Chapter 9. Seeking God’s Will Is for the Sake of Practicing the Truth
As soon as people grow hasty in fulfilling their duties, they stop knowing how to experience; as soon as they become busy with matters, their spiritual states become troubled and they lose the ability to maintain a normal condition. How can this be so? If you are asked to do a little work, you become unbridled, unrestricted, unwilling to approach God, and distanced from God. This proves that people do not know how to experience. No matter what you do, you should first understand why you are doing it, what intention it is that directs you to do this thing, what the significance is in your doing it, what the nature of the matter is, and whether what you are doing is a positive thing or a negative thing. You must have a clear understanding of all these matters; this is quite necessary to be able to act with principle. If you are doing something to fulfill your duty, then you should ponder: How should I do this? How should I fulfill my duty well so that I am not just doing it perfunctorily? You should draw close to God in this matter. Drawing close to God means seeking the truth in this matter, seeking the way to practice, seeking the will of God, and seeking how to satisfy God. This is how to draw close to God in everything you do. It does not involve performing a religious ceremony or an outward action; it is done for the purpose of practicing in accordance with the truth after seeking God’s will. If you always say “Thank God” when you have not done anything, but then when you are doing something, you continue to do it the way you want, then this type of thanks is just an outward action. When fulfilling your duty or working on something, you should always think: How should I fulfill this duty? What is God’s intention? Draw close to God through what you do; in doing so, you seek the principles and truth behind your actions as well as God’s intention, and will not stray from God in anything that you do. Only such a person truly believes in God. These days, whenever people come across things, regardless of what the actual situation is, they think that they can do this and that, so they do not have God in their hearts, and they do it according to their own intentions. Regardless of whether their course of action is suitable or not, or whether it is in accordance with the truth or not, they just stubbornly press on, and act according to their personal intentions. It might usually seem that God is in their hearts, but when they do things, God is not in their hearts. Some people say, “I can’t draw close to God in the things I do; in the past, I was accustomed to performing religious ceremonies, and I tried to draw close to God, but it was to no effect; I could not draw near to Him.” Such people do not have God in their hearts; they only have themselves in their hearts, and they simply cannot put truth into practice in anything they do. Not acting in accordance with truth means doing things according to their own will, and doing things according to their own will means leaving God; that is, they do not have God in their hearts. Human ideas usually look good and right to people, and they appear as though they would not violate the truth very much. People feel that doing things in such a manner would be putting truth into practice; they feel that doing things that way would be submitting to God. Actually, they are not truly seeking God or praying to God about it; they are not striving to do it well, in accordance with God’s requirements, in order to satisfy His will. They do not possess this true state; they do not have such a desire. This is the greatest mistake people make in their practices. You believe in God, but you do not keep God in your heart. How is this not a sin? Are you not deceiving yourself? What sort of effects can you reap if you keep believing that way? Moreover, how can the significance of belief be manifested?
God was very dissatisfied with something in particular you did. Have you pondered within while doing this thing: “How would this matter be viewed by God if it is brought before Him? Would God be happy or irritated if He knows about this matter? Would God detest it?” You didn’t seek it out, did you? Even if others reminded you, you would still think that this matter was no big deal and that it didn’t violate principles and that it wasn’t a sin. As a result, you ruined it and have provoked God to great anger even to the point of despising you. Think things through so you won’t regret them; this is what you must comply with. If you sought and examined the matter thoroughly before acting, then would you not have a handle over the matter? Even though sometimes people’s states are not good, if they solemnly inspect and seek everything that needs to be done in God’s presence, then there wouldn’t be any big mistakes. It is hard for people to avoid mistakes in putting truth into practice. If you know how to do things in accordance with truth when you do them, but you don’t carry them out in accordance with truth, then the problem is that you are not fond of truth. A person who is not fond of truth will not be changed in disposition. If you cannot accurately grasp the will of God and don’t know how to practice, then you should communicate with others. If no one feels like they can see the matter clearly, then you should carry out the most reasonable solution; but if you ultimately discover that there is an error in carrying it out this way, then you should quickly correct it, and God will not count the error as a sin. Because your intent was right at the time of putting this matter into practice, and you were practicing in accordance with truth, only you didn’t see it clearly, and there were some errors in your actions; this is an extenuating circumstance. However, now many people merely rely on their own two hands to work and rely on their own minds to do this and that, and they seldom ponder: Does practicing this way conform to God’s will? Would God be happy if I do it this way? Would God trust me if I do it this way? Would I be putting truth into practice if I do it this way? If God hears this, would He be able to say, “This matter is done correctly and suitably. Keep it up”? Are you able to seriously examine everything like this? Are you able to be meticulous in everything? Or are you able to ponder if God despises the way you are doing it, how everyone else feels about the way you are doing it, whether you are doing it based on your own will, or to satisfy your own desires…? You have to put much thought into it, ask many questions, and seek more, and the errors will become smaller and smaller. Doing things this way proves that you are a person who genuinely seeks truth and that you are a person who reveres God, because you are doing things in accordance with the direction required by truth.
If one’s action comes apart from the truth, then he is the same as an unbeliever. This is the type of person who is without God in his heart, who leaves God, and this kind of person is like a hired worker in God’s family who works for his master and receives a little compensation, and then he is gone. This is simply not a person who believes in God. Was it not mentioned before, “What can you do to gain God’s approval”? This has been spoken of, right? Approval from God is the first thing you should think about and work for; it should be the principle and scope in your practice. The reason that you should determine if what you are doing conforms with truth is because if it conforms with truth, then it certainly conforms with God’s will. It is not that you should determine if the matter is right or wrong, or if it is in accordance with everyone else’s tastes, or if it is in accordance with your own desires. Rather, it is to determine if it is in accordance with truth, if it benefits the work and interests of the church. If you consider these aspects, then you will be more and more in line with God’s will when you do things. If you don’t consider these aspects and merely rely on your own will to do things, then you are guaranteed to do them incorrectly, because the will of man is not the truth and of course is not in conformance with God. If you want to be approved by God, then you must practice according to the truth, rather than according to your own intentions. Some people do sly things behind closed doors or do some private matters. After they are done, the brothers and sisters say that the things they did appear quite inappropriate, but they will not recognize them this way. They think that this is a personal matter and doesn’t involve the work of the church, it doesn’t involve the finances of the church and it doesn’t involve people in the church, so it doesn’t count as violating the scope of truth and God should not interfere with this matter. Some things look to you like they are private matters and don’t involve any principle or truth. However, from the perspective of the brothers and sisters, when you do this thing, it looks like you are being very selfish and that you are giving no consideration to the work of God’s family and how it will affect God’s family and that you are only considering your own benefit. This already involves the order of the saints and it involves the issues of human nature. What you are doing doesn’t involve the interests of the church and it doesn’t involve truth, but what you are doing violates the morals of human nature and ultimately, it doesn’t conform to truth. Regardless of what you are doing, how big or small a matter is, and whether you are doing it to fulfill your duty in God’s family or for your own private reasons, you must consider whether what you are doing conforms with God’s will, as well as whether it is something that a person with humanity should do. If you seek the truth like that in everything you do, then you are a person who truly believes in God. If you devoutly treat every matter and every truth in this manner, then you will be able to transform your disposition. Some people think that when they are doing something personal, they can just ignore the truth, do it as they wish, and do it in whatever way makes them happy and in whatever manner is advantageous to them; they do not give the slightest consideration to how it might affect God’s family, nor do they consider whether or not what they are doing befits saintly propriety. Finally, once they are finished with the matter, they grow dark inside and feel uncomfortable; however, they do not know why. Is this retribution not deserved? If you do things that are not approved by God, then you have offended God. If people are not fond of truth, and frequently do things based on their own will, then they will frequently offend God. Such people are ordinarily not approved by God in what they do, and if they do not repent, then punishment will not be very far off.