change people, to rid them of their corrupt satanic dispositions so that they can give themselves fully to God. Being conquered is merely the first step in changing people’s dispositions, as well as the first step in people fully giving themselves to God, and it is lower than the step of being perfected. A conquered person’s life disposition changes far less than a perfected person’s. Being conquered and being perfected are conceptually different from each other because they are different phases of work and because they hold people to different standards; conquest holds people to lower standards, while perfection holds them to higher ones. The perfected are righteous people, people made holy and pure; they are crystallizations of the work of managing humanity, or end products. Although they are not perfect humans, they are people who seek to live meaningful lives. The conquered, meanwhile, acknowledge God’s existence in word only; they acknowledge that God has been incarnated, that the Word has appeared in the flesh, and that God has come to the earth to do the work of judgment and chastisement. They also acknowledge that God’s judgment and chastisement, and His smiting and refinement, are all beneficial to man. They have only recently begun to have a somewhat human likeness. They have some insights into life, but still it remains hazy to them. In other words, they are just starting to possess humanity. Such are the effects of being conquered. When people set foot on the path to perfection, it becomes possible for their old dispositions to change. Further, their lives continue to grow, and they gradually enter more deeply into the truth. They are able to loathe the world and all those who do not pursue the truth. They especially loathe themselves, but more than that, they clearly know themselves. They are willing to live by the truth and they make it their goal to pursue the truth. They are unwilling to live within the thoughts generated by their own brains, and they feel loathing for man’s self-righteousness, haughtiness, and self-conceit. They speak with a strong sense of propriety, handle things with discernment and wisdom, and are loyal and obedient to God. If they experience an instance of chastisement and judgment, not only do they not become passive or weak, but they are grateful for this chastisement and judgment from God. They believe that they cannot be without God’s chastisement and judgment, that it protects them. They do not pursue a faith of peace and joy and of seeking bread to satisfy hunger. Neither do they pursue fleeting fleshly enjoyments. This is what occurs in those who are perfected. After people are conquered, they acknowledge that there is a God, but there are limits to what is manifested in them when they acknowledge the existence of God. What does the Word appearing in the flesh actually mean? What does incarnation mean? What has God incarnate done? What is the goal and significance of His work? After experiencing so much of His work, after experiencing His deeds in the flesh, what have you gained? Only after understanding all of these things will you be conquered. If you merely say that you acknowledge there is a God, but do not forsake what you ought to forsake, and fail to give up the fleshly enjoyments that you should give up, but instead continue to covet fleshly comforts as you always have, and if you are unable to let go of any prejudices against the brothers and sisters, and do not pay any price in carrying out many simple practices, then this proves you have yet to be conquered. In that case, even if there is much that you understand, it will all be for nothing. The conquered are people who have achieved some initial changes and initial entry. Experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement gives people an initial knowledge of God, and an initial understanding of the truth. You may be incapable of fully entering into the reality of deeper, more detailed truths, but in your actual life you are able to put into practice many rudimentary truths, such as those involving your fleshly enjoyments or your personal status. All of this is the effect achieved in people during the process of being conquered. Changes in disposition can also be seen in the conquered; for example, the way they dress and present themselves, and how they live—these can all change. Their perspective on belief in God changes, they are clear about the goals of their pursuit, and they have higher aspirations. During the work of conquest, corresponding changes also occur in their life disposition. There are changes, but they are shallow, preliminary, and far inferior to the changes in disposition and goals of pursuit of those who have been perfected. If, in the course of being conquered, a person’s disposition does not change at all, and they do not gain any truth, then this person is trash, and completely useless! People who have not been conquered cannot be perfected! If a person only seeks to be conquered, then they cannot be fully made complete, even if their dispositions exhibit certain corresponding changes during the work of conquest. They will also lose the initial truths they gained. There is a vast difference between the amount of change in dispositions in those who are conquered and those who are perfected. But being conquered is the first step in change; it is the foundation. Lack of this initial change is proof that a person does not actually know God at all, since this knowledge comes from judgment, and such judgment is a major part of the work of conquest. As such, all who are made perfect must first be conquered; if not, there is no way for them to be perfected.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (4)