26. How to resolve the problem of an intransigent disposition
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
What kind of state is there inside people when they have an intransigent disposition? It is mainly that they are stubborn and self-righteous. They always stick to their own ideas, they always think that what they say is right, they are utterly inflexible, and they are opinionated. This is the attitude of intransigence. They are like a broken record, not listening to anyone, remaining unalterably fixed on one course of action, insisting on going through with it, regardless of whether it is right or wrong; there is some unrepentance in this. As the saying goes, “Dead pigs don’t fear boiling water.” People know full well what is the right thing to do, and yet they do not do it, they steadfastly refuse to accept the truth. This is one kind of disposition: intransigence. In what kinds of situations do you reveal an intransigent disposition? Are you often intransigent? (Yes.) Very often! And since intransigence is your disposition, this accompanies you in every second of every day of your existence. Intransigence stops people from being able to come before God, it stops them from being able to accept the truth, and it stops them from being able to enter the truth reality. And if you are not able to enter the truth reality, can change occur in this aspect of your disposition? Only with great difficulty. Has there now been any change in this aspect of your disposition that is intransigent? And how much change has there been? Say, for example, you used to be extremely stubborn, but there has now been a little change in you: When you encounter some issue, you have some sense of conscience in your heart, and say to yourself, “I have to practice some truth in this matter. Since God has exposed this intransigent disposition—since I have heard it, and now I know it—I must therefore change. When I encountered these kinds of things a few times in the past, I went along with my flesh and failed, and I am not happy with this. This time I must practice the truth.” With such an aspiration, it is possible to practice the truth, and this is change. When you have experience in this way for a time, and you are able to put more truths into practice, and this brings about greater changes, and your rebellious and intransigent dispositions become ever more diminished, has there been a change in your life disposition? If your rebellious disposition has visibly become ever more diminished, and your obedience to God has become ever greater, then there has been real change. So, to what extent must you change to achieve true obedience? You will have succeeded when there is not the slightest intransigence, but only obedience. This is a slow process. Changes in disposition do not happen overnight, they take extended periods of experience, maybe even a lifetime. Sometimes it is necessary to suffer many great hardships, hardships akin to dying and coming back to life, hardships more painful and difficult than having poison scraped from your bones.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Knowledge of the Six Kinds of Corrupt Dispositions Is True Self-Knowledge
When someone reveals arrogance, deceit, and hypocrisy before God, do they have any awareness of this deep in their heart? (Yes.) When they do have this awareness, what do they do with it? Do they restrain themselves? Do they refrain? Do they reflect on themselves? (No.) What kind of disposition is it when a person knows that they have revealed an arrogant disposition but still doesn’t reflect on or try to know themselves, and if someone points it out to them, they still don’t accept it and they instead try to defend themselves? (Intransigence.) That’s right, this is intransigence. No matter how this kind of intransigent disposition manifests before other people, and regardless of the contexts in which such an attitude is revealed, this is a person with an intransigent disposition. No matter how cunning and disguised people are, this intransigent disposition is easily exposed. Because people don’t live in a vacuum, and no matter if they are in front of other people or not, all people live before God, and every person is under God’s scrutiny. If someone is usually willful, dissolute, unrestrained, and has these inclinations, and these outpourings of corruption, and if, even when they sense this, they don’t turn back, and when they recognize it, they don’t repent, open up to fellowship, or seek the truth to solve this problem, this is intransigence. In terms of the manifestations of intransigence, there are two different kinds: “obstinacy” and “hardness.”[a] “Obstinacy” means being very stubborn, not reversing one’s course, and not being soft. “Hardness” means that other people don’t dare to brush up against it, and feel pain when they do so. Usually people are unwilling to come into contact with those who have an intransigent disposition, just as people are unwilling to come into contact with hard things and will feel uncomfortable when they do so; people like soft things, the texture of soft things makes people feel comfortable, and it brings pleasure to them, while intransigence is exactly the opposite. Intransigence makes people display an attitude, and this attitude is pigheadedness and stubbornness. What disposition is at play here? It is the intransigent disposition. This means that, when a person encounters something, although they are aware or have a faint feeling that this attitude of theirs is not good and not right, they are prompted by their intransigent disposition to think, “So what if someone finds out? This is how I am!” What kind of attitude is this? They deny the issue, they do not think that this attitude is bad, or rebellious against God, that it comes from Satan, or that it is an outpouring of Satan’s disposition; they do not sense or realize how God sees it and how God detests it—that is the severity of this problem. Is the disposition of intransigence good or bad? (It’s bad.) It is a satanic disposition. It makes it difficult for people to accept the truth, and it makes it even more difficult for them to repent. All satanic dispositions are negative things, they all are hated by God, and none of them are positive things.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Knowing One’s Disposition Is the Foundation of Changing It
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “there are two different kinds: ‘obstinacy’ and ‘hardness.’”
Another main one is something that exists in the essence of every person’s disposition: intransigence. This also manifests quite concretely and obviously, does it not? (It does.) These are two of the main ways in which man’s corrupt disposition manifests and pours forth. These specific behaviors, these specific views, attitudes, and so forth, truly and accurately illustrate that there is an element of being fed up with the truth within the corrupt disposition of man. Of course, what is more prominent in man’s disposition are manifestations of intransigence: Whatever God says, and whatever corrupt dispositions of man are exposed in the course of God’s work, people stubbornly refuse to acknowledge it and resist it. Beyond obvious resistance or contemptuous rejection, there is, of course, another sort of behavior, which is when people do not concern themselves with God’s work, as if God’s work has nothing to do with them. What does it mean to not concern oneself with God? It is when a person says, “Say what You will—it has nothing to do with me. None of Your judgment or exposure has anything to do with me. I don’t accept it or acknowledge it.” Might we call such an attitude “intransigent”? (Yes.) It is a manifestation of intransigence. These people say, “I live however I like, in whatever way makes me comfortable, and in whatever way makes me happy. The behaviors You talk about like arrogance, deceit, being fed up with the truth, evil, viciousness, and so on—even if I do have them, so what? I won’t examine them, or know them, or accept them. This is how I believe in God, what are You going to do about it?” This is an attitude of intransigence. When people do not concern themselves with God’s words or pay heed to them, which means that they uniformly ignore God, regardless of what He says, whether He speaks in the form of reminders or warnings or exhortations—no matter which manner of speaking He employs, or what the source and goals of His speech are—then their attitude is an intransigent one. It means that they pay no heed to God’s urgent will, much less to His sincere, well-intentioned desire to save man. No matter what God does, people do not have hearts of cooperation and they are unwilling to strive toward the truth. Even if they acknowledge that God’s judgment and revelation are entirely factual, there is no remorse in their hearts, and they go on believing as they did before. In the end, when they have heard many sermons, they say the same thing: “I’m a true believer, at any rate, my humanity’s not poor, I wouldn’t deliberately do evil, I’m able to forsake things, I can take on hardship, and I’m willing to pay a price for my faith. God won’t forsake me.” Is this not just like how Paul said: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness”? That is the sort of attitude people have. What is the disposition behind such an attitude? Intransigence.
—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (1)
If people have conscience and reason, and yearn for the truth, yet they never know to self-reflect and make a turnaround after making mistakes, believing instead that the past is past and feeling certain that they are not wrong, then what sort of disposition does this show? What sort of behavior? What is the essence of such behavior? (Being intransigent.) Such people are intransigent and, come what may, that is the path they will follow. God does not like such people. What did Jonah say when he expressed God’s words to the Ninevites? (“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4).) How did the Ninevites react to these words? When they saw that God was going to destroy them, they hastened to take up sackcloth and ashes, confess their sins to Him, and leave the path of evil. This is what it means to repent. If man is able to repent, it presents man with an enormous opportunity. What opportunity is that? It is the opportunity to keep on living. Without real repentance, it would be hard to continue forward, whether in your performance of duty or in your pursuit of salvation. At every stage—whether when God is disciplining or correcting you, or when He is reminding and exhorting you—as long as a conflict has occurred between you and God, yet you do not make a turnaround, and continue to cling to your own ideas, viewpoints, and attitudes, then even though your steps are headed forward, the conflict between you and God, your misunderstandings of Him, your complaints and rebelliousness against Him are not rectified, and your heart does not turn around. Then God, for His part, will cast you out. Although you have not let go of the duty at hand, and you still keep to your duty and have a bit of loyalty for what God has commissioned, and people see this as acceptable, the dispute between you and God has formed a permanent knot. You have not used the truth to resolve it and gain a true understanding of God’s will. As a result, your misunderstanding of God deepens, and you always think that God is in the wrong and you are being treated unjustly. This means you have not made a turnaround. Your rebellion, your notions, and your misunderstanding of God still persist, which leads you to have a disobedient mentality, to be always rebellious and oppose God. Is this kind of person not someone who rebels against God, resists God, and stubbornly refuses to repent? Why does God place such importance on people making a turnaround? With what attitude should a created being regard the Creator? An attitude that acknowledges that the Creator is right, no matter what He does. If you do not acknowledge this, that the Creator is the truth, the way, and the life will be but hollow words to you. If that is the case, can you still attain salvation? You cannot. You would be unqualified; God does not save people like you.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (3)
Some people are always controlled by past transgressions, and think, “God cannot possibly forgive anything that offends His disposition. His heart has long since despised and rejected me, and it’s useless for me to pursue the truth.” What sort of attitude is this? This is called being suspicious of and misunderstanding God. In fact, before you even did anything that offended God’s disposition, you had a disrespectful, irreverent, and perfunctory attitude toward Him, and you didn’t treat God as God. People reveal their satanic dispositions because of a moment of ignorance or impulsivity, and if there is no one to discipline or stop them, they commit transgressions. After their transgressions lead to consequences, they don’t know to repent and yet are ill at ease. They worry about their future outcome and destination, and carry all these things in their hearts, always thinking, “I’m finished and ruined, so I’m just going to write myself off as hopeless. If God one day doesn’t want and thoroughly loathes me, the worst thing that can happen is I’ll die. I put myself at the mercy of God.” On the surface they talk about putting themselves at God’s mercy and submitting to His arrangements and sovereignty, but what is their actual state? It is resistant, intransigent, unrepentant. What does it mean to be unrepentant? It means they stick to their own ideas, not believing or accepting anything God says, always thinking, “God’s words of encouragement and comfort are not meant for me, but for other people. As for me, I’m finished, I’m already written off, I’m worthless—God has long since given up on me, and no matter how I confess my sins, pray, or weep in remorse, He will never give me another chance.” What attitude is this, when they measure and second-guess God in their hearts? Is it an attitude of confession and repentance? Obviously not. This kind of attitude represents a type of disposition—intransigence, incredible intransigence. Outwardly they appear particularly self-righteous, not listening to anyone, understanding every doctrine but not practicing anything. In fact, they have an intransigent disposition. From God’s perspective, is intransigence obedience or rebelliousness? It is clearly rebelliousness. They, however, feel they’ve been greatly wronged, “I used to love God so much, but He cannot let go of one little mistake I’ve made, and now my outcome is lost. God has passed a verdict on people like me. I am Paul.” Did God say you were Paul? God didn’t say so. You say you are Paul—where does this come from? You say you’ll be struck down by God, punished, and sent to hell. Who decided on this outcome? You clearly decided it yourself, as God has never said that you’ll be sent to hell when His work is completed, and that you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. So long as God doesn’t say that He despises and rejects you, then you have the chance and the right to pursue the truth, and you should just accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. You must have this kind of attitude, as this is the attitude of accepting the truth and God’s salvation, and of true repentance. You always cling to your own notions, imaginings, and misunderstandings; you are already filled with and occupied by these things, and have even decided that God won’t save you, and then harbored a careless and perfunctory mindset in the course of performing your duty, a mindset of writing yourself off as hopeless, a negative and passive mindset, a mindset of living day by day, a lazy mindset. Can you gain the truth? You will not be able to gain the truth with this mentality, and you will not be saved. Is such a person not pitiable? (Yes, they are.) What caused them to be so pitiable? It’s because of ignorance. When things happen, they don’t seek the truth but always study and speculate, and even want to dig into God’s words to see which were spoken about their situation, what God’s attitude is, how He passes verdicts, and what their outcome will be—and through this determine what the result of the matter will be. Is this approach seeking the truth? Certainly not. They hang God’s words of condemnation and curse above their own head, living in negativity—which appears to be fragility, feebleness, and passivity, but is actually a kind of resistance. What is the disposition behind resistance? It is intransigence. In God’s eyes, this kind of intransigence is a type of rebelliousness, and is what He despises the most.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God
Do you know what kind of people God ultimately gives up on? (Those who are continuously intransigent and do not repent before God.) What is the specific state of these kinds of people? (When performing their duties they are always perfunctory and careless, and when faced with problems they do not seek the truth to find a resolution. They are not earnest about how they should practice the truth, and handle everything in a sloppy manner. They are merely satisfied with not doing evil or bad things, and they do not strive for the truth.) Perfunctory and careless behavior depends on the situation. Some people do it because they do not understand the truth, and they even think that it is normal to be perfunctory and careless. Some people are intentionally perfunctory and careless, deliberately choosing to act in such a way. They act this way when they don’t understand the truth, and even after they do understand, they do not improve their behavior. They do not carry out the truth, consistently acting this way without the slightest amount of change. They do not listen when anyone criticizes them, nor accept being pruned or dealt with. Instead, they obstinately stand their ground to the end. What is this called? This is called intransigence. Everyone knows that “intransigence” is a negative term, a derogatory term. It is not a good word. So what would you say someone’s outcome would be if the term “intransigent” is applied to them, and they fit the description? (They are detested, rejected, and set aside by God.) Let Me tell you, what God despises the most and wants to give up on are these kinds of intransigent people. They are fully aware of their wrongdoings but do not repent, they never admit their faults and always make excuses and arguments to justify themselves and deflect blame, and they try to find smooth and evasive ways around the issue, shielding their actions from others’ eyes, and making continuous mistakes without the slightest degree of repentance or confession in their hearts. Such a person is very troublesome, and it is not easy for them to achieve salvation. They are the very people that God wants to abandon. Why would God abandon such people? (Because they do not accept the truth at all, and their conscience has become numb.) Such people cannot be saved. God does not save these people; He does not do such useless work. Outwardly it looks like God does not save them, and does not want them, but in fact there is a practical reason, which is that these people do not accept God’s salvation; they reject and resist God’s salvation. They think, “What do I gain from obeying You, accepting the truth, and practicing the truth? What advantage is there? I will only do it if there is a benefit for me. If there is no benefit then I won’t.” What kind of people are these? They are people driven by self-interest, and those who do not love the truth are all driven by self-interest. People driven by self-interest cannot accept the truth. If you try to fellowship on the truth with someone driven by self-interest, and ask them to know themselves and admit their wrongs, how will they respond? “What benefit do I gain from admitting my wrongs? If you make me admit I did something wrong, and make me confess my sins and repent, what blessings will I receive? My reputation and interests will be damaged. I will suffer losses. Who will compensate me?” This is their mentality. They only seek personal gain, and feel that acting in a certain way in order to receive God’s blessings is very vague. They simply don’t believe it’s possible; they only believe what they see with their own eyes. Such people are driven by self-interest, and they live by the satanic philosophy that “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” That is their nature essence. In their hearts, acknowledging God and acknowledging the truth means they believe in God. Not doing evil is acceptable to them, but they must receive benefits and absolutely not suffer loss. Only when their interests are not affected will they talk about practicing the truth and obeying God. If their interests are damaged, they cannot practice the truth or obey God. Asking them to expend themselves, suffer, or pay a price for God is even more impossible. People like this are not true believers. They live for their own interests, merely seeking blessings and benefits, and are unwilling to endure suffering or pay a price, yet they still want a place in God’s house to escape the outcome of death. Such people do not accept the least bit of truth and cannot be saved by God. Can God still save them? God will certainly detest and reject them, and cast them out. Does that mean God does not save them? They have abandoned themselves. They do not strive toward the truth, pray to God, or rely on God, so how can God save them? The only course is to give up on them, put them aside, and let them reflect on themselves. If people want to be saved, the only way is for them to accept the truth, know themselves, practice repentance, and live out the truth reality. In this way, they can obtain God’s approval. They must practice the truth so that they are able to obey and fear God, which is the ultimate goal of salvation. Obedience and fear of God must be embodied in people and in how they live out their life. If you do not walk the path of pursuing the truth, there is no second path you can choose. If a person does not walk this path, it can only be said that they do not believe the truth can save them. They do not believe that all of the words God spoke can transform them and make them become a genuine person. Furthermore, they fundamentally do not believe that God is the truth, nor do they believe in the fact that the truth can change and save people. Therefore, no matter how you analyze it, such a person’s heart is too intransigent. They refuse to accept the truth no matter what, and cannot be saved.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, What Is Most Important Is to Practice and Experience His Words
Is an intransigent disposition difficult to change? Is there a path for doing so? The simplest and most direct method is to transform your attitude toward God’s words and toward God Himself. How can you transform these things? By analyzing and coming to know the states and mindsets that arise from your intransigent attitude, and by looking to see which of your actions and words, which of the viewpoints and intents that you cling to, and even specifically which of the thoughts and ideas that you pour forth, are under the sway of your intransigent disposition. Examine and resolve these behaviors, outpourings, and states, one by one, and then, turn them around—as soon as you have examined and detected something, hurry to turn it around. For instance, we were just speaking about acting based on one’s preferences and moods, which is capriciousness. The disposition of capriciousness carries with it a quality of being sick of the truth. If you realize that you are that sort of person, with that sort of corrupt disposition, and you do not reflect on yourself or seek the truth to resolve it, stubbornly thinking that you are just fine, that is intransigence. After this sermon, you may suddenly realize, “I’ve said things like that, and I have views like that. This disposition of mine is one that’s sick of the truth. As that’s the case, I’ll set about resolving that disposition.” How are you to set about resolving it, then? Begin by letting go of your sense of superiority, your capriciousness, and your arbitrariness; no matter if you are in a good or bad mood, look to what God’s requirements are. If you can forsake the flesh and practice in line with God’s requirements, how will He view you? If you can truly begin to resolve these corrupt behaviors, it is a sign that you are positively and proactively cooperating with God’s work. You will be consciously forsaking and resolving that disposition which is sick of the truth, and at the same time, you will be resolving your intransigent disposition. When you have resolved both of these corrupt dispositions, you will be able to obey and satisfy God, and this will please Him.
—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (1)
Intransigence is a problem of a corrupt disposition; it is something in one’s nature, and it is not easy to resolve. When someone has an intransigent disposition, it manifests mainly as a propensity for offering justifications and specious arguments, sticking to their own ideas, and not easily accepting new things. There are times when people know that their ideas are wrong, yet they stick to them for the sake of their vanity and pride, obstinate to the end. Such an intransigent disposition is difficult to transform, even if one is aware of it. To resolve the problem of intransigence, one must know man’s arrogance, deceit, viciousness, being sick of the truth, and other such dispositions. When one knows their own arrogance, deceit, viciousness, that they are sick of the truth, that they are unwilling to forsake the flesh though they wish to practice the truth, that they are always offering excuses and explaining their difficulties though they wish to obey God, it will be easy for them to recognize that they have a problem with intransigence. To resolve this problem, one must first be possessed of normal human sense and begin by learning to listen to God’s words. If you wish to be God’s sheep, you must learn to listen to His words. And how should you listen to them? By listening for any problems that God exposes in His words that are relevant to you. If you find one, you should accept it; you must not believe that it is a problem that other people have, that it is everyone’s problem, or humanity’s problem, and that it has nothing to do with you. It would be wrong for you to have such a belief. You should reflect, through the revelation of God’s words, on whether you have the corrupt states or erroneous views that God is exposing. For instance, when you hear God’s words revealing manifestations of an arrogant disposition pouring forth from someone, you should think to yourself: “Do I show manifestations of arrogance? I am a corrupt human, so I must show some of those manifestations; I should reflect on where I do that. People say I’m arrogant, that I’m always acting high and mighty, that I constrain people when I speak. Is that truly my disposition?” Through reflection, you will finally realize that the revelation of God’s words is entirely accurate—that you are an arrogant person. And as the revelation of God’s words is entirely accurate, as it matches up perfectly with your situation without the least discrepancy, and appears even more accurate upon further reflection, you should accept the judgment and chastisement of His words, and discern and come to know the essence of your corrupt disposition according to them. Then you will be able to feel true remorse. In believing in God, it is only by eating and drinking of His words in this way that you can come to know yourself. In order to resolve your corrupt dispositions, you must accept the judgment and exposure of God’s words. If you cannot do that, there will be no way for you to cast off your corrupt dispositions. If you are a smart person who sees that the revelation of God’s words is generally accurate, or if you can admit that half of it is correct, then you should accept it at once and submit before God. You must also pray to Him and reflect on yourself. Only then will you understand that all of God’s words of revelation are accurate, that they are all facts, and nothing short of that. It is only by submitting before God with a God-fearing heart that people can truly reflect on themselves. Only then will they be able to see the variety of corrupt dispositions that exist within them, and that they are indeed arrogant and self-righteous, without the least bit of sense. If someone is a lover of the truth, they will be able to prostrate themselves before God, admit to Him that they have been deeply corrupted, and have the will to accept His judgment and chastisement. In this way, they can develop a heart of remorse, begin to deny and hate themselves, and regret not having pursued the truth before, thinking, “Why was I unable to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words when I began reading them? This attitude I held toward His words was one of arrogance, wasn’t it? How could I be so arrogant?” After frequently self-reflecting in this way for some time, they will recognize that they are indeed arrogant, that they are not entirely capable of admitting that God’s words are the truth and facts, and that they truly do not have a shred of sense. But it is a difficult thing to know oneself. Each time a person reflects, they can only gain a bit more and a bit deeper knowledge of themselves. To gain clear knowledge of a corrupt disposition is not something that can be accomplished in a short span of time; one must read more of God’s words, pray more, and reflect more on themselves. Only thus can they gradually come to know themselves. All those who truly know themselves have failed and stumbled a few times in the past, after which, they read God’s words, prayed to Him, and reflected on themselves, and thereby came to see the truth of their own corruption clearly, and to feel that they were indeed profoundly corrupted, and absolutely bereft of the truth reality. If you experience God’s work like this, and you pray to Him and seek the truth when things befall you, you will gradually come to know yourself. Then one day, your heart will finally be clear: “I may have slightly better caliber than others, but this was given to me by God. I’m always boastful, attempting to outdo others when I speak, and trying to get people to do things my way. I truly lack sense—this is arrogance and self-righteousness! Through reflection, I’ve learned of my own arrogant disposition. This is God’s enlightenment and grace, and I thank Him for it!” Is it a good thing or a bad thing to learn of your own corrupt disposition? (A good thing.) From there, you should seek how to speak and act with sense and obedience, how to stand on equal footing with others, how to treat others fairly without constraining them, how to correctly regard your caliber, gifts, strengths, and so on. In this way, like a mountain being hammered into dust, one strike at a time, your arrogant disposition will be resolved. After that, when you interact with others or work with them to perform a duty, you will be able to treat their views correctly and pay careful, close attention while you listen to them. And when you hear them voice a view that is correct, you will discover, “It seems my caliber isn’t the best. The fact is that everybody has their own strengths; they’re not inferior to me at all. Before, I always thought that I had better caliber than others. That was self-admiration and narrow-minded ignorance. I had a very limited outlook, like a frog at the bottom of a well. Thinking like that really lacked sense—it was shameless! I was blinded and deafened by my arrogant disposition. Other people’s words didn’t get through to me, and I thought that I was better than them, that I was right, when in fact, I’m no better than any of them!” From then on, you will have true insight into and knowledge of your deficiencies and your small stature. And after that, when you fellowship with others, you will listen closely to their views, and you will realize, “There are so many people who are better than me. My caliber and comprehension ability are both middling, at best.” With this realization, will you not have gained a bit of self-awareness? By experiencing this, and frequently reflecting on yourself according to God’s words, you will be able to gain true self-knowledge that grows ever deeper. You will be able to see through to the truth of your corruption, to your poverty and wretchedness, to your deplorable ugliness, and at that time, you will be sickened by yourself and hate your corrupt disposition. Then it will be easy for you to forsake yourself. That is how you experience God’s work. You must reflect on your outpourings of corruption according to God’s words. In particular, after revealing a corrupt disposition in any kind of situation, you must frequently reflect on and know yourself. It will then be easy for you to see your corrupt essence clearly, and you will be able to hate your corruption, your flesh, and Satan from the heart. And from the heart, you will be able to love and strive for the truth. In this way, your arrogant disposition will keep diminishing, and you will gradually cast it off. You will gain more and more sense, and it will be easier for you to submit to God. In the eyes of others, you will appear steadier and more grounded, and you will seem to speak more objectively. You will be capable of listening to others, and you will give them time to talk. When others are right, it will be easy for you to accept their words, and your interactions with people will not be so taxing. You will be able to cooperate harmoniously with anyone. If this is how you perform your duty, will you not then have sense and humanity? That is the way to resolve this kind of corrupt disposition.
—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (1)
Take the intransigent disposition, for example: At the start, when there hadn’t been any change in your disposition, you did not understand the truth, nor were you aware that you had an intransigent disposition, and when you heard the truth, you thought to yourself, “How can the truth always lay bare people’s scars?” After hearing it, you felt that God’s words were right, but if, after one or two years, you have not taken any of them to heart, if you have not accepted any of them, then this is intransigence, is it not? If, after two or three years, there has been no acceptance, if there has been no change in the state within you, and though you have not fallen behind in performing your duty, and you have suffered much, your intransigent state has not been resolved at all or lessened in the slightest, then has there been any change in this aspect of your disposition? (No.) Then why are you running about and working? Regardless of the reason you do so, you are running about and working blindly, because you have run about this much and worked this much, and yet there has not been the slightest change in your disposition. Until a day comes when you suddenly think to yourself, “How is it that I am unable to speak even a single word of testimony? My life disposition hasn’t changed at all.” At this time you feel just how serious this problem is, and you think to yourself, “I am truly rebellious and intransigent! I am not a person who pursues the truth! I hold no place for God within my heart! How can this be called faith in God? I have believed in God for several years yet still do not live out the image of man, nor is my heart close to God! I have not taken God’s words to heart, either; nor do I have any sense of reproach or inclination to repent when I do something wrong—is this not intransigence? Am I not a son of rebellion?” You feel troubled. And what does it mean that you feel troubled? It means that you wish to repent. You are aware of your own intransigence and rebelliousness. And at this time, your disposition begins to change. Without realizing it, there are certain thoughts and desires within your consciousness that you want to change, and you no longer find yourself at an impasse with God. You find yourself wanting to improve your relationship with God, to no longer be so intransigent, to be able to put God’s words into practice in your everyday life, to practice them as the truth principles—you have this consciousness. It is good that you are conscious of these things, but does it mean you will be able to change straight away? (No.) You must go through several years of experience, during which time you will have an ever clearer awareness in your heart, and you will have a powerful need, and in your heart you will think to yourself, “This isn’t right—I must stop wasting my time. I must pursue the truth, I must do something proper. In the past I’ve been neglecting my proper duties, only thinking about material things like food and clothing, and I was only pursuing name and gains. As a result, I’ve gained no truth at all. I regret this and I must repent!” At this point, you embark on the right path of faith in God. So long as people begin to focus on practicing the truth, does this not take them a step closer to changes in their disposition? No matter how long you have believed in God, if you can sense your own turbidity—that you have always just been drifting along, and that after several years of just drifting along, you have gained nothing, and you still feel empty—and if this makes you feel uncomfortable, and you begin to reflect on yourself, and you feel that not pursuing the truth is wasting time, then at such a time you will realize that God’s words of exhortations are His love for man, and you will hate yourself for not listening to God’s words and for being so lacking in conscience and sense. You will feel regret, and then you will want to conduct yourself anew, and to truly live before God, and you will say to yourself, “I cannot hurt God anymore. God has spoken so much, and every word has been for the benefit of man, and to point man on the right way. God is so lovely, and so worthy of man’s love!” This is the beginning of people’s transformation. It is such a good thing to have this appreciation! If you are so numb that you don’t even know these things, then you are in trouble, aren’t you? Today people realize that the key to faith in God is reading more of God’s words, that understanding the truth is most important of all, that understanding the truth and knowing oneself is crucial, and that only being able to practice the truth and make the truth their reality is entering the right track of faith in God. So how many years of experience do you think you must have in order to have this knowledge and feeling in your heart? People who are shrewd, who are insightful, who have a strong desire for God—such people may be able to turn themselves around in one or two years and begin entry. But people who are muddleheaded, who are numb and dull-witted, who lack insight—will pass three or five years in a daze, unaware that they haven’t gained anything. If they perform their duties with enthusiasm, they may pass more than ten years in a daze and still make no obvious gains or be able to speak on their experiential testimonies. It is not until they are sent away or cast out that they finally wake up and think to themselves, “I really don’t have any truth reality. I really haven’t been a person who pursues the truth!” Is their awakening not a little late by this point? Some people drift along in a daze, constantly hoping for the day of God to come but not pursuing the truth at all. As a result, more than ten years pass without them making any gains or being able to share any testimony. It is only once they are harshly pruned, dealt with, and warned that they finally feel God’s words pierce their heart. How intransigent their hearts are! How is it okay for them not to be dealt with, pruned, and punished? How is it okay for them not to be severely disciplined? What must be done to make them aware, for them to react? Those who don’t pursue the truth won’t shed a tear until they see the coffin. It is only once they’ve done a great deal of demonic and evil things that realization comes to them and they say to themselves, “Is my faith in God over? Does God not want me anymore? Have I been condemned?” They begin to reflect. When they are negative, they feel that all these years of believing in God have been a waste, and they are full of resentment, and are inclined to give up on themselves as hopeless. But when they come to their senses, they realize that “Am I not just hurting myself? I must get back on my feet. I was told I do not love the truth. Why was I told this? How do I not love the truth? Oh no! Not only do I not love the truth, but I can’t even put the truths I do understand into practice! This is a manifestation of being sick of the truth!” Thinking this, they feel somewhat remorseful, and somewhat afraid, too: “If I carry on like this, I will surely be punished. No, I must quickly repent—God’s disposition must not be offended.” At this time, is their level of intransigence reduced? It is like a needle has pierced their heart; they feel something. And when you have this feeling, your heart is stirred, and you start to feel interested in the truth. Why do you have this interest? Because you need the truth. Without the truth, when you are pruned and dealt with, you cannot submit to it or accept the truth, and you cannot stand firm when you are tested. If you were to become a leader, would you be able to refrain from being a false leader and from walking the path of an antichrist? You would not. Can you overcome having status and being praised by others? Can you overcome the situations you are put in, and the tests you are given? You know and understand yourself all too well, and you will say, “If I do not understand the truth, I cannot overcome all of this—I am trash, I am capable of nothing.” What kind of mentality is this? This is needing the truth. When you are in need, when you are at your most helpless, you will only want to depend on the truth. You will feel that nobody else can be depended on, and that only depending on the truth can solve your problems, and allow you to make it through being pruned and dealt with, and trials, and temptations, and help you make it through any situation. And the more you depend on the truth, the more you will feel that the truth is good, useful, and of the greatest help to you, and that it can solve all your difficulties. At such times, you will begin to yearn for the truth. When people reach this point, does their corrupt disposition start to diminish or change little by little? From when they begin to understand and accept the truth, the way people see things begins to change, following which their dispositions also begin to change. This is a slow process. In the early stages, people are not able to perceive these tiny changes; but when they truly understand and are able to practice the truth, there begin to be essential changes, and they are able to feel such changes. From the point when people begin to have a longing and hunger for the truth, and wish to seek the truth, to the point when something happens to them and, based on their understanding of the truth, they are able to put the truth into practice and satisfy God’s will, and not act according to their own will, and are able to overcome their motives, and overcome their own arrogance, rebelliousness, intransigence, and traitorous heart, then bit-by-bit, does the truth not become their life? And when the truth becomes your life, the arrogant, rebellious, intransigent, and traitorous dispositions within you cease to be your life, and can control you no more. And what guides your comportment at this time? The words of God. When the words of God have become your life, has there been a change? (Yes.) And afterward, the more you change, the better things get. This is the process by which people’s dispositions change, and achieving this effect takes a long time.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only Knowledge of the Six Kinds of Corrupt Dispositions Is True Self-Knowledge