10. How to experience trials and refinement

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

Faced with man’s state and man’s attitude toward God, God has done new work, allowing man to possess both knowledge of and obedience toward Him, and both love and testimony. Thus, man must experience God’s refinement of him, as well as His judgment, dealing and pruning of him, without which man would never know God and would never be capable of truly loving and bearing witness to Him. God’s refinement of man is not merely for the sake of a one-sided effect, but for the sake of a multi-faceted effect. Only in this way does God do the work of refinement in those who are willing to seek the truth, in order that their resolve and love be made perfect by God. To those who are willing to seek the truth and who yearn for God, nothing is more meaningful, or of greater assistance, than refinement such as this. God’s disposition is not so easily known or understood by man, for God, in the end, is God. Ultimately, it is impossible for God to have the same disposition as man, and thus it is not easy for man to know His disposition. The truth is not inherently possessed by man, and is not easily understood by those who have been corrupted by Satan; man is devoid of the truth, and of the resolve to put the truth into practice, and if he does not suffer and is not refined or judged, then his resolve will never be made perfect. For all people, refinement is excruciating, and very difficult to accept—yet it is during refinement that God makes plain His righteous disposition to man, and makes public His requirements for man, and provides more enlightenment, and more actual pruning and dealing; through the comparison between the facts and the truth, He gives man a greater knowledge of himself and the truth, and gives man a greater understanding of God’s will, thus allowing man to have a truer and purer love of God. Such are God’s aims in carrying out refinement. All the work that God does in man has its own aims and significance; God does not do meaningless work, and nor does He do work that is without benefit to man. Refinement does not mean removing people from before God, and nor does it mean destroying them in hell. Rather, it means changing man’s disposition during refinement, changing his intentions, his old views, changing his love for God, and changing his whole life. Refinement is a real test of man, and a form of real training, and only during refinement can his love serve its inherent function.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love

When God works to refine man, man suffers. The greater a person’s refinement, the more of a God-loving heart they’ll possess, and the more of God’s might will be revealed in them. Conversely, the less refinement a person receives, the less of a God-loving heart they’ll possess, and the less God’s might will be revealed in them. The greater such a person’s refinement and pain and the more torment they experience, the deeper their love of God will grow, the more genuine their faith in God will become, and the more profound their knowledge of God will be. In your experiences, you will see people who suffer greatly as they are refined, who are dealt with and disciplined much, and you will see that it is those people who have a deep love for God and a more profound and penetrating knowledge of God. Those who have not experienced being dealt with have but a superficial knowledge, and they can only say: “God is so good, He bestows grace upon people so that they can enjoy Him.” If people have experienced being dealt with and disciplined, then they are able to speak about the true knowledge of God. So the more wondrous God’s work in man is, the more valuable and significant it is. The more impenetrable it is to you and the more incompatible it is with your notions, the more God’s work is able to conquer you, gain you, and make you perfect. How great is the significance of God’s work! If God did not refine man in this way, if He did not work according to this method, then His work would be ineffectual and without significance. It was said in the past that God would select and gain this group, and make them complete in the last days; in this, there is extraordinary significance. The greater the work He carries out within you, the deeper and purer your love for God. The greater the work of God, the more man is able to grasp something of His wisdom and the deeper is man’s knowledge of Him. During the last days, six thousand years of God’s plan for management will come to an end. Can it really end easily? Once He conquers mankind, will His work be over? Can it be so simple? People indeed imagine that it is as simple as this, but what God does is not so simple. No matter what part of God’s work you care to mention, it all is unfathomable to man. If you were able to fathom it, then God’s work would be without significance or value. The work done by God is unfathomable; it is completely counter to your notions, and the more irreconcilable it is with your notions, the more it shows that God’s work is meaningful; if it were compatible with your notions, then it would be meaningless. Today, you feel that God’s work is so wondrous, and the more wondrous you feel it is, the more you feel that God is unfathomable, and you see how great God’s deeds are. If He only did some superficial, perfunctory work to conquer man and did nothing else afterward, then man would be incapable of beholding the significance of God’s work. Although you are receiving a little refinement now, it is of great benefit to your growth in life; so it is of the utmost necessity for you to undergo such hardship. Today, you are receiving a little refinement, but afterward you will truly be able to behold the deeds of God, and ultimately you will say: “God’s deeds are so wondrous!” These will be the words in your heart. Having experienced God’s refinement for a while (the trial of the service-doers and the time of chastisement), some people ultimately said: “Believing in God is really difficult!” The fact that they used the words, “really difficult,” shows that God’s deeds are unfathomable, that God’s work is possessed of great significance and value, and that His work is highly worthy of being treasured by man. If, after I have done so much work, you had not the slightest knowledge, then could My work still have value? It will make you say: “Service to God is really difficult, the deeds of God are so wondrous, and God truly is wise! God is so lovely!” If, after undergoing a period of experience, you are able to say such words, then this proves that you have gained God’s work in you.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement

What internal state in people are trials aimed at? They are targeted at the rebellious disposition in people that is incapable of satisfying God. There is much that is impure within people, and much that is hypocritical, and so God subjects people to trials in order to purify them. But if, today, you are able to satisfy God, then the trials of the future will be a perfection for you. If, today, you are unable to satisfy God, then trials of the future will tempt you, and you will unwittingly fall down, and at that time you will not be able to help yourself, for you cannot keep up with God’s work and are not possessed of real stature. And so, if you wish to be able to stand firm in the future, to satisfy God better, and to follow Him to the very end, today you must build a strong foundation. You must satisfy God by putting the truth into practice in all things and be mindful of His will. If you always practice in this way, there will be a foundation within you, and God will inspire in you a heart that loves Him, and He will give you faith. One day, when a trial truly befalls you, you may well suffer some pain and feel aggrieved to a certain point, and suffer crushing grief, as if you had died—but your God-loving heart will not change, and will become even deeper. Such are the blessings of God. If you are able to accept all that God says and does today with a heart of obedience, then you will surely be blessed by God, and so you will be someone who is blessed by God and receives His promise. If, today, you do not practice, when trials befall you one day, you will be without faith or a loving heart, and at that time the trial will become temptation; you will be plunged amid Satan’s temptation and will have no means of escape. Today, you may be able to stand firm when a small trial befalls you, but you will not necessarily be able to stand firm when a major trial befalls you one day. Some people are conceited and think that they are near perfect already. If you do not go deeper at such times, and remain complacent, then you will be in danger. Today, God does not do the work of greater trials and everything appears fine, but when God tries you, you will discover that you are too lacking, for your stature is too small and you are incapable of enduring great trials. If you remain as you are and are in a state of inertia, then, when the trials come, you will fall. You should often look at how small your stature is; only in this way will you make progress. If it is only during trials that you see that your stature is so small, that your willpower is so weak, that too little within you is real, and that you are inadequate for God’s will—if you only realize these things then, it will be too late.

If you do not know God’s disposition, then you will inevitably fall during trials, because you are unaware of how God makes people perfect, by what means He makes them perfect, and when God’s trials come upon you and they do not match your notions, you will be unable to stand firm. God’s true love is His entire disposition, and when God’s entire disposition is shown to people, what does this bring to your flesh? When God’s righteous disposition is shown to people, their flesh will inevitably suffer much pain. If you do not suffer this pain, then you cannot be made perfect by God, nor will you be able to devote true love to God. If God makes you perfect, He will surely show His entire disposition to you. From the time of creation until today, God has never shown His entire disposition to man—but during the last days He reveals it to this group of people whom He has predestined and selected, and by making people perfect, He lays bare His dispositions, through which He makes complete a group of people. Such is God’s true love for people. Experiencing God’s true love requires that people endure extreme pain, and pay a high price. Only after this will they be gained by God and be able to give their true love back to God, and only then will God’s heart be satisfied. If people wish to be made perfect by God, and if they wish to do His will, and fully give their true love to God, then they must experience much suffering and many torments from their circumstances, to suffer pain worse than death. Ultimately they will be forced to give their true heart back to God. Whether or not someone truly loves God is revealed during hardship and refinement. God purifies people’s love, and this is also only achieved amid hardship and refinement.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God

In their belief in God, what people seek is to obtain blessings for the future; this is their goal in their faith. All people have this intent and hope, but the corruption in their nature must be resolved through trials and refinement. In whichever aspects you are not purified and reveal corruption, these are the aspects in which you must be refined—this is God’s arrangement. God creates an environment for you, forcing you to be refined there so that you can know your own corruption. Ultimately, you reach a point at which you would rather die and give up your schemes and desires, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Therefore, if people do not have several years of refinement, if they do not endure a certain amount of suffering, they will not be able to rid themselves of the bondage of corruption of the flesh in their thoughts and in their hearts. In whichever aspects people are still subject to the bondage of their satanic nature, and in whichever aspects they still have their own desires and their own demands, these are the aspects in which they should suffer. Only through suffering can lessons be learned, which means being able to gain truth, and understand God’s will. In fact, many truths are understood by experiencing painful trials. Nobody can comprehend God’s will, recognize God’s almightiness and wisdom, or appreciate God’s righteous disposition when in a comfortable and easy environment or when circumstances are favorable. That would be impossible!

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three

While undergoing trials, it is normal for people to be weak, or to have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, just like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take them all away. No matter how he was tested, he maintained this belief. In your experience, no matter what refinement you undergo through God’s words, what God requires of mankind, in brief, is their faith and their God-loving heart. What He perfects by working in this way is people’s faith, love, and aspirations. God does the work of perfection on people, and they cannot see it, cannot feel it; under such circumstances, your faith is required. People’s faith is required when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required when you cannot let go of your own notions. When you do not have clarity about God’s work, what is required of you is to have faith and to take a firm stance and stand witness. When Job reached this point, God appeared to him and spoke to him. That is, it is only from within your faith that you will be able to see God, and when you have faith God will perfect you. Without faith, He cannot do this. God will bestow upon you whatever you hope to gain. If you do not have faith, then you cannot be perfected and you will be unable to see God’s actions, much less His omnipotence. When you have faith that you will see His actions in your practical experience, then God will appear to you, and He will enlighten and guide you from within. Without that faith, God will be unable to do that. If you have lost hope in God, how will you be able to experience His work? Therefore, only when you have faith and you do not harbor doubts toward God, only when you have true faith in Him no matter what He does, will He enlighten and illuminate you through your experiences, and only then will you be able to see His actions. These things are all achieved through faith. Faith comes only through refinement, and in the absence of refinement, faith cannot develop. What does this word, “faith,” refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work does not align with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of. People are in need of faith during times of hardship and refinement, and faith is something that is followed by refinement; refinement and faith cannot be separated. No matter how God works, and no matter your environment, you are able to pursue life and seek the truth, and seek knowledge of God’s work, and have an understanding of His actions, and you are able to act according to the truth. Doing so is what it is to have true faith, and doing so shows that you have not lost faith in God. You can only have true faith in God if you are able to persist in pursuing the truth through refinement, if you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts about Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and if you are able to seek in the depths for His will and be considerate of His will. In the past, when God said that you would reign as a king, you loved Him, and when He openly showed Himself to you, you pursued Him. But now God is hidden, you cannot see Him, and troubles have come upon you—do you then now lose hope in God? So, you must at all times pursue life and seek to satisfy God’s will. This is called genuine faith, and this is the truest and most beautiful kind of love.

… When you face suffering, you must be able to lay aside concern for the flesh and to not make complaints against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or dissipate. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design and be prepared to curse your own flesh rather than make complaints against Him. When you are faced with trials, you must satisfy God, though you may weep bitterly or feel reluctant to part with some beloved object. Only this is true love and faith. No matter what your actual stature is, you must first possess both the will to suffer hardship and true faith, and you must also have the will to forsake the flesh. You should be willing to endure personal hardships and suffer losses to your personal interests in order to satisfy God’s will. You must also be capable of feeling regret about yourself in your heart: In the past, you were unable to satisfy God, and now, you can regret yourself. You must not be lacking in any of these regards—it is through these things that God will perfect you. If you cannot meet these criteria, then you cannot be perfected.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement

God is currently testing people. He is not uttering a word, but is concealing Himself and making no direct contact with people. From the outside, it looks like He is not doing any work, but the truth is that He is still working within man. Anyone who is pursuing life entry has a vision for their pursuit of life, and does not have doubts even if they do not fully understand God’s work. While undergoing trials, even when you do not know what God wants to do and what work He wants to accomplish, you should know that God’s intentions for mankind are always good. If you pursue Him with a true heart then He will never leave you, and in the end He will surely perfect you, and bring people to an appropriate destination. Regardless of how God is currently testing people, there will come a day when He will provide people with an appropriate outcome and give them the appropriate retribution based on what they have done. God will not lead people to a certain point and then just cast them aside and ignore them. This is because God is trustworthy. At this stage, the Holy Spirit is doing the work of refinement. He is refining every single person. In the steps of work that were constituted by the trial of death and the trial of chastisement, refinement was carried out through words. For people to experience God’s work, they must first understand His current work and how mankind should cooperate. Indeed, this is something that everyone should understand. No matter what God does, whether it be refinement or even if He is not speaking, not a single step of God’s work falls in line with mankind’s notions. Each step of His work shatters and breaks through people’s notions. This is His work. But you must believe that, since God’s work has reached a certain stage, He will not put all mankind to death no matter what. He gives both promises and blessings to mankind, and all those who pursue Him will be able to gain His blessings, but those who do not will be cast out by God. This depends on your pursuit. Regardless of anything else, you must believe that when God’s work is concluded, every single person will have a suitable destination. God has provided mankind with beautiful aspirations, but without pursuit they are unattainable. You should be able to see this now—God’s refinement and His chastisement of people is His work, but people, for their part, must pursue a change in disposition at all times. In your practical experience, you must first know how to eat and drink God’s words; you must find within His words what you should enter into and your own shortcomings, you should seek entry in your practical experience, and take the portion of God’s words that should be put into practice and try to do so. Eating and drinking God’s words is one aspect. In addition, the life of the church must be maintained, you must have a normal spiritual life, and you must be able to hand over all of your current states to God. No matter how His work changes, your spiritual life should remain normal. A spiritual life can maintain your normal entering in. No matter what God does, you ought to continue your spiritual life uninterrupted and fulfill your duty. This is what people should do. It is all the work of the Holy Spirit, but while for those with a normal condition this is perfection, for those with an abnormal condition it is a trial. At the current stage of the Holy Spirit’s refinement work, some people say that God’s work is so great and that people absolutely need refinement, otherwise their stature will be too small and they will have no way of attaining God’s will. However, for those whose condition is not good, it becomes a reason to not pursue God, and a reason to not attend gatherings or eat and drink God’s word. In God’s work, no matter what He does or what changes He effects, people must maintain a baseline of a normal spiritual life. Perhaps you have not been lax in this current stage of your spiritual life, but you still have not gained much, and have not reaped a great harvest. Under these kinds of circumstances, you must still follow the rules; you must keep to these rules so that you do not suffer losses in your life and so that you satisfy God’s will. If your spiritual life is abnormal, you cannot understand God’s current work, and instead always feel that it is completely incompatible with your own notions, and though you are willing to follow Him, you lack internal drive. So, no matter what God is currently doing, people must cooperate. If people do not cooperate, then the Holy Spirit cannot do His work, and if people do not have a heart to cooperate, then they can hardly gain the work of the Holy Spirit. If you want to have the work of the Holy Spirit inside of you, and if you want to gain God’s approval, then you must maintain your original devotion before the face of God. Now, it is not necessary for you to have a deeper understanding, a higher theory, or other such things—all that is required is that you uphold God’s word on the original foundation. If people do not cooperate with God and do not pursue deeper entry, then God will take away all the things that were originally theirs. On the inside, people are always greedy for ease and would rather enjoy what is already available. They want to gain God’s promises without paying any price at all. These are the extravagant thoughts that mankind entertains. Gaining life itself without paying a price—but has anything ever been this easy? When someone believes in God and seeks life entry and seeks a change in their disposition, they must pay a price and achieve a state in which they will always follow God, no matter what He does. This is something that people must do. Even if you follow all of this as a rule, you must always uphold it, and no matter how great the trials, you cannot let go of your normal relationship with God. You should be able to pray, maintain your church life, and never leave your brothers and sisters. When God tries you, you should still seek the truth. This is the minimum requirement for a spiritual life. Always having the desire to seek, and striving to cooperate, applying all of your energy—can this be done?

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God

It is during bitter refinement that man can most easily fall under the influence of Satan, so how should you love God during such refinement? You should summon your will, laying your heart before God and devoting the last of your time to Him. No matter how God refines you, you should be able to put the truth into practice to satisfy God’s will and you should take it upon yourself to seek God and seek communion. At times like these, the more passive you are, the more negative you will become and the easier it will be for you to regress. When it is necessary for you to serve your function, although you do not serve it well, you do all you can, and do so using nothing more than your God-loving heart; regardless of what others say—whether they say you have done well, or that you have done badly—your intentions are correct, and you are not self-righteous, for you are acting in behalf of God. When others misinterpret you, you are able to pray to God and say: “O God! I do not ask that others tolerate me or treat me well, nor that they understand or approve of me. I only ask that I may be able to love You in my heart, that I may be at ease in my heart, and that my conscience may be clear. I do not ask that others commend me, or hold me in high regard; I only seek to satisfy You from my heart; I serve my role by doing all that I can, and although I am foolish, stupid, of poor caliber and blind, I know that You are lovely, and I am willing to devote all I have to You.” As soon as you pray in this way, your God-loving heart emerges, and you feel much more relieved in your heart. This is what is meant by practicing the love of God. As you experience, you will fail twice and succeed once, or else fail five times and succeed twice, and as you experience in this way, only amid failure will you be able to see the loveliness of God and discover what is lacking within you. When you next encounter such situations, you should caution yourself, temper your steps, and pray more often. You will gradually develop the ability to triumph in such situations. When that happens, your prayers have been effective. When you see you have been successful this time, you will be gratified inside, and when you pray you will be able to feel God, and that the presence of the Holy Spirit has not left you—only then will you know how God works within you. Practicing in this way will give you a path to experiencing. If you do not put the truth into practice, then you will be without the presence of the Holy Spirit within you. But if you put the truth into practice when you encounter things as they are, then, though you hurt inside, the Holy Spirit will be with you afterward, you will be able to feel the presence of God when you pray, you will have the strength to practice the words of God, and during communion with your brothers and sisters there will be nothing weighing on your conscience and you will feel at peace, and in this way, you will be able to bring to light what you have done. Regardless of what others say, you will be able to have a normal relationship with God, you will not be constrained by others, you will rise above everything—and in this, you will demonstrate that your practice of God’s words has been effective.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love

For every step of God’s work, there is a way that people should cooperate. God refines people so that they have confidence as they undergo refinements. God perfects people so that they have confidence to be perfected by God and are willing to accept His refinements and to be dealt with and pruned by God. The Spirit of God works within people to bring them enlightenment and illumination, and to have them cooperate with Him and practice. God does not speak during refinements. He does not utter His voice, but still, there is work that people should do. You should uphold what you already have, you should still be able to pray to God, be close to God, and stand witness before God; in this way you will fulfill your own duty. All of you should see clearly from God’s work that His trials of people’s confidence and love require that they pray more to God, and that they more often savor God’s words before Him. If God enlightens you and has you understand His will, and yet you do not put any of this into practice, you will gain nothing. When you put God’s words into practice, you should still be able to pray to Him, and when you savor His words you should come before Him and seek and be full of confidence in Him, with no trace of feeling disheartened or cold. Those who do not put God’s words into practice are full of energy during gatherings, but fall into darkness when they return home. There are some who do not even want to gather together. So, you must clearly see what duty it is that people should fulfill. You may not know what God’s will actually is, but you can perform your duty, you can pray when you should, you can put the truth into practice when you should, and you can do what people ought to do. You can uphold your original vision. In this way, you will be more able to accept God’s next step of work. When God works in a hidden way, it is a problem if you do not seek. When He speaks and preaches during assemblies, you listen with enthusiasm, but when He does not speak you lack energy and draw back. What kind of person acts in this way? This is someone who just follows wherever the herd goes. They have no stance, no testimony, and no vision! Most people are like this. If you continue on that way, one day when you come upon a great trial, you will fall into punishment. Having a stance is very important in God’s process of perfecting people. If you do not doubt a single step of God’s work, if you fulfill man’s duty, if you sincerely uphold what God has you put into practice, that is, you remember God’s exhortations, and no matter what He does in the present day you do not forget His exhortations, if you have no doubt about His work, maintain your stance, uphold your testimony, and are victorious every step of the way, then in the end you will be perfected by God and be made into an overcomer. If you are able to stand firm through every step of God’s trials, and if you can still stand firm at the very end, then you are an overcomer, you are someone who has been perfected by God.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God

As creatures, people should fulfill the duties that they ought to, and stand witness for God in the midst of refinement. In every trial they should uphold the witness that they should bear, and do so resoundingly for the sake of God. A person who does this is an overcomer. No matter how God refines you, you remain full of confidence and never lose confidence in Him. You do what man should do. This is what God requires of man, and man’s heart should be able to fully return to Him and turn toward Him in every passing moment. This is an overcomer. Those whom God refers to as “overcomers” are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an “overcomer.” If your pursuit is excellent when God blesses you, but you retreat without His blessings, is this purity? Since you are certain that this way is true, you must follow it until the end; you must maintain your devotion to God. Since you have seen that God Himself has come to the earth to perfect you, you should give your heart entirely to Him. If you can still follow Him no matter what He does, even if He determines an unfavorable outcome for you at the very end, this is maintaining your purity in front of God. Offering a holy spiritual body and a pure virgin to God means keeping a sincere heart in front of God. For mankind, sincerity is purity, and the ability to be sincere toward God is maintaining purity. This is what you should put into practice. When you ought to pray, you pray; when you ought to gather together in fellowship, you do so; when you ought to sing hymns, you sing hymns; and when you ought to forsake the flesh, you forsake the flesh. When you perform your duty, you do not muddle through it; when you are faced with trials you stand firm. This is devotion to God. If you do not uphold what people should do, then all of your previous suffering and resolutions have been futile.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God

God’s work in the last days requires enormous confidence, confidence even greater than that of Job. Without confidence, people will not be able to continue to gain experience and nor will they be able to be perfected by God. When the day of great trials comes, there will be people leaving the churches—some here, some there. There will be some who had been doing quite well in their pursuit in the previous days and it will be unclear why they no longer believe. Many things will happen that you will not understand, and God will not reveal any signs or wonders, nor do anything supernatural. This is to see if you can stand firm—God uses facts to refine people. You have not yet suffered much. In the future when great trials come, in some places every single person in the church will leave, and those whom you have had a good relationship with will leave and abandon their faith. Will you be able to stand firm then? Up to now, the trials you have faced have been minor, and you probably have been barely able to withstand them. This step includes refinements and perfecting through words only. In the next step, the facts will come upon you to refine you, and then you will be in the midst of peril. Once it becomes really serious, God will advise you to hurry up and leave, and religious people will try to lure you into going with them. This is to see if you can continue on the path, and all of these things are trials. The current trials are minor, but the day will come when there will be some homes where the parents no longer believe, and some where the children no longer believe. Will you be able to continue? The farther forward you go, the greater your trials will become. God carries out His work of refining people according to their needs and their stature. During the stage of God perfecting mankind, it is impossible that the number of people will continue to grow—it will only shrink. It is only through these refinements that people can be perfected. Being dealt with, disciplined, tested, chastised, cursed—can you withstand all of this? When you see a church with a particularly good situation, where the sisters and brothers are all seeking with great energy, you yourself feel encouraged. When the day comes that they have all left, some of them no longer believe, some have left to do business or get married, and some have joined the religion; will you be able to stand firm then? Will you be able to remain undisturbed within? God’s perfection of mankind is not such a simple thing! He utilizes many things to refine people. People see these as methods, but in God’s original intention these are not methods at all, but facts. In the end, when He has refined people to a certain point and they no longer have any complaints, this stage of His work will be complete. The great work of the Holy Spirit is to perfect you, and when He does not work and hides Himself, it is even more for the purpose of perfecting you, and in particular in this way it can be seen whether people have love for God, whether they have true confidence in Him. When God speaks plainly, there is no need for you to search; it is only when He is concealed that you need to search and feel your way through. You should be able to fulfill the duty of a created being, and no matter what your future outcome and your destination may be, you should be able to pursue knowledge and love for God during the years you are alive, and no matter how God treats you, you should be able to avoid complaining. There is one condition for the Holy Spirit to work within people. They must thirst and seek and not be half-hearted or doubtful about God’s actions, and they must be able to uphold their duty at all times; only in this way can they gain the work of the Holy Spirit. In each step of God’s work, what is required of mankind is enormous confidence and coming before God to seek—only through experience can people discover how lovable God is and how the Holy Spirit works in people. If you do not experience, if you do not feel your way through that, if you do not seek, then you will gain nothing. You must feel your way through your experiences, and only through your experiences can you see God’s actions and recognize His wondrousness and unfathomableness.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God

All of you are in the midst of trial and refinement. How should you love God during refinement? Having experienced refinement, people are able to offer true praise to God, and amidst refinement, they can see that they are very much lacking. The greater your refinement, the more you are able to renounce the flesh; the greater people’s refinement, the greater their love for God. This is what you should understand. Why must people be refined? What effect does it aim to achieve? What is the significance of God’s work of refinement in man? If you truly seek God, then having experienced His refinement to a certain point you will feel that it is extremely good, and of the utmost necessity. How should man love God during refinement? By using the resolve to love God to accept His refinement: During refinement you are tormented inside, as if a knife were being twisted in your heart, yet you are willing to satisfy God using your God-loving heart, and you are unwilling to care for the flesh. This is what is meant by practicing the love of God. You hurt inside, and your suffering has reached a certain point, yet you are still willing to come before God and pray, saying: “O God! I cannot leave You. Although there is darkness within me, I wish to satisfy You; You know my heart, and I would that You invest more of Your love within me.” This is practice during refinement. If you use your God-loving heart as the foundation, refinement can bring you closer to God and make you more intimate with God. Since you believe in God, you must hand over your heart before God. If you offer up and lay your heart before God, then during refinement it will be impossible for you to deny God, or leave God. In this way your relationship with God will become ever closer and ever more normal, and your communion with God will become ever more frequent. If you always practice in this way, then you will spend more time in God’s light and more time under the guidance of His words. There will also be more and more changes in your disposition, and your knowledge will increase day by day. When the day comes that God’s trials suddenly befall you, you will not only be able to stand by God’s side, but will also be able to bear testimony to God. At that time, you will be like Job, and like Peter. Having borne testimony to God you will truly love Him, and will gladly lay down your life for Him; you will be God’s witness, and one who is beloved by God. Love that has experienced refinement is strong, not weak. Regardless of when or how God subjects you to His trials, you are able to lay down your concerns about whether you live or die, to gladly cast aside everything for God, and to happily endure anything for God—thus your love will be pure and your faith real. Only then will you be someone who is truly loved by God, and who has truly been made perfect by God.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love

When Job first underwent his trials, he was stripped of all his property and all of his children, but he did not fall down or say anything that was a sin against God as a result. He had overcome the temptations of Satan, and he had overcome his material assets, his offspring and the trial of losing all his worldly possessions, which is to say he was able to obey God as He took things away from him and he was also able to offer thanks and praise to God because of what God did. Such was Job’s conduct during Satan’s first temptation, and such was also Job’s testimony during the first trial of God. In the second trial, Satan stretched forth its hand to afflict Job, and although Job experienced pain greater than he had ever felt before, still his testimony was enough to leave people astounded. He used his fortitude, conviction, and obedience to God, as well as his fear of God, to once more defeat Satan, and his conduct and his testimony were once more approved of and favored by God. During this temptation, Job used his actual conduct to proclaim to Satan that the pain of the flesh could not alter his faith and obedience to God or take away his devotion to God and God-fearing heart; he would not renounce God or give up his own perfection and uprightness because he faced death. Job’s determination made a coward of Satan, his faith left Satan timorous and trembling, the intensity with which he fought against Satan during their life-and-death battle bred in Satan a deep hatred and resentment; his perfection and uprightness left Satan with nothing more it could do to him, such that Satan abandoned its attacks on him and gave up its accusations against Job that it had laid before Jehovah God. This meant that Job had overcome the world, he had overcome the flesh, he had overcome Satan, and he had overcome death; he was completely and utterly a man who belonged to God. During these two trials, Job stood firm in his testimony, actually lived out his perfection and uprightness, and broadened the scope of his living principles of fearing God and shunning evil. Having undergone these two trials, there was born in Job a richer experience, and this experience made him more mature and seasoned, it made him stronger, and of greater conviction, and it made him more confident of the rightness and worthiness of the integrity to which he held firm. Jehovah God’s trials of Job gave him a deep understanding and sense of God’s concern for man, and allowed him to sense the preciousness of God’s love, from which point consideration toward and love for God were added into his fear of God. The trials of Jehovah God not only did not alienate Job from Him, but brought his heart closer to God. When the fleshly pain endured by Job reached its peak, the concern that he felt from Jehovah God gave him no choice but to curse the day of his birth. Such conduct was not long-planned, but a natural revelation of the consideration for and love for God from within his heart, it was a natural revelation that came from his consideration for and love for God. This is to say, because he loathed himself, and he was unwilling to, and could not stand to torment God, thus his consideration and love reached the point of selflessness. At this time, Job elevated his long-standing adoration and yearning for God and devotion to God to the level of consideration and loving. At the same time, he also elevated his faith and obedience to God and fear of God to the level of consideration and loving. He did not allow himself to do anything that would cause harm to God, he did not permit himself any conduct that would hurt God, and did not allow himself to bring any sorrow, grief, or even unhappiness upon God for his own reasons. In God’s eyes, although Job was still the same Job as before, Job’s faith, obedience, and fear of God had brought God complete satisfaction and enjoyment. At this time, Job had attained the perfection that God had expected him to attain; he had become someone truly worthy of being called “perfect and upright” in God’s eyes. His righteous deeds allowed him to overcome Satan and to stand fast in his testimony to God. So, too, his righteous deeds made him perfect, and allowed the value of his life to be elevated and transcend more than ever, and they also made him the first person to no longer be attacked and tempted by Satan. Because Job was righteous, he was accused and tempted by Satan; because Job was righteous, he was handed over to Satan; and because Job was righteous, he overcame and defeated Satan, and stood firm in his testimony. Henceforth Job became the first man who would never again be handed over to Satan, he truly came before the throne of God and lived in the light, under the blessings of God without the spying or ruination of Satan…. He had become a true man in the eyes of God; he had been set free …

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II

The purpose of the work of refinement is primarily to perfect people’s faith. In the end, what is achieved is that you want to leave but, at the same time, you cannot; some people are still able to have faith even when they are bereft of the tiniest shred of hope; and people no longer have hope at all regarding their own future prospects. Only at this time will God’s refinement be finished. Man still has not reached the stage of hovering between life and death, and they have not tasted death, so the process of refinement is not yet finished. Even those who were at the step of the service-doers were not refined to the utmost. Job underwent extreme refinement, and he had nothing to rely on. People must undergo refinements to the point that they have no hope and nothing to rely on—only this is true refinement. During the time of the service-doers, if your heart was always quiet before God, and if no matter what He did and no matter what His will for you was, you always obeyed His arrangements, then at the end of the road you would understand everything that God had done. You undergo the trials of Job, and at the same time you undergo the trials of Peter. When Job was tested, he stood witness, and in the end, Jehovah was revealed to him. Only after he stood witness was he worthy of seeing the face of God. Why is it said: “I hide from the land of filth but show Myself to the holy kingdom”? That means that only when you are holy and stand witness can you have the dignity to see the face of God. If you cannot stand witness for Him, you do not have the dignity to see His face. If you retreat or make complaints against God in the face of refinements, thus failing to stand witness for Him and becoming Satan’s laughing stock, then you will not gain the appearance of God. If you are like Job, who in the midst of trials cursed his own flesh and did not complain against God, and was able to detest his own flesh without complaining or sinning through his words, then you will be standing witness. When you undergo refinements to a certain degree and can still be like Job, utterly obedient in front of God and without other requirements of Him or your own notions, then God will appear to you. Now God does not appear to you because you have so many of your own notions, personal prejudices, selfish thoughts, individual requirements and fleshly interests, and you are not worthy of seeing His face. Were you to see God, you would measure Him through your own notions and, in so doing, He would be nailed to the cross by you. If many things come upon you that do not align with your notions but yet you are able to put them aside and gain knowledge of God’s actions from these things, and if in the midst of refinements you reveal your God-loving heart, then this is standing witness. If your home is peaceful, you enjoy comforts of the flesh, no one is persecuting you, and your brothers and sisters in the church obey you, can you display your God-loving heart? Can this situation refine you? It is only through refinement that your God-loving heart can be shown, and it is only through things occurring that do not align with your notions that you can be perfected. With the service of many contrary and negative things, and by employing all sorts of Satan’s manifestations—its actions, its accusations, its disturbances and deceptions—God shows you Satan’s hideous face clearly, and thereby perfects your ability to distinguish Satan, that you may hate Satan and forsake it.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement

The greater God’s refinement, the more people’s hearts are able to love God. The torment in their hearts is of benefit to their lives, they are more able to be at peace before God, their relationship with God is closer, and they are better able to see God’s supreme love and His supreme salvation. Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times, and Job underwent several trials. If you wish to be made perfect by God, you too must undergo refinement hundreds of times; only if you go through this process and rely upon this step will you be able to satisfy God’s will and be made perfect by God. Refinement is the best means by which God makes people perfect; only refinement and bitter trials can bring out the true love for God in people’s hearts. Without hardship, people lack true love for God; if they are not tested within, if they are not truly subjected to refinement, then their hearts will always be floating around outside. Having been refined to a certain point, you will see your own weaknesses and difficulties, you will see how much you are lacking and that you are unable to overcome the many problems you encounter, and you will see how great is your disobedience. Only during trials are people able to truly know their real states; trials make people better able to be perfected.

During his lifetime, Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times and underwent many painful ordeals. This refinement became the foundation of his supreme love of God, and the most significant experience of his entire life. That he was able to possess a supreme love of God was, in one sense, because of his resolve to love God; more importantly, however, it was because of the refinement and suffering that he underwent. This suffering became his guide on the path of loving God, and the thing that was most memorable to him. If people do not undergo the pain of refinement when loving God, then their love is full of impurities and their own preferences; love such as this is full of the ideas of Satan, and fundamentally incapable of satisfying God’s will. Having the resolve to love God is not the same as truly loving God. Even though all that they think of in their hearts is for the sake of loving and satisfying God, and even though their thoughts seem to be entirely devoted to God and devoid of any human ideas, yet when their thoughts are brought before God, He does not commend or bless such thoughts. Even when people have fully understood all truths—when they have come to know them all—this cannot be said to be a sign of loving God, it cannot be said that these people actually love God. Despite having understood many truths without undergoing refinement, people are incapable of putting these truths into practice; only during refinement can people understand the real meaning of these truths, only then can people genuinely appreciate their inner meaning. At that time, when they try again, they are able to put the truths into practice properly, and in accordance with God’s will; at that time, their human ideas are lessened, their human corruption is reduced, and their human emotions are diminished; only at that time is their practice a true manifestation of the love of God. The effect of the truth of the love of God is not achieved through spoken knowledge or mental willingness, and nor can it be achieved simply by understanding that truth. It requires that people pay a price, that they undergo much bitterness during refinement, and only then will their love become pure and after God’s own heart. In His requirement that man love Him, God does not demand that man love Him using passion or his own will; only through loyalty and the use of the truth to serve Him can man truly love Him.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love

Just how much do you love God today? And just how much do you know of all that God has done in you? These are the things you should learn. When God arrives on earth, all that He has done in man and allowed man to see is so that man will love Him and truly know Him. That man is able to suffer for God and has been able to come this far is, in one regard, because of God’s love, and in another regard, because of God’s salvation; moreover, it is because of the judgment and the work of chastisement that God has carried out in man. If you are without the judgment, chastisement, and trials of God, and if God has not made you suffer, then, in all honesty you do not truly love God. The greater God’s work in man, and the greater man’s suffering, the more apparent it is just how meaningful God’s work is, and the more that man’s heart is able to truly love God. How do you learn how to love God? Without torment and refinement, without painful trials—and if, furthermore, all that God gave man were grace, love, and mercy—would you be able to reach a point of truly loving God? On one hand, during God’s trials man comes to know his deficiencies and to see that he is insignificant, contemptible, and lowly, that he has nothing and is nothing; on the other hand, during His trials God creates different environments for man that make man more able to experience the loveliness of God. Although the pain is great, and sometimes insurmountable—even reaching the level of crushing grief—having experienced it, man sees how lovely God’s work in him is, and only upon this foundation is there born in man true love for God. Today man sees that with the grace, love, and mercy of God alone, he is incapable of truly knowing himself, and much less is he able to know the substance of man. Only through both the refinement and judgment of God, and during the process of refinement itself, can man know his deficiencies, and know that he has nothing. Thus, man’s love of God is built upon the foundation of the refinement and judgment of God. If you only enjoy the grace of God, having a peaceful family life or material blessings, then you have not gained God, and your belief in God cannot be considered successful. God has already carried out one stage of the work of grace in the flesh, and has already bestowed material blessings upon man, but man cannot be made perfect with grace, love, and mercy alone. In man’s experiences, he encounters some of God’s love and sees the love and mercy of God, yet having experienced for a period of time, he sees that God’s grace and His love and mercy are incapable of making man perfect, incapable of revealing that which is corrupt within man, and incapable of ridding man of his corrupt disposition, or making perfect his love and faith. God’s work of grace was the work of one period, and man cannot rely on enjoying the grace of God in order to know God.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God

Today, most people do not have that knowledge. They believe that suffering is without value, they are renounced by the world, their home life is troubled, they are not beloved of God, and their prospects are bleak. The suffering of some people reaches an extreme, and their thoughts turn to death. This is not true love for God; such people are cowards, they have no perseverance, they are weak and powerless! God is eager for man to love Him, but the more man loves Him, the greater man’s suffering, and the more man loves Him, the greater man’s trials. If you love Him, then every kind of suffering will befall you—and if you do not, then perhaps everything will go smoothly for you and all will be peaceful around you. When you love God, you will feel that much around you is insurmountable, and because your stature is too small you will be refined; moreover, you will be incapable of satisfying God, and you will always feel that God’s will is too lofty, that it is beyond the reach of man. Because of all this you will be refined—because there is much weakness within you, and much that is incapable of satisfying the will of God, you will be refined internally. Yet you must clearly see that purification is only achieved through refinement. Thus, during these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony. When you are tempted by Satan, you should say: “My heart belongs to God, and God has already gained me. I cannot satisfy you—I must devote my all to satisfying God.” The more you satisfy God, the more God blesses you and the greater the strength of your love for God; so, too, will you have faith and resolve, and will feel that nothing is more worthy or significant than a life spent loving God. It can be said that man has but to love God to be without sorrow. Although there are times when your flesh is weak and you are beset by many real troubles, during these times you will truly rely on God, and within your spirit you will be consoled, and you will feel certainty, and that you have something to depend upon. In this way, you will be able to overcome many environments, and so you will not complain about God because of the anguish that you suffer. Instead, you will want to sing, dance, and pray, to assemble and commune, to give thought to God, and you will feel that all the people, matters, and things around you that are organized by God are fitting. If you do not love God, all that you look upon will be irksome to you and nothing will be pleasing to your eyes; in your spirit you will not be free but downtrodden, your heart will always complain about God, and you will always feel that you suffer so much torment, and that it is so unjust. If you do not pursue for the sake of happiness, but in order to satisfy God and to not be accused by Satan, then such pursuit will give you great strength to love God. Man is able to carry out all that is spoken by God, and all that he does is able to satisfy God—this is what it means to be possessed of reality. Pursuing the satisfaction of God is using your God-loving heart to put His words into practice; regardless of the time—even when others are without strength—inside of you there is still a God-loving heart, which profoundly yearns for and misses God. This is real stature. Just how great your stature is depends on how much of a God-loving heart you possess, on whether you are able to stand fast when tested, whether you are weak when a certain environment comes upon you, and whether you can stand your ground when your brothers and sisters reject you; the arrival of the facts will show just what your God-loving heart is like. It can be seen from much of God’s work that God really does love man, though the eyes of man’s spirit have yet to be completely opened and he is unable to clearly see much of the work of God and His will, nor the many things which are lovely about God; man has too little true love for God. You have believed in God throughout all this time, and today God has cut off all means of escape. Realistically speaking, you have no choice but to take the right path, the right path that you have been led onto by the harsh judgment and supreme salvation of God. Only after experiencing hardship and refinement does man know that God is lovely. Having experienced up until today, it can be said that man has come to know part of God’s loveliness, but this is still not enough, because man is so lacking. Man must experience more of God’s wondrous work, and more of all the refinement of suffering arranged by God. Only then can man’s life disposition be changed.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God

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Question 2: What’s the difference between God’s work and man’s work? And what’s the essential difference between God incarnate and the people who God uses?

Almighty God says, “The work of God Himself involves the work of all of mankind, and it also represents the work of the entire era. That is to say, God’s own work represents the movement and trend of all of the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the work of the apostles follows God’s own work and does not lead the era, nor does it represent the working trend of the Holy Spirit in the entire era. They only do the work man ought to do, which does not at all involve the management work. God’s own work is the project within the management work. Man’s work is only the duty of men being used and bears no relation to the management work”

Question 4: I read Almighty God’s words, “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God.” I think this is a fantastic passage of God’s word, very practical, and very important. With regard to why corrupt mankind must receive the salvation of God’s incarnation, this is an aspect of the truth that most people urgently need to understand. Please commune with us a little more on this.

Almighty God says, “The flesh of man has been corrupted by Satan, and most deeply blinded, and profoundly harmed. The most fundamental reason why God works personally in the flesh is because the object of His salvation is man, who is of the flesh, and because Satan also uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God. The battle with Satan is actually the work of conquering man, and at the same time, man is also the object of God’s salvation. In this way, the work of God incarnate is essential."

Question 2: The truths in the Bible are already complete. Having the Bible is enough for our belief in God. We don’t need any new words!

Almighty God tells us, “All that is recorded within the Bible is limited and unable to represent all the work of God. The Four Gospels have fewer than one hundred chapters altogether in which are written a finite number of happenings, such as Jesus cursing the fig tree, Peter’s three denials of the Lord, Jesus appearing to the disciples following His crucifixion and resurrection, teaching about fasting, teaching about prayer, teaching about divorce, the birth and genealogy of Jesus, Jesus’ appointment of the disciples, and so forth. ”

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