56. The Principles of Addressing Notions and Imaginings

(1) It is necessary to establish that God alone is the truth, that the truth comes from His words, and that no matter how good human notions and imaginings happen to be, they remain naught but hollow doctrine;

(2) Human notions and imaginings are not at all in line with God’s words, and are incompatible with the essence of the truth. One who lives by them cannot be saved;

(3) The truth is the sole nemesis of notions. One must read more of God’s words and seek the truth; only thus can one be thoroughly rectified of human notions and imaginings;

(4) It is necessary to practice and experience God’s words, and to come to an understanding of the truth and a true knowledge of God. Only thus can one be completely rid of human notions and imaginings.

Relevant Words of God:

Know that you oppose God’s work, or use your own notions to measure the work of today, because you do not know the principles of God’s work, and because of your rash treatment of the work of the Holy Spirit. Your opposition to God and obstruction of the work of the Holy Spirit is caused by your notions and inherent arrogance. It is not because God’s work is wrong, but because you are naturally too disobedient. After finding their belief in God, some people cannot even say with certainty where man came from, yet they dare to make public speeches appraising the rights and wrongs of the Holy Spirit’s work. They even lecture the apostles who have the Holy Spirit’s new work, passing comment and speaking out of turn; their humanity is too low, and there is not the slightest sense in them. Will the day not come when such people are rejected by the work of the Holy Spirit, and burned by the fires of hell? They do not know the work of God, but instead criticize His work, and also try to instruct God how to work. How can such unreasonable people know God? Man comes to know God during the process of seeking and experiencing; it is not through criticizing at whim that man comes to know God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The more accurate people’s knowledge of God becomes, the less they oppose Him. In contrast, the less people know of God, the more likely they are to oppose Him. Your notions, your old nature, and your humanity, character and moral outlook are the capital with which you resist God, and the more corrupted your morals, odious your qualities, and low your humanity, the more you are the enemy of God. Those who are possessed of strong notions and who have a self-righteous disposition are even more in enmity of God incarnate; such people are the antichrists. If your notions are not rectified, then they will always be against God; you will never be compatible with God, and will always be apart from Him.

Only by putting aside your old notions can you gain new knowledge, yet old knowledge is not necessarily equivalent to old notions. “Notions” refers to the things imagined by man that are at odds with reality. If the old knowledge was already outdated in the old age and stopped man from entering into the new work, then such knowledge is also a notion. If man is able to take the correct approach to such knowledge and can come to know God from several different aspects, combining the old and the new, then the old knowledge becomes an aid to man, and becomes the basis by which man enters the new age. … Man believes in his own imagined God in his mind, and does not seek the God of reality. If one person has one kind of belief, then among a hundred people there are a hundred kinds of belief. Man is possessed of such beliefs because he has not seen the reality of God’s work, because he has only heard it with his ears and has not beheld it with his eyes. Man has heard legends and stories—but rarely has he heard the knowledge of the facts of God’s work. Thus it is that people who have only been believers for a year come to believe in God through their own notions. The same is also true for those who have believed in God their entire lives. Those who cannot see the facts will never be able to escape from a faith in which they have notions about God. Man believes that he has freed himself from the bonds of his old notions, and has entered new territory. Does man not know that the knowledge of those who cannot see the true face of God is nothing but notions and hearsay? Man thinks that his notions are right and without error, and he thinks that these notions come from God. Today, when man witnesses the work of God, he lets loose notions that have built up over many years. The imaginings and ideas of the past have become an obstruction to the work of this stage, and it has become difficult for man to let go of such notions and to refute such ideas. The notions toward this step-by-step work of many of those who have followed God until today have become ever more grievous, and these people have gradually formed a stubborn enmity to the God incarnate. The source of this hatred lies in the notions and imaginings of man. The notions and imaginings of man have become the enemy of the work of today, work which is at odds with the notions of man. This has happened precisely because facts do not allow man to give free rein to his imagination, and, moreover, cannot be easily refuted by man, and the notions and imaginings of man do not brook the existence of facts, and, furthermore, because man does not give thought to the correctness and veracity of facts, and merely single-mindedly lets loose his notions and employs his own imagination. This can only be said to be the fault of the notions of man, and cannot be said to be a fault of the work of God. Man may imagine whatever he wishes, but he may not freely dispute any stage of God’s work or any bit of it; the fact of God’s work is inviolable by man.

Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If you use your own notions to measure and delimit God, as if God were an unchanging statue of clay, and if you completely delimit God within the parameters of the Bible and contain Him within a limited scope of work, then this proves that you have condemned God. Because the Jews in the age of the Old Testament took God to be an idol of fixed form that they held in their hearts, as if God could only be called the Messiah, and only He who was called the Messiah could be God, and because humanity served and worshiped God as if He were a (lifeless) clay statue, they nailed the Jesus of that time to the cross, sentencing Him to death—the guiltless Jesus was thus condemned to death. God was innocent of any offense, yet man refused to spare Him, and insisted on sentencing Him to death, and so Jesus was crucified. Man always believes that God is unchanging, and defines Him on the basis of one single book, the Bible, as though man has a perfect understanding of God’s management, as though man holds all that God does in the palm of his hand. People are absurd in the extreme, arrogant in the extreme, and they all have a flair for hyperbole. No matter how great your knowledge of God, I still say that you do not know God, that you are someone who opposes God the most, and that you have condemned God, because you are utterly incapable of obeying the work of God and walking the path of being made perfect by God. Why is God never satisfied with the actions of man? Because man does not know God, because he has too many notions, and because his knowledge of God in no way agrees with reality, but instead monotonously repeats the same theme without variation and uses the same approach for every situation. And so, having come to earth today, God is once more nailed to the cross by man.

Excerpted from “The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Because there are always new developments in God’s work, there is work that becomes obsolete and old as new work arises. These different types of work, old and new, are not contradictory, but complementary; each step follows from the last. Because there is new work, the old things must, of course, be eliminated. For example, some of the long-established practices and habitual sayings of man, coupled with man’s many years of experience and teachings, have formed all manner and form of notions in the mind of man. That God has yet fully to reveal His true face and inherent disposition to man, along with the spread, over many years, of traditional theories from ancient times have been yet more propitious to man’s formation of such notions. It may be said that, over the course of man’s belief in God, the influence of various notions has led to the continual formation and evolution of all sorts of notional understandings of God in people, which has caused many religious people who serve God to become His enemies. So, the stronger people’s religious notions are, the more they oppose God, and the more they are the enemies of God. The work of God is always new and never old; it never forms doctrine, instead changing continually and being renewed to a greater or lesser extent. Working in this way is an expression of the inherent disposition of God Himself. It is also the inherent principle of God’s work, and one of the means by which God accomplishes His management. If God did not work in this way, man would not change or be able to know God, and Satan would not be defeated. Thus, in His work, changes continually occur that appear erratic, but which are actually periodic. The way in which man believes in God, however, is quite different. He clings to old, familiar doctrines and systems, and the older they are, the more palatable they are to him. How could the foolish mind of man, a mind that is as intransigent as stone, accept so much unfathomable new work and words of God? Man abhors the God who is always new and never old; he likes only the old God, who is long of tooth, white of hair, and stuck in place. Thus, because God and man each have their own likes, man has become the enemy of God. Many of these contradictions still exist even today, at a time when God has been doing new work for almost six thousand years. They are, then, beyond remedy. Perhaps it is because of the stubbornness of man, or the inviolability of God’s administrative decrees by any man—but those clergymen and women cling still to moldy old books and papers, while God carries on with His uncompleted work of management, as if He had no one by His side. Though these contradictions make enemies of God and man, and are even irresolvable, God pays them no heed, as if they were at once there and not there. Man, however, still sticks by his beliefs and notions, and never lets go of them. Yet one thing is self-evident: Even though man does not deviate from his stance, God’s feet are always moving, and He is always changing His stance according to the environment. In the end, it is man who will be defeated without a fight. God, meanwhile, is the greatest enemy of all His defeated foes, and is also the champion of mankind, defeated and undefeated alike. Who can compete with God and be victorious? Man’s notions seem to come from God because many of them were born in the wake of God’s work. However, God does not forgive man because of this, nor, moreover, does He pour praise on man for producing batch after batch of products “for God” in the wake of His work that are outside of His work. Instead, He is extremely disgusted by man’s notions and old, pious beliefs, and does not even have a mind to acknowledge the date on which these notions first emerged. He does not accept at all that these notions are caused by His work, for the notions of man are spread by man; their source is the thoughts and mind of man—not God, but Satan. God’s intention has always been for His work to be new and alive, not old and dead, and what He has man adhere to varies with the age and period, and is not everlasting and immutable. This is because He is a God who causes man to live and be new, rather than a devil who causes man to die and be old. Do you still not understand this? You have notions about God and are incapable of letting go of them because you are close-minded. It is not because there is too little sense within God’s work, nor because the work of God diverges from human wishes, nor, moreover, is it because God is always negligent in His duties. You cannot let go of your notions because you are too lacking in obedience, and because you have not the slightest likeness of a created being; it is not because God is making things difficult for you. You caused all of this, and it bears no relation at all to God; all suffering and misfortune is created by man. God’s thoughts are always good: He does not wish to cause you to produce notions, but wishes for you to change and be renewed as the ages pass. Yet you do not know what is good for you, and are always either scrutinizing or analyzing. It is not that God is making things difficult for you, but that you have no reverence for God, and your disobedience is too great. A tiny created being, daring to take some trivial part of that which was previously given by God, then turning around and using it to attack God—is this not the disobedience of man? Humans, it is fair to say, are utterly unqualified to express their views before God, and less still are they qualified to parade around their worthless, stinking, rotten, flowery language as they wish—to say nothing of those moldy notions. Are they not even more worthless?

Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know the Work of God Today May Serve God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When God becomes flesh and comes to work among men, all behold Him and hear His words, and all see the deeds that God works from within His body of flesh. At that moment, all man’s notions become foam. As for those who have seen God appearing in the flesh, they shall not be condemned if they willingly obey Him, whereas those who purposefully stand against Him shall be deemed an opponent of God. Such people are antichrists, enemies who willfully stand against God. Those who harbor notions regarding God but are still ready and willing to obey Him will not be condemned. God condemns man on the basis of man’s intentions and actions, never for his thoughts and ideas. If He were to condemn man on the basis of his thoughts and ideas, then not a single person would be able to escape from the wrathful hands of God. Those who willfully stand against the incarnate God shall be punished for their disobedience. With regard to these people that willfully stand against God, their opposition stems from the fact that they harbor notions about God, which leads them in turn into actions that disrupt God’s work. These people intentionally resist and destroy the work of God. They do not merely have notions about God, but they also engage in activities that disrupt His work, and for this reason people of this kind shall be condemned. Those who do not willfully disrupt God’s work shall not be condemned as sinners, because they are able to willingly obey and not engage in activities that cause disruption and disturbance. People like this shall not be condemned. However, when people have experienced God’s work for many years, if they continue to harbor notions about God and remain unable to know the work of the incarnate God, and if, no matter how many years they have experienced His work, they continue to be filled with notions about God and are still unable to come to know Him, then even if they do not engage in disruptive activities, their hearts are nevertheless filled with many notions about God, and even if these notions do not become apparent, people like this are of no help whatsoever to the work of God. They are unable to spread the gospel for God or stand witness to Him. People like this are good-for-nothings and imbeciles. Because they do not know God and are moreover wholly incapable of casting away their notions about Him, they are therefore condemned. It can be said like this: It is normal for novices in the faith to hold notions about God or to know nothing of Him, but for one who has believed in God for many years and experienced a good deal of His work, it would not be normal for such a person to continue to hold notions, and it would be even less normal for someone like this to have no knowledge of God. It is because this is not a normal state that they are condemned. These abnormal people are all garbage; they are the ones who oppose God the most and who have enjoyed the grace of God for nothing. All such people shall be eliminated in the end!

Excerpted from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

You have believed in God for all these years, and though you understand some truths, inside each of you are your own interpretations, beliefs, and imaginings—and they all contravene and contradict the intentions of God and the truth. These things are people’s notions. Everything that is at odds with the truth belongs to the notions and imaginings of man. So how do the notions of man come about? There are many different causes. Partly it is the dissemination and inculcation of knowledge; so, too, is there the creeping influence of traditional culture and the impact of social trends and certain family teachings. Overall, man has been influenced and indoctrinated by the wicked society of Satan; this is the root cause of his notions.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

People’s notions may have no effect on what they eat or how they sleep, and they may not impact their normal human lives, but they do exist in people’s minds and in their thoughts, they cling to people like a shadow, following them around all the time. Unless you constantly remove them, they will constantly control your behavior and thinking, they will control your judgment, they will control your knowledge of God, and they will control your relationship with God. Notions are a major problem. People having notions about God is like a wall standing between them and God, one that stops them from seeing the true face of God, that stops them from seeing the true disposition and true essence of God—for people live among their notions, and among their imaginings, and they use their notions to determine whether God is right or wrong, and to measure, condemn, and judge all that God does. What kind of state are people often plunged into by doing this? Can people truly submit to God when they live among their notions? Can they have true faith in God? No, they cannot. Even when they do submit a little, it is according to their own notions and imaginings. As soon as someone submits according to their notions and imaginings, it becomes tainted with personal things that are of Satan and the outside world, and that are at odds with the truth. The problem of people’s notions about God is a serious one; it is a major issue between man and God that urgently needs to be resolved. Everyone who comes before God brings notions, they bring all manner of suspicions about God. So, too, can it be said that they bring myriad misunderstandings about God in the face of all that God bestows upon them, in the face of His arrangements and orchestrations. And what kind of relationship with God are they then faced with? People constantly misunderstand God, they are constantly suspicious of God, and they constantly use their own standards to measure whether God is right or wrong, to measure each of His words and work. What is this behavior? They are rebelling against, opposing, condemning, blaspheming against, passing judgment on, competing with—and, in more serious cases, “dueling” with—God. At the most grievous extent, people’s notions render them incapable of accepting the true God Himself, of accepting and obeying the truth, and so they are liable to deny the existence of God and forsake the God they follow. This is a frightening problem.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

When people give rise to misunderstandings and notions about God, they first must acknowledge that God is the truth and that people do not have the truth, and it is certainly they who are mistaken. Is this a kind of formality? If you only adopt this practice as a formality, superficially, then can you come to know your own mistakes? Never. It takes several steps. First, you must determine whether your actions are in line with principles. Do not look at your intents at first; there are times when your intents are correct but the principles you practice are wrong. Why do I say the principles you practice are wrong? You may have sought, but perhaps you have no understanding at all of what principles are; perhaps you have not sought at all, and have based your actions solely on your good intentions and enthusiasm, and on your imagination and experience, and you have therefore made a mistake. Can you imagine that? When you fail to anticipate something, you make a mistake—and have you not then been exposed? Once you are exposed, if you keep competing with God, then how are you mistaken? Your greatest mistake was not that you did something wrong and violated the principles, thereby causing a loss or other consequences, but that, having done something wrong, you yet persist and cannot acknowledge your error; you still resisted God with your notions and imaginings, denying that His work was right. This was your greatest and most serious mistake. Why would such a state in a person be one of resistance to God? Whether or not people recognize that everything God does and His sovereignty are right, and what their significance is, if they cannot first recognize that they themselves are wrong, then their state is one of resistance against God. What is to be done to rectify this state? Seeking God’s will, as has been mentioned, is not so practical for people. Some say, “If seeking isn’t so practical, then does that mean it isn’t necessary, and that there’s no need to seek what can be sought and understood? I can just skip that step.” Will this do? Is one who acts in this manner not beyond saving? Such people are really skewed and erroneous in their interpretations. Seeking God’s will is a somewhat roundabout task for people; if they wish to take a more realistic shortcut, then they should start by denying themselves, setting themselves aside, knowing that their actions are wrong and not in line with the truth, and then seeking the truth principle. These are the steps. They may seem simple, yet putting them into practice presents many difficulties, for humans have corrupt dispositions as well as all manner of imaginings, all manner of demands, and they have desires, as well, all of which interfere with people denying themselves and setting themselves down. These are not easy things to do.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (3)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

People’s notions must be resolved using the truth; they cannot be simply put aside with a man-made solution—it is not that easy. People have no commitment to righteous matters, but are liable to cling to notions or heretical and absurd things, which they find hard to put aside. What is the cause of this? It is because they have satanic corrupt dispositions. Whether people’s notions are large or small, serious or not, if they do not have a corrupt disposition, these notions are easy to solve. Notions, at the end of the day, are just a way of thinking. But because of people’s corrupt dispositions, such as hardness, wickedness and arrogance, notions become a fuse which causes people to resist, misinterpret, and even pass judgment on God. They might not say it, but their behavior shows that they resist and do not accept your perspective. Governed by a corrupt disposition, they cling to their notions—this is caused by their disposition. And so, as notions are solved, so too are people’s corrupt dispositions. If people’s corrupt dispositions are solved, then many of their immature, childish thoughts—even the notions that have already taken shape—are not an issue for them; they are just thoughts, and do not affect the performance of your duty, or your obedience to God. Notions and corrupt dispositions are connected. Sometimes a notion is in your heart, but it does not direct your actions. When it does not infringe upon your immediate interests, you ignore it. Ignoring it, however, does not mean there is not a corrupt disposition within your notion, and when something happens that is in conflict with your notions, you cling to them with a certain attitude, an attitude dominated by your disposition. This disposition could be hardness, it could be arrogance, and it could be viciousness; you shoot your mouth off to God, saying, “My point of view has been academically ratified many times. People have held such views for thousands of years, so why shouldn’t I? If You are not right, how can You still say it is the truth, and above all else? My perspective is the highest of all mankind!” One notion can lead to you behaving like this, to such bluster. What causes this? It is caused by corrupt dispositions. The relationship between notions and people’s corrupt dispositions is great, and their notions must be resolved. Once people’s notions about faith in God have been addressed, it becomes easy for them to submit to the work arrangements of the house of God, and so they perform their duty more smoothly, they are not side-tracked, they do not meddle or interrupt, and they do not do anything that brings shame upon God. If people’s notions and imaginings are not addressed, it becomes easy for them to do things that cause interruptions and interference. In more serious cases, people’s notions can produce in them all manner of resistance to the incarnation of God, which makes you question Christ and become unable to accept Him, whilst also affecting your acceptance of the truth and entry into truth reality. In even more serious cases, people’s various notions about the work of God cause them to deny the work of God, the ways in which God works, and the sovereignty and arrangements of God—in which case they have no hope of salvation whatsoever. No matter which aspect of God people have notions about, behind these notions lurk corrupt dispositions, which can cause these corrupt dispositions to become worse, giving people even more of a pretext to approach the work of God, God Himself, and the disposition of God using their own corrupt dispositions. And does this not encourage them to resist God with their corrupt dispositions? This is the consequence of notions for man.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

God’s salvation of man is not just empty words. He expresses all these truths in order to address the things of corrupt mankind that are at odds with the truth—their notions, imaginings, knowledge, philosophies, traditional culture, etc.—and, by dissecting these things, to make man understand what constitutes positive things, what constitutes negative things, which things come from God, which things come from Satan, what the truth is, and what the philosophies and logic of Satan are. When people are able to see these things for what they really are, they will naturally choose to pursue the correct path of life, and they are able to practice the truth, to do as God asks, and discern negative things. This is what God asks of man, and so, too, is it the standard by which He perfects and saves people. Some people say, “God dissects man’s notions, but I have no notions. People who have notions are usually wily old foxes, or else theologians and hypocritical Pharisees. I’m not like that.” What is the problem here? They do not know themselves. No matter what is fellowshiped to them, they are incapable of applying it to themselves, thinking that they are not like that. This is ignorance, and they have no understanding of spiritual things. Are you able to think in this way? Today, most people do not think like that. They have heard many sermons, they sense that everyone has corruptions and notions that are passive and negative, and that there is nothing shameful in dissecting them; after dissecting them, furthermore, they believe that it will help others develop discernment, and they themselves will grow, and be able to understand the truth more quickly. For this reason they are all able to openly dissect themselves. Well, in that case, what is the aim of dissecting notions? It is to put aside these notions, to address misunderstandings between man and God, and then enable people to focus on what God asks of man, to know how to enter onto the path of salvation, and to know what to do to practice the truth. Ultimately, by continually practicing in this way, the intended effect is achieved: On the one hand, people will come to understand the will of God and become able to submit to God, and on the other, they will have the immunity to reject and resist many negative things, such as wicked notions and imaginings, and things that arise from knowledge. When faced with a religious intellectual, a theologian, or a religious pastor or elder, you can see through them as soon as you start to talk with them, and are able to use the truth to refute their myriad notions, imaginings, heresies, and fallacies. This shows that you are able to identify negative things, that you have understood some truths, that you are possessed of a certain stature, and so are not intimidated when faced with these religious leaders and figures. The knowledge, the learning, and the philosophies they talk about—even all of their ideologies and theories—are untenable, for you have seen through the letters and doctrine, the notions and imaginings, of religion, and the things of religion can deceive you no longer. But you are not there yet. When you encounter these religious fraudsters and Pharisees, or anyone with a little status, you are intimidated; you know what they are saying is wrong, that it consists of notions and imaginings, born of knowledge, but you do not know how to repudiate it, you do not know from where to start dissecting it, or which words to expose these people with. Does this not show that you still have not understood the truth? So you must equip yourselves with the truth and learn to dissect yourselves. When you have understood the truth, you will be able to see through other people, but if you do not understand the truth, you will never see through them. To see through people and things, you must understand the truth; without the truth as your foundation, as your life, you will not be able to deeply penetrate anything.

When people have resolved various notions and imaginings, they have knowledge and experience of God’s words, and at the same time they have also entered the reality of God’s words. In the process of entering the reality of God’s words, the various notions and imaginings that arise in people are resolved, one-by-one, and there is a change in people’s knowledge of God’s work, God’s essence, and the various attitudes God has toward people. How is this change brought about? It is brought about when people put aside their various notions and imaginings, when they put aside the various ideas and perspectives that come from knowledge, philosophy, traditional culture or the outside world, and instead accept the various points of view that come from God and that are connected to the truth. And so, when people accept the words of God as their life, they also enter into the reality of God’s words, and are able to regard and think about questions using the truth, and resolve issues using the truth; these are the changes that resolving notions brings to people’s lives and their existence. When people achieve such changes, their relationship with God becomes one of created beings and Creator. In relationships at this level, there is no competition, no temptation, and very little rebellion; people are much more obedient, understanding, worshipful, faithful, and honest toward God, and they truly fear God. But resolving people’s notions is a very painful process. People must deny themselves, they must put aside their notions, put aside the things they believe to be right, put aside the things that they cling to, put aside the things they have believed to be correct and which they have pursued and longed for their whole lives. This means that people must forsake themselves, must put aside the knowledge, philosophies—even their way of existence—that were learned from the world of Satan, and replace them with another way of living, the foundation and the root of existence of which is the truth. As such, people must endure great suffering. Such suffering may not be physical illness or the hardship and difficulties of daily life, but it may come from a change in all types of views of different things and of mankind in your heart, or it may even come from a change in the various aspects of the knowledge you have of God, which turns upside down your knowledge and view of the world, human existence, mankind, and even God.

Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

When a notion appears, no matter what the notion is, first spend some time contemplating and analyzing it in your mind. Study whether it is right to think this. If you have a clear sense that to think such things is fallacious and wrong, that this is blasphemy against God, then waste no time in praying to God and asking for His enlightenment and guidance. Keep the matter in your mind, and then, during devotions, assembly, and the performance of your duty, gradually come to know and experience other related matters—and, while coming to know and experiencing such matters, focus on resolving your own notions. You can, of course, also conduct appropriate fellowships with other people, discussing topics in this area, striving to get help from them and find a solution in God’s words. Amidst the words of God and your own experiences, you will gradually attest that God was right to speak thus, which will be tremendously effective in helping you solve the issue of your own notions. And, because you accept and experience such words and work of God, and ultimately come to understand God’s will and acquire knowledge of God’s dispositions, you solve your notions and put them aside, and do not misinterpret God nor are wary of God, and do not make unreasonable demands of God. This is one kind of notion that can be solved.

There is another kind of notion that is hard to fix, and that people can’t solve. For notions that are hard to solve, there is one principle that people must follow. If you give vent to such notions, the fact is that this then becomes spreading notions. I have already fellowshiped the consequences and nature of spreading notions, and you should understand the essence of this issue, so it’s best if you weigh such things up by yourself, rather than making rash remarks out loud. If you say, “It’s hard for me to keep these things to myself, I can’t bear it,” then speak of them in your prayers with God. What should you say to God? Go ahead and say, “O God! These are the kinds of thoughts I’ve been having. I wish to put them aside, but I can’t. I know these things are blasphemous to You, and I beg for Your help and guidance, and ask that You discipline me, and use suitable means to expose me, making me realize that my notions are wrong. I will gladly accept any method You employ.” Instead of giving vent to such notions, which can disturb and beguile people, keep them to yourself. If you find it hard to keep them to yourself, then quietly murmur them to yourself. If that doesn’t work, you must speak of them in prayer and ask for God’s guidance and the enlightenment of His words to allow you to put these notions aside. Some people say, “If giving vent to these notions during assembly with brothers and sisters is spreading notions, then when I’m having a hard time keeping them to myself, is it OK to speak of them with family members?” If your family members are all brothers and sisters, and giving vent to these notions perturbs them, is this the right thing to do? If what you say has an adverse impact on people, if it is damaging, harmful, and beguiling to them, then whatever you do, don’t say it. You must pray, and ask God to solve this. As long as you have a heart that is pious and hungers for righteousness, your notions can be resolved. There is nothing God’s words cannot cure, no problem they cannot solve; what matters is if you are able to accept them, and are willing to put them into practice, and whether you are able to put your notions aside. If you believe that, then you should appeal to God about this in your prayers. If, despite all your entreaties, God does not enlighten you, does not allow you to understand anything clearly, yet in your heart and subconscious you unwittingly come to believe that this notion means nothing, and it ceases to perturb you, and though you don’t understand why God has acted thus, and God has not used clear words or clear truths to tell you why He has acted thus, has not clarified you as to His intentions, and allowed you to remedy your notion, the notion hasn’t taken shape in you, it doesn’t disturb your life, the path ahead of you, or your normal spiritual life—much less does it upset your normal relationship with God, and naturally also does not affect your duty—then has this notion basically been solved? This is the path of practice.

Excerpted from “Identifying False Leaders (16)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

No matter what God does, whether it is easy for you to accept, or difficult for you to accept and likely to cause notions in you, in sum, the identity of God does not change as a result; He shall always be the Creator, and you will always be a creature of God. If you can reject the limitations of any notion, and still maintain with God the relationship of a creature and the Creator, then you are a true creature of God. If you are able to not be influenced or disturbed by any notion, and are capable of true obedience from the depths of your heart, and if, regardless of whether your understanding of the truth is profound or shallow, you are able to put notions aside, and not be constrained by them, believing only that God is the truth, the way, and the life, that God will forever be God, and does not make mistakes, then you can be saved. In fact, everyone’s stature is limited. How many things can be packed into people’s minds? Are they able to know God? Can they fathom God? That’s wishful thinking! Do not forget: people will always be infants before God. If you always think you’re clever, if you always show off, and have to try and figure everything out, saying “If I can’t understand this, then I cannot acknowledge that You are my God, I cannot accept that You are my God, I cannot acknowledge that You are the Creator. If You don’t solve my notions, You’re dreaming if You think that I’ll acknowledge that You are God, that I’ll accept Your sovereignty, and that I’ll obey You,” then things have gone awry. How have they gone awry? God does not discuss such things with you. Toward man He shall ever be as follows: If you do not accept that God is your God, He shall not accept that you are one of His creatures. When God does not accept that you are one of His creatures, a change occurs in your relationship with God as a result of your attitude toward Him. If you are unable to obey, and to accept the identity and essence of God, and all that God does, there will be a change in your identity. Are you still a creature of God? If God does not acknowledge you, then there’s no point in insisting otherwise. And if you are not a creature of God, and God does not want you, do you still have hope of salvation? If you are unable to perform the responsibilities and duties that a creature of God ought to, if you do not treat the Creator from the position of a creature of God, how will God treat you? How will He view you? God, too, will not consider you as one of His creatures, but as the devil Satan. Didn’t you think you were clever? How is it that you’ve made yourself into the devil Satan? This isn’t clever, it’s stupid. What do these words teach people? They must stay in line before God. Even if you have a reason for your notions, do not think yourself possessed of the truth, and that you are qualified to clamor against God and make assertions about Him. Whatever you do, don’t be like that. Once you lose your identity as a creature of God, you’re done for—this is no joke. It is precisely because, when people have notions, they take a different approach, and adopt a different solution, that the outcome is entirely different.

Excerpted from “Identifying False Leaders (16)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

Once you have grasped the principles, notions become easy to solve. Do not allow yourself to be hobbled by notions; if you can solve them, then do your utmost to solve them, and if you can’t, don’t let them affect your duty and relationship with God. So, too, must you not spread these notions; do not be one of the wicked, do not be someone who causes disturbances and disruptions, do not be an emissary of Satan, do not be an outlet of Satan. If, no matter how hard you try, you only skim the surface, and are unable to solve the notion completely, then just ignore it; don’t let it affect your pursuit of the truth and pursuit of life entry. Having grasped these various aspects of principles, in most circumstances, people can be protected. If you are someone who accepts the truth, who loves positive things, who is not evil, who is not willing to interrupt or disturb, nor does so deliberately, then you will usually be protected when notions appear in you. The basic principle is this: When you have notions, if they are difficult to solve, take your time before you do anything about them; first wait, God does not make mistakes. Remember this principle. In addition, you must not put aside your own duty—it must not be affected by notions. As soon as you have notions, don’t think to yourself, “Who cares if I fool about? I’m in a bad mood, there’s no way I’m going to do a good job.” If you think this way, things will go awry; as soon as your attitude changes into negativity, perfunctoriness, and going through the motions, this is trouble, this is a case of notions stirring things up within you. When notions stir up trouble within you and affect your performance of your duty, your relationship with God has already undergone a change. When the notions within you have not been resolved, some don’t affect your performance of your duty, and some do. Their effect on your duty is that these notions cause you to doubt God; you do not perform your duty properly, and do not feel there is any consequence to not performing your duty, you are not afraid, you have no fear of God—and this is dangerous, this is you being plunged into temptation and made a fool of by Satan, and snatched away by Satan. The choices you make and your attitude toward your notions are crucial; regardless of whether the notions can be solved, and irrespective of the degree to which they can be solved, the normal relationship between you and God must not change. Partly, you should be able to obey all that is laid out by God: God does not make mistakes, and the knowledge of this and the truths relating to this should never change. Partly, you must not put aside the duty that God has entrusted to you, you must not unburden yourself of this. If, internally or externally, you have no resistance, reluctance, rebelliousness, or disobedience toward God, God will see only your obedience, and that you are waiting. You may still have notions, but God does not see your disobedience because there is not disobedience and resistance in you; God still considers you one of His creatures. In contrast, if your heart is full of complaints and dissatisfaction, and you are looking for the chance of retribution, and do not wish to perform your duty, if your performance of your duty is affected, and you even try to unburden yourself of it, and if, in your heart, there are all manner of unreasonable complaints about God, and certain outpourings of dissatisfaction appear in the course of performing your duty, then at this time a huge change has occurred in your relationship with God. Your position is no longer that of a creature of God, you are no longer a creature of God, but have become an outlet for the devil Satan—and so God will not be so polite to you. When people get to this point, they are in dangerous territory. Even if God does nothing, you will be on shaky ground in the church. And so, in everything they do—particularly when it involves issues such as solving notions—people must take care to avoid doing things that offend God, or that are condemned by God, or which hurt or harm others. This is the principle.

Having notions about God is a big deal! Aside from acceptance, obedience, listening, what is most commonly seen between man and God is people having notions about God. This absolutely cannot be ignored. If people don’t have the right method and path with which to approach these notions, following God will be very strenuous for them, they will take many detours, and as soon as they are not careful, they may well set foot on the path of disobedience and hostility toward God. And when they set foot on this path, it’s all over for them—could they still have a chance, do you think? There is no easy fix for this; they have no chance. And so, before God denies that you are His creation, you must learn how to be a creature of God. Don’t try and learn how to study the Creator, or how to verify and confirm that the Creator is the God you believe in—this is not your obligation, it is not your responsibility. What people should contemplate and think about in their heart each day is how to be a good creature of God, not how to prove whether God is the Creator, whether He is God, whether, when God does something, God was right to do it—this is not what you should study.

Excerpted from “Identifying False Leaders (16)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

Previous: 55. The Principles of Preventing Absurdities

Next: 57. The Principles of Rectifying Defensiveness Against God and Misunderstandings of Him

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