23. How to stand firm in one’s testimony during trials
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
Belief in God requires obedience to Him and experience of His work. God has done so much work—it could be said that for people it is all perfection, refinement, and even more, chastisement. There has not been a single step of God’s work that has been in line with human notions; what people have enjoyed is God’s stern words. When God comes, people should enjoy His majesty and His wrath. However, no matter how stern His words may be, He comes to save and perfect mankind. 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
Bearing a resounding witness for God primarily relates to whether or not you have an understanding of the practical God, and to whether or not you are able to submit before this person who is not only ordinary, but normal, and submit even unto death. If, by way of this submission, you truly bear witness for God, that means you have been obtained by God. If you can submit unto death and, before Him, be free of complaints, not make judgments, not slander, not have any notions, and not have any ulterior motives, then in this way God will gain glory. Submission before a regular person who is looked down upon by man, and being able to submit unto death without any notions—this is true testimony. The reality that God requires people to enter into is that you are able to obey His words, put them into practice, bow down in front of the practical God and know your own corruption, open up your heart in front of Him, and, ultimately, be gained by Him through these words of His. God gains glory when these utterances conquer you and make you fully obedient to Him; through this, He shames Satan and completes His work. When you do not have any notions about the practicality of God incarnate—that is, when you have stood firm in this trial—then you have borne this witness well. If there comes a day when you have a full understanding of the practical God and can submit unto death like Peter did, then you will be gained and perfected by God. Anything God does that is not in line with your notions is a trial for you. If God’s work were in line with your notions, it would not require you to suffer or be refined. It is because His work is so practical and not in line with your notions that it requires you to let go of such notions. This is why it is a trial for you. It is because of God’s practicality that all people are in the midst of trials; His work is practical, not supernatural. By fully understanding His practical words and His practical utterances without any notions, and being able to genuinely love Him as His work grows ever more practical, you will be gained by Him. The group of people whom God will gain are those who know God; that is, those who know His practicality. Furthermore, they are those who are able to submit to God’s practical work.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality
What is exactly true testimony? The testimony spoken of here has two parts: One is testimony of having been conquered, and the other is testimony of having been made perfect (which, naturally, will be the testimony following the greater trials and the tribulations of the future). In other words, if you are able to stand firm during tribulations and trials, then you will have borne the second step of testimony. What is crucial today is the first step of testimony: being able to stand firm during every instance of the trials of chastisement and judgment. This is testimony of being conquered. That is because now is the time of conquest. (You should know that now is the time of God’s work on earth; the incarnate God’s main work on earth is conquering this group of people on earth who follow Him through judgment and chastisement.) Whether or not you are capable of bearing testimony of being conquered not only depends on whether you are able to follow to the very end, but, more importantly, on whether, as you experience each step of God’s work, you are capable of the true understanding of God’s chastisement and judgment, and on whether you truly perceive all of this work. You will not be able to slip through by merely following to the very end. You must be able to willingly surrender during every instance of chastisement and judgment, must be capable of truly understanding each step of work you experience, and must be able to attain knowledge of, and obedience to God’s disposition. This is the ultimate testimony of being conquered, which you are required to bear. Testimony of being conquered primarily refers to your knowledge of the incarnation of God. Crucially, this step of testimony is to the incarnation of God. It matters not what you do or say before the people of the world or those who wield power; what matters above all is whether you are able to obey all of the words from God’s mouth and all of His work. Therefore, this step of testimony is directed at Satan and all enemies of God—the demons and hostiles who do not believe that God will become flesh a second time and come to do even greater work, and furthermore, do not believe in the fact of God’s return to the flesh. In other words, it is directed at all the antichrists—all the enemies who do not believe in the incarnation of God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (4)
The last step of testimony is testimony of whether or not you are able to be made perfect—which is to say, having understood all of the words spoken from the mouth of God incarnate, you come to possess knowledge of God and become certain about Him, you live out all the words from God’s mouth, and achieve the conditions God asks of you—the style of Peter and faith of Job—such that you can obey unto death, give yourself over entirely to Him, and ultimately achieve an image of a person that is up to standard, which means the image of someone who has been conquered and made perfect after experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement. This is the ultimate testimony—it is the testimony that ought to be borne by one who is ultimately made perfect. These are the two steps of testimony you should bear, and they are interrelated, each indispensable. But there is one thing you must know: The testimony I require of you today is not directed at the people of the world, nor any single individual, but at that which I ask of you. It is measured by whether you are able to satisfy Me, and whether you are able to completely meet the standards of My requirements of each one of you. This is what you should understand.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (4)
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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement
Job’s faith, obedience, and his testimony to overcoming Satan have been a source of huge help and encouragement to people. In Job, they see hope for their own salvation, and see that through faith, and obedience to and fear of God, it is entirely possible to defeat Satan, to prevail over Satan. They see that as long as they acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and as long as they possess the determination and faith not to forsake God after having lost everything, then they can bring shame and defeat upon Satan, and they see that they need only possess the determination and perseverance to stand firm in their testimony—even if it means losing their lives—for Satan to be cowed and beat a hasty retreat. Job’s testimony is a warning to later generations, and this warning tells them that if they do not defeat Satan, then they will never be able to rid themselves of the accusations and disturbances of Satan, nor will they ever be able to escape the abuse and attacks of Satan. Job’s testimony has enlightened later generations. This enlightenment teaches people that only if they are perfect and upright will they be able to fear God and shun evil; it teaches them that only if they fear God and shun evil can they bear strong and resounding testimony to God; only if they bear strong and resounding testimony to God can they never be controlled by Satan and live under the guidance and protection of God—only then will they have been truly saved. Job’s personality and his life’s pursuit should be emulated by everyone who pursues salvation. That which he lived out during his whole life and his conduct during his trials is a precious treasure to all those who pursue the way of fearing God and shunning evil.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II
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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God
Without the words of God as your reality, you have no real stature. When the time comes to be tried, you will certainly fall, and then your true stature will be revealed. But those who regularly seek to enter into reality shall, when beset by trials, come to understand the purpose of God’s work. One who is possessed of conscience, and who thirsts for God, should take practical action to repay God for His love. Those who are not possessed of reality cannot stand firm in the face of even trivial matters. Such is the difference between those with real stature and those without. Why is it that, though they both eat and drink the words of God, some are able to stand firm amid trials, while others flee? The obvious difference is that some lack real stature; they do not have the words of God to serve as their reality, and His words have not taken root within them. As soon as they are tried, they reach the end of their path. Why is it, then, that some are able to stand firm amid trials? It is because they understand the truth and have a vision, and they understand God’s will and His requirements, and thus they are able to stand firm through trials. This is real stature, and this, too, is life. Some may also read the words of God, but do not put them into practice, do not take them seriously; those who do not take them seriously place no importance on practice. Those who do not have the words of God to serve as their reality are without real stature, and such people cannot stand firm through trials.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word
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
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.
In the past, people would all come before God to make their resolutions, and they would say: “Even if no one else loves God, I must love Him.” But now, refinement comes upon you, and since this does not align with your notions, you lose faith in God. Is this genuine love? You have read many times about the deeds of Job—have you forgotten about them? True love can only take shape from within faith. You develop real love for God through the refinements you undergo, and it is through your faith that you are able to be considerate of God’s will in your practical experiences, and it is also through faith that you forsake your own flesh and pursue life; this is what people should do. If you do this, then you will be able to see God’s actions, but if you lack faith, then you will be unable to see God’s actions or to experience His work. If you want to be used and perfected by God, then you must be possessed of everything: the will to suffer, faith, endurance, obedience, and the ability to experience the work of God, grasp His will, be considerate of His sorrow, and so forth. Perfecting a person is not easy, and every single refinement that you experience requires your faith and love. If you want to be perfected by God, it is not enough to merely rush ahead on the path, nor is it enough to merely expend yourself for God. You must possess many things to be able to become someone who is perfected by God. 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
In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human disturbance. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the disturbance of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. For example, if you are prejudiced toward your brothers and sisters, you will have words that you want to say—words that you feel may be displeasing to God—but if you do not say them, you will feel internal discomfort, and at this moment, a battle will commence within you: “Do I speak or not?” This is the battle. Thus, in everything you encounter there is a battle, and when there is a battle within you, thanks to your actual cooperation and actual suffering, God works within you. Ultimately, you are able to put the matter aside inside of you and the anger is naturally extinguished. Such is the effect of your cooperation with God. Everything people do requires them to pay a certain price in their efforts. Without actual hardship, they cannot satisfy God; they do not even come close to satisfying God, and they are just spouting empty slogans! Can these empty slogans satisfy God? When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony. Though they may seem unimportant from the outside, when these things happen they show whether or not you love God. If you do, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony to Him, and if you have not put the love of Him into practice, this shows you are not someone who puts the truth into practice, that you are without the truth, and without life, that you are chaff! Everything that happens to people happens when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Though nothing major is happening to you at the moment and you do not bear great testimony, every detail of your daily life is a matter of testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony. Although you have no insight and your caliber is poor, through God’s perfection of you, you are able to satisfy Him and be mindful of His will, showing others what great work He has done in people of the poorest caliber. When people come to know God and become overcomers before Satan, loyal to God to a great extent, then none has more backbone than this group of people, and this is the greatest testimony. Although you are incapable of doing great work, you are able to satisfy God. Others cannot put aside their notions, but you can; others cannot bear testimony to God during their actual experiences, but you can use your actual stature and actions to repay God’s love and bear resounding testimony to Him. Only this counts as actually loving God. If you are incapable of this, then you do not bear testimony among your family members, among your brothers and sisters, or before the people of the world. If you cannot bear testimony before Satan, Satan will laugh at you, it will treat you as a joke, as a plaything, it will often make a fool of you and drive you insane. In the future, great trials may befall you—but today, if you love God with a true heart, and if, regardless of how great the trials ahead, irrespective of what happens to you, you are able to stand firm in your testimony and are able to satisfy God, then your heart will be comforted, and you will be unafraid no matter how great the trials you encounter in the future. You cannot see what will happen in the future; you can only satisfy God in today’s circumstances. You are incapable of doing any great work and should focus on satisfying God by experiencing His words in real life, and bear strong and resounding testimony that brings shame upon Satan. Although your flesh will remain unsatisfied and will have suffered, you will have satisfied God and brought shame upon Satan. If you always practice in this way, God will open up a path before you. When, one day, a great trial comes, others will fall down, but you will still be able to stand firm: Because of the price you have paid, God will protect you so you can stand firm and not fall down. If, ordinarily, you are able to put the truth into practice and satisfy God with a genuine God-loving heart, then God will surely protect you during future trials. Though you are foolish and of little stature and poor caliber, God will not discriminate against you. It depends on whether your intentions are right. Today, you are able to satisfy God, in which you are attentive to the smallest detail, you satisfy God in all things, you have a genuine God-loving heart, you give your true heart to God, and although there are some things that you cannot understand, you can come before God to rectify your intentions and seek God’s will, and you do everything needed to satisfy God. Perhaps your brothers and sisters will abandon you, but your heart will be satisfying God, and you will not covet the pleasures of the flesh. If you always practice in this way, you will be protected when great trials come upon you.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God
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
No matter what trial befalls you, you must treat it as a burden given to you by God. Say some people are beset by great sickness and unbearable suffering, some even face death. How should they approach this kind of situation? In many cases, the trials of God are burdens He gives to people. However great the burden bestowed upon you by God, that is the weight of burden you should undertake, for God understands you, and knows you will be able to bear it. The burden given to you by God will not exceed your stature or the limits of your endurance, so there is no question that you will be able to bear it. No matter what manner of burden God gives you, what kind of trial, remember one thing: Whether or not you understand God’s will and whether or not you are enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit after you pray, whether or not this trial is God disciplining you or warning you, it does not matter if you do not understand. As long as you do not delay in performing your duty and can faithfully abide by your duty, God will be satisfied, and you will stand firm in your testimony. Seeing that they are suffering from a serious illness and are going to die, some people think to themselves: “It was to avoid death that I started believing in God—but it turns out that even after all these years of performing my duty, He’s going to let me die. I should get on with my own business, do the things I have always wanted to do, and enjoy the things I have not enjoyed in this life. I can put off my duty.” What attitude is this? You have been performing your duty for all these years, you have listened to all these sermons, and still you have not understood the truth. One trial topples you, brings you to your knees, and lays you bare. Is such a person worthy of being cared for by God? (They are unworthy.) They are totally without loyalty. So what is the duty they have spent all these years performing known as? It is known as “doing service,” and they have just been exerting themselves. If, in your faith in God and pursuit of the truth, you are able to say, “Whatever sickness or disagreeable event God allows to befall me—no matter what God does—I must obey, and stay in my place as a created being. Before all else, I must put this aspect of the truth—obedience—into practice, I must implement it, and live out the reality of obedience to God. Moreover, I must not cast aside what God has commissioned to me and the duty I should perform. Even on my last breath, I must abide by my duty,” is this not bearing testimony? When you have this kind of resolve and this kind of state, are you still able to complain about God? No, you are not. At such a time, you will think to yourself, “God gives me this breath, He has provided for and protected me all these years, He has taken much pain from me, given me much grace, and many truths. I have understood truths and mysteries that people have not understood for generations. I have gained so much from God, so I must repay God! Before, my stature was too small, I understood nothing, and everything I did was hurtful to God. I may not have another chance to repay God in the future. No matter how much time I have left to live, I must offer the little strength I have and do what I can for God, so that God can see that all these years of providing for me have not been in vain, but have borne fruit. Let me bring comfort to God, and no longer hurt or disappoint Him.” How about thinking this way? Do not think about how to save yourself or escape, thinking, “When will this illness be cured? When it is, I shall do my best to perform my duty and be devoted. How can I be devoted when I’m ill? How can I perform the duty of a created being?” As long as you have a single breath, are you not capable of performing your duty? As long as you have a single breath, are you capable of not bringing shame upon God? As long as you have a single breath, as long as your mind is lucid, are you capable of not complaining about God? (Yes.) It is easy to say “Yes” now, but it will not be so easy when this really happens to you. And so, you must pursue the truth, often work hard on the truth, and spend more time thinking, “How can I satisfy God’s will? How can I repay God’s love? How can I perform the duty of a created being?” What is a created being? Is the responsibility of a created being merely to listen to the words of God? No—it is to live out the words of God. God has given you so much truth, so much of the way, and so much life, so that you may live out these things, and bear testimony to Him. This is what ought to be done by a created being, and it is your responsibility and obligation.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only in the Frequent Reading of God’s Words and Contemplation of the Truth Is There a Way Ahead
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
When he was being chastised by God, Peter prayed, “O God! My flesh is disobedient, and You chastise me and judge me. I rejoice in Your chastisement and judgment, and even if You do not want me, in Your judgment I behold Your holy and righteous disposition. When You judge me, so that others may behold Your righteous disposition in Your judgment, I feel content. If it can express Your disposition and allow Your righteous disposition to be seen by all creatures, and if it can make my love for You more pure, that I can attain the likeness of one who is righteous, then Your judgment is good, for such is Your gracious will. I know that there is still much in me that is rebellious, and that I am still not fit to come before You. I wish for You to judge me even more, whether through a hostile environment or great tribulations; no matter what You do, to me it is precious. Your love is so profound, and I am willing to lay myself at Your mercy without the slightest complaint.” This is Peter’s knowledge after he experienced the work of God, and it is also a testimony to his love of God. … Near the end of his life, after he had been made perfect, Peter said, “O God! If I were to live a few more years, I would wish to achieve a purer and deeper love of You.” When he was about to be nailed to the cross, in his heart he prayed, “O God! Your time has now arrived; the time You prepared for me has arrived. I must be crucified for You, I must bear this testimony to You, and I hope that my love can satisfy Your requirements, and that it can become purer. Today, to be able to die for You, and be nailed to the cross for You, is comforting and reassuring to me, for nothing is more gratifying to me than to be able to be crucified for You and satisfy Your wishes, and to be able to give myself to You, to offer up my life to You. O God! You are so lovely! Were You to allow me to live, I would be even more willing to love You. As long as I am alive, I will love You. I wish to love You more deeply. You judge me, and chastise me, and try me because I am not righteous, because I have sinned. And Your righteous disposition becomes more apparent to me. This is a blessing to me, for I am able to love You more deeply, and I am willing to love You in this way even if You do not love me. I am willing to behold Your righteous disposition, for this makes me more able to live out a life of meaning. I feel that my life now is more meaningful, for I am crucified for Your sake, and it is meaningful to die for You. Yet still I do not feel satisfied, for I know too little of You, I know that I cannot completely fulfill Your wishes, and have repaid You too little. In my life, I have been incapable of returning my entirety to You; I am far from that. As I look back at this moment, I feel so indebted to You, and I have but this moment to make up for all of my mistakes and all the love that I have not repaid You.”
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment
Today, you should be aware of how to be conquered, and of how people conduct themselves after they have been conquered. You may say you have been conquered, but can you obey unto death? You must be able to follow to the very end regardless of whether there are any prospects, and you must not lose faith in God regardless of the environment. Ultimately, you must achieve two aspects of testimony: the testimony of Job—obedience unto death; and the testimony of Peter—the supreme love of God. In one respect, you must be like Job: He lost all material possessions, and was beset by the pain of the flesh, yet he did not forsake the name of Jehovah. This was Job’s testimony. Peter was able to love God unto death. When he was put on the cross and faced his death, he still loved God; he did not think of his own prospects or pursue beautiful hopes or extravagant thoughts, and he sought only to love God and to obey all of God’s arrangements. Such is the standard you must achieve before you can be considered to have borne testimony, before you become someone who has been made perfect after having been conquered.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (2)
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