3. How to resolve the problem of not accepting the truth and arguing on one’s own behalf
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
If you believe in God’s sovereignty, then you have to believe that everyday occurrences, be they good or bad, do not happen at random. It is not that someone is deliberately being hard on you or targeting you; this was all arranged and orchestrated by God. Why does God orchestrate all these things? It is not to reveal you for who you are or to expose you and cast you out; exposing you is not the end goal. The goal is to perfect you and save you. How does God perfect you? And how does He save you? He starts by making you aware of your own corrupt disposition, and by making you know your nature essence, your shortcomings, and what you lack. Only by knowing these things and having a clear understanding of them can you pursue the truth and gradually cast off your corrupt disposition. This is God providing you with an opportunity. This is God’s compassion. You have to know how to seize this opportunity. You should not oppose God, butt heads with God, or misunderstand Him. In particular, when faced with the people, matters, and things that God arranges around you, do not constantly feel that things are not as you wish them to be; do not constantly wish to escape them or always blame and misunderstand God. If you are constantly doing those things, then you are not experiencing God’s work, and that will make it very difficult for you to enter the truth reality. Whatever you encounter that you cannot fully understand, when a difficulty arises, you must learn to submit. You should begin by coming before God and praying more. That way, before you know it, a shift will occur in your internal state, and you will be able to seek the truth to resolve your problem. As such, you will be able to experience God’s work. As this happens, the truth reality will be wrought within you, and this is how you will progress and undergo a transformation of the state of your life. Once you have undergone this change and possess this truth reality, you will also possess stature, and with stature comes life. If someone always lives based on a corrupt satanic disposition, then no matter how much enthusiasm or energy they have, they still cannot be considered to possess stature, or life. God works in every single person, and no matter what His method is, what kind of people, matters, and things He makes use of in His service, or what kind of tone His words have, He only has one end goal: saving you. And how does He save you? He changes you. So how could you not suffer a bit? You are going to have to suffer. This suffering can involve many things. First, people must suffer when they accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. When God’s words are too severe and explicit and people misinterpret God—and even have notions—that can be painful, too. Sometimes God raises up an environment around people to expose their corruption, to make them reflect on and know themselves, and they will suffer a little then, too. Sometimes, when they are directly pruned, dealt with, and exposed, people must suffer. It is as if they are undergoing surgery—if there is no suffering, there is no effect. If every time you are pruned and dealt with, and every time you are laid bare by an environment, it arouses your feelings and gives you a boost, then through this process you will enter the truth reality, and will have stature.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Gain the Truth, One Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Nearby
What is going on, when someone is given to making excuses when faced with reproach, pruning, and being dealt with? This is a kind of disposition that’s very arrogant, self-righteous, and headstrong. Arrogant and headstrong people find it hard to accept the truth. They can’t accept it when they hear something that doesn’t align with their own perspectives, opinions, and thoughts. They don’t care about whether what others say is right or wrong, or who said it, or the context in which it was said, or whether it relates to their own responsibilities and duties. They don’t care about these things; what’s urgent to them is first to satisfy their own feelings. Isn’t this being headstrong? What are the losses which being headstrong will ultimately bring on people? It is difficult for them to gain the truth. Not accepting the truth is caused by man’s corrupt disposition, and the final outcome is that they can’t easily attain the truth. Anything that naturally pours forth from man’s nature essence is in opposition to the truth and has nothing to do with it; not one such thing aligns with or approaches the truth. Therefore, to achieve salvation, one must accept and practice the truth. If one cannot accept the truth and always wants to act according to their own preferences, that person cannot achieve salvation.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
Some people often argue and try to defend themselves when they are pruned and dealt with. They always emphasize the cause of the issue and make excuses for their failures, which is very troublesome. They do not have a submissive attitude, or an attitude of seeking the truth. These kinds of people are of a low caliber, and they are also very stubborn. They do not understand other people’s words, the truth is beyond their reach, and their progress is very slow. Why is their progress slow? It is because they do not seek the truth, and whatever mistakes arise, they always look to other people as the reason, completely pushing the responsibility onto others. They live by worldly philosophies, and as long as they live safe and sound, they are especially pleased with themselves. They do not pursue the truth at all, and they think this is a pretty good way of believing in God. There are even some who think, “There’s always so much talk about pursuing the truth and learning lessons, but are there really that many lessons to learn? Believing in God in this way is such a hassle!” When they see other people seeking the truth and learning lessons when they encounter matters, they say, “How do you all learn lessons from everything? Why aren’t there as many lessons for me to learn? Are you all just that ignorant? Aren’t you just blindly following the rules?” What do you think of this sentiment? This is the perspective of nonbelievers. Can a nonbeliever obtain the truth? It is very hard for this kind of person to obtain the truth. There are some people who say, “I supplicate to God over big affairs, but I don’t bother Him with small matters. God is very busy with the everyday administration of everything in the universe, the administration of each person. How tiring! I won’t bother God, I will just resolve this matter myself. So long as God is pleased, that is enough. I don’t want to worry Him.” What do you think of this sentiment? This is also the perspective of nonbelievers, the imagination of men. Humans are created beings, even lower than the ants. How can they see the Creator clearly? God has administered everything in the universe for who knows how many millions or billions of years. Has He said He feels tired? Has He said He is too busy? No, He has not. People will never be able to clearly see God’s omnipotence and wisdom, and for them to speak from their own notions and imaginations is very ignorant. According to the Creator, every one of God’s chosen people and everything that happens around them is arranged by God’s sovereignty. As a believer in God, you ought to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, seek the truth, and learn lessons in all things. Obtaining the truth is the most crucial thing. If you can give thought to the will of God, then you should rely on Him and strive toward the truth, because that is pleasing to God. When you have obtained the truth and can act according to principles, God will be more gratified, but the more you distance yourself from God, the more sorrowful He will be. What makes God sorrowful? (God has arranged circumstances in order to allow people to experience His words and obtain the truth, but people do not understand the mind of God; they misunderstand Him, and this makes God sorrowful.) Correct. God has paid a painstaking price for each person, and has a will for each person. He has expectations for them, and has put His hopes on them. His painstaking efforts are freely and willingly given to all people. His provision of life and truth is also given willingly to every person. If people are able to understand the reason God does this, He will feel gratified. Whatever circumstances God arranges for you, if you are able to accept it from God, submit to Him, and seek the truth and learn lessons in the midst of it all, God will not think that the painstaking price was paid in vain. You will not have failed to live up to all the thought and effort God invested, or His expectations for you. In every set of circumstances that befall you, you will be able to learn lessons and reap rewards. In this way, the work God has done in you will achieve the expected effect, and God’s heart will be satisfied. If you are unable to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, if you always resist, reject, and fight against God, do you not think God will be anxious? God’s heart will be worried and anxious, saying, “I arranged so many circumstances for you to learn lessons. How is it that none of it has had an effect on you?” God will be weighed down with sorrow. God is sorrowful because you are numb, ignorant, slow, and obstinate, because you do not understand His will, do not accept the truth, cannot see all the things He has been doing to be responsible for your life, do not understand that He is worried and anxious about your life, and because you disobey and complain about Him.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Gain the Truth, One Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Nearby
When people go on about right and wrong, they try to clarify whether every single thing is right or wrong, they don’t stop until the matter has been cleared up and it is understood who was right and who was wrong, they are fixated by things for which there is no answer. Just what is the point of acting like this? Is it ultimately right to talk about right and wrong? (No.) Where is the mistake? Is there any connection between this and practicing the truth? (There is no connection.) Why do you say there is no connection? Talking about right and wrong is not adhering to the truth principles, it is not discussing or fellowshiping the truth principles; instead, people always talk about who was right and who was wrong, who was correct and who was mistaken, who was being reasonable and who wasn’t, who had good reason, and who didn’t, who made more sense; this is what they examine. When God tests people, they always try to reason with God, they always come out with some reason or another. Does God discuss such things with you? Does God ask what the context was? Does God ask about what your reasons and causes are? He does not. God asks if you had an attitude of obedience or resistance when He tested you. God asks whether or not you understood the truth, whether or not you were obedient. This is all God asks, nothing else. God does not ask you what the reason for your lack of obedience was, He does not look at whether you had a good reason—He absolutely does not consider such things. God only looks at whether or not you were obedient. Regardless of your living environment and what the context was, God only scrutinizes whether there was obedience in your heart, whether you had an attitude of obedience; God does not debate right and wrong with you, God does not care what your reasons were, God only cares whether you were truly obedient, this is all that God asks you. Is this not a truth principle? The kind of people who go on about right and wrong, who love having wars of words—are there the truth principles in their hearts? (No.) Why not? Have they ever paid any attention to the truth principles? Have they ever strived for them? Have they ever sought them? They have never paid them any attention, or strived for them or sought them, and they are totally absent from their hearts. As a result, they can only live within human notions, all that is in their hearts is right and wrong, correct and incorrect, pretexts, reasons, justifications, arguments, soon after which they attack, pass judgment on, and condemn each other. The disposition of people like this is that they like debating right and wrong, they like judging and condemning people. People like this have no love or acceptance of the truth, they are liable to try and reason with God, even to pass judgment on God and resist God. Ultimately, they will end up being punished.
—The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers (15)
No matter what they think, or what they say, or how they see things, they always think that their own points of view and their own attitudes are correct, and that what others say is not as good or as right as what they say. They always cling to their own opinions, and no matter who speaks, they will not listen to them. Even if what someone else says is correct, or in line with the truth, they will not accept it; they will only appear to be listening but they will not really adopt the idea, and when it comes time to act, they will still do things their own way, always thinking that what they say is right and reasonable. … What will God say when He sees this behavior of yours? God will say: “You are intransigent! It’s understandable that you might cling to your own ideas when you do not know that you are mistaken, but when you clearly know that you are mistaken and you still cling to your ideas, and would die before repenting, you are just a stubborn fool, and you are in trouble. If, no matter who makes a suggestion, you always adopt a negative, resistant attitude toward it, and do not accept even a little bit of the truth, and if your heart is completely resistant, closed, and dismissive, then you are so ridiculous, you are an absurd person! You are too difficult to deal with!” In what way are you difficult to deal with? You are difficult to deal with because what you are displaying is not an erroneous approach, or an erroneous behavior, but an outpouring of your disposition. An outpouring of what disposition? A disposition in which you are sick of the truth, and hate the truth. Once you have been identified as a person who hates the truth, in God’s eyes you are in trouble, and He will detest, reject, and ignore you. From people’s perspective, the most they will say is: “This person’s disposition is bad, they are incredibly obstinate, intransigent, and arrogant! This person is hard to get along with and does not love the truth. They have never accepted the truth and they do not put the truth into practice.” At the most, everyone will give you this appraisal, but can this appraisal decide your fate? The appraisal that people give you cannot decide your fate, but there is one thing that you must not forget: God scrutinizes people’s hearts, and at the same time God observes their every word and deed. If God defines you in this way, and says that you hate the truth, if He does not merely say that you have a bit of a corrupt disposition, or that you are a little disobedient, is this not a very serious problem? (It is serious.) This means trouble, and this trouble does not lie in the way that people see you, or how they appraise you, it lies in how God views your corrupt disposition of hating the truth. So, how does God view it? Has God merely determined that you hate and do not love the truth, and that is all? Is it that simple? Where does the truth come from? Who does the truth represent? (It represents God.) Ponder on this: If a person hates the truth, then from God’s perspective, how will He view them? (As His enemy.) Is this not a serious problem? When a person hates the truth, they hate God! Why do I say that they hate God? Did they curse God? Did they oppose God to His face? Did they judge or condemn Him behind His back? Not necessarily. So why do I say that pouring forth a disposition that hates the truth is to hate God? This is not making a mountain out of a molehill, it is the reality of the situation. It is like the hypocritical Pharisees who nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross because they hated the truth—the consequences that followed were terrible. What this means is that if a person has a disposition that is sick of the truth and hates the truth, it may pour forth from them anytime and anywhere, and if they live by it, will they not oppose God? When they are confronted with something that involves the truth or making a choice, if they cannot accept the truth, and they live by their corrupt disposition, they will naturally oppose God, and betray Him, because their corrupt disposition is one that hates God and hates the truth. If you have such a disposition, then even when it comes to words spoken by God, you will question them, and want to analyze and dissect them. Then you will be suspicious of God’s words, and say, “Are these really God’s words? They don’t look like the truth to me, they don’t necessarily all seem correct to me!” In this way, has your disposition of hating the truth not poured forth? When you think in this way, can you submit to God? You definitely cannot. If you cannot submit to God, is He still your God? He is not. Then, what will God be to you? You will treat Him like a research subject, someone to be doubted, someone to condemn; you will treat Him like an ordinary and regular person, and condemn Him as such. In doing so, you will become someone who resists and blasphemes against God. What kind of disposition causes this? It is caused by an arrogant disposition that has become inflated to a certain degree; not only will your satanic disposition be pouring forth from you, your satanic face will also be completely laid bare. What happens to the relationship between God and a person who has reached the stage of resisting God, and whose rebelliousness against God has reached a certain degree? It becomes a hostile relationship where a person places God in opposition to themselves. If, in your belief in God, you cannot accept and obey the truth, then God is not your God. If you refuse the truth and reject it, then you will have already become someone who resists God. Can God still save you, then? He definitely cannot. God gives you an opportunity to receive His salvation and does not see you as an enemy, but you cannot accept the truth and you place God in opposition to you; your inability to accept God as your truth and as your path makes you a person who resists God. How should this problem be resolved? You must quickly repent and change course. For example, when you encounter a problem or a difficulty while performing your duty and you do not know how to resolve it, you must not blindly ponder on it, you must first quiet yourself before God, pray and seek from Him, and see what God’s words say about it. If, after reading God’s words, you still do not understand, and do not know what truths this issue pertains to, you must hold fast to one principle—that is, first obey, have no personal ideas or thoughts, wait with a peaceful heart, and see how God intends and wants to act. When you do not understand the truth, you should seek it, and you should wait for God, rather than acting blindly and carelessly. If someone gives you a suggestion when you do not understand the truth, and tells you how to act in accordance with the truth, you should first accept it and allow everyone to fellowship on it, and see if this path is correct or not, and whether it is in accordance with the truth principles or not. If you confirm that it is in accordance with the truth, then practice in that way; if you determine that it does not accord with the truth, then do not practice in that way. It is as simple as that. When you seek the truth, you should seek from many people. If anyone has something to say, you should listen to them, and treat all of their words seriously. Do not ignore or snub them, because this relates to matters within the scope of your duty and you must treat this seriously. This is the right attitude and the right state. When you are in the right state, and you do not reveal a disposition that is sick of the truth and hates the truth, then practicing in this way will supplant your corrupt disposition. This is practicing the truth. If you practice the truth in this way, what fruits will it bear? (We will be guided by the Holy Spirit.) Receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit is one aspect. Sometimes the matter will be very simple and can be achieved using your own mind; after others finish giving you their suggestions and you understand, you will be able to rectify things and act in accordance with the principles. People may think that this is a small matter, but to God it is a great matter. Why do I say this? Because, when you practice in this way, to God you are a person who can practice the truth, a person who loves the truth, and a person who is not sick of the truth—when God sees into your heart, He also sees your disposition, and this is a great matter. In other words, when you do your duty and act in the presence of God, what you live out and pour forth are all truth realities that people should possess. The attitudes, thoughts, and states that you possess in everything you do are the most important things for God, and they are what God scrutinizes.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Often Living Before God Can One Have a Normal Relationship With Him
How can genuine faith be verified? Principally, by seeing if someone can accept the truth and put it into practice when things happen to them. If they have never accepted the truth, nor put it into practice, then actually they’ve already been exposed, and there’s no need to wait for a test to expose them. When things happen to someone in day-to-day life, you can see clearly whether they have the truth reality. There are many people who do not usually pursue the truth, and do not put the truth into practice when things happen to them. Do people like this need to wait for a trial to expose them? Not at all. After a while, if they remain unchanged, it means they’ve already been exposed. If they are pruned and dealt with, but still don’t accept the truth and remain steadfastly unrepentant, then they have been exposed all the more, and should be cleared out and cast out. Those who do not usually focus on accepting the truth or putting it into practice are all nonbelievers, and must not be entrusted with any work, or assume any responsibility. Can someone without the truth stand firm? Is it important to put the truth into practice? Just look at those people who have never practiced the truth—it won’t take many years for them all to be exposed. They have no experiential testimony at all. How impoverished and pitiful they are, and how embarrassed they must feel!
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. What It Is to Practice the Truth
Faith in God requires accepting the truth—that’s the correct attitude. Those who do not accept the truth look for excuses and reasons when issues arise, pushing responsibility off onto someone else. They always complain about other people not treating them well, not thinking of them or caring for them. They find all sorts of rationales. What is the point of finding all of these reasons? Can it replace your practice of the truth? Can it replace your submission to God? No, it can’t. That is to say, no matter what sort of reasoning you have, even if you have grievances greater than the sky itself, if you don’t accept the truth then you are done for. God wants to see what your attitude is, especially regarding matters of putting the truth into practice. Is your complaining of any use? Can your complaints resolve the issue of a corrupt disposition? If you were to complain and feel yourself justified, what would that say about you? Would you have gained the truth? Would God approve of you? If God says, “You’re not someone who practices the truth, so get out of the way. I’m sick of you,” then aren’t you done for? God saying “I’m sick of you” would expose you and designate you. Why would God designate you? Because you don’t accept the truth; you don’t accept God’s orchestrations and His sovereignty. You’re always looking for external reasons, always putting things on other people. God sees you as lacking sense and love for the truth; as being unreasonable, willful, and untamable. You have to be set aside and ignored so that you can give it some thought. The point of having you listen to sermons and fellowship on the truth is so that you can understand the truth, resolve your problems, and cast off your corruption. Is the truth something for you to prattle on about? Is it something for you to give lip service to, and then be done with? Is understanding the truth supposed to act as a spiritual anchor to make up for the emptiness in your soul? No, it is not for you to use for this purpose. The truth is there so that you can resolve your corrupt dispositions. It is to give you a path, and when you encounter issues you can live by these truths, and take the proper path in life. Once you have understood the truth, you will no longer act based on your naturalness, your corruption, or those things in your satanic education. You will no longer live by satanic logic or philosophies for living. Instead, you will live by the truth, you will act by the truth. Only this can satisfy God’s will.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Submission to God Is a Basic Lesson in Gaining the Truth
Whatever your reason for believing in God, God will ultimately determine your outcome based on whether you have gained the truth. If you have not gained the truth, then none of the justifications or excuses you make will hold water. Try to reason as you like, tie yourself in knots as you please—will God care? Will God converse with you? Will He debate and confer with you? Will He consult you? What is the answer? No. He absolutely will not. No matter how strong your reasoning is, it won’t stand up. You must not misunderstand God’s intentions, and think that if you offer all sorts of reasons and excuses then you do not need to pursue the truth. God wants you to be able to seek the truth in all environments and in every matter that befalls you, and finally achieve entry into the truth reality and gain the truth. Regardless of what circumstances God has arranged for you, what people and events you encounter, and what environment you find yourself in, you should pray to God and seek the truth in order to face them. These are precisely the lessons you should learn in pursuing the truth. If you always look for excuses to get out of, to evade, to refuse, or to resist these circumstances, then God will give up on you. There is no point in reasoning, or being intractable or difficult—if God does not concern Himself with you, you will lose your chance at salvation. For God, there is no problem that cannot be solved; He has made arrangements for each and every person, and has a way of handling them. God will not discuss with you whether your reasons and excuses are justified. God will not listen to whether the arguments you make in your defense are rational. He will only ask you, “Are God’s words the truth? Do you have a corrupt disposition? Ought you pursue the truth?” You just need to be clear about one fact: God is the truth, you are a corrupt human, so you should take it upon yourself to seek the truth. No problem or difficulty, no reason or excuse will stand—if you do not accept the truth, you shall perish. Any price a person pays to pursue the truth and enter the truth reality is worthwhile. People should let go of all their excuses, their justifications, and their troubles to accept the truth and gain the life, because God’s words and the truth are the life that they should attain, and it is a life for which nothing can be exchanged. If you miss this opportunity, you will not just regret it for the rest of your life—it is not a mere matter of regret—you will have ruined yourself quite completely. There will no longer be an outcome or a destination for you, and you, created being that you are, will have come to the end of the line. You will never again have the chance to be saved. Do you understand? (We do.) Do not look for excuses or reasons for not pursuing the truth. They are of no use; you are only fooling yourself.
—The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (1)
If you want to follow God and perform your duty well, you must first avoid being impulsive when things do not go your way. Calm down first and be quiet before God, and in your heart, pray to Him and seek from Him. Do not be headstrong; submit first. Only with such a mindset can you bring better resolutions to problems. If you can persevere in living before God, and whatever befalls you, you are able to pray to Him and seek from Him, and face it with a mentality of submission, then it does not matter how many expressions there are of your corrupt disposition, or what transgressions you have previously committed—they can be resolved so long as you seek the truth. No matter what trials befall you, you will be able to stand firm. As long as you have the right mentality, are able to accept the truth, and obey God in accordance with His requirements, then you are entirely capable of putting the truth into practice. Though you may be a little rebellious and resistant at times, and sometimes display defensive reasoning and are unable to submit, if you can pray to God and turn your rebellious state around, then you can accept the truth. Having done so, reflect on why such rebelliousness and resistance arose in you. Find the reason, then seek the truth to resolve it, and that aspect of your corrupt disposition can be purified. After several recoveries from such stumbles and falls, until you can put the truth into practice, your corrupt disposition will gradually be cast off. And then, the truth will reign inside you and become your life, and there will be no further obstacles to your practice of the truth. You will become able to truly submit to God, and you will live out the truth reality. During this period, you will have practical experience in and exposure to practicing the truth and obeying God. When something happens to you later on, you will know how to practice in a way that is obedient to God and what kind of behavior is in opposition to God. With these things clear in your heart, will you still be unable to fellowship on the truth reality? If you’re asked to share your experiential testimonies, you won’t feel it’s a problem because you will have experienced many things and know the principles of practice. However you talk, it will be real, and whatever you say, it will be practical. And if you’re asked to discuss the words and doctrines, you won’t be willing to—you’ll be sick of them at heart. Won’t you then have entered the truth reality? People who pursue the truth can gain experience of it with no more than a few years’ effort, then enter into the truth reality. For those who do not pursue the truth, it is not easy to enter the truth reality, even if they want to. This is because there’s too much rebelliousness in those who do not love the truth. Whenever they need to practice the truth in some matter, they always make excuses for themselves and have problems of their own, so it will be very hard for them to put the truth into practice. Although they may pray and seek, and be willing to practice the truth, when something happens to them, when they encounter difficulties, their muddledness surfaces, and their rebellious disposition comes out, quite clouding their minds. How severe their rebellious disposition must be! If it’s the lesser part of their heart that is muddled, and the greater part wants to submit to God, practicing the truth will present less of a difficulty for them. Perhaps they can pray for a while, or it may be that someone fellowships on the truth with them; as long as they understand it in that moment, it will be easier to put into practice. If their muddledness is so large that it occupies the greater part of their heart, in which rebelliousness is primary and submission is secondary, it won’t be easy for them to put the truth into practice, because they are too small of stature. And those who don’t love the truth at all are overwhelmingly or entirely rebellious, completely muddled. These people are muddlers who will never be able to put the truth into practice, so no amount of energy spent on them would be of any use. People who love the truth have a strong drive toward the truth; if that is the greater part or the great majority of what drives them, and the truth is clearly communicated to them, they are sure to be able to put it into practice. Loving the truth is not a simple matter; having just a slight willingness does not make someone love the truth. They must reach a point where once they understand God’s word, they can strive and endure hardship and pay the price to put the truth into practice. That’s a person who loves the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
Say something happens to you, and you do not know what to do, nor have you heard anyone else say what to do. This matter might not be in line with your notions and imaginings, and might not really be to your taste; so there is some resistance in your heart, and you are a bit upset. So, what should you do? There is one simplest way to practice, which is to first be submissive. Submission is not an outward action or saying, nor is it a verbal claim—there is a state that lies within it. This should not be unfamiliar to you. Based on your own real experiences, how do you think people talk, act, and think, and what state and attitude do they have, when they truly submit? (With the things they do not yet understand, they first set aside their notions and imaginings. They seek the truth and God’s will. If they still do not understand after seeking, then they learn to wait on God’s timing.) This is one aspect of it. What else? (When they are pruned and dealt with, they do not reason or try to defend themselves.) This is another aspect of this state. Some people, although they do not reason or defend themselves to your face, are nevertheless full of complaints and discontent. They do not say it to your face, but talk carelessly behind your back, spreading it everywhere. Is this a submissive attitude? (It is not.) So what, exactly, is a submissive attitude? First off, you must have a positive attitude: When you are pruned and dealt with, you do not analyze right and wrong at first—you just accept it, with a submissive heart. For example, someone might say that you did something wrong. Although you do not understand in your heart, and you do not know what you did wrong, you nevertheless accept it. Acceptance is primarily a positive attitude. Additionally, there is an attitude which is slightly more passive, which is to maintain silence and not offer any resistance. What kind of behaviors does this entail? You do not reason, defend yourself, or make objective excuses for yourself. If you always make excuses and offer reasons for yourself, and push the responsibility onto other people, is that resistance? That is a disposition of rebellion. You should not reject, resist, or reason. Even if you reason correctly, is that the truth? It is an objective excuse of man, not the truth. Right now, I am not asking you about objective excuses—why things happened, or how they came about. Rather, I am saying that the nature of your actions is not in line with the truth. If you have knowledge on this level, you will really be able to accept and not resist. First having a submissive attitude when things befall you is key. There are some people who always reason and defend themselves after they are faced with pruning and being dealt with: “I am not the only one to blame for this, so how did the responsibility get pushed onto my head? Why is no one speaking on my behalf? Why am I alone taking responsibility for this? This really is an ‘everyone reaps the benefits, but only one person takes the blame’ kind of situation. I am so unlucky!” What kind of emotion is this? This is resistance. Although on the outside they nod their head and admit their mistake, and they accept it with their words, they complain in their heart, “If you’re going to deal with me then do it, but why do you have to speak so harshly? You’re criticizing me in front of so many people, but where am I supposed to put my face? You’re not dealing with me with love! I just made a small mistake, so why do you keep talking endlessly?” Thus, they resist and reject this treatment in their heart, stubbornly opposing it, and they are unreasonable and argumentative. Someone who has these thoughts and feelings is clearly resistant and antagonistic, so how can they have a truly submissive attitude? When faced with pruning and being dealt with, what actions constitute an accepting, submissive attitude? At the very least, you must be sensible and possess reason. You must first submit, and must not resist or reject it, and you must treat it with rationality. This way, you will have the bare minimum of reason. If you want to attain acceptance and submission, you must understand the truth. It is no simple thing to understand the truth. First, you must accept things from God: At the very least, you must know that being dealt with and pruned is something God allows to happen to you, or it comes from God. Regardless of whether or not the dealing with and pruning is totally reasonable, you should possess an accepting, submissive attitude. This is a manifestation of submission to God, and at the same time, it is also an acceptance of God’s scrutiny. If you just reason and defend yourself, thinking that the pruning and dealing with comes from man and not from God, then your understanding is fallacious. For one thing, you have not accepted God’s scrutiny, and for another, you have neither a submissive attitude nor submissive behavior in the environment that God has set up for you. This is someone who does not submit to God. … What is the ultimate goal of God letting people learn the lesson of submission? No matter how many wrongs and pains you suffer at the time, how much you are shamed, or how much injury you suffer to your face, vanity, or reputation, these are all secondary. The most important thing is to turn your state around. What state? Under normal circumstances, a kind of intransigent and rebellious state exists in the depths of people’s hearts—which is chiefly because, in their hearts, they have a certain kind of human logic and set of human notions, which are: “As long as my intentions are right, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is; you shouldn’t deal with me, and if you do, I don’t have to obey.” They do not reflect on whether their actions are in line with the truth principles, or what the consequences will be. What they stick to is always, “As long as my intentions are good and right, God should accept me. Even if the outcome is not good, you must not prune or deal with me, much less ought you to condemn me.” This is human reasoning, is it not? These are the notions of man, are they not? Man always fixates on their own reasoning—is there any submission in it? You have made your own reasoning the truth and put the truth to one side. You believe that that which agrees with your reasoning is the truth, and that which doesn’t is not. Is there anyone more ridiculous? Is there anyone more arrogant and self-righteous? Which corrupt disposition must be resolved in order to learn the lesson of submission? It is actually the disposition of arrogance and self-righteousness, which is the greatest impediment to people practicing the truth and submitting to God. People with an arrogant and self-righteous disposition are most inclined to reasoning and disobedience, they always think they’re right, and so nothing is more urgent than resolving and dealing with one’s arrogant and self-righteous disposition. Once people become well-behaved and stop reasoning on their own behalf, the problem of rebelliousness will be solved, and they will be capable of submission. If people are to be able to attain submission, do they not need to be possessed of a certain degree of rationality? They must be possessed of a normal person’s sense. In some matter, for example, regardless of whether we have done the right thing or not, if God is not satisfied, we should do as He says, and treat His words as the standard for everything. Is this rational? Such is the sense that ought to be found in people before anything else. No matter how much we suffer, and no matter what our intentions, aims, and reasons are, if God is not satisfied—if His requirements have not been met—then our actions have unquestionably not been in line with the truth, so we must listen to and submit to God, and we should not try to reason or rationalize with Him. When you possess such rationality, when you possess a normal person’s sense, it is easy to solve your problems, and you will be truly submissive. No matter what situation you are in, you will not be rebellious, and will not defy God’s requirements; you will not analyze whether what God asks is right or wrong, good or bad, and you will be able to obey—thus solving your state of reasoning, intransigence, and rebelliousness.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Five Conditions That Must Be Met to Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God
Submitting to the orchestrations and arrangements of God is the most fundamental lesson in submitting to God. God’s orchestrations and arrangements include the people, matters, things, and various situations that God gives rise to around you. So how should you react when faced with these situations? The most fundamental thing is to accept from God. What does “accept from God” mean? Complaining and resisting—is this accepting from God? Looking for reasons and making excuses—is this accepting from God? No. So how should you practice accepting from God? When something happens to you, first calm down, seek the truth, and practice submitting. Don’t come out with excuses or explanations. Don’t try to analyze or speculate about who is right and who is wrong, and don’t analyze whose mistake is more serious, and whose is less so. Is always analyzing these things an attitude of accepting from God? Is it an attitude of submission to God? It is not an attitude of submission to God, or of accepting from God, or of accepting God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Accepting from God is part of the principles for practicing submission to God. If you are certain that everything that befalls you is within God’s sovereignty, that those things happen because of God’s arrangements and good will, then you can accept them from God. Begin by not analyzing right and wrong, not making excuses for yourself, not finding fault with others, not splitting hairs, not parsing through the objective causes of what happened, and not using your human mind to analyze and examine things. These are the details of what you must do in order to accept from God. And the way to practice this is to begin with submission. Even if you have notions or if things are not clear to you, submit. Do not start off with excuses or rebelliousness. And after submitting, seek the truth, pray to God and seek from Him. How should you pray? Say, “Oh God, You have orchestrated this situation for me out of Your good will.” What does it mean when you say this? It means that you already have an attitude of acceptance in your heart and have acknowledged that God orchestrated that situation for you. Say: “Oh God, I don’t know how to practice in the situation I encountered today. I ask You to enlighten and guide me, and to make me understand Your will, so that I can act according to it, and be neither rebellious nor resistant, and not rely on my own will. I am willing to practice the truth and act according to the principles.” Having prayed, you will feel peace at heart, and you will naturally let go of your excuses. Is this not a change in your mindset? This paves the way for you to seek and practice the truth, and the only problem that remains is how you should practice the truth when you have understood it. If rebelliousness pours forth from you again when the time comes for you to practice the truth, you must pray to God again. Once your rebelliousness has been resolved, naturally it will be easy for you to practice the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Submission to God Is a Basic Lesson in Gaining the Truth
Abraham was well aware that Isaac was given by God, and that it was God’s prerogative to treat him however He wished. People should not make any judgments; everything spoken by the Creator represents the Creator, and whether it seems reasonable or not, whether it coheres with human knowledge, culture, and morality or not, God’s identity and the nature of His words do not change. If people cannot understand, comprehend, or figure this out, then that is their business; there’s no reason why God has to explain or elucidate this, people shouldn’t only obey when they understand God’s words and intent, but should have but one attitude, regardless of the circumstances: listening, then accepting, then obeying. This was Abraham’s clearly discernible attitude toward all that God asked him to do, and in it is contained the sense of normal humanity as well as true faith and true obedience. What, above all, was found in Abraham? He did not analyze the rights and wrongs of God’s words, nor did he examine whether they were said in jest, or to test him, or something else—he did not examine such things. What was his very first attitude toward God’s words? God’s words cannot be reasoned logically. Whether they make sense or not, the words of God are the words of God; there should be no room for choice in people’s attitude toward God’s words, no examination of these words; the sense people should have, and what they should do, is to listen, accept and obey. In his heart, Abraham was clearly aware of the Creator’s identity and essence, and of the station of a created human being. Precisely because he was possessed of such sense, and this kind of attitude, even though he bore immense pain, Abraham offered Isaac to God without qualms or any hesitation, returning him to God as God willed. Since God had asked, he must give him to God. He should not try to reason with God, or have his own ideas or demands. This is precisely the attitude that a creature of God ought to have toward the Creator. The hardest thing about doing this was the most precious thing about Abraham. God’s utterance of these words was removed from human expectations, an offense to reason, people couldn’t figure it out, they couldn’t accept it; no matter what the age, or whom it happened to, it was unreasonable, undoable—yet still God asked for it to be done. So, what would people do? Most people would examine these words, and after several days, think to themselves: “God’s words make no sense—how could there be such a God? Is this not a form of torture? Does He not love man? How could He torment people so? I do not believe in a God that torments people so, and I may choose to disobey.” But Abraham did not do this; he chose to obey. When everyone believed that what God said and asked was wrong, that God ought not make such demands of people, Abraham was able to obey—which was what was most precious of all about him, and what was not found in others. This is one aspect of Abraham’s true obedience. In addition, after hearing what God asked of him, the first thing he was sure about was that God had not said this in jest, it was not a joke. And since God’s words were not these things, what were they? It was Abraham’s profound belief that no man can change that which God determines must be done. This is real; there is no joke, temptation, or torment in God’s words; God is trustworthy, and everything He says—whether it seems reasonable or not—is true. Is this what Abraham truly believed? Did he say, “God told me to offer Isaac. After receiving Isaac, I did not thank God properly—is this God requesting my gratitude? So I must properly show my thanks, I must show that I am willing to offer Isaac, that I am willing to thank God, that I know the grace of God, that I remember God’s grace, and must not rouse the consternation to God. Without a doubt, God said these words to try and test me, so I should go through the motions and make all the preparations. Then I will lead forth a sheep together with Isaac, and if at the time of sacrifice God says nothing, I shall offer the sheep. It’s enough to just go through the motions. If God really does ask me to offer him, then I should just make a show of it on the altar; when the time comes, He might still let me offer the sheep and not the child.” Is this what Abraham thought? (No.) If he had thought that, there would be no anguish within his heart. If he were liable to think such things, what kind of character would he have? Would he have true faith? Would he have true obedience? He would not.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Three: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Obeyed Him (Part Two)
Whatever the Creator does is right and is the truth. No matter what He does, His identity and status do not change. All people should worship Him. He is humanity’s eternal Lord and eternal God. This fact can never be changed. People cannot just acknowledge Him as God when He bestows gifts upon them, or not acknowledge Him as God when He takes things away from them. This is man’s erroneous view, not a mistake in God’s actions. If people understand the truth, then they will be able to see this clearly, and if, deep down, they are able to accept that this is the truth, then their relationship with God will become more and more normal. If you say you acknowledge that God’s words are the truth, but when something happens you do not understand Him, and you even blame Him and are not truly obedient to Him, then it is meaningless when you say that you acknowledge that God’s words are the truth. The most important thing is that your heart should be able to accept the truth, and that no matter what happens, you should be able to see that God’s actions are right, and that He is righteous. This is the kind of person who understands God. There are many believers who focus only on understanding doctrine. They acknowledge spiritual theory, but when something befalls them, they do not accept the truth, and they do not obey. These are hypocritical people. The things you usually say are all correct, but when something happens that does not line up with your own notions, you are unable to accept it. You argue with God, thinking that God should not have done this or that. You cannot submit to God’s work, and do not seek the truth or reflect on your rebelliousness. This means you are not obedient to God. You always like to argue with God; you always think that your arguments are superior to the truth, that if you could take to the stage to share them, many people would support you. But even if many people support you, they are all corrupted humans. Are the supporters and the supported not all corrupt humans? Do they not all lack truth? Even if all humankind supported you and opposed God, God would still be right. It would still be humanity who was wrong, who rebelled against and resisted God. Is this just an expression? No. This is a fact; it is the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Attitude Man Should Have Toward God
The only attitude that a created being should have toward the Creator is one of obedience, one of unconditional obedience. This is something that some people today may be unable to accept. This is because man’s stature is too small and they are without the truth reality. If, when God does things that are at odds with your notions, you are liable to misinterpret God—even to disobey God, and turn your back on Him—then you are far from being able to obey God. While man is provided for and watered by the word of God, they are in fact striving for a single goal, which is ultimately to be able to achieve unconditional, absolute submission to God—at which point, you, this creation, will have reached the standard required. There are times when God deliberately does things that are at odds with your notions, and deliberately does things that go against your wishes, and which may even seem to be at odds with the truth, inconsiderate toward you, and not in keeping with your own preferences. These things may be difficult for you to accept, you may not be able to get your head round them, and no matter how you analyze them, they may feel wrong to you and you may not be able to accept them, you may feel that God was unreasonable to do this—but in fact, God did this deliberately. So what is God’s aim in doing these things? It is to test and expose you, to see whether or not you are able to seek the truth, whether or not you have true obedience to God. Do not seek a basis for all that God does and asks, and do not ask why. Trying to reason with God has no use. You just have to recognize that God is the truth and be capable of absolute obedience. You just have to recognize that God is your Creator and your God. This is higher than any reasoning, higher than any worldly wisdom, higher than any human morality, ethics, knowledge, philosophy, or traditional culture—higher, even, than human feelings, human righteousness, and so-called human love. It is higher than everything. If this is not clear to you, then a day will sooner or later come when something happens to you and you fall. At the very least, you will rebel against God and walk a deviant path; if you are ultimately able to repent, and recognize the loveliness of God, and recognize the significance of God’s work in you, then you will still have hope of salvation—but if you fall because of this thing and are unable to climb back up, you have no hope. Whether God judges, chastises, or curses people, this is all in order to save them, and they need have no fear. What should you fear? You should fear God saying, “I detest and reject you.” If God says this, you are in trouble: This means that God will not save you, that you have no hope of salvation. And so, in accepting God’s work, people must understand God’s will. Whatever you do, do not nitpick when it comes to God’s words, saying, “Judgment and chastisement are okay, but condemnation, curse, destruction—won’t that mean it’s all over for me? What’s the point of being a creature of God? So I’m not going to be, and You won’t be my God anymore.” If you reject God and do not stand firm in your testimony, then God may truly reject you. Do you know this? No matter how long people have believed in God, no matter how many roads they have traveled, how much work they have done, or how many duties they have performed, everything they have done during this time has been in preparation for one thing. What is that? They have been preparing to ultimately have absolute obedience to God, unconditional obedience. What does “unconditional” mean? It means that you make no justification, and speak nothing of your own objective reasons, it means that you don’t split any hairs; you are not worthy of this, for you are a creature of God. When you split hairs with God, you have mistaken your place, and when you try to reason with God—again, you have mistaken your place. Do not argue with God, do not always try to figure out the reason, do not insist on understanding before you obey, and on not obeying when you don’t understand. When you do this, you have mistaken your place, in which case your obedience to God is not absolute; it is obedience that is relative and conditional. Are those who make conditions for their obedience to God people who truly obey God? Are you treating God as God? Do you worship God as the Creator? If you do not, then God does not acknowledge you. What must you experience in order to attain the absolute and unconditional obedience to God? And how should you experience? For one thing, people must accept the judgment and chastisement of God, they must accept being pruned and dealt with. In addition, they must accept God’s commission, they must pursue the truth as they perform their duty, they must understand the various aspects of the truth that relate to life entry, and attain understanding of God’s will. Sometimes, this is beyond people’s caliber, and they lack the powers of comprehension to attain understanding of the truth, and can only understand a little when others fellowship with them or through learning lessons from the various situations created by God. But you must be aware that you must have a heart of obedience to God, you must not try to reason with God or make conditions; everything that God does is what ought to be done, for He is the Creator and you are a creature of God. You must have an attitude of obedience, and must not always ask the reason or speak of conditions. If you lack even the most basic attitude of obedience, and are even liable to doubt and be wary of God, or to think, in your heart, “I have to see if God is really going to save me, and whether God is really righteous. Everyone says that God is love—well, then, I have to see whether there really is love involved in what God does in me, whether it really is love,” if you constantly examine whether what God does is in line with your notions and tastes, or even what you believe to be the truth, then you have mistaken your place, and you are in trouble: You will be likely to offend God’s disposition. Truths relating to obedience are crucial, and no truth can be completely and clearly explained in just a couple of sentences; they all relate to people’s various states and corruption. Entry into the truth reality cannot be attained in one or two—or three or five—years. It requires experiencing many things, experiencing much of the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, experiencing much pruning and dealing. Only when you ultimately attain the ability to practice the truth will your pursuit of the truth be effective, and only then will you possess the truth reality. Only those who possess the truth reality are those who have true experience.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
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