13. The relationship between performing a duty and life entry
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
If you want God to approve you as one of His followers, then you must first focus on life entry. You must start by understanding yourself, being able to cast off your corrupt disposition, achieving the ability to hold to your duty, and doing your duty according to God’s requirements—that is first. Focusing on life entry is for the sake of doing your duty well, which is what this is all fundamentally about. You should start pursuing life entry from doing your duty, and from life entry, you should understand and obtain the truth one drop at a time, until you reach a point where you have stature, where your life gradually grows and you have real experiences with the truth. Then you should master all kinds of principles of practice, so that you are able to do your duty without being constrained or disturbed by any person, event, or thing. In this way, you will gradually live in God’s presence. You will not be disturbed by any kind of person, event, or thing, and you will have experience with the truth. As your experience becomes more abundant, you will be more able to testify of God, and as you are more able to testify of God, you will gradually become a useful person. When you become a useful person, you will be able to do your duty to an acceptable standard in the house of God, you will be able to stand in the place of a created being and submit to God’s arrangements and orchestrations, and you will be able to stand firm. Only this kind of person is an acceptable created being who has God’s praise. Then you will be worthy of all God has given you.
What is the key to entering into the truth reality? You must learn how to practice the truth and how to handle matters in a principled way. What use is it to always swear oaths and express your will? If you always swear oaths and express your will, but are still unable to practice the truth, then it is of no use at all. The most crucial, most real thing is to achieve life entry in the process of doing your duty, through seeking the truth to resolve the various problems which appear as you do your duty, and to reverse your mistaken attitudes toward your duty. What does it mean to have life entry? Having life entry means that you have experience with and knowledge of the truth, and are able to practice it correctly. Do you all have life entry right now? Are you able to testify of God? Are you not still stuck on doctrine the majority of the time? Are you not stopping at the doctrine, without really having knowledge of or experience with the truth? If you cannot attain true experiences and knowledge of the truth, then you cannot testify of God. The majority of the time your knowledge is perceptual. You are ambivalent, feeling as if one thing and another are both right; when God says one thing, it’s as if it’s the truth to you, and when He says something else, it’s also the truth. You feel as if all the words of God are the truth, and you say amen to them and praise them, but you cannot hold yourself up to them for comparison. When you do things, you are still confused, and you do not know which truths to use to solve your problems. Are the majority of you not in this state? Although you understand much and can speak much about doctrine, you cannot use it in your real lives. You still do not know how to practice the truth, nor do you know how to apply God’s words in your real lives, and no matter what befalls you, you do not know how to seek the truth to resolve your problems. This is because your stature is too small. When you know how to experience, practice, and apply God’s words in your real lives, and when you know how to seek the truth to solve problems after something befalls you, then your lives will grow. Knowing how to practice the truth is a sign that your life is growing. Someday, when you are able to solve problems with the truth, when you have some knowledge of God, when you can, through sharing your true knowledge of God, testify of His work, His holy and righteous disposition, and His omnipotence and wisdom, then you will be able to truly testify of God, and you will be qualified to be used by God. If you understand a lot and are able to talk about doctrine all day long, but you cannot resolve anything related to your own problems or do not know how to solve them, then that proves that the things you understand are not the truth, they are just the words and doctrines. Even if you speak some doctrine very realistically, in reality, this is just perceptual knowledge, which has not yet achieved rationality. Although people are edified after listening to you, having the same feelings as you, and your knowledge is even able to achieve some results on them, you are not able to speak on it too clearly, nor are you able to totally solve problems. This proves that the doctrines you have talked about are merely perceptual knowledge. You cannot say that they are the truth reality, much less that you have entered into the truth reality. Now how do you resolve the problem of talking about the words and doctrines? It requires you to reflect on the various kinds of corruption that are revealed in you as you do your duty, to reflect on the origins of every problem you encounter, and then to seek the truth, and to use God’s words to thoroughly resolve the corrupt disposition you have revealed. Whether what pours forth from you is arrogance and self-righteousness or twistedness and deceitfulness, whether selfishness and meanness or perfunctoriness and lying to God, you must reflect on these corrupt dispositions until you see them clearly. This way, you will know what problems exist as you do your duty, and how far away you are from achieving salvation. Only when you can clearly see your own corrupt disposition will you be able to know where the difficulties and obstacles in doing your duty lie. Only then will you be able to resolve problems at their source. For example, say you do not take responsibility for doing your duty, instead always acting perfunctorily, causing losses in your work, but you care about your face, so you are unwilling to openly fellowship about your state and difficulties, or to practice self-dissection and self-knowledge, instead always looking for excuses to deal with things perfunctorily. How should you solve this problem? You must pray to God and self-reflect, saying: “O God, if I speak like that, it is only to protect my own face. It’s my corrupt disposition talking. I should not speak like that. I must open myself up, lay myself bare, and speak the true thoughts of my heart out loud. I would rather suffer shame and loss of face than satisfy my own vanity. I only want to satisfy God.” This way, by forsaking yourself and speaking the true thoughts of your heart out loud, you are practicing being an honest person, and moreover, you are not acting according to your own will or protecting your own face. You are able to put God’s words into practice, to practice the truth according to the will of God, to earnestly do your duty, and to completely fulfill your responsibilities. Thus, not only are you practicing the truth and doing your duty well, you are also upholding the interests of the house of God, and God’s heart is satisfied. This is a just and honorable way to live, worthy to be brought before both God and men. This is so wonderful! Practicing this way is a bit difficult, but if your efforts and practice are aimed in this direction, then even if you fail a time or two, you will certainly be successful. And what does success mean to you? It means that when you practice the truth, you are able to take this step that frees you from the bonds of Satan, a step that allows you to forsake yourself. It means that you are able to put aside vanity and prestige, to stop seeking your own profit, and to stop doing selfish and mean things. When you put this into practice, you show people that you are someone who loves the truth, who yearns for the truth, someone who yearns for righteousness and light. This is the result you achieve by practicing the truth. At the same time, you also bring shame upon Satan. Satan corrupted you, it made you look out for yourself, it made you selfish, it made you think of your own prestige. But now, these satanic things can no longer bind you, you have broken free of them, you are no longer controlled by vanity, prestige, or your own personal interests, and you practice the truth, so Satan is utterly humiliated, and there is nothing it can do. Then are you not victorious? When you are victorious, do you not stand firm in your testimony to God? Do you not fight the good fight? When you have fought the good fight, you have peace and joy, and a sense of ease in your heart. If you often have a sense of accusation in your life, if your heart can find no rest, if you are without peace or joy, and are often beset by worry and anxiety about all kinds of things, what does this demonstrate? Merely that you do not practice the truth, do not stand firm in your testimony to God. When you live amid the disposition of Satan, you are liable to often fail to practice the truth, to turn your back on the truth, to be selfish and vile; you only uphold your image, your name and status, and your interests. Always living for yourself brings you great pain. You have so many selfish desires, entanglements, fetters, misgivings, and vexations that you do not have the least peace or joy. To live for the sake of corrupted flesh is to suffer excessively. Those who pursue the truth are different. The more they understand the truth, the more free and liberated they become; the more they practice the truth, the more they have peace and joy. When they obtain the truth, they will live completely in the light, enjoy God’s blessings, and have no pain at all.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Life Entry Begins With the Performance of Duty
There are many people who feel like they are lacking after they do their duty, and that they do not possess the truth reality, so they always require themselves to listen to more sermons, and leaders and workers to hold more gatherings, as if only that will be able to give them life entry and life growth. If they go a period of time without attending a gathering or a sermon, they feel like their hearts are empty and desolate, as though they have nothing. In their hearts, it is as if only daily gatherings and daily sermons will give them life entry, or enable them to grow into spiritual maturity. In reality, this kind of thinking is entirely incorrect. Those who believe in and follow God must do their duty—only then can they gain life experience. If you say you sincerely believe in God, but you do not want to do your duty, then where is the sincerity in your belief in God? Those who sincerely do their duty are those who have faith. Only those who have faith dare to dedicate their lives to God, and are willing to discard everything to expend for God. People like this experience the work of the Holy Spirit as they do their duty; they are enlightened, led, and disciplined by the Holy Spirit. All this produces life experience. So, life entry begins by formally doing one’s duty.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Life Entry Begins With the Performance of Duty
Any duty you fulfill involves life entry. Whether your duty is rather regular or erratic, dull or lively, you must always attain life entry. The duties some people perform are rather monotonous; they do the same thing every day. However, when performing them, the states these people reveal are not all that homogenous. Sometimes, when in a good mood, people are a bit more diligent and do a better job. Other times, due to some unknown influence, their corrupt satanic dispositions stir up mischief in them, causing them to have improper views and be in bad states and bad moods; this results in them performing their duties in a perfunctory manner. People’s internal states are constantly changing; they can change at any place and any time. No matter how your state changes, it is always wrong to act based on your mood. Say you do a bit better when you are in a good mood, and a bit worse when you are in a bad mood—is this a principled way of doing things? Will this allow you to perform your duty to an acceptable standard? No matter what their mood, people must know to pray before God and seek the truth; only in this way can they refrain from being controlled and swayed to and fro by their moods. 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
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.
Let Me tell you this one thing: Man’s performance of his duty is what he ought to do, and if he is incapable of performing his duty, then this is his rebelliousness. It is through the process of doing his duty that man is gradually changed, and it is through this process that he demonstrates his loyalty. As such, the more you are able to do your duty, the more truth you shall receive, and the more real your expression shall become. Those who merely go through the motions in doing their duty and do not seek the truth shall be cast out in the end, for such people do not do their duty in the practice of truth, and do not practice truth in the fulfillment of their duty. They are those who remain unchanged and will be cursed. Not only are their expressions impure, but everything they express is wicked.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man
Some people don’t know how to experience God’s work and don’t know how to bring His words into the performance of their duties or into real life. They always rely on going to many gatherings to gain the truth and grow in life. However, this is unrealistic and an argument that does not hold water. Life is gained by experiencing God’s words and experiencing judgment and chastisement. Those who know how to experience His work are able, regardless of what duty they perform, to understand and practice the truth, accept being pruned and dealt with, enter into the truth reality, attain change in their disposition, and be perfected by God when performing their duties. Those who are lazy and greedy for comforts are unwilling to perform duties, and do not experience God’s work when performing their duties, endlessly demanding that God’s house provide them with gatherings, sermons, and fellowshiping about the truth. As a result, after ten or twenty years of belief and after listening to countless sermons, they still have not understood the truth or gained the truth. They don’t know how to experience God’s work, don’t understand what belief in God is, and don’t know how to experience God’s word to know themselves and gain the truth and life. They are people who crave comfort and shirk their duties; therefore, they are exposed and cast out for how they perform their duties. Now, all those people who are content to perform their duties and place importance on pursuing the truth have some life entry when performing their duties, reflect to know themselves when they display corruption, and when they encounter difficulties in the performance of their duties, they seek the truth and fellowship about the truth to resolve problems. Unwittingly, after several years of performing duties, they reap clear rewards, can speak of some experiential testimony, possess some knowledge of God’s work and of His disposition, and thus bring about changes in their life disposition. Currently, churches everywhere are cleansing themselves of evil people and those who are disruptive and cause disturbances. Those who remain are generally those who are able to persist in performing their duties, have a degree of loyalty, and place importance on seeking the truth to resolve problems. They are the kind of people who can stand firm in their testimony. You must learn to bring God’s words into real life and into the duties you perform, practicing them and putting them into use, and then when problems and difficulties arise, seek the truth to resolve them. Additionally, you must learn to be considerate of God’s will when performing your duties, and work on practicing the truth and handling things according to the principles in every matter. You must learn to practice love for God, and with a God-loving heart, be considerate of His burden, and reach the point where you can satisfy Him. Only this is someone who sincerely loves God. By practicing in this way, even if you don’t fully understand the truth, you are still able to perform your duties adequately, and not only can you resolve your carelessness and perfunctoriness, but you can learn to practice love for God, submit to Him, and satisfy Him when performing your duties—this is the lesson of life entry. If you can practice the truth and act according to the principles in this way for every matter, then you are entering into the truth reality and will have life entry. No matter how busy you are performing your duties, when you have the fruits of life entry, growth in life, and can submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, then you will find enjoyment in performing your duties. You won’t feel weary no matter how busy you are. You will always have peace and joy in your heart and feel particularly enriched and calm. No matter what difficulty arises, when you seek the truth, the Holy Spirit will enlighten and guide you. Then you will receive God’s blessing. Furthermore, regardless of whether you are busy or not when performing your duties, it is important to engage in occasional suitable exercise and sensible fitness activities. This will promote circulation, help maintain high energy levels, and can be effective in preventing certain occupational diseases. This is highly beneficial for performing your duties well. Therefore, when performing your duties, if you are able to learn many lessons, gain an understanding of many truths, truly know God, and finally fear God and shun evil, then you will be completely aligned with His will. If you can attain love for God, bear witness for Him, and achieve unity of heart and will with Him, you are walking the path of being perfected by Him. This is a person who has gained God’s blessing, and it is an incredibly blessed thing! If you sincerely expend yourself for God, you will certainly receive abundant blessings from Him. Can those who do not expend themselves for God, and do not perform their duties gain the truth? Can they attain salvation? It is difficult to say. All blessings can only be gained through performing one’s duties and experiencing God’s work. It is in the course of performing one’s duties that one knows how to experience God’s work, and knows how to experience judgment and chastisement, trials and refinement, and being pruned and dealt with. These are the things most worthy of being blessed. So long as a person loves the truth and pursues it, they will eventually gain the truth, change their life disposition, gain God’s approval, and become someone who is blessed by Him.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
Practicing the Truth in Your Duty Is Key