21. How to resolve the problem of working according to one’s own will

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

Serving God is no simple task. Those whose corrupt disposition remains unchanged can never serve God. If your disposition has not been judged and chastised by God’s words, then your disposition still represents Satan, which proves that you serve God out of your own good intentions, that your service is based on your satanic nature. You serve God with your natural character, and according to your personal preferences. What’s more, you always think that the things you are willing to do are what are delightful to God, and that the things you do not wish to do are what are hateful to God; you work entirely according to your own preferences. Can this be called serving God? Ultimately, there will not be the slightest change in your life disposition; instead, your service will make you even more stubborn, thus deeply ingraining your corrupt disposition, and as such, there will be formed within you rules about service to God that are primarily based on your own character, and experiences derived from your service according to your own disposition. These are the experiences and lessons of man. It is man’s philosophy of living in the world. People like this can be classed as Pharisees and religious officials. If they never wake up and repent, then they will surely turn into the false Christs and the antichrists who deceive people in the last days. The false Christs and the antichrists that were spoken of will arise from among such people. If those who serve God follow their own character and act according to their own will, they run the risk of being cast out at any time. Those who apply their many years of experience acquired to serving God in order to win the hearts of others, to lecture them and control them, and to stand on high—and who never repent, never confess their sins, never renounce the benefits of position—these people shall fall before God. They are of the same kind as Paul, presuming upon their seniority and flaunting their qualifications. God will not bring people like this to perfection. Such service disrupts the work of God. People always cling to the old. They cling to the notions of the past, to everything from times gone by. This is a great obstacle to their service. If you cannot throw them off, these things will throttle your whole life. God will not commend you, not in the slightest, not even if you break your legs running or your back with labor, not even if you are martyred in your service of God. Quite the contrary: He will say that you are an evildoer.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Religious Service Must Be Purged

Some people do not focus on seeking the truth principles as they do their duty, instead relying on their own will to act. What is the most common manifestation seen in someone who has particularly strong personal ideas? No matter what happens to them, they first calculate things out in their mind, thinking out all the things that they can think of, creating a thorough plan. When they feel that it has no holes, they practice wholly in accordance with their own will, the result being that their plan cannot keep up with the changes, so things sometimes go wrong. What is the problem here? Things often go wrong when acting according to your own will. So, no matter what happens, everyone ought to sit down and seek the truth together, pray to God, ask for His guidance. With God’s enlightenment, the things that come out of their fellowship are full of light, and provide a way forward. Additionally, by entrusting matters to God, looking up to Him, relying on Him, having Him lead you, and having Him look after and guard you—by practicing this way—you will gain more secure purchase, and you will not encounter any big problems. Can the things that people think up in their heads be totally in line with the facts? Can they be in line with the truth principles? This is impossible. If you do not depend on and look to God when performing your duty, and merely do as you wish, then no matter how smart you are, there will always be times when you fail. People who are arrogant and self-righteous are apt to follow their own ideas, so do they have a God-fearing heart? People who have strong personal ideas forget God when the time comes to act, they forget obedience to God; only when they have hit a wall and failed to accomplish anything, does it occur to them that they have not obeyed God, and have not prayed to God. What problem is this? This is them not having God in their hearts. Their actions indicate that God is absent from their hearts, and that they only rely on themselves. And so, whether you are doing church work, performing a duty, handling some external affairs, or dealing with matters in your personal life, there must be principles in your heart, there must be a state. What state? “No matter what it is, before something happens to me I must pray, I ought to obey God, and I ought to obey His sovereignty. Everything is arranged by God, and when that thing happens, I must seek God’s will, I must have this mindset, I must not make my own plans.” After experiencing thus for some time, people will find themselves seeing God’s sovereignty in many things. If you always have your own plans, considerations, wishes, selfish motives, and desires, then your heart will unwittingly stray from God, you will be blind to how God acts, and most of the time, God will be hidden from you. Do you not like doing things according to your own ideas? Do you not make your own plans? You think you have a mind, you are educated, knowledgeable, you have the means and methodology to do things, you can do them on your own, you’re good, you don’t need God, and so God says, “So go and do it by yourself, and take responsibility for whether it goes well or not, I do not care.” God pays you no heed. When people follow their own will in this way in their faith in God and believe however they want, what is the consequence? They are never able to experience God’s sovereignty, they can never see the hand of God, can never feel the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, they cannot feel God’s guidance. And what will happen as time goes on? Their hearts will grow ever further from God, and there will be knock-on effects. What effects? (Doubting and denying God.) This is not just a case of doubting and denying God. When God has no place in people’s hearts, and they do as they wish over the long term, a habit will set in: When something happens to them, the first thing they will do is to think of their own solution and act according to their own intentions, aims and plans; they will first consider whether this is of benefit to them; if it is, they will do it, and if it isn’t, they won’t. It will become their habit to go straight to taking this path. And how will God treat such people if they keep acting thus, without repentance? God will pay them no heed, and place them to one side. What does it mean to be placed to one side? God will neither discipline nor reproach them; they will grow increasingly self-indulgent, without judgment, chastisement, discipline, or reprimand, much less enlightenment, illumination, or guidance. This is what it means to be placed to one side. How does someone feel when God places them to one side? Their spirit feels darkened, God is not with them, they feel unclear about the visions, they have no path of action, and they deal only with foolish matters. As time passes in this way, they think that life has no meaning, and their spirits are empty, so they are the same as the unbelievers, and they grow increasingly degenerate. This is a person detested and rejected by God.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Principles of the Practice of Submitting to God

For some people, no matter what issue they might encounter when performing their duties, they do not seek the truth, and they always act according to their own thoughts, notions, imaginings, and desires. They are constantly satisfying their own selfish desires, and their corrupt dispositions are always in control over their actions. They may appear to have always performed their duties, but because they have never accepted the truth, and are incapable of doing things according to the truth principles, they ultimately fail to gain the truth and life, and become service-doers worthy of the name. So, what are such people relying on when performing their duties? They are relying neither on the truth nor on God. That bit of truth that they do understand has not taken up sovereignty in their hearts; they are relying on their own gifts and talents, on whatever knowledge that they have acquired as well as on their own willpower or good intentions, to perform these duties. And with this being the case, will they be able to perform their duties to an acceptable standard? When people rely on their naturalness, notions, imaginings, expertise, and learning to perform their duties, although it may appear as if they are performing their duties and not committing evil, they are not practicing the truth, and have not done anything that is satisfactory to God. There is also another problem that cannot be ignored: During the process of performing your duty, if your notions, imaginings, and personal desires never change and are never replaced with the truth, and if your actions and deeds are never done in accordance with the truth principles, then what will the final outcome be? You will have no life entry, you will become a service-doer, thus fulfilling the words of the Lord Jesus: “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22–23). Why does God call these people who exert effort and who render service evildoers? There is one point we can be sure on, and that is that no matter what duties or work these people do, their motivations, impetus, intentions, and thoughts arise entirely from their selfish desires, and they are wholly in order to protect their own interests and prospects, and in order to satisfy their own pride, vanity and status. It is all centered around these considerations and calculations, there is no truth in their hearts, they do not have a heart that fears and obeys God—this is the root of the problem. What, today, is it crucial for you to pursue? In all things, you must seek the truth, and you must perform your duty properly according to the will of God and what God asks. If you do, you shall receive God’s praise. So what, specifically, is involved in performing your duty according to what God asks? In all you do, you must learn to pray to God, you must reflect on what intentions you have, what thoughts you have, and whether these intentions and thoughts are in line with the truth; if they are not, they should be put aside, after which you should act according to the truth principles, and accept God’s scrutiny. This will ensure that you put the truth into practice. If you have your own intentions and aims, and are well aware that they violate the truth and are at odds with God’s will, yet still do not pray to God and seek the truth for a solution, then this is dangerous, it is easy for you to commit evil and do things that oppose God. If you commit evil one or two times and repent, then you still have hope of salvation. If you keep committing evil, then you’re a doer of all manner of evils. If you still can’t repent at this point, then you’re in trouble: God shall cast you to one side or abandon you, which means you are at risk of being cast out; people who commit all manner of wicked deeds will surely be punished and cast out.

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

Do you know what is the greatest taboo in man’s service of God? Some leaders and workers always want to be different, to be head and shoulders above the rest, to show off, and to figure out some new tricks, in order to make God see just how capable they really are. However, they do not focus on understanding the truth and entering the reality of God’s words. This is the most foolish way to act. Is this not precisely the revelation of an arrogant disposition? Some even say, “If I do this, I’m sure it’ll make God happy; He’ll like it. This time I am going to show it to God; I’ll give Him a nice surprise.” The “nice surprise” doesn’t matter. What is the result? People see the things these people do are too absurd. Not only are they of no benefit to the work of God’s house, but they are a waste of money—they bring about losses to God’s offerings. God’s offerings are not to be used however you want; it is a sin to waste offerings to God. These people end up offending God’s disposition, the Holy Spirit stops working in them, and they are cast out. As such, never ever impulsively do whatever you want. How can you not consider the outcome? When you offend God’s disposition and violate His administrative decrees, and are subsequently cast out, there will be nothing left for you to say. Regardless of your intent, and whether or not you do it deliberately, if you do not understand God’s disposition or His will, you will easily offend Him and be liable to violate His administrative decrees; this is something against which everyone should be on guard. Once you have violated God’s administrative decrees or offended His disposition, if it is extremely serious, then He will give no consideration as to whether you did it intentionally or unintentionally. This is a matter that you need to see clearly. If you cannot understand this issue, then you are bound to have problems arise. In serving God, people wish to make great strides, do great things, speak great words, perform great work, hold great meetings, and be great leaders. If you always have such grand ambitions, then you will violate God’s administrative decrees; people who do this will die quickly. If you are not well-behaved, devout, and prudent in your service to God, then sooner or later, you will offend His disposition.

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

No matter what you do, you should first understand why you are doing it, what intention it is that directs you to do this thing, what the significance is in your doing it, what the nature of the matter is, and whether what you are doing is a positive thing or a negative thing. You must have a clear understanding of all these matters; this is quite necessary for you to be able to act with principle. If you are doing something which can be classified as fulfilling your duty, then you should ponder: How should I fulfill my duty well so that I am not just doing it perfunctorily? You should pray and draw close to God in this matter. Praying to God is in order to seek the truth, the way to practice, the intention of God, and how to satisfy God. Prayer is in order to achieve these effects. Praying to God, drawing close to God, and reading God’s words are not religious ceremonies or outward actions. It is done for the purpose of practicing in accordance with the truth after seeking God’s will. If you always say “thanks be to God” when you haven’t done anything, and you might seem very spiritual and insightful, but if, when the time comes to act, you still do as you want, without seeking the truth at all, then this “thanks be to God” is nothing more than a mantra, it is false spirituality. When fulfilling your duty, you should always think: “How should I fulfill this duty? What is God’s will?” Praying to God and drawing close to God in order to seek principles and truths for your actions, seeking the will of God in your heart, and not departing from God’s words or the truth principles in anything you do—only this is someone who truly believes in God; all this is unattainable to people who do not love the truth. There are many people who follow their own ideas no matter what they do, and consider things in highly simplistic terms, and do not seek the truth, either. There is a total absence of principle, and in their hearts they give no thought to how to act according to what God asks, or in a way that satisfies God, and they know only to mulishly follow their own will. God has no place in such people’s hearts. Some people say, “I only pray to God when I encounter difficulty, but still it doesn’t feel like this has any effect—so generally when things happen to me now I don’t pray to God, because praying to God is of no use.” God is utterly absent from the hearts of such people. They do not seek the truth no matter what they are doing at ordinary times; they only follow their own ideas. So are there principles to their actions? Definitely not. They see everything in simple terms. Even when people fellowship the truth principles to them, they are not able to accept them, because there have never been any principles to their actions, God has no place in their hearts, and there is no one but them in their hearts. They feel their intentions are good, that they are not committing evil, that they cannot be considered in violation of the truth, they think that acting according to their own intentions should be practicing the truth, that acting thus is obeying God. In fact, they are not truly seeking or praying to God in this matter, but acting on impulse, according to their own zealous intentions, they are not performing their duty as God asks, they do not have a God-obeying heart, they are absent of this wish. This is the greatest mistake in people’s practice. If you believe in God yet He is not in your heart, are you not trying to deceive God? And what effect can such faith in God have? Just what can you gain? And what is the point of such faith in God?

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

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. Just what is duty? It is a commission entrusted by God to people, it is part of the work of God’s house, and it is a responsibility and obligation that should be borne by every one of God’s chosen people. Is duty your career? Is it a personal family matter? Is it fair to say that once you have been given a duty, this duty becomes your personal business? That is absolutely not the case. So how should you fulfill your duty? By acting in accordance with God’s requirements, words, and standards, and by basing your behavior on the truth principles rather than on human subjective desires. Some people say, “Once a duty has been given to me, is it not my own business? My duty is my charge, and is what I am charged with not my own business? If I handle my duty as my own business, doesn’t that mean I will do it properly? Would I do it well if I didn’t treat it like my own business?” Are these words right or wrong? They are wrong; they are at odds with the truth. Duty is not your own personal business, it is God’s business, it is part of God’s work, and you must do as God asks; only by performing your duty with a God-obeying heart can you be up to standard. If you always perform your duty according to your own notions and imaginings, and according to your own inclinations, then you will never meet the standard. Only ever performing your duty as you wish is not performing your duty, because what you are doing is not within the scope of God’s management, it is not the work of the house of God; you are, instead, running your own operation, carrying out your own tasks, and so this is not remembered by God.

—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

Some people never seek the truth while performing their duties. They merely do as they please, acting according to their own imaginings, and are ever arbitrary and rash. They simply do not walk the path of practicing the truth. What does it mean to be “arbitrary and rash”? It means to act however you see fit when you encounter an issue, without any process of thinking or searching. Nothing anyone else says can touch your heart or change your mind. You can’t even accept it when the truth is fellowshiped to you, you stick to your own opinions, not listening when other people say anything right, believing yourself right, and clinging to your own ideas. Even if your thinking is correct, you should take other people’s opinions into consideration as well. And if you don’t at all, is this not being extremely self-righteous? It is not easy for people who are extremely self-righteous and willful to accept the truth. If you do something wrong and others criticize you, saying, “You’re not doing it according to the truth!” you reply, “Even if I’m not, this is still how I’m going to do it,” and then you find some reason to make them think this is right. If they reproach you, saying, “You acting like this is disruptive, and it will damage the work of the church,” not only do you not listen, but you keep coming out with excuses: “I think this is the right way, so this is how I’m going to do it.” What disposition is this? (Arrogance.) It is arrogance. An arrogant nature makes you willful. If you have an arrogant nature, you will behave arbitrarily and rashly, heedless of what anyone says. How, then, do you resolve your arbitrariness and rashness? Say, for example, something happens to you and you have your own ideas and plans. Before determining what to do, you must seek the truth, and you should at least fellowship with everyone about what you think and believe about that matter, asking everyone to tell you if your thoughts are correct and in line with the truth, and to carry out checks for you. This is the best method for solving arbitrariness and rashness. First, you can shed light on your views and seek the truth—this is the first step of practice for solving arbitrariness and rashness. The second step happens when other people voice dissenting opinions—how can you practice in order to keep from being arbitrary and rash? You must first have an attitude of humility, set aside what you believe to be right, and let everyone fellowship. Even if you believe your way to be correct, you should not keep insisting on it. That is a kind of step forward; it shows an attitude of seeking the truth, of denying yourself, and of satisfying God’s will. Once you have this attitude, at the same time as not adhering to your own opinions, you should pray, seek the truth from God, and then look for a basis in God’s words—determine how to act based on God’s words. This is the most suitable and accurate practice. When you seek the truth and hold up a problem for everyone to fellowship and seek on together, that is when the Holy Spirit provides enlightenment. God enlightens people according to principles, He takes stock of their attitude. If you stubbornly stick to your guns regardless of whether your view is right or wrong, God will hide His face from you and ignore you; He will make you hit a wall, He will expose you and reveal your ugly state. If, on the other hand, your attitude is correct, neither insistent on your own way, nor self-righteous, nor arbitrary and rash, but an attitude of seeking and of accepting the truth, if you fellowship with everyone, then the Holy Spirit will begin to work among you, and perhaps He will lead you to understanding by means of someone’s words. Sometimes, when the Holy Spirit enlightens you, He leads you to understand the crux of a matter with just a few words or phrases, or by giving you an idea. You realize, in that instant, that whatever you have been clinging to is erroneous, and, in the same instant, you understand the most appropriate way to act. Having reached such a level, have you not successfully avoided doing evil, and at the same time avoided bearing the consequences of a mistake? Is this not God’s keeping? (Yes.) How is such a thing achieved? This is only attained when you have a God-fearing heart, and when you seek the truth with a heart of obedience. Once you have received the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and determined the principles for practice, your practice will be in line with the truth, and you will be able to satisfy God’s will. … If your attitude is to stubbornly insist, to deny the truth, to reject anyone else’s suggestions, to not seek the truth, to only have faith in yourself, and to only do as you want—if this is your attitude regardless of what God does or asks, then what is God’s reaction? God pays you no heed, He sidelines you. Are you not willful? Are you not arrogant? Do you not always think you’re right? If you are devoid of obedience, if you never seek, if your heart is utterly closed and resistant to God, then God pays you no heed. Why does God pay you no heed? Because if your heart is closed to God, can you accept God’s enlightenment? Can you feel it when God reproaches you? When people are intransigent, when their satanic nature and beastliness burst forth, they don’t feel anything God does, it is all to no avail—so God does not do useless work. If you have this kind of stubbornly antagonistic attitude, all that God does is to remain hidden from you, God will not do superfluous things. When you are this stubbornly antagonistic, and this closed, God would never forcibly do anything in you, or force anything upon you, He would never keep trying to move and enlighten you, over and over again—God does not act in this way. Why does God not act in this way? Mainly because God has seen a certain kind of disposition in you, a beastliness that is sick of the truth and impervious to reason. And do you think people can control a wild animal when its beastliness bursts forth? Does shouting and screaming at it do anything? Is reasoning with it or offering it comfort of any use? Do people dare to approach it? There is a good way of describing this: It is impervious to reason. When your beastliness flares up and you are impervious to reason, what does God do? God pays you no heed. What more does God have to say to you when you are impervious to reason? Saying any more is useless. And when God pays you no heed, are you blessed, or do you suffer? Do you gain some benefits, or suffer a loss? You will undoubtedly suffer a loss. And who caused this? (We caused it.) You caused it. No one forced you to act like this, and yet you still feel upset. Did you not bring this upon yourself? God pays you no heed, you cannot feel God, there is darkness in your heart, and your life is compromised—you brought this upon yourself, you deserve it.

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

The greatest obstacle to practicing the truth is when one’s own will is too great and comes before everything else—that is, when one’s own self-interest comes before anything else, when one’s own reputation and status come before anything else. That’s why such people are always willful when things come up, and do whatever will personally benefit them, without any consideration of truth principles. They’re always clinging to their own ideas. What does it mean to cling to one’s own ideas? It means to determine: “If you want this, I want that. If you want yours, I will insist on mine.” Is this a display of submission? (No.) This is not seeking the truth at all, but is insisting on one’s own way. It’s an arrogant disposition, and an unreasonable display. If, one day, you are able to become aware that your preferences and determinations are contrary to the truth; if you are able to deny and see through yourself, no longer believing in yourself, and after that gradually come to not do things your own way or blindly define things, but are able to seek the truth, pray to God and lean on Him, then that is the correct practice. Before you confirm what sort of practice conforms with the truth, you must seek. That is absolutely the correct thing to do, it is what should be done. If you wait until you are dealt with and pruned to seek, it is a bit passive, and it is likely to delay things. Learning to seek the truth is so crucial. What are the benefits of seeking the truth? Firstly, one can avoid following their own will and acting rashly; secondly, one can avoid outpourings of corruption and evil consequences; thirdly, one can learn how to wait and be patient, and stop mistakes from occurring by perceiving things clearly and accurately. These things can all be achieved by seeking the truth. When you learn to seek the truth in all things, you will discover that nothing is simple, that if you are inattentive and do not make an effort, you will do things poorly. After training like this for a while, you will be more mature and seasoned when things befall you. Your attitude will be softer and more moderate, and instead of being impulsive, risk-taking, and competitive, you will be able to seek the truth, practice the truth, and submit to God. Then, the problem of your outpourings of corrupt dispositions will be resolved. So, it will be easy for you to submit, it is really not that difficult. It might be a little hard in the beginning, but you can be patient, wait and keep seeking the truth until you resolve that problem. If you always want to make your own decisions when things befall you, and you are always offering justifications, and you insist on your own ideas, this will become quite troublesome. This is because the things you are insisting on are not positive and are all things within a corrupt disposition. All of those things are outpourings of a corrupt disposition, and, in such circumstances, though you may wish to seek the truth, you will be unable to practice it, and though you may wish to pray to God, you will only be going through the motions. If someone fellowshiped with you about the truth and uncovered the adulterations of your intent, how would you make a choice? Could you easily submit to the truth? It would be very strenuous for you to submit at such a time, and you would be unable to submit. You would disobey and try to offer justifications. You would say, “My decisions are for the sake of God’s house. They are not wrong. Why do you still ask that I submit?” Do you see how you would be unable to submit? And apart from that, you would also resist; this is a deliberate transgression! Is this not extremely troublesome? When someone fellowships with you about truth, if you are unable to accept the truth and would even knowingly transgress, disobeying and resisting God, then yours is a serious problem. You are at risk of being exposed by God and cast out.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Submission to God Is a Basic Lesson in Gaining the Truth

In their work, church leaders and workers must pay attention to two principles: One is to do their work exactly according to the principles stipulated by the work arrangements, never violating those principles and not basing their work on anything that they might imagine or on any of their own ideas. In everything they do, they should show concern for the work of the church, and always put the interests of God’s house first. Another thing—and this is most crucial—is that in all things, they must focus on following the Holy Spirit’s guidance and do everything in strict keeping with God’s words. If they are still capable of going against the Holy Spirit’s guidance, or if they stubbornly follow their own ideas and do things according to their own imagination, then their actions will constitute a most serious resistance against God. Frequently turning their back on the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit will only lead to a dead end. If they lose the work of the Holy Spirit, then they will not be able to work; and even if they do somehow manage to work, they will accomplish nothing. These are the two main principles that leaders and workers must abide by while working: One is to perform their work in exact accordance with the work arrangements from the Above, as well as to act according to the principles that have been set forth by the Above; and the other is to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit within them. Once these two principles are grasped, they will not be so liable to make mistakes in their work. Your experience in doing church work is still limited, and when you work, it is highly adulterated by your own ideas. At times, you may not understand the enlightenment or guidance within you that comes from the Holy Spirit; at other times, you appear to understand it, but you are likely to ignore it. You always imagine or deduce in a human manner, acting as you think appropriate, with no concern at all for the Holy Spirit’s intentions. You go about your work solely according to your own ideas, setting aside any enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Such situations occur frequently. Inner guidance from the Holy Spirit is not transcendental; it is, in fact, very normal. That is, in the depths of your heart, you feel this is an appropriate way to act, and that it is the best way. This thought is actually quite clear; it did not come of pondering, and sometimes you do not fully understand why you should act this way. This is often none other than enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. This happens most often to people with experience. The Holy Spirit guides you to do what is most appropriate. It is not something you think about, rather it is a feeling in your heart that makes you realize that this is the best way to do it, and you like to do it that way without knowing why. This may come from the Holy Spirit. One’s own ideas often come from thinking and considering, and are all adulterated by self-will; they always think of what benefit and advantage it is to them; every act that humans decide to do has these things in it. Guidance from the Holy Spirit, however, in no way contains such adulterations. It is necessary to pay careful attention to the guidance or enlightenment from the Holy Spirit; particularly in key issues, you must be careful in order to grasp it. People who like to use their brains, and who like to act on their own ideas, are the most liable to miss such guidance or enlightenment. Adequate leaders and workers are people who possess the work of the Holy Spirit, who are attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit at every moment, who obey the Holy Spirit, have a God-fearing heart, are mindful of God’s will, and tirelessly pursue the truth. To satisfy God and bear witness for Him properly, you should often reflect on your motives and adulterations in the performance of your duty, and then try to see how much of the work is motivated by human ideas, how much is born of enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, and how much is in keeping with God’s words. You must constantly, and in all circumstances, reflect on whether your words and deeds are in line with the truth. To practice frequently in this manner will put you on the right track of serving God.

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

In the process of life experience, no matter what happens, you must learn to seek the truth, and ponder the matter thoroughly according to God’s words and the truth. When you know how to do things that are completely in line with God’s will, you will be able to let go of the things that come from your own will. Once you know how to act in accordance with God’s will, you should simply act that way, as if going with the natural flow. Doing things this way feels very relaxed and easy, and this is how people who understand the truth do things. If you can show people that you are truly effective when you perform your duty, and that there are principles to how you do things, that your life disposition has indeed changed, that you have done many good things for God’s chosen ones, then you are someone who understands the truth, and certainly have the image of man; and sure enough, there is an effect in your eating and drinking the words of God. Once someone genuinely understands the truth, they will be able to discern their various states, they will be able to see complex matters clearly, and so they will know how to practice appropriately. If a person does not understand the truth and cannot discern their own state, then if they want to forsake themselves, they will not know what or how to forsake. If they want to abandon their own will, they will not know what is wrong with their own will, they will think their own will is in line with the truth, and may even regard their own will as the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. How will such a person abandon their own will? They won’t be able to, and much less will they be able to forsake the flesh. Therefore, when you don’t understand the truth, you can easily mistake things that come from your own will, things that align with human notions, and one’s own kindness, love, suffering, and paying a price as being correct and in line with the truth. How, then, could you forsake these human things? You don’t understand the truth, and you don’t know what it means to practice the truth. You are completely in the dark and you can’t possibly know what to do, so you can only do what you think is good, and as a result, you make deviations in some things. Some of these are because of following rules, some because of enthusiasm, and some because of the disturbance of Satan. This is how people who don’t understand the truth are. They are highly erratic when they do things, and unfailingly deviant, without any accuracy at all. People who don’t understand the truth see things in an absurd way, just like the unbelievers. How could they possibly practice the truth? How could they possibly solve problems? Understanding the truth is not a simple matter. No matter how high or low one’s caliber is, even after a lifetime of experience, the amount of truth that they can understand is limited, and the amount of God’s word they can understand is also limited. People who are relatively more experienced are people who understand some truths, and at most they can stop doing things that resist God, and stop doing obviously evil things. It’s impossible for them to act without any adulteration of their own intentions. Because human beings have normal thinking and their thoughts may not always conform to God’s word, adulteration from their own will is inevitable. What is important is to have discernment of all the things that come from one’s own will and go against God’s word, the truth, and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. This requires you to work hard to understand God’s word; only when you understand the truth will you have discernment, and only then can you ensure that you will not do evil.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition

In simple terms, respecting God as being great is to have God in your heart, for your heart to dwell on God, to not forget yourself in the things you do, and to not try to strike out on your own, but rather to let God take charge. In everything, you think, “I believe in God and follow God. I am but a small created being which God has chosen. I should let go of views, recommendations, and decisions that come from my own will, and let God be my Master. God is my Lord, my rock, and the bright light which guides my way in everything I do. I must do things according to His words and will, not put myself first.” This is what it means to have God in your heart. When you want to do something, do not act on impulse or rashly. First think about what God’s words say, if God would be disgusted by your actions, and whether your actions are in line with His will. In your heart, first ask yourself, think, and ponder; do not be rash. To be rash is to be impulsive, and to be motivated by hotheadedness and the will of man. If you are always rash and impulsive, it shows that God is not in your heart. Then when you say you respect God as being great, are these not empty words? Where is your reality? You have no reality, and you cannot respect God as being great. You act like the lord of the manor on all matters, doing as you will at every turn. In which case, if you say you have a God-fearing heart, isn’t this nonsense? You are tricking people with these words. If a person has a God-fearing heart, how does it actually manifest itself? By respecting God as being great. The concrete manifestation of respecting God as being great is that God has a place in their heart—the foremost place. In their heart they allow God to be their Master and to hold authority. When something happens, they have a God-obeying heart. They are not rash, nor impulsive, and they do not act impetuously; but rather, they are able to face it calmly, and quiet themselves before God to seek the truth principles. Whether you do things according to God’s word or your own will, and whether you allow your own will or God’s word to take charge, depends on whether God is in your heart. You say God is in your heart, but when something happens, you act blindly, letting yourself have the final word, and pushing God to the side. Is this the manifestation of a heart that has God in it? There are some people who are able to pray to God when something happens, but after praying, they keep mulling things over, thinking, “I think this is what I should do. I think that is what I should do.” You always follow your own will, and do not listen to anyone no matter how they fellowship with you. Is this not the manifestation of lacking a God-fearing heart? Because you do not seek the truth principles and do not practice the truth, when you say you respect God as being great, and have a God-fearing heart, they are just empty words. People whose hearts do not have God, and who are unable to respect God as being great, are people who do not have a God-fearing heart. People who are unable to seek the truth when something happens, and who do not have a God-obeying heart, are all people who lack a conscience and reason. If one truly has a conscience and reason, when something happens, they will naturally be able to seek the truth. They first must think, “I believe in God. I have come to seek God’s salvation. Because I have a corrupted disposition, I always treat myself as the sole authority in whatever I do; I always go against God’s will. I must repent. I cannot continue to rebel against God in this way. I must learn how to be obedient to God. I must seek what God’s words say, and what the truth principles are.” These are the thoughts and aspirations that arise from the reason of normal humanity. These are the principles and the attitude with which you should do things. When you possess the reason of normal humanity, then you possess this attitude; when you do not possess the reason of normal humanity, then you do not possess this attitude. That is why possessing the reason of normal humanity is crucial and very important. It is directly related to people understanding the truth and achieving salvation.

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

Related Experiential Testimonies

The Consequences of Working Willfully

Willfulness Hurts Others and Yourself

Related Hymns

Pious Are Those Who Are Often Quiet Before God

Only a Foundation of God’s Words Provides a Path of Practice

Previous: 20. How to resolve the problem of arrogance, self-righteousness, and holding to one’s own views

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Question 5: Paul’s sacrifices and suffering were forced. We admit that as well. However, when you say that Paul in substance hated the truth and was the enemy of God, I don’t agree with that. What are you basing that on?

Almighty God says, “At the very mention of Paul, you may think of his history, and of some inaccurate and spurious stories about him. He was taught by his parents from childhood, and received My life, and because of My predestination, he was possessed of the qualities required by Me. … However, his flaw was that, because of his innate gifts, he often talked boastfully. And so, because of his disobedience, part of which directly represented the archangel, when I became flesh for the first time, he did his utmost to resist Me.”

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