12. How one can perform their duty adequately
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
With regard to the adequate performance of duty, the emphasis is on the word “adequate.” So, how should “adequate” be defined? In this, too, there are truths to seek. Is it adequate merely to do a passable job? For the specific details of how to understand and regard the word “adequate,” you must understand many truths and fellowship more on the truth. In the course of fulfilling your duty, you must understand the truth and the principles; only then can you arrive at an adequate performance of duty. Why should people fulfill their duties? Once they believe in God and have accepted His commission, people have their share of responsibility and obligation in the work of God’s house and in the site of God’s work, and, in turn, because of this responsibility and obligation, they have become an element in God’s work, one of the recipients of His work, and one of the recipients of His salvation. There is quite a substantial relationship between people’s salvation and how they fulfill their duties, whether they can do them well, and whether they can do them adequately. Since you have become a part of God’s house and accepted His commission, you now have a duty. It is not for you to say how this duty should be fulfilled; it is for God to say; it is for the truth to say; and it is dictated by the standards of the truth. Therefore, people should know, understand and be clear on how God measures people’s duties, what He measures them according to—this is a worthwhile thing to seek. In God’s work, different people receive different duties. That is, people with different gifts, calibers, ages, and conditions receive different duties at different times. No matter what duty you have received, and no matter the times or circumstances of your receiving it, your duty is only a responsibility and obligation you are supposed to perform, it is not your management, nor is it your business. The standard God demands for the performance of your duty is that it is “adequate.” What does it mean to be “adequate”? It means to meet God’s demands and satisfy Him. God must say it is adequate and it must receive His commendation. Only then will the performance of your duty have been adequate. If God says it is not adequate, no matter how long you have been performing your duty, or how much of a price you have paid, it is not adequate. Then what will the result be? It will all be classified as rendering service. Only a minority of service-doers with loyal hearts will be spared. If they are not loyal in their service, then they do not have a hope of being spared. Speaking plainly, they will be destroyed in a disaster. If one never meets the mark when performing their duty, they will have their right to perform a duty taken away. After this right is taken away, some people will be cast aside. After being cast aside, they will be taken care of by other means. Does “taken care of by other means” mean to be cast out? Not necessarily. God looks mainly at whether a person has repented. Therefore, how you perform your duty is crucial, and people should take it seriously and conscientiously. Because performing your duty is directly connected to your life entry and entry into the truth realities, as well as big issues like your salvation and being perfected, you must treat the performance of your duty as the first and foremost task when believing in God. You cannot be muddle-headed about it.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?
Everyone who believes in God should understand His will. Only those who perform their duties well can satisfy God, and only by completing God’s commission can one’s performance of their duty be satisfactory. There is a standard for the accomplishment of God’s commission. The Lord Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” “Loving God” is one aspect of what God requires of people. Where should this requirement manifest itself? In that you must complete God’s commission. In practical terms, it is performing your duty well as a human. So what is the standard for performing your duty well? It is God’s requirement that you do your duty as a created being with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This should be easy to understand. In order to meet God’s requirement, you mainly need to put your heart into your duty. If you can put your heart into it, then it will be easy for you to act with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. If you perform your duty by just relying on the imaginings of your mind, and by relying on your gifts, can you meet God’s requirement? Absolutely not. So, what is the standard that must be met in order to fulfill God’s commission, and to perform your duty loyally and well? It is to do your duty with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. If you attempt to perform your duty well without a God-loving heart, it will not work. If your God-loving heart grows ever stronger and more genuine, then you will naturally be able to perform your duty with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. All your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength—the one that comes last is “all your strength”; “all your heart” comes first. If you’re not doing your duty with all your heart, how could you be doing it with all your strength? That’s why merely trying to do your duty with all your strength can’t achieve any results—or live up to the principles, either. What is the most important thing that God requires? (With all one’s heart.) No matter what duty or thing God entrusts to you, if you only labor, run around, and exert effort, can you be in accord with the truth principles? Can you walk in God’s will? (No.) Then how can you accord with God’s will? (With all our hearts.) The words “with all your heart” are easy to say, and people often say it, so how can you do it with all your heart? Some people say, “It’s when you do things with a little more effort and sincerity, think more, don’t let anything else occupy your mind, and just focus on how to do the task at hand, isn’t it?” Is it that simple? (No.) So let’s talk about a few fundamental principles of practice. According to the principles that you usually practice or observe, what should you do first to do things with all your heart? You must use all of your mind, use your energy, and put your heart into doing things, and not be careless or perfunctory. If a person is unable to do things with all their heart, then they have lost their heart, which is just like losing one’s soul. Their thoughts will wander while they speak, they will never put their heart into doing things, and they will be mindless no matter what they do. Consequently, they won’t be able to handle things well. If you don’t perform your duty with all your heart and don’t put your whole heart into it, you’ll perform your duty badly. Even if you perform your duty for several years, you won’t be able to do so adequately. You can’t do anything well if you don’t put your heart into it. Some people are not diligent workers, they are always unstable and capricious, they aim too high, and they don’t know where they have left their hearts. Do such people have hearts? How can you tell if a person has a heart or not? If someone who believes in God rarely reads God’s words, do they have a heart? If they never pray to God no matter what happens, do they have a heart? If they never seek the truth no matter what difficulties they face, do they have a heart? Some people perform their duties for many years without getting any clear results, do they have hearts? (No.) Can people who don’t have hearts perform their duties well? How can people perform their duties with all their hearts? First of all, you should think of responsibility. “This is my responsibility, I have to bear it. I can’t flee now when I’m needed most. I have to do my duty well and give an account of it to God.” This means you have a theoretical basis. But does merely having the theoretical basis mean you are doing your duty with all your heart? (No.) You are still far from fulfilling God’s requirements of entering into the truth reality and doing your duty with all your heart. So, what does it mean to do your duty with all your heart? How can people come to do their duties with all their hearts? First of all, you need to think, “Who am I performing this duty for? Am I doing it for God, or the church, or some person?” This must be figured clearly out. Also: “Who commissioned this duty to me? Was it God, or was it some leader or church?” This needs clearing up, too. This may seem like a small thing, but still, the truth must be sought to resolve it. Tell Me, was it some leader or worker, or some church, that commissioned you with your duty? (No.) That’s good, so long as you’re sure at heart about it. You must confirm that it was God who commissioned you with your duty. It may seem to have been given to you by a church leader, but in fact, it all comes from God’s arrangement. There may be times when it clearly comes from human will, but even then, you must first accept it from God. That’s the right way to experience it. If you accept it from God, and deliberately submit to His arrangement, and step up to accept His commission—if you undergo it like that, you will have God’s guidance and work.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is It, Exactly, on Which People Rely to Live?
The principles you must understand and the truths you must put into practice are the same regardless of what duty you are performing. Whether you are asked to be a leader or a worker, or whether you are cooking up dishes as a host, or whether you are asked to take care of some external affairs or do some physical labor, the truth principles that should be observed in performing these different duties are the same, in that they must be based in the truth and in God’s words. What then is the biggest and the chief among these principles? It is to devote one’s heart, mind, and effort to performing one’s duty, and to perform it to the required standard. To perform your duty well and perform it up to standard, you must know what duty is. Just what is duty, anyway? Is duty your own career? (No.) If you treat your duty as your own career, willing to put in all your effort to do it well, so that others can see how successful and distinguished you are, thinking that this gives your life meaning, would that be the correct view? (No.) Where does this view go wrong? It goes wrong in taking God’s commission as one’s own enterprise. While this seems fine to humans, to God it is walking the wrong path, violating the truth principles, and He condemns it. Duty must be performed according to God’s requirements and the truth principles in order to conform to God’s will. Contravening the truth principles and acting instead upon human inclinations is sinful. It opposes God and demands punishment. This is the fate of those foolish and ignorant people who do not accept the truth. Those who believe in God should be clear about what God demands from people. This vision must be made clear. First let’s talk about what duty is. A duty is not your own operation, your own career, or your own work; it is God’s work. God’s work requires your cooperation, which gives rise to your duty. The part of God’s work with which man must cooperate is his duty. The duty is a portion of God’s work—it is not your career, not your domestic affairs nor your personal affairs in life. Whether your duty is to deal with external or internal affairs, whether it involves mental or physical labor, this is the duty that you ought to perform, it is the work of the church, it forms one part of God’s management plan, and it is the commission God has given to you. It is not your personal business. So then, how should you treat your duty? At the very least, you must not perform your duty whichever way you please, you must not act recklessly. For instance, if you are in charge of making food for your brothers and sisters, that is your duty. How should you treat this task? (I should seek the truth principles.) How do you seek the truth principles? This touches upon the reality and the truth. You must think about how to put the truth into practice, how to perform this duty well, and which aspects of the truth this duty involves. Step one is that you must first of all know, “I am not cooking for myself. This is my duty that I am doing.” The aspect involved here is vision. What about step two? (I must think about how to cook the meal well.) What is the criterion for cooking well? (I must seek out God’s requirements.) That’s right. Only God’s requirements are the truth, the standard, and the principle. Cooking according to God’s requirements is one aspect of the truth. You must first of all consider this aspect of the truth, and then contemplate, “God has given me this duty to perform. What is the standard required by God?” This foundation is a requisite. How should you cook so as to meet God’s standard, then? The food you cook should be healthy, tasty, clean, and not harmful to the body—these are the details involved. As long as you cook according to this principle, the food you cook shall be made according to God’s requirements. Why do I say this? Because you sought the principles of this duty and did not exceed the scope delineated by God. This is the right way to cook. You have done your duty well, and you have done it satisfactorily.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Seeking the Truth Principles Can One Perform One’s Duty Well
No matter what duty you are fulfilling, you must seek the truth principles, understand God’s will, know what His requirements are with regard to the duty in question and understand what you should accomplish through that duty. Only in so doing can you carry out your work according to principle. In performing your duty, you absolutely cannot go by your personal preferences, doing whatever you would like to do, whatever you would be happy doing, or whatever would make you look good. This is acting in accordance with one’s own will. If you rely on your own personal preferences in the performance of your duty, thinking this is what God demands, and that this is what will make God happy, and if you forcibly impose your personal preferences on God or practice them as though they were the truth, observing them as if they were the truth principles, then is this not a mistake? This is not fulfilling your duty, and performing your duty in this way will not be remembered by God. Some people do not understand the truth, and they do not know what it means to fulfill their duties well. They feel that they have made effort and put their heart into it, forsaken their flesh and suffered, so why then can they never fulfill their duty satisfactorily? Why is God always dissatisfied? Where have these people gone wrong? Their mistake was to not seek out God’s requirements, and instead act according to their own ideas—this is the reason. They treated their own desires, preferences, and selfish motives as the truth, and they treated them as though they were what God loved, as though they were His standards and requirements. They saw what they believed to be correct, good, and beautiful to be the truth; this is wrong. In fact, even though people might sometimes think something is right and that it accords with the truth, that does not necessarily mean that it accords with God’s will. The more people think something is right, the more cautious they should be and the more they should seek the truth to see whether what they are thinking meets God’s requirements. If it precisely runs counter to His requirements and counter to His words, then it is unacceptable even if you think it is right, it is but a human thought, and it will not accord with the truth no matter how right you think it is. Whether something is right or wrong must be determined based on God’s words. No matter how right you think something is, unless there is a basis for it in God’s words, it is wrong and you must discard it. It is acceptable only when it accords with the truth, and only by upholding the truth principles in this way can your performance of your duty be up to standard.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Seeking the Truth Principles Can One Perform One’s Duty Well
When fulfilling your duty, you should always examine yourself to see if you are doing things according to principle, if your performance of your duty is up to standard, whether or not you are simply doing it in a perfunctory manner, whether you have tried to shirk your responsibilities, and whether there are any problems with your attitude and the way you think. Once you have self-reflected and these things become clear to you, you will have an easier time fulfilling your duty. No matter what you encounter while performing your duty—negativity and weakness, or being in a bad mood after being dealt with—you should treat it properly, and you must also seek the truth and understand God’s will. By doing these things, you will have a path to practice. If you wish to do a good job in fulfilling your duty, then you must not be affected by your mood. No matter how negative or weak you are feeling, you should practice the truth in everything you do, with absolute strictness, and sticking to the principles. If you do this, then not only will other people approve of you, but God will like you, too. As such, you will be a person who is responsible and who shoulders a burden; you will be a genuinely good person who actually fulfills your duties up to standard and who fully lives out the likeness of a genuine person. Such people are purified and achieve real transformation when fulfilling their duties, and they can be said to be honest in God’s eyes. Only honest people can persevere with practicing the truth and succeed in acting with principle, and can fulfill their duties up to standard. People who act with principle fulfill their duties meticulously when they are in a good mood; they do not work in a perfunctory manner, they are not arrogant and they do not show themselves off to make others think highly of them. When they are in a bad mood, they can complete their everyday tasks just as earnestly and responsibly, and even if they encounter something that is detrimental to the fulfillment of their duties, or that puts a bit of pressure on them or causes a disturbance while they do their duties, they are still able to quiet their hearts before God and pray, saying, “No matter how big a problem I come up against—even if the sky comes tumbling down—as long as I am alive, I am determined to do my best to fulfill my duty. Every day I live is a day in which I must perform my duty well, so that I am worthy of this duty bestowed upon me by God, as well as this breath He has put in my body. Regardless of how much difficulty I might be in, I will set it all aside, for fulfilling my duty is of the utmost importance!” Those who are not affected by any person, event, thing, or environment, who are not constrained by any mood or external situation, and who put their duties and the commissions with which God has entrusted them first and foremost—they are the people who are loyal to God and who genuinely submit to Him. People like this have attained life entry and have entered the truth reality. This is one of the most genuine and practical expressions of living out the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Life Entry Begins With the Performance of Duty
Simply going through the motions when performing your duty is a major taboo. If you are always going through the motions while performing your duty, then you have no way of performing your duty to an acceptable standard. If you want to perform your duty with loyalty, you must first fix your problem of going through the motions. You should take steps to rectify the situation as soon as you notice it. If you are muddle-headed, are never able to notice problems, always just go through the motions, and do things in a perfunctory fashion, then you will have no way of doing your duty well. Therefore, you must always put your heart into your duty. This opportunity was very difficult for people to come by! When God gives them a chance, yet they do not grasp it, then that opportunity is lost—and even if, later on, they wish to find such an opportunity, it might not come up again. God’s work waits for no one, and neither do chances to perform one’s duty. Some people say, “I didn’t perform my duty well before, but now I still want to fulfill it. I should just get back on the horse.” It is wonderful to have resolve like this, but you must be clear about how to perform your duty well, and you must strive toward the truth. Only those who understand the truth can perform their duty well. Those who do not understand the truth are unqualified even to render service. The more clear you are on the truth, the more effective you will become in your duty. If you can see this matter for what it is, then you will strive toward the truth, and you have a hope of performing your duty well. There are not many opportunities currently to perform a duty, so you must take hold of them when you can. It is precisely when faced with a duty that you must exert yourself; that is when you must offer yourself up, expend yourself for God, and when you are required to pay the price. Do not hold anything back, harbor any schemes, leave any leeway, or give yourself a way out. If you leave any leeway, are calculating, or are wily and treacherous, then you are bound to do a poor job. Suppose you say, “No one saw me acting in a slick way. How cool!” What kind of thinking is this? Do you think you have pulled the wool over people’s eyes, and over God’s, too? In actual fact, though, does God know what you have done or not? He knows. In fact, anyone who interacts with you for a while will learn of your corruption and vileness, and though they may not say so outright, they will have their assessments of you in their hearts. There have been many people who were exposed and cast out because so many others came to understand them. Once everyone saw through to their essence, they revealed those people for who they were and kicked them out. So, whether they pursue the truth or not, people should do their duty well to the best of their ability; they should employ their conscience in doing practical things. You may have defects, but if you can be effective in performing your duty, this will not rise to the level of your being cast out. If you are always thinking that you are fine, that you are sure not to be cast out, if you still do not reflect or try to know yourself, and you ignore your proper tasks, if you are always careless and perfunctory, then when God’s chosen people really do lose their tolerance with you, they will expose you for who you are, and in all likelihood, you will be cast out. That’s because everyone has seen through you and you have lost your dignity and integrity. If no one trusts you, could God trust you? God looks upon man’s innermost heart: He absolutely could not trust such a person. If someone is an unreliable person, do not, under any circumstances, entrust them with a task. If you do not know what a person is like, or have just heard other people say this person is fine at what they do, but in your heart you are not one hundred percent sure, then all you can do is give them a small task to handle first—nothing important. If they do alright with a few small tasks, then you can give them a normal one. And only if they are successful with that task should you give them an important one to handle. If they mess up the normal task, then this person is not reliable. No matter whether a task is large or small, it cannot be entrusted to them. If you notice a person who is kind and responsible, has never just gone through the motions, who treats the tasks others have entrusted to them as their own, puts consideration into every aspect of the task, thinks of your needs, considers every angle, is very thorough and handles things in just the right way, making you particularly satisfied with their work—then, this is the sort of person who is trustworthy. Trustworthy people are people who have humanity, and people who have humanity are possessed of conscience and sense, and it should be very easy for them to perform their duty well, because they treat their duty as their obligation. People without conscience or sense are bound to perform their duty poorly, and they have no sense of responsibility toward their duty no matter what it is. Others always have to worry over them, supervise them, and ask about their progress; if not, things could go awry while performing their duty, and things could go wrong while performing a task, which would be more trouble than it’s worth.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Life Entry Begins With the Performance of Duty
In order to do your duty to an acceptable standard, you must first have the proper mentality. When your corrupt disposition pours forth, you must also adjust your own state. When you are able to treat your duty correctly, when you have shaken off the constraints and influences of all kinds of people, events, or things, when you can completely submit to God, then you will be able to do your duty well. The secret to doing this is to always put your duty and responsibilities first. In the process of doing your duty, you must always examine yourself: “Do I have a perfunctory attitude toward doing my duty? What things disturb me and cause me to be perfunctory in doing my duty? Am I doing my duty with all my heart and strength? Will acting this way enable God to trust me? Have I completely submitted my heart to God? Is doing my duty this way in accordance with principles? Will doing my duty this way achieve the best results?” You should often reflect on these questions. When you discover problems, you should actively seek the truth, and find the relevant words of God to solve them. Thus, you will be able to do your duty well, and you will have peace and joy in your heart. If problems frequently arise as you do your duty, most of them come from problems with your intentions—they are the problems of a corrupt disposition. When a person’s corrupt disposition pours forth, they will have problems in their heart and their state will be abnormal, which will directly influence their ability to do their duty. Problems that influence one’s ability to do their duty are big, serious problems; they can directly influence their relationship with God. For example, some people develop notions and misunderstandings about God when disasters befall their families. Some people become negative when they bear hardships in their duties, no one sees it or praises them. Some people do not do their duty well, always being perfunctory, and they complain against God when they are pruned and dealt with. Some people are unwilling to do their duty because they are always considering an escape route. These problems all directly influence a normal relationship with God. These are all problems of a corrupt disposition. They all stem from the fact that people do not know God, that they always scheme for and consider themselves, which prevents them from thinking about the will of God or submitting to God’s plans. This produces all kinds of negative feelings. This is just how people who do not pursue the truth are. When little problems come upon them, they become negative and weak, they vent frustration over doing their duty, they disobey and resist God, and they want to give up on their responsibilities and betray God. All these things are the various consequences produced by the constraints of a corrupt disposition. A person who loves the truth is able to set aside their own life, future, and destiny, and they only want to pursue and obtain the truth. They think that there is not enough time, they fear that they will be unable to do their duty, and that they will not be able to be perfected, so they are able to cast everything aside. Their mentality is just to turn to and submit to God. They are undaunted by any difficulties, and if they feel negative or weak, they resolve it naturally by reading a few passages from the words of God. People who do not pursue the truth are troubled, and no matter how you fellowship about the truth with them, they are unable to fully resolve their problems. Even if they momentarily come around and are able to accept the truth, they will nevertheless go back on it later, so it is very difficult to handle this kind of person. It is not that they do not understand anything of the truth, it is that they do not treasure or accept the truth in their heart. In the end, this leads to them being unable to set aside their own will, selfishness, future, destiny, and destination, which then always arise to disturb them. If a person is able to accept the truth, then as they understand the truth, all those things that belong to a corrupt disposition will naturally disappear, and they will have life entry and stature; they will no longer be an ignorant child. When a person has stature, they will grow more and more able to understand things, more and more able to discern between all kinds of people, and they will not be constrained by any person, event, or thing. They will not be influenced by anything anyone says or does. They will not be subject to interference from the evil forces of Satan, or to the deception and disturbances of false leaders and antichrists. If this happens, will a person’s stature not gradually grow? The more a person understands the truth, the faster their life will progress, and it will be easy for them to successfully do their duty and enter into the truth reality. When you have life entry and your life is gradually growing, your state will become increasingly normal. The people, events, and things that were once able to disturb and constrain you will no longer be a problem for you. You will have no more difficulties in doing your duty, and your relationship with God will become increasingly normal. When you know how to rely on God, when you know how to seek God’s will, when you know your own place, when you know what you should and should not do, and which matters do and do not require you to take responsibility, will your state not become increasingly normal? Living like this will not make you tired, will it? Not only will you not be tired, you will feel especially relaxed and happy. Will your heart not be filled with light as a result? Your mentality will be normal, the outpourings of your corrupt disposition will decrease, and you will be able to live in the presence of God, to live out normal humanity. When people see your mental outlook, they will think that there has been a great change in you. They will be willing to fellowship with you, will feel peace and joy in their hearts, and will also be benefited. As your stature grows, your speech and actions will become more proper and principled. When you see people who are weak and negative, you will be able to give them substantial help—not constraining or lecturing them, but rather using your own real experiences to help and benefit them. This way, you will not just be exerting yourself in the house of God, you will be a useful person, able to take responsibility on yourself, and able to do more meaningful things in the house of God. Is this not the kind of person God likes? If you are a person God likes, will everyone not also like you? (They will.) Why is God pleased by this kind of person? Because they are able to do practical things before Him, they are not prone to flattery, they deal in practical matters, and they are able to help and lead others by speaking about their true experiences. They are able to help others solve any problem, and when there are difficulties in the work of the church, they are able to lead the way forward, actively solving problems. This is what it means to loyally do their duty.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Life Entry Begins With the Performance of Duty
Do not always do things for your own sake and do not constantly consider your own interests; do not consider the interests of man, and give no thought to your own pride, reputation, and status. You must first consider the interests of God’s house, and make them your priority. You should be considerate of God’s will and begin by contemplating whether or not there have been impurities in the performance of your duty, whether you have been devoted, fulfilled your responsibilities, and given it your all, as well as whether or not you have been wholeheartedly thinking about your duty and the work of the church. You must consider these things. If you think about them frequently and figure them out, it will be easier for you to perform your duty well. If you are of poor caliber, if your experience is shallow, or if you are not proficient in your professional work, then there may be some mistakes or deficiencies in your work, and you may not get good results—but you will have done your best. You do not satisfy your own selfish desires or preferences. Instead, you give constant consideration to the work of the church and the interests of the house of God. Though you may not achieve good results in your duty, your heart will have been set straight; if, on top of this, you can seek the truth to solve the problems in your duty, you will be up to standard in the performance of your duty, and, at the same time, you will be able to enter into the truth reality. This is what it means to possess testimony.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition
At the outset, people are reluctant to practice the truth. Take devotedly fulfilling one’s duties as an example: You have some understanding of fulfilling your duties and being devoted to God, and you also have some understanding of the truth, but when will you be able to completely devote yourself to God? When will you be able to fulfill your duties in both name and deed? This will require a process. During this process, you could suffer many hardships. Some people might deal with you, and others might criticize you. Everyone’s eyes will be on you, scrutinizing you, and only then will you begin to realize that you are in the wrong and that you are the one who has done poorly, that lacking devotion in the fulfillment of your duty is unacceptable, and that you must not be careless or perfunctory! The Holy Spirit will enlighten you from within, and reproach you when you make a mistake. During this process, you will come to understand some things about yourself, and will know that you have too many impurities, harbor too many personal motives, and have too many immoderate desires when fulfilling your duties. Once you have understood the essence of these things, if you can come before God in prayer and have true repentance, you can be cleansed of those corrupt things. If, in this manner, you frequently seek the truth to resolve your own practical problems, you will gradually set foot upon the right path of faith; you will begin to have true life experiences, and your corrupt disposition will start to be gradually purified. The more your corrupt disposition is purified, the more your life disposition will transform.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Should Be Known About Transforming One’s Disposition
If you want the performance of your duties to meet the mark, then in the course of performing your duties, you must first achieve harmonious cooperation. There are currently some people who are already practicing harmonious cooperation. After understanding the truth, even though they are unable to fully practice the truth, and even though there are failures, weakness, and deviations along the way, they still strive toward the truth principles. So, they have hope of achieving harmonious cooperation. For example, sometimes you may think what you are doing is right, but you are capable of not being self-righteous. You can discuss with others and fellowship on the truth principles together until they are clear and apparent, so that everyone understands, and is in agreement that doing this will achieve the best result. Also, that it does not step outside the principles, that it takes the interests of the house of God into consideration, will protect the interests of God’s house to the greatest degree possible. Practicing in this way is in alignment with the truth principles. Although the end result may not always be as you envisioned, the path, direction, and goal of your practice was right. So how does God see it? How does God define this matter? God will say that the performance of your duty is adequate.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?
What must one do to perform their duty well? One must come to perform it with all their heart and all their energy. Using all one’s heart and energy means keeping all one’s thoughts on performing their duty and not letting other things occupy them, and then applying the energy that one has, exerting the entirety of one’s power, and bringing one’s caliber, gifts, strengths, and the things they have understood to bear on the task. If you have the comprehension and understanding ability, and have a good idea, you must communicate with others about it. This is what it means to cooperate in harmony. This is how you will perform your duty well, how you will achieve satisfactory performance of your duty. If you wish always to take on everything yourself, if you always want to do great things alone, if you always want the focus to be on you and not others, are you performing your duty? What you are doing is called autocracy; it is putting on a show. It is satanic behavior, not the performance of duty. No one, no matter their strengths, gifts, or special talents, can take on all the work themselves; they must learn to cooperate in harmony if they are to do the church’s work well. That is why harmonious cooperation is a principle of the practice of performing one’s duty. As long as you apply all your heart and all your energy and all your faithfulness, and offer up everything you can do, you are performing your duty well. If you have a thought or idea, tell it to others; do not hold it back or keep it tucked away—if you have suggestions, offer them; whoever’s idea is in accordance with the truth is to be accepted and obeyed. Do this, and you will have achieved cooperation in harmony. This is what it means to perform one’s duty faithfully. In performing your duty, you are not to take on everything yourself, nor are you to work yourself to death, or to be “the only flower in blossom” or maverick; rather, you are to learn how to cooperate with others in harmony, and to do all you can, to fulfill your responsibilities, to exert all your energy. That is what it means to perform your duty. To perform your duty is to brandish all the power and light that you have in order to achieve a result. That is enough. Do not try always to show off, always to say high-sounding things, to do things by yourself. You should learn how to work with others, and you should focus more on listening to others’ suggestions and discovering their strengths. In this way, cooperating in harmony becomes easy. If you try always to show off and have what you say go, you are not cooperating in harmony. What are you doing? You are causing a disturbance and undermining others. To cause a disturbance and undermine others is to play the role of Satan; it is not the performance of duty. If you always do things that cause a disturbance and undermine others, then no matter how much effort you expend or care you take, God will not remember. You may be of little strength, but if you are capable of working with others, and are able to accept suitable suggestions, and if you have the right motivations, and can protect the work of God’s house, then you are a right person. Sometimes, with a single sentence, you can solve a problem and benefit everyone; sometimes, after you fellowship on a single statement of the truth, everyone has a path to practice, and is able to work harmoniously together, and all strive toward a common goal, and share the same views and opinions, and so work is particularly effective. Although no one might remember that you played this role, and you might not feel as if you made much effort, God will see that you are a person who practices the truth, a person who acts according to the principles. God will remember your having done so. This is called fulfilling your duty faithfully. No matter the difficulties you have in fulfilling your duty, they can in fact all be easily solved. So long as you are an honest person with a heart inclined to God, and are able to seek truth, then there is no problem that cannot be solved. If you do not understand the truth, then you must learn to obey. If there is anyone who understands the truth or speaks in accordance with the truth, then you must accept it and obey. By no means should you do things that disturb or undermine, and do not act or make decisions on your own. This way, you will do no evil. You must remember: Fulfilling your duty is not a matter of undertaking your own endeavors or your own management. This is not your personal work, it is the work of the church, and you only contribute the strengths you have. What you do in God’s management work is but a small part of man’s cooperation. Yours is just a minor role in some corner. That is the responsibility you bear. In your heart, you should have this sense. And so, no matter how many people are performing their duties together, or what difficulties they face, the first thing everyone should do is pray to God and fellowship together, seek the truth, and then determine what the principles of practice are. When they perform their duties in this way, they will have a path to practice.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Proper Fulfillment of Duty Requires Harmonious Cooperation
In God’s house, no matter what you do, you are not working on your own enterprise; it is the work of God’s house, it is God’s work. You must constantly bear this knowledge and awareness in mind and say, “This is not my own affair; I am doing my duty and fulfilling my responsibility. I am doing the church’s work. This is a task God entrusted to me and I am doing it for Him. This is my duty, not my own private affair.” This is the first thing people should understand. If you treat a duty as your own personal affairs, and do not seek the truth principles when you act, and carry it out according to your own motives, views, and agenda, then you will very likely make mistakes. So how should you act if you make a very clear distinction between your duty and your own personal affairs, and are aware that this is a duty? (Seek what God asks, and seek principles.) That’s right. If something happens to you and you don’t understand the truth, and you have some idea but things still aren’t clear to you, then you must find brothers and sisters who understand the truth to fellowship with; this is seeking the truth, and before all else, this is the attitude you should have toward your duty. You shouldn’t decide things based on what you think is appropriate, and then slam the gavel down and say case closed—this easily leads to problems. A duty is not your own personal affair; whether major or minor, matters of God’s house are no one’s personal affair. As long as it relates to duty, then it is not your private matter, it is not your personal affair—it concerns the truth, and it concerns principle. So what is the first thing you should do? You should seek the truth, and seek the principles. And if you do not understand the truth, you must first seek the principles; if you already understand the truth, identifying the principles will be easy. What should you do if you don’t understand the principles? There is a way: You can fellowship with those who do understand. Don’t always assume that you understand everything and are always right; this is an easy way to make mistakes. What kind of disposition is it when you always want to have the final say? This is arrogance and self-righteousness, it is acting arbitrarily and unilaterally. Some people think, “I am college-educated, I’m more cultured than you, I have the comprehension ability, you all have small stature and don’t understand the truth, so you should listen to whatever I say. I alone can make the decisions!” How is this view? If you have this kind of view, you will run into trouble; you will never perform your duties well. How can you perform your duties well when you always want to be the one to have the final say, without harmonious cooperation? Performing your duties this way will absolutely not meet the mark. Why do I say this? You always want to constrain others and make them listen to you; you don’t take in whatever anyone else says. This is biased and stubborn, it is also arrogance and self-righteousness. In this way, not only will you fail to perform your duties well, but you will also hinder others from performing their duties well. This is the consequence of an arrogant disposition. Why does God demand harmonious cooperation from people? In one respect, it is beneficial for exposing people’s corrupt dispositions, thus allowing them to know themselves and shed their corrupt dispositions—this benefits their life entry. In another, harmonious cooperation is also beneficial for the work of the church. Since everyone lacks understanding of the truth and has corrupt dispositions, if there can’t be harmonious cooperation, then they will not be capable of performing their duties well, which will impact the work of the church. The consequence of this is severe. In summary, to achieve adequate performance of duty, one must learn to cooperate harmoniously and, when faced with situations, fellowship the truth to find solutions. This is essential—it benefits not only the work of the church but also the life entry of God’s chosen people. … To perform your duty adequately, it does not matter how many years you have believed in God, how many duties you have performed, nor how many contributions you have made to God’s house, much less does it matter how experienced you are in your duty. The main thing God looks at is the path a person takes. In other words, He looks at one’s attitude toward the truth and the principles, direction, origin, and starting point behind one’s actions. God focuses on these things; they are what determine the path you walk. If, in the process of your fulfilling your duty, these positive things cannot be seen in you at all, and the principles, path, and basis of your action are your own thoughts, aims, and schemes; your starting point is to protect your own interests and safeguard your reputation and position, your modus operandi is to make decisions and act alone and have the final say, never discussing things with others or cooperating harmoniously, and never listening to advice when you have made a mistake, let alone seeking the truth, then how will God see you? You are not yet up to standard if you perform your duty so, and you have not set foot on the path of pursuing the truth, because, as you do your duty, you do not seek the truth principles and always act as you wish, doing whatever you like. This is the reason why most people do not perform their duties adequately. So how should this problem be resolved? Would you say it is difficult to fulfill one’s duty adequately? In fact, it is not; people must only be able to take a stance of humility, possess a bit of sense, and adopt an appropriate position. No matter how educated you are, what awards you have won, or what you have achieved, and no matter how high your status and rank might be, you must let go of all of these things, you must get off your high horse—this all counts for nothing. In God’s house, however great these glories are, they cannot be higher than the truth, for these superficial things are not the truth, and cannot take its place. You must be clear about this issue. If you say, “I am very gifted, I have a very sharp mind, I have quick reflexes, I am a quick learner, and I have an exceedingly good memory, so I am qualified to make the final decision,” if you always use these things as capital, and see them as precious, and as positive, then this is trouble. If your heart is occupied by these things, if they have taken root in your heart, it will be hard for you to accept the truth—and the consequences of that don’t bear thinking about. Thus, you must first put down and deny those things that you love, that seem nice, that are precious to you. Those things are not the truth; rather, they can block you from entering the truth. The most pressing thing now is that you must seek the truth in performing your duty, and practice according to the truth, such that your performance of your duty becomes adequate, for the adequate performance of duty is merely the first step onto the path of life entry. What does “the first step” mean here? It means to begin a journey. In all things, there is something with which to begin the journey, something that is most basic, most fundamental, and achieving the adequate performance of duty is a path of life entry. If your performance of duty merely seems fitting in how it is done, but is not in line with the truth principles, then you are not performing your duty adequately. So how, then, is one to work on this? One must work on and seek the truth principles; being equipped with the truth principles is what is crucial. If you merely improve your behavior and your temper, but are not equipped with the truth realities, it is useless. You may have something of a gift or specialty. That is a good thing—but only by putting it to use in performing your duty are you using it properly. Performing your duty well does not require an improvement in your humanity or personality, nor that you set aside your gift or talent. That is not what is required. What is crucial is that you understand the truth and learn to submit to God. It is all but inevitable that your corrupt disposition will pour out as you perform your duty. What should you do at such times? You must seek the truth to resolve the problem and come to act in line with the truth principles. Do this, and it will not be a problem for you to perform your duty well. Whatever realm your gift or specialty is in, or wherever you may have some vocational knowledge, using these things in the performance of a duty is most proper—it is the only way to perform your duty well. One prong is relying on conscience and reason to perform your duty, and the other is that you must seek the truth to resolve your corrupt disposition. One gains life entry by performing their duty in this way, and they become able to perform their duty adequately.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?
In the process of performing your duties, on the positive side, if you can treat your duties in the correct manner, never abandon them regardless of the circumstances you face, and even when others lose faith and stop performing their duties, you still hold fast to yours and never abandon them from start to finish, remaining steadfast and loyal to your duties until the end, then you are genuinely treating your duties as duties and demonstrating complete devotion. If you can meet this standard, you’ve essentially met the mark for performing your duties adequately; this is on the positive side. However, before reaching this standard, on the negative side, one must be able to withstand various temptations. What kind of problem is it when someone can’t withstand temptations in the process of performing their duty, so they abandon their duty and flee, betraying their duty? That amounts to betraying God. Betraying God’s commission is to betray God. Can one who betrays God still be saved? This person is done for; all hope is lost, and the duties they previously performed were merely rendering service, which vanished into nothingness with their betrayal. So, it’s essential to hold fast to one’s duty; by doing so, there is hope. By loyally fulfilling one’s duty, one can be saved and earn God’s approval. What does everyone find to be the most difficult part of holding fast to one’s duty? It is whether they can stand firm when faced with temptation. What do these temptations include? Money, status, intimate relationships, feelings. What else? If some duties carry risks, even risks to one’s life, and fulfilling such duties might result in arrest and imprisonment or even being persecuted to death, can you still fulfill your duty? Can you persevere? The ease with which these temptations can be overcome depends on whether one pursues the truth. It depends on one’s ability to gradually discern and recognize these temptations while pursuing the truth, to recognize their essence and the satanic tricks behind them. It also requires recognizing one’s own corrupt dispositions, one’s nature essence, and one’s weaknesses. One must also continually ask God to protect them so they can withstand these temptations. If one can withstand them, and hold fast to their duty without betrayal or escape under any circumstance, then the likelihood of being saved reaches 50 percent. Is this 50 percent easily achievable? Each step is a challenge, fraught with peril; it’s not easy to attain! Are there people who find pursuing the truth so hard that they feel life is too exhausting and would rather be dead? What kind of people feel this way? This is how nonbelievers feel. For mere survival, people can rack their brains, endure any hardship, and still cling to life tenaciously in disasters, not giving up until their last breath—if they believed in God and pursued the truth with this kind of vigor, they would definitely achieve the results. If people do not love the truth and are unwilling to strive for it, they are good-for-nothings! The pursuit of the truth isn’t something that can be achieved through mere human effort; it requires human effort combined with the work of the Holy Spirit. It requires God orchestrating various environments to test and refine people, and the Holy Spirit working to enlighten, illuminate, and guide them. The suffering one undergoes to obtain the truth is entirely warranted. Just like mountain climbers who risk their lives to scale peaks, they aren’t afraid of hardship in their quest to challenge the limits, even to the point of venturing their lives. Is believing in God and attaining the truth harder than climbing a mountain? What kind of people are those who desire blessings but are unwilling to suffer? They are good-for-nothings. You can’t pursue and obtain the truth without willpower; you can’t do it without the ability to suffer. You must pay a price to obtain it.
People have come to understand the definition of adequacy, the standard for adequacy, the reason why God has set forth this standard for adequacy, the relationship between performing one’s duty adequately and life entry, and other such factors related to the truth of adequate performance of duty. If they can then get to where they can hold fast to their duty regardless of time or place, without giving up on it, and can withstand all manner of temptations, and then understand and gain knowledge of and entry into all the various truths that God requires in all the different situations He lays out for them, then in God’s view, they have basically achieved adequacy. There are three fundamental ingredients to achieving adequacy in the performance of one’s duty: First, having a correct attitude toward their duty, and not abandoning their duty at any time; second, being able to withstand all sorts of temptations while performing their duty, and not stumbling; third, being able to understand every aspect of the truth while performing their duty, and entering into reality. When people accomplish these three things and have met the mark, then the first prerequisite for accepting judgment and chastisement and being perfected—performing one’s duty adequately—will have been completed.