Only by Seeking the Truth Principles Can One Perform One’s Duty Well
Whether one can attain the truth through their belief in God depends on whether or not they can accept being pruned and dealt with while performing their duty, whether they can conduct matters according to principle, and whether they are capable of always submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements—this is the most crucial. What does it mean to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements? It means that no matter what the house of God arranges for you to do, or where it arranges for you to perform your duties, you are able to receive it from God. Receiving it from God is true faith, and it is one aspect of practice. And how does one receive it from God? You say: “Although it was people who arranged this matter, it is my duty. Whatever duties the church arranges for me to perform come with the consent of God. I should accept and submit. How should I treat my duty, then?” Does God have any requirements for how you treat your duty? What is the truth that God requires people to put into practice? (To devote one’s heart, mind, and effort to performing one’s duty.) Following this principle, when you are being lazy and don’t want to perform your duty, or when you have complaints, you should seek: “Where does the problem lie here? I am not practicing as God requires! I must let go of my ideas, let go of my demands and desires. I have to reverse my incorrect inner state.” You must be able to let go of these. But sometimes there are some things that prevent people from letting go. What sorts of things? For instance, some people always feel jealous that other people’s duties are more glamorous, that they allow them to interact with many people. They always think their own duty is insignificant, that the people they meet while performing it are too few, and this makes them discontent. Additionally, because of the small scope of their duty’s responsibility and the small number of people they have to manage, they feel they have no status. What kind of thoughts are these? What is the source of these ideas? (Corrupt dispositions.) They all come from corrupt dispositions. What are these things which corrupt dispositions produce? They are personal designs, plans, desires, and ambitions. How should these things be resolved? Firstly, you must let go, and then, through dissection, realize that in your heart you are still seeking status rather than earnestly fulfilling your duty so as to satisfy God; you still have ambitions and desires, you covet the benefits of status, you have excessive demands, and you have not submitted to God. So you come before God and pray: “God, my state is not right. Please discipline and chasten me, please let Your judgment and chastisement befall me so that I may know myself and repent.” If you have a repentant heart, when you come before God and ask Him to reprimand and discipline you, He will respond according to your stature. He may discipline you, or perhaps He may guide you little by little. If He disciplines you, it is because you have some stature. But He may not discipline you, and that is because you are weak, in which case He may support and guide you little by little so that you will be able to submit in the course of performing your duty. What prerequisites are needed for God to do this? Only when you have a repentant heart, a heart that submits to and cooperates with God, and a heart that yearns for and craves the truth, will God judge, chastise, and cleanse you. If you lack the resolve for this and you do not pray, but instead follow your flesh and do not let go of your designs, ambitions, and desires, will God still do this for you? God will not work in you. God will conceal Himself from you, He will hide His face from you. At gatherings, everybody else will feel uplifted by the sermons but you will always feel drowsy, with no way to invigorate yourself. No matter what, you won’t be able to absorb any of it, and this state will persist interminably, even lasting for a year or two, or even three to five years. This means God has already rejected and detested you, He has hidden His face from you, and this is very dangerous. Some will say: “How is that dangerous? I’m performing my duty. I have not left God. I still read God’s words, listen to hymns, and have a spiritual life. I’m still a member of God’s house.” These are merely outward representations that don’t decide anything. What is it, on the other hand, that does have a decisive effect? It is whether God is watching over you and guiding you; whether the Holy Spirit is working on you and disciplining you. This is the crux. And what do God’s guidance and the Holy Spirit’s work depend on? (They depend on people’s hearts.) That’s right. They depend on people’s attitude toward God, on their hearts, on their yearnings and cravings, and what they seek. They depend on the path people take. These are the most critical aspects, and God bases His treatment of people on them.
The most pressing issue to resolve now is how to treat one’s duty. Because the performance of duty is what best reveals whether a person’s belief is true or false, whether or not they love the truth, whether they choose the right or wrong path, and whether they possess or lack conscience and reason. All of these issues can be exposed in the performance of duty. In order to address the question of how to treat one’s duty, you must first of all understand what duty is, as well as how to properly perform it and what to do when you encounter difficulty while performing it—what principles to follow and to practice in accordance with which truths. You must understand what to do when you misunderstand God and when you cannot let go of your designs. Additionally, in the course of performing your duties, you must frequently reflect upon the incorrect thoughts in your heart that are thoughts and views belonging to Satan, which influence and obstruct the fulfillment of your duty; which can cause you to disobey and rebel against God while doing duty; and which cause you to fail at that which God entrusts to you—you must know all of this. Is duty important to a person? It is extremely important. This vision must be clear to you now: fulfilling your duty is of the utmost importance for believing in God. The most crucial aspect of believing in God now is performing duty. Without performing your duty well, there can be no reality. By performing duty, people are able to understand God’s will, and can gradually build a normal relationship with Him. By performing duty, people gradually identify their problems, and come to recognize their corrupt disposition and essence. At the same time, by reflecting on themselves, people can gradually discover just what God demands of them. Do you understand now just what it is you believe when you believe in God? In fact, it is a belief in the truth, an attainment of the truth. Performing duty allows for the attainment of the truth and life. The truth and life cannot be attained without performing duty. Can there be reality if one believes in God without performing duty? (No.) There can be no reality. Thus, if you do not perform your duty well, you cannot attain the truth. Once you are cast out, this shows you failed to believe in God. Even though you say you believe in Him, your belief is already bereft of meaning. This is something that must be grasped through and through.
The principles you must understand and the truths you must put into practice are the same regardless of what duty you are performing. Whether you are asked to be a leader or a worker, or whether you are cooking up dishes as a host, or whether you are asked to take care of some external affairs or do some physical labor, the truth principles that should be observed in performing these different duties are the same, in that they must be based in the truth and in God’s words. What then is the biggest and the chief among these principles? It is to devote one’s heart, mind, and effort to performing one’s duty, and to perform it to the required standard. To perform your duty well and perform it up to standard, you must know what duty is. Just what is duty, anyway? Is duty your own career? (No.) If you treat your duty as your own career, willing to put in all your effort to do it well, so that others can see how successful and distinguished you are, thinking that this gives your life meaning, would that be the correct view? (No.) Where does this view go wrong? It goes wrong in taking God’s commission as one’s own enterprise. While this seems fine to humans, to God it is walking the wrong path, violating the truth principles, and He condemns it. Duty must be performed according to God’s requirements and the truth principles in order to conform to God’s will. Contravening the truth principles and acting instead upon human inclinations is sinful. It opposes God and demands punishment. This is the fate of those foolish and ignorant people who do not accept the truth. Those who believe in God should be clear about what God demands from people. This vision must be made clear. First let’s talk about what duty is. A duty is not your own operation, your own career, or your own work; it is God’s work. God’s work requires your cooperation, which gives rise to your duty. The part of God’s work with which man must cooperate is his duty. The duty is a portion of God’s work—it is not your career, not your domestic affairs nor your personal affairs in life. Whether your duty is to deal with external or internal affairs, whether it involves mental or physical labor, this is the duty that you ought to perform, it is the work of the church, it forms one part of God’s management plan, and it is the commission God has given to you. It is not your personal business. So then, how should you treat your duty? At the very least, you must not perform your duty whichever way you please, you must not act recklessly. For instance, if you are in charge of making food for your brothers and sisters, that is your duty. How should you treat this task? (I should seek the truth principles.) How do you seek the truth principles? This touches upon the reality and the truth. You must think about how to put the truth into practice, how to perform this duty well, and which aspects of the truth this duty involves. Step one is that you must first of all know, “I am not cooking for myself. This is my duty that I am doing.” The aspect involved here is vision. What about step two? (I must think about how to cook the meal well.) What is the criterion for cooking well? (I must seek out God’s requirements.) That’s right. Only God’s requirements are the truth, the standard, and the principle. Cooking according to God’s requirements is one aspect of the truth. You must first of all consider this aspect of the truth, and then contemplate, “God has given me this duty to perform. What is the standard required by God?” This foundation is a requisite. How should you cook so as to meet God’s standard, then? The food you cook should be healthy, tasty, clean, and not harmful to the body—these are the details involved. As long as you cook according to this principle, the food you cook shall be made according to God’s requirements. Why do I say this? Because you sought the principles of this duty and did not exceed the scope delineated by God. This is the right way to cook. You have done your duty well, and you have done it satisfactorily.
No matter what duty you are fulfilling, you must seek the truth principles, understand God’s will, know what His requirements are with regard to the duty in question and understand what you should accomplish through that duty. Only in so doing can you carry out your work according to principle. In performing your duty, you absolutely cannot go by your personal preferences, doing whatever you would like to do, whatever you would be happy doing, or whatever would make you look good. This is acting in accordance with one’s own will. If you rely on your own personal preferences in the performance of your duty, thinking this is what God demands, and that this is what will make God happy, and if you forcibly impose your personal preferences on God or practice them as though they were the truth, observing them as if they were the truth principles, then is this not a mistake? This is not fulfilling your duty, and performing your duty in this way will not be remembered by God. Some people do not understand the truth, and they do not know what it means to fulfill their duties well. They feel that they have made effort and put their heart into it, forsaken their flesh and suffered, so why then can they never fulfill their duty satisfactorily? Why is God always dissatisfied? Where have these people gone wrong? Their mistake was to not seek out God’s requirements, and instead act according to their own ideas—this is the reason. They treated their own desires, preferences, and selfish motives as the truth, and they treated them as though they were what God loved, as though they were His standards and requirements. They saw what they believed to be correct, good, and beautiful to be the truth; this is wrong. In fact, even though people might sometimes think something is right and that it accords with the truth, that does not necessarily mean that it accords with God’s will. The more people think something is right, the more cautious they should be and the more they should seek the truth to see whether what they are thinking meets God’s requirements. If it precisely runs counter to His requirements and counter to His words, then it is unacceptable even if you think it is right, it is but a human thought, and it will not accord with the truth no matter how right you think it is. Whether something is right or wrong must be determined based on God’s words. No matter how right you think something is, unless there is a basis for it in God’s words, it is wrong and you must discard it. It is acceptable only when it accords with the truth, and only by upholding the truth principles in this way can your performance of your duty be up to standard. Just what is duty? It is a commission entrusted by God to people, it is part of the work of God’s house, and it is a responsibility and obligation that should be borne by every one of God’s chosen people. Is duty your career? Is it a personal family matter? Is it fair to say that once you have been given a duty, this duty becomes your personal business? That is absolutely not the case. So how should you fulfill your duty? By acting in accordance with God’s requirements, words, and standards, and by basing your behavior on the truth principles rather than on human subjective desires. Some people say, “Once a duty has been given to me, is it not my own business? My duty is my charge, and is what I am charged with not my own business? If I handle my duty as my own business, doesn’t that mean I will do it properly? Would I do it well if I didn’t treat it like my own business?” Are these words right or wrong? They are wrong; they are at odds with the truth. Duty is not your own personal business, it is God’s business, it is part of God’s work, and you must do as God asks; only by performing your duty with a heart of obedience to God can you be up to standard. If you always perform your duty according to your own notions and imaginings, and according to your own inclinations, then you will never meet the standard. Only ever performing your duty as you wish is not performing your duty, because what you are doing is not within the scope of God’s management, it is not the work of the house of God; you are, instead, running your own operation, carrying out your own tasks, and so this is not remembered by God. Is the concept of duty clear to you now? What is the most basic, most fundamental truth that should be put into practice in carrying out duty? It is to devote your heart, mind, and effort to performing your duties well. Why do so many people, in the course of performing their duties, still do all manner of wicked deeds, and disrupt and disturb the church’s work, so that in the end they are cast out? Because these people are not earnestly expending themselves for God. They are always trying to bargain with God and do not accept even a bit of the truth. No matter how much of their corruption they reveal or how much evil they do, they never seek resolution through the truth. They do not truly repent even after being pruned and dealt with many times, but carry on committing wrongs without scruple and doing all manner of wicked deeds, utterly exposing their evil essence. God’s chosen people see through this, and they are exposed and cast out. It’s really unbearable, watching the way these people carry out their duties. They’re not just subpar, they’re wholly inadequate. They can’t even wash a plate without breaking a bowl. Their service does more harm than good. No matter how you fellowship with them about the truth, they cannot accept it, and they do not repent even after being pruned and dealt with. Continuing to use a person like this, they would become an obstacle in the path, a stumbling block obstructing and disrupting all of the church’s work. Tell Me, should these people not be replaced and cast out? (They should.) As long as someone has even a little conscience and reason, then they can attend to their proper tasks, conduct their proper affairs, and be able to self-reflect while performing their duties. Upon noticing their mistakes and identifying their problems, they will be able to promptly rectify them. After three or five years of experiencing this, changes will occur. This sets a foundation and assures relative reliability; barring any exceptional circumstances, there is no way this person will be cast out. But those who believe in God for years without accepting a bit of the truth have no way of performing their duties well, and they may even do things that cause disruptions and disturbances. This type of person will naturally be cast out, because these people would sooner die than repent. They have believed in God for many years but they are not much different from unbelievers. They are all nonbelievers.
Having too many personal designs is the greatest impediment to the performance of one’s duty. What, then, is the precondition for performing one’s duty well? It is that you must let go of your various designs. For instance, when something has happened that really upset you, but you also have a duty to perform, you are faced with a choice. This is a critical moment, one that is very important. Even though you may be upset and feeling emotional, or you may have some personal matters going on, you must be able to put all of these things aside and perform your duty well first. Only then, under circumstances when it does not affect your duty, should you consider your own issues. What is it called when you consistently put your duty first? It is called respecting your duty, and this is being loyal to God. Letting go of your designs and desires, letting go of your emotions and personal affairs, doing your duty well without being constrained, and completing God’s commission—this is what it means to let go, this is what it means to forsake the flesh. When some people have not performed a duty yet, they think, “God hasn’t given me a duty to perform, but my heart is absolutely sincere. Why doesn’t God ever see this?” But then when the church arranges a duty for them to perform, they want to pick and choose. There are some people who cannot perform the role of a leader or worker, or spread the gospel, and they have no other special skills. So, the church arranges for them to perform hosting duties, and they think, “Hosting is, of course, something that I’m capable of doing, but given my caliber and gifts, isn’t the church underestimating me by assigning me to this? Aren’t I a little overqualified for this duty?” On the surface they accept the church’s arrangements, but their resistant emotions prevent them from working hard at their duties. They only do a bit of their duties when they’re in a good mood, and do not perform them when they’re in a bad mood, ignoring their brothers and sisters. Why do they have these emotions and reactions? Is this the attitude one ought to have toward one’s duty? These people are not content with their duties. What is the source of this discontent? (The duty they were given does not satisfy their fleshly preferences.) And if they were satisfied, would they be happy then? Not necessarily. They might not be happy even if they were satisfied, because these are people whose hearts can never know contentment. This is how people who do not pursue the truth treat their duties. People always want to perform duties that are dignified and make them look good, and they also want them to be easy and physically comfortable. They aren’t willing to withstand the wind and the sun or to endure any suffering in their duties whatsoever. On top of this, they still want to be able to understand the truth and receive God’s grace and blessing through their duties. They want all of these things. Ultimately, they even want God to tell them that they’ve performed their duties well. Is this not wishful thinking on their part? If you cannot let go of this wishful thinking, you will not be able to do your duty well. In the past, I often stated simply that this kind of person does not pursue the truth, but now, speaking more precisely, I say that they are too greedy and rebellious, they are not the least bit devoted to their duty, and they do not truly obey God’s commission. So, just how should you practice letting go of your designs? In one respect, you must be restrained and forsake them. In another respect, you must pray and have the desire to obey. You must say: “God, You have orchestrated and arranged this duty for me. Although I have a fleshly choice, and I do not want to perform this duty, in my subjective will, I wish to obey You. It’s just that I am too corrupt and disobedient, and the quality of my humanity is not good. Please, discipline me!” Would this not allow you to perform your duty with greater purity? If someone persists in clinging to their own desires and refuses to let go of them, if they always see the glory of those chosen to be leaders, and how those chosen to spread the gospel get to meet a lot of people and gain knowledge and experience, and then do not want to do their own duty, is this an attitude of submission? Is this an attitude of accepting God’s orchestrations and arrangements? (No.) You go west when God tells you to go east, and you blame and misunderstand God because He didn’t allow you to go west. You’re always struggling against God, so will the Holy Spirit still work in you? He most certainly will not. What states and manifestations emerge when the Holy Spirit does not work in someone? Such a person will not understand God’s words when they read them. When listening to fellowship and sermons, nothing will make sense to them, and they will even keep dozing off. They will not be able to see through anything that happens to them. They will always be speculating and doubting: “Other people can comprehend God’s words so well; why do I not gain any light from reading them? Their states are always so pure and liberated; why do I always feel so aggrieved, emotional, and ill at ease? Everything goes so smoothly for them. They have God’s guidance. Why don’t I?” They cannot see the cause of all of this. They do not have an attitude of submission toward God. They’re always demanding that God satisfy their desires before they will try hard at their duty. If they don’t get what they want, they become negative, resistant, and don’t perform their duty. Would God work in a person like this? They lack true faith, and they are full of rebelliousness and resistance. God can only set them aside.
How should people treat their duties? They should submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and let go of all of their own designs. What designs do people have? (Their intentions, plans, and fleshly preferences.) For instance, let’s say there’s a host family that you really enjoy visiting. They make great food, their house is beautiful, and they have air conditioning and heating. You think to yourself, “If only I could live there!” And then you pray, “God, could You let me live with that host family? I know that I am coveting ease and comfort, but I cannot forsake this desire. Show consideration for my small stature and let me go there! I promise I’ll work hard in my duty, be devoted, and not betray You or make You sad.” You pray like this for around two weeks, and then it is arranged for you to go someplace with terrible conditions, and you become upset. You inwardly grumble, “Isn’t God supposed to search the depths of our hearts? God doesn’t have the slightest clue what’s in my heart. I asked for something good and He’s given me something rotten. It’s like He’s deliberately setting Himself against me.” And then resistance rises up in you and you say, “If You won’t satisfy me, God, then I won’t satisfy You. I’m not going to work hard at my duty. And I won’t work hard at it until I get what I want.” Is this believing in God? Is this performing your duty? This is rebelling against God, it is an intransigent disposition. You say: “If God won’t satisfy me, I won’t satisfy Him. This shall be my attitude toward performing my duty. If I’m going to do my duty, God has to give me some pleasure. How come other people get to live in nice houses, but I don’t? How come other people get to perform their duties in nice environments, but I have to perform mine in a shabby one? Why doesn’t God satisfy my demands even though I perform my duty?” These are the sort of justifications you keep repeating to yourself. Is there an attitude of submission toward God in this? Is this performing your duty with conscience and reason? I have spoken these words before: “You absolutely mustn’t compete with God.” This is competing with God. When you compete with God, what attitude will God adopt toward you? (God will not work. He will put me aside.) God will put you aside and ignore you. Will God get serious with you? He will not. If it is some minor bit of evil that you have done, and it is not severe, He will retain you and have you render service a while longer. But if you have committed too many wicked deeds, and you have seriously disrupted and disturbed the church’s work, then you will be cleared out. When you are kept to render service, if at some point you repent, God will enlighten you. If you never repent and always compete with God, then you are indeed too wicked and too stubborn—and who will be the one to suffer a loss in the end? It will be you. You must see this clearly: Competing with God is the most troublesome thing, and it is the greatest problem. When everything is going fine, people think that believing in God is great, and they don’t have any notions about God. But when a bit of disaster or misfortune befalls them, they begin to have notions about God, so much so that they even complain about Him and dare to raise their voices at Him: “Does God even exist? Where is He? I am the supreme ruler. I’m the greatest. And I do dare to compete with God. What can He even do to me, anyway?” God won’t do anything to you. But it has been revealed that you are vile, intransigent, and bothersome. What does you being bothersome refer to? It means that you do not love positive things. You are not willing to obey God, and even when you know that He is God, you are not able to obey Him. It is very difficult for you to accept the truth. You are intransigent, ignorant, and stubborn. God heavily dislikes people like this. It will be very hard for you to keep performing your duty, and you might be exposed and cast out before you can render your service until the end. This is the outcome. It is already very clear to see. Isn’t this dangerous? (Yes.) Knowing it is dangerous, what should people do? They must, first of all, know who they are. They must know their place and also know what they are. Humans are created beings, who absolutely must not compete with God, doing so will not bear any results. If God wants to give you something, even if you do not want it and did not ask for it, He will give it to you anyway—this is God’s righteousness. If God does not plan on giving you something, if He does not look upon you with favor, then there is no use asking Him for it. If He does plan on giving you something, if He sees that you ought to be guided, helped, and blessed, then He will give it to you without you even asking. If He plans to test or expose you, then He will do so deliberately, and there is no use in pleading with Him. This is the disposition of God. People must not decide how they treat God based on God’s attitude. What should they do then? (Submit to God in all things.) That’s right; they should submit. Submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements is the highest wisdom and one who does this is the most possessed of reason. Those arrogant, self-righteous individuals think that they are so smart and so calculating. It’s one thing to try to play tricks on other people—this is a revelation of your corruption—but you absolutely must not struggle against God by playing little tricks. You must not scheme against God. For once you invoke His wrath, death will descend upon you.
People must approach their duties and God with honest hearts. If they do, they will be people who fear God. What kind of attitude do people with honest hearts have toward God? At the very least, they have hearts that fear God, hearts that obey God in all things, they do not ask about blessings or misfortunes, they do not speak about conditions, they leave themselves at the mercy of God—these are people with honest hearts. Those who are always skeptical about God, always scrutinizing Him, always trying to strike a deal with Him—are they people with honest hearts? (No.) What resides within the hearts of such people? Deceitfulness and evil; they are always scrutinizing. And what is it they scrutinize? (God’s attitude toward people.) They are always scrutinizing God’s attitude toward people. What problem is this? And why do they scrutinize this? Because it involves their vital interests. In their hearts, they think to themselves, “God created these circumstances for me, He caused this to happen to me. Why did He do that? This hasn’t happened to other people—why did it have to happen to me? And what will the consequences be afterward?” These are the things they scrutinize, they scrutinize their gains and losses, blessings and misfortunes. And while scrutinizing these things, are they able to practice the truth? Are they able to obey God? They are not. And what is the nature of the things that are produced by the ruminations of their hearts? These things are all, by nature, in consideration of their own interests, they are all for their own sakes. No matter what duty they perform, these people first scrutinize: “Will I suffer when I perform this duty? Will I have to work and travel outside often? Will I be able to eat and rest regularly? Will I keep having to get up early? What kind of people will I meet? Will I often meet unbelievers? The outside world is pretty hostile right now, if I always keep having to work and travel outside, what will I do if I’m arrested by the great red dragon?” Although they appear to accept their duties, there is deceitfulness in their hearts, they always scrutinize these things. In fact, by scrutinizing these things they are just considering their own prospects and fates, they give no thought to the interests of God’s house. And what is the outcome when people only consider their own prospects, fates, and interests? It is not easy for them to obey God, and even when they wish to, they can’t. People who particularly value their own prospects, fates, and interests, always scrutinize whether God’s work is beneficial to their prospects, to their fates, and to them obtaining blessings. In the end, what is the outcome of their scrutiny? All they do is disobey and oppose God. Even when they do insist on performing their duties, they do so carelessly and perfunctorily, with a mood of negativity; in their hearts, they keep thinking about how to take advantage, and to not be on the losing side. Such are their motives when they perform their duties, and in this, they are trying to make a deal with God. What disposition is this? It is deceitfulness, it is an evil disposition. This is no longer an ordinary corrupt disposition, it has escalated to wickedness. And when there is this kind of evil disposition in a person’s heart, this is a struggle against God! You should be clear about this problem. If people always scrutinize God and try to make deals when they perform their duties, can they do their duties properly? Absolutely not. They do not worship God with their hearts, and with honesty, they do not have honest hearts, they are watching and waiting as they perform their duties, always holding back—and what is the outcome? God does not work in them, and they become muddled and confused, they don’t understand the truth principles, and they act according to their own inclinations, and always go awry. And why do they always go awry? Because their hearts are too lacking in clarity, and when things happen to them, they do not reflect on themselves, or seek the truth to find a resolution, and they insist on doing things as they wish, according to their own preferences—the result of this is that they always go awry when they perform their duties. They never think of the work of the church, nor of the interests of God’s house, they always plot for their own sakes, they always plan for their own interests, pride, and status, and not only do they perform their duties poorly, they also delay and affect the work of the church. Is this not going astray and neglecting their duties? If someone is always planning for their own interests and prospects when they perform their duty, and gives no thought to the work of the church or the interests of God’s house, then this is not performing a duty. This is opportunism, it is doing things for their own benefit and to obtain blessings for themselves. In this way, the nature behind performing their duty changes. It is just about making a deal with God, and wanting to use the performance of their duty to achieve their own goals. This way of doing things is very likely to disrupt the work of God’s house. If it only causes minor losses to the church’s work, then there is still room for redemption and they may still be given an opportunity to perform their duty, rather than being cleared out; but if it causes great losses to the church’s work and incurs the wrath of God and people alike, then they will be exposed and cast out, with no further opportunity to perform their duty. Some people are dismissed and cast out in this way. Why are they cast out? Have you found the root cause? The root cause is that they always consider their own gains and losses, get carried away by their own interests, are unable to forsake the flesh, and don’t have a submissive attitude toward God at all, so they tend to behave recklessly. They believe in God only to obtain profit, grace, and blessings, and not at all to gain the truth, so their belief in God fails. This is the root of the problem. Do you think it is unjust for them to be exposed and cast out? It is not unjust in the slightest, it is entirely determined by their nature. Anyone who does not love the truth or pursue the truth will eventually be exposed and cast out. But it is different for those who love the truth. When something happens to them, they first think, “How can I act in accordance with the truth? How should I act so as not to harm the interests of God’s house? What would satisfy God?” Someone who thinks this way is seeking the truth. These thoughts prove they love the truth. They do not think about their own interests first, but consider those of the house of God. They do not consider their own satisfaction; they consider whether God is satisfied. These are the thoughts and the mindset of people who love the truth, and these are the people God loves. If, when something happens to a person, they are able to practice according to the truth principles, and accept God’s scrutiny, with God behind them acting as guarantor, then they are not likely to make mistakes while performing their duty, and it will be easy for them to fulfill it in accordance with God’s will. If someone is always acting on their own initiative, and scheming, planning, and plotting for their own interests, if they do not consider the interests of God’s house or God’s intentions, and lack the slightest will to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements—if they lack even the will to do this—what will the final outcome be? They will frequently disrupt and disturb the church’s work. They will provoke indignation among God’s chosen people, they will be despised and abhorred by God’s chosen ones, and in serious cases, they will be exposed and cast out. It is inevitable that people who always have ambitions and desires will fail and stumble. As the saying goes, “The higher the climb, the harder the fall.” What is this called? It is called being exposed. Is this not deserved? Is this kind of person worthy of sympathy? They are not. This is the eventual outcome of all those who make plans for their own personal interests. Some people say: “But I often make plans for my own personal interests. How come this hasn’t happened to me?” That is because you have not affected the church’s work, so God does not get serious with you. God does not get serious with you—is this a good thing or a bad thing? (A bad thing.) Why do you say that? (If I were to continue like this, I wouldn’t be able to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit.) That is correct. If someone does not pursue the truth and does not experience God’s work, the Holy Spirit will not work in them. This is particularly true for those people whom God does not discipline no matter what bad things they do; it is completely over for them. God certainly does not want these people; He puts them aside. If you do not pursue the truth, you do not have life. It is like those people who are always pursuing fame, profit, and status, who do not pursue the truth, who you never see practicing the truth—do people like this have any life growth? Since they do not practice the truth, they will have no life growth, no matter how many years they believe in God. There are some people who are still talking about the same things today as they were three years ago, still speaking the same words and doctrines. Those people are done for. No growth can be seen in their statures or self-knowledge. Their faith in God remains the same, and there is not the least bit of change in their life dispositions. Their misunderstandings about God have increased, and their corrupt dispositions that resist God have become more severe. Is this not more dangerous? It is indeed more dangerous, and they will certainly be cast out.
Usually, when you experience things that relate to your duty or your corrupt dispositions, are you able to discover the issues that exist within yourselves through introspection? (I can discover them a little now. When doing my duty, I always want to be in charge and to have the final say, and I try to show off so that other people will esteem me. But after my brothers and sisters point this out to me, I reflect on myself and gain some knowledge of my arrogant nature.) You can recognize your arrogance—what about your submission to God, has that increased? Have your intention and desire to obey increased? Has your faith in God increased? (They have increased a little.) It is not workable to perform a duty without seeking the truth; when faced with problems, you must use the truth to resolve them. If you always perform your duty according to your own will and satanic philosophies, you will not only fail to resolve the problem of your revelations of corruption, but your faith in God, obedience to God, and love for God will also not increase. If you do not accept the truth and do not use the truth to resolve your problems, you will never grow in life and you will never be able to resolve the problem of your corruption. What corrupt dispositions do you reveal when you perform your duty now? What human impurities remain? You must engage in frequent self-reflection to discover these issues. They cannot be known without self-examination. Sometimes it is only when you hear other people talk about their own self-knowledge that you feel that you are the same way. If you do not hear other people exposing their states, you will not be able to discover your own problems. There are many who readily listen to the experiential testimony of others precisely because they benefit from it and gain something from it. The more closely you examine and the more thoroughly you come to know your own corrupt dispositions and your own intentions and designs, the more you will be able to let go of them, and the stronger your faith for practicing the truth will become. The stronger your faith for practicing the truth becomes, the easier it will be for you to put the truth into practice. When you frequently practice the truth, you will be able to perform your duty with greater purity and more adequately. This is the process of life growth; these are the fruits of self-reflection and self-knowledge. There are some people who think that because they have listened to sermons for years and understood many words and doctrines they do not have a corrupt disposition, as if there is no need for them to self-reflect and gain self-knowledge. They always believe that these are things that only new believers have to focus on, and that believing in God for many years and possessing many good behaviors means that they have already changed, and do not have a corrupt disposition. This is a grievous misconception. If you think that you have already changed, how much of the truth can you put into practice? How many true experiential testimonies do you have? Can you talk about them? Can you bear witness for God before others? If you cannot speak about it, that proves that you do not have experiential testimony and you lack the truth reality. Could someone like you really have changed then? Are you someone who has truly repented? One cannot help but doubt this. How could someone who never self-reflects or attempts to gain self-knowledge have life entry? How could someone who never talks about self-knowledge share true experiential testimony? These things are impossible. If someone believes they have truly changed and do not need to know themselves, it can be said that this person is a hypocrite. Some people just go through the motions when performing their duties, believing that doing just enough is acceptable, that seeming passable on the surface means their duties are up to standard. This way of doing things is careless and perfunctory, is it not? Is someone like this truly submitting to God? This kind of person performs their duty without any truth principles, content to simply carry out tasks and labor, and then they think that their duty is up to standard. In fact, they are only an adequate service-doer, they are not performing their duty adequately. Those who are content with merely rendering service adequately will never gain the truth, or achieve dispositional change. Anyone who doesn’t perform their duty in accordance with God’s demands, who doesn’t seek the truth principles, who keeps acting according to their own will, is merely rendering service and laboring. What stage are you at now? (I am still in the rendering service stage.) Most of the time you are rendering service; sometimes you are able to strive toward the truth when you are performing your duty and have a little obedience, but are you often like this? (No, not often.) The goal of pursuing the truth is to resolve this issue. You must endeavor to perform your duty more and more, and to render service less and less, striving to turn all of your rendering service into the performance of your duty. What is the difference between rendering service and performing a duty? A person who renders service does whatever they want, thinking it is okay as long as they don’t resist God or offend His disposition, thinking it’s acceptable as long as they can just get by and nobody looks into it. They don’t concern themselves with gaining self-knowledge, being an honest person, doing things according to the truth principles, or obeying God’s arrangements, and they certainly don’t concern themselves with entering the truth reality. They don’t concern themselves with any of these things. This is rendering service. Rendering service is incessant labor, it is laboring like a slave does, working from morning to night, it is this kind of labor. If you ask a service-doer why they’ve been working like a horse for all these years, they’ll reply, “To receive blessings!” If you ask whether, after believing in God for so many years, their corrupt dispositions have changed at all, if they’ve received any affirmation of God’s existence, if they’ve gained any true knowledge and experience of the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements, they have not gained any of these things, and they won’t be able to speak about any of them. They have not entered or improved with regard to any of the various indicators related to life growth and dispositional transformation. They just keep rendering service without understanding what dispositional change is. Some people render service for years without changing at all. They still often become negative, complain, and reveal their corrupt dispositions when they encounter difficulties. When they are pruned and dealt with they resort to arguments and quibbling, unable to accept even a bit of the truth and not submitting to God whatsoever. Ultimately, they are forbidden from performing their duties. Some people make a mess of the work when performing their duties and do not accept criticism, instead shamelessly saying they did nothing wrong and not repenting at all. And finally, when the house of God revokes their duties and sends them on their way, they leave their place of duty crying and complaining. This is how they are cast out. This is the way in which duties thoroughly expose people. People usually talk a good game and shout slogans loudly, but why is it that when they take on a duty they do not act as humans but become devils? This is because people who lack humanity are devils wherever they go; and without accepting the truth, they cannot stand firm anywhere. Some people often perform their duties carelessly and perfunctorily, and they try to argue and reason when they are pruned and dealt with. After being dealt with repeatedly, they feel some desire to repent, so they start employing methods of self-restraint. In the end, however, they cannot restrain themselves, and even though they might swear oaths and curse themselves, it doesn’t help, and they still don’t resolve the problem of their carelessness and perfunctoriness, nor the problem of them arguing and quibbling. Only after everyone eventually comes to detest this person and criticizes them do they finally feel forced to admit, “I do have corrupt dispositions. I want to repent but I am unable to. When I do my duty I always consider my own interests, my own pride and reputation, which causes me to rebel against God often. I want to practice the truth, but I cannot let go of my intentions and desires; I cannot forsake them. I always want to do things according to my own will, I contrive schemes to avoid work, and I covet leisure and enjoyment. I cannot accept being dealt with and pruned and I always try to argue my way out of it. I think that it’s good enough that I’ve labored and endured hardships, so I resort to arguing and quibbling when anybody tries to deal with me, feeling unconvinced at heart. I really am so difficult to handle! How should I seek the truth to resolve these problems?” They start to ponder these things. This means that they have some understanding of how people should act, as well as some reason. If a service-doer starts at some point to attend to their proper work and focus on changing their disposition, and realizes that they too have corrupt dispositions, that they too are arrogant and incapable of obeying God, and that continuing in this way will not do—when they start to think about and try to fathom these things, when they can seek the truth to face problems that they discover—will they not then begin to reverse their course? If they start to reverse their course, there is hope for them to change. But if they never intend to pursue the truth, if they lack the desire to strive for the truth and only know to labor and work, believing that finishing the work they have at hand is accomplishing their task and completing God’s commission—if they believe that performing some labor means they’ve done their duty, without ever considering what God’s requirements are or what the truth is, or whether they are a person who obeys God, and never trying to figure out any of these things—if this is the way they approach their duty, will they be able to attain salvation? They will not. They have not embarked on the path of salvation, they have not gotten on the right track of believing in God, and they have not built a relationship with God. They are still just laboring and rendering service in the house of God. God watches over and protects such people too when they render service in His house, but He does not intend to save them. God does not deal with, prune, judge, chastise, test, or refine them, He only allows them to obtain some blessings in this life, and that is all. When these people know to reflect and gain knowledge of themselves, and know the importance of practicing the truth, it means they have understood the sermons they’ve listened to and finally gotten some results. They then think, “Believing in God is so wonderful. His words really can change people! The most urgent thing now is for me to seek to obtain the truth. If I don’t focus on knowing myself or get rid of my corrupt dispositions, and remain content with simply rendering service, I won’t gain anything.” So, this person starts to ponder: “What corrupt dispositions do I have? How do I come to know them? Just how should I resolve these corrupt dispositions?” Their pondering on these matters touches upon understanding the truth and dispositional change, and then there is hope for their salvation. If a person can self-reflect and know themselves through their duty, seek the truth, work hard to satisfy God’s demands, and resolve their own corrupt dispositions, they have gotten on the right track of believing in God. By constantly pondering these matters and reaching for the truth, they will receive God’s enlightenment, illumination, and guidance. In this way, they will be able to accept being dealt with and pruned by God, and following shortly after that they may be judged and chastised, tested and refined. God will begin His work on them, purifying and transforming them.
Some people say: “I’ve believed in God and performed my duty for many years, but I’ve never been dealt with or pruned, and I haven’t received any enlightenment or illumination, much less been subjected to trials and refinement.” Is a person like this experiencing God’s work? If they are really able to experience and practice God’s words, how could they not have been enlightened or illuminated? If they often reveal their corruption, they will definitely be pruned and dealt with. If they do not repent after being pruned and dealt with, they surely do not have any humanity, and they are people who should be cast out. Some people say: “I often experience being dealt with and pruned, and I often receive God’s enlightenment and illumination, and gain new light.” What is going on here? (God is leading them.) Some other people say: “How come I’m not like those other people for whom everything goes smoothly? They always have God’s blessings and live like babes in the cradle, without having to weather any storms. Why am I always being tested and refined?” Is always being tested and refined a good thing or a bad thing? (It is a good thing.) It is a good thing, not a bad thing. What is God’s purpose for testing and refining people? (To enable them to come to know their corrupt dispositions.) God does not do it to torture or torment people; He does it to enable people to come to know their corrupt dispositions and see clearly the essence and true face of their corruption, and so that they can let go of their intentions and designs and achieve submission to Him. Then they are not just rendering service but performing their duties. When you sincerely and formally fulfill the duty of a created being, your relationship with God becomes normal, effecting a reversal of your previous abnormal relationship with Him. If the relationship between you and God is that of an employee and their employer, you cannot receive salvation. If you accept God’s commission, can obey the arrangements of God’s house, and take serious responsibility for performing your duty well, your relationship with God will be normal. You will be a created being, you will be able to submit to the arrangements of the Creator, and in your heart accept God as the Savior, and you will be a target of His salvation. Your relationship with Him will be at this level. But if you are always just doing service, if no matter what commission God entrusts to you, you always perform it with a careless and perfunctory attitude, without accepting the truth principles and without genuine obedience, only knowing to labor and work, going through the motions when you do things, then you are truly a service-doer. Because those who are service-doers do not accept the truth, and they never undergo even the slightest amount of change, their relationship with God is forever that of employees and their employer. They will never truly submit to God, and God will not recognize them as believers or as those who are of Him. This is the consequence of them believing in God without pursuing the truth; it is decided by the path they walk. If you want to improve your relationship with God, what should you do? (Walk the path of pursuing the truth.) That’s right. You must walk the path of pursuing the truth. What should your first step be? (I must understand how to perform my duty.) Believers in God must take up a duty—this is God’s demand. Following God refers to fulfilling one’s duty; those who believe in God without performing duties are not following God. If you want to follow God, you have to perform your duty well. What aspect of the truth should be practiced first when performing a duty? (The truth of obedience.) That is correct. Some people say: “This is my duty now. I have to study hard and make some breakthroughs in learning English, and then take the TOEFL exam or get my PhD in a couple of years. Then I’ll be able to distinguish myself in the secular world, or maybe do well in the house of God and in the future become a leader.” Aren’t those people just plotting for their own sakes? (Yes.) Always planning and arranging for the sake of one’s own flesh, arranging not just matters of one’s life but for after one’s death as well—this is the mindset of an unbeliever. It is normal for unbelievers to go about their days thinking this way because they do not acknowledge God’s existence, so they can only think of their flesh, and only consider their survival, like animals. However, people who believe in God read His words every day and understand the truth, so they should know the significance of performing a duty and the reason for it. They must be clear about these things, they directly relate to the path one takes in their belief in God. How one should submit to God’s work and experience God’s words to understand the truth and achieve dispositional transformation, which aspects of the truth must be attained in order to do one’s duty well and obey God, and how people should accept God’s judgment and chastisement so that their corrupt dispositions can be cleansed—it’s even more necessary for them to understand the truth regarding these matters. This is the path one should walk in their belief in God. Only by pursuing the truth in this way can one do their duty well and receive God’s salvation. God wants to save and perfect people who pursue the truth like this. By completing His work of salvation, God wants to gain a few such individuals. If someone thinks only of how to get ahead, how to become a prominent leader, and how many people they will manage, and how many cities they might eventually rule over, these are ambitions and desires. This person is of the ilk of antichrists—all antichrists conspire to achieve these things. Is it legitimate to conspire to achieve these things? (No.) Knowing it is not legitimate, can they let go of them? (It would not be easy.) In ordinary circumstances, people act according to their own intentions to achieve their goals. In everything you do, do you act to achieve your own goals, or do you self-reflect, seek the truth, forsake your goals and machinations, and then choose to walk the path of pursuing the truth? Just what is the correct path? (Constantly forsaking myself and acting according to God’s demands.) What kind of person’s pursuit is capable of achieving this? Only someone with a kind heart and an honest and upright heart can achieve it. Those deceitful, intransigent, wicked people who do not love the truth cannot achieve it. Given that they know that the path they walk is not the right path—that it is Paul’s mistaken path—and that they definitely will not receive salvation, why don’t they embark on the right path? Because they cannot control themselves. This is fully decided by their nature. It is like when two people are of the same caliber, have believed in God for the same number of years, listened to the same sermons, and performed the same duties, but walk different paths. It only takes a few years before they go down separate paths and one is cast out while the other is retained. One has an honest and upright heart, loves the truth, and walks the path of pursuing the truth. Even if someone tried to mislead this person and entice them to walk the path of evil, would they follow? They would not. They would certainly reject them. They are able to seek the truth, act according to God’s demands, and get better and better at performing their duty. But the other person is relatively wicked and deceitful. They pursue status and their ambitions are too great. No matter how one fellowships about the truth with them, they will not relinquish their pursuit of status. This is the problem of their nature. And what is the end for this person who does not accept the truth and can never relinquish status? They will be cast out. The outcomes of these two people are clearly different. The one who is honest in their heart and pursues the truth comes to understand more and more of the truth, and with greater clarity, gradually conforming to God’s will. The one who does not pursue the truth is only capable of understanding doctrine, and cannot put it into practice. Why can’t they put it into practice? Their ambitions and desires are too great, and they cannot let go of them. In everything they do, they prioritize their own interests, ambitions, desires, prestige, profit, and status. They are filled with these things, and carried away by them. When something happens to them, they satisfy their flesh and their own desires first. In all things they act according to their own desires, chasing this goal and putting the truth aside. As a result, they do not perform their duty well and make a mess of the work, and finally they are cast out. Are these not precisely the people whom the house of God casts out? Is there no hope for them, then? If they are able to truly repent, they can avoid being cast out, and there will be hope for their salvation. But if their heart remains intransigent and they cling desperately to their desires, like a fierce dog holds onto a bone, then there is no hope at all that they will receive salvation. People cannot attain the truth if they do not walk the right path! Only the path of pursuing the truth is the right path. It is only by walking it that one can attain the truth. Only by pursuing the truth can one have hope of attaining God’s salvation.
The hearts of people who are deceitful and evil brim with their personal ambitions, plans, and schemes. Are these things easy to put aside? (No.) What should you do if you still wish to perform your duty properly but cannot put these things aside? There is a path here: The nature of what you are doing must be clear to you. If something concerns the interests of God’s house, and it is of great importance, then you must not put it off, make mistakes, harm the interests of the house of God, or disturb the work of God’s house. This is the principle you should follow in performing your duty. If you want to avoid harming the interests of God’s house, you must first put aside your ambitions and desires; your interests must be compromised somewhat, they must be put aside, and you’d sooner suffer a little hardship than offend God’s disposition, which would be a red line. If you foul up the work of the church in order to satisfy your pathetic ambitions and vanity, what will be the ultimate consequence for you? You will be replaced, and may be cast out. You will have provoked God’s disposition, and may not have any more chances to be saved. There is a limit to the number of chances that God gives people. How many chances do people get to be tested by God? This is determined according to their essence. If you make the most of the opportunities you are given, if you can let go of your own pride and vanity, and prioritize doing the church’s work well, then you have the right mindset. Your heart must be upright, neither leaning to the left nor to the right. When you have incorrect intentions, you must pray promptly and correct them. You should safeguard the interests of God’s house at critical moments and accomplish your tasks. One who does this is a correct person. If occasionally, after accomplishing something, you rush to say, “It was I who did this,” just to satisfy your vanity, that is okay. God will allow it. No matter how you might think, since you completed the task, it will be remembered by Him. Is this not fair? Because this was indeed something that you accomplished with heart and honesty; you forsook your own flesh and your own ambition, fulfilled your duty, and completed God’s commission without allowing the interests of His house to be harmed. God’s heart is comforted, and at the same time you feel peace and joy in your heart. This is a happiness that money cannot buy; you earned it with your sincerity. It is the result of pursuing the truth. If, afterward, you boast, “Hey, did you all know that I did this?” God will not take issue. But, during critical moments, you must uphold the baseline. You cannot provoke God’s wrath or offend His disposition. If you can abide by this, ensuring that during every critical moment you grasp that lifeline, seizing the opportunity to fulfill your duty, then there will be hope for your salvation. If in usual circumstances you are cautious, but when it comes to matters related to the truth principles—those critical moments when you need to act decisively and judiciously—you do not rein in your ambitions and desires but act however you please, making a mess of the church’s work and failing to uphold the ultimate baseline, then this will provoke God’s disposition. Does this not deserve punishment? At the very least, you must not offend God’s disposition; this is the baseline. You must know what God’s baseline is and what the baseline you should uphold is. If you uphold this baseline during crucial moments, and after fulfilling your duty you do not cause God to reject, detest and condemn you but instead remember and accept you, this is a good deed. God does not focus on what you think, on however self-satisfied or proud of your achievements you may be; He does not concern Himself with these things and won’t get serious with you. All that’s left is the matter of your own transformation. Because you can seize the lifeline in all situations, can act according to God’s requirements, can remain loyal and satisfy God’s heart during pivotal times, and can uphold your baseline, what does this prove? It proves that you have an attitude of obedience to God. To some extent, it can be said that you have already partially satisfied God. This is how God sees it. God is righteous, is He not? (Yes.) Thus, only people who practice in this manner are the smart ones. Do not think, “This time I did not perform my duty well enough to satisfy God. There were still some flaws. Will He not accept it?” God will not nitpick about that. He will just observe whether you had a baseline when doing this task. As long as you did not overstep the baseline and you completed the task, it will be remembered by Him. If you can always seek the truth principles no matter what duty you perform or what things you do, and even in particularly difficult situations you don’t cross the baseline, then you are principled in the way you do things and the way you perform duty. It can be said that your fulfillment of duty is essentially up to standard.
God’s requirements for each individual are not one-size-fits-all. In one respect, they depend on the individual’s caliber; in another, they depend on their humanity and pursuits. Some people have no problem speaking honestly; for others, it requires a lot of effort, but after experiencing several years of being pruned and dealt with, they can finally speak something honest from their hearts. Does God view this as transformation? Is it the result of His work? This is the desired outcome of God’s work. After doing this work for so many years, when He finally sees this desired result, He cherishes it. So, no matter what you experienced in the past, regardless of the mistakes you made or the many times you failed, do not have worries. You must believe that God is righteous. Believe that obeying God is right. Believe that submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements is right. This is the highest truth. Follow this path in your practice and your actions, and you will not go wrong! Do not doubt or research it. Some people say: “I didn’t gain much from the sacrifices I made before. If I make more sacrifices now, will I lose out again?” Well, did you practice the truth when you made those sacrifices? Did you do things according to the truth principles? Did you walk the right path? If you walked the right path, it would be impossible to not attain the truth or lack testimony. But if your previous sacrifices were entirely for the sake of status, fame and profits, what could you possibly have gained? All you would have gotten was being pruned and dealt with, and if you did not repent, you would have only gotten punishment and destruction. You made sacrifices for the sake of fame, profits and status, and you expected to attain the truth—is this not wishful thinking? What could someone gain from always scheming and trying to outwit God? After all the calculating and scheming, it is ultimately themselves they outwit. They do not gain anything, and isn’t this deserved? What, at the very least, is the baseline for believing in God? It is not doing evil, not offending God’s disposition, not angering Him, not competing with Him; it is letting go of one’s own designs, ambitions, and desires during critical moments. Actually, when people scheme this way and that, they end up duping themselves in the end. If this is clear to everyone, why do people continue to scheme? It is because of their nature. Humans have brains, thoughts, and ideas; they also have knowledge and learning. It is because these things exist that people cannot control themselves; this is an inexorable law. If you love to scheme, scheming against other people might not be such a big problem. But if you persist in scheming against God, making Him the target of your machinations, you will only contrive your own end and scheme away the opportunity that God gave you. This is not worth it. You absolutely cannot let your scheming reach this point. No matter how it is you scheme, ultimately you must undergo dispositional change and produce results, and these results must be good and positive. If someone schemes this way and that and ultimately does not attain the truth, but instead winds up being punished, then this is the consequence for one who loves to scheme and schemes constantly. Such a person is not clever; they are the stupidest of fools.
All people have impurities when they first start believing in God. After many years of reading God’s words and fellowshiping about the truth, you may have shed some of your corrupt dispositions. Are there still times when you scheme and plot for the sake of your own interests? (Yes.) You often find yourselves in these states. How should you treat them then? Are there any principles you carry out? This requires a great deal of seeking. Whenever you feel you’re being dishonest and find yourself mired in an evil, deceitful state, your heart brimming with these corrupt dispositions, you must pray to God and forsake your flesh. Do not resort to reasoning or analyze and treat this matter according to your notions. If you’re controlled by your corrupt dispositions and your own desires take control, it will be troublesome. You know in your heart when the dark hand of sin is about to reach out. When that happens, you must control yourself, refraining from action. You will have to quiet your mind, come before God, and pray. In actuality, you will not need to examine yourself. Having come to this stage in your belief in God, having heard so many sermons, you should be quite clear about what’s on your mind, and know right from wrong. The key is that you must forsake your flesh and not be led by it. What should you do then? (Submit.) And what if you cannot submit right away? What if you still want to argue, scrutinize, and analyze? Then you have to let your ambitions cool off and simmer down, and at the same time come before God and pray, or communicate with your brothers and sisters. You will also need to open up and lay yourself bare, and dissect the situation using the truth, and after one or two days your state will be much better. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Letting go of one’s own designs means, in one aspect, being able to forsake, relinquish, and correct one’s erroneous thoughts and ideas. In another aspect, if someone’s ambitions and desires are exceptionally strong and they want to act on them, and they are unable to change course despite knowing that acting this way would not accord with the truth and would not be the right path, then this requires prayer; they must pray fervently to cool down their ambitions. For instance, there might be something you want to do, and when that desire is at its most intense, you feel you absolutely must do it, as if you can’t live without doing it. But after waiting two or three days, you will see this previous attitude as shameless, unreasonable, and conscienceless. This means you’ve made a reversal. How did it come about? It came about through prayer and the enlightenment and reproach of the Holy Spirit, who provided some insights or feelings that helped you look at the problem from a different angle. What you had seen as proper and felt restless about not doing, you suddenly realize is wrong and that doing so would be a rebuke of your conscience. This indicates a transformation of state, which results in a change of mind. If someone corrects their erroneous state, it proves there is still hope for that person. It means they are someone who pursues the truth and receives God’s protection. But if they never correct their erroneous state, persisting even though they know what they’re doing is wrong and not listening to anyone’s advice, then they are not a person who pursues the truth, and they will not receive God’s discipline or obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. No matter what someone who pursues the truth is confronted with, if they cannot make sense of it, they only have to pray for one or two days, read God’s words, listen to sermons, or engage in fellowshiping—regardless of which method they use, they will gradually come to understand the situation and be able to find the correct path of practice. This shows that this person has obtained the work of the Holy Spirit and is led by Him. The results are distinct, and the principles by which this person does things will also undergo a change. If you never change, there is a problem with your pursuit and your attitude. If you change the way you look at things, you will find practicing the truth quite easy. For instance, when you see some delicious food but it’s not the kind you like or you’re not hungry at the moment, is it easy to refrain from eating it? (Yes.) And if you’re really hungry but you’re not allowed to eat it, would this be easy to accept? (No.) You must forsake then; forsake your own appetite, your own desire. If you say, “I love eating that food, and I’m dead set on eating it. Who’s to tell me I shouldn’t?” and you persist in arguing and acting obstinately, then you won’t be able to let go, you won’t be able to forsake. How can you forsake, then? You must first calm down and quietly reflect before God. Then, go read some of God’s words on this topic and carefully think them over: “How could I be so greedy? Being so dead set on eating it, isn’t that shameless of me? What would I even gain from eating it anyway? I was being willful, wasn’t I?” Being dead set on eating—what disposition is this? It involves willfulness and intransigence, as well as peremptoriness and unreasonableness. This is a corrupt disposition. This is the disposition that causes you to be peremptory, defiant, and unable to submit. If you ponder this, you’ll realize that your corrupt disposition is quite severe and all too capable of causing you to rebel against and resist God. If you act wickedly, the consequences would be unimaginable. If you can reflect upon yourself in this manner, you will naturally gain insight and easily grasp the essence of the problem. At this point, when you pray to God again, your mindset will also be normal, and the effect will be different. Isn’t this state quite different from the initial rebellious one? What will you think at this time? You will be able to recognize how intransigent and willful you were being. You’ll feel you were shameless and meritless. This understanding of yourself will be more accurate, and you will engage in practice more rationally. I have heard some people often say, “How could I have acted so foolishly before? How could I have said such idiotic things? Why was I so rebellious? Why didn’t I know any better?” For someone to say these things proves they have indeed changed and grown. Thus, just because you cannot put the truth into practice for a while does not mean you will not be able to do so your whole life. What do I mean by this? Regardless of whether someone is deceitful, willful, intransigent, or arrogant, not changing momentarily does not mean they cannot change at all. Dispositional change sometimes requires time; sometimes it requires the right environment or God’s judgment and chastisement. However, you might say, “This is just how I am. I give up. I’m past caring.” And this is dangerous; it is not God casting you out, but you casting yourself out. You do not choose the path of pursuing the truth but the path of self-abandonment. This is betraying God, and doing so you will forever lose the opportunity to receive salvation. If someone wants to attain the truth, if they want their life disposition to change, they must frequently read God’s words. Within God’s words they must examine and reflect upon themselves at all times and in various aspects to gradually resolve their corrupt dispositions, intentions and impurities. This is how people must cooperate, but it also requires God’s work. God arranges various environments and, according to His time, does His work in you. In one respect, He exposes your corrupt dispositions, allowing you to understand and introspect. In another, the work of the Holy Spirit corrects your state. Whether it’s a corrupt disposition or depressed, negative emotions, there is always a process of correction and repentance. If during this process you pray to God and seek the truth, your negative state will be corrected and you will be able to perform your duty normally. If you do not change even after having been given several opportunities to repent, but instead stick to your old ways, retaining your willful, intransigent disposition, then you are not one who pursues the truth. People who do not pursue the truth are troublesome, and they cannot attain salvation. Evaluate yourselves: When faced with these issues, how much can you change? Have you turned things around and repented? If you’ve turned things around and repented, there’s hope for receiving salvation; but if you never make a change, there will be no such hope.
Some people do not perform their duties properly, they are always careless and perfunctory, causing disruptions or disturbances, and ultimately, they are replaced. They are not, however, expelled from the church, which is them being given a chance to repent. Everyone has corrupt dispositions, and everyone has times when they are muddled or confused, times when they are of small stature. The aim of giving you a chance is so that you can turn all this around. And how can you turn it around? You must reflect on and come to know your past mistakes; don’t make excuses, and don’t go about spreading notions. If you misunderstand God and blithely pass on these misunderstandings to others, so that they, too, misinterpret God with you, and if you have notions and go around spreading them, so that everyone has notions with you, and tries to reason with God alongside you, is this not rabble-rousing? Is this not opposing God? And can anything good come from opposing God? Can you still be saved? You hope that God will save you, yet you refuse to accept His work, and you resist and oppose God, so will God still save you? Forget these hopes. When you made a mistake, God did not hold you accountable, nor did He cast you out because of this single error. God’s house gave you a chance, and allowed you to continue to perform a duty, and to repent, which is the opportunity given to you by God; if you have conscience and sense, you should treasure this. Some people are always careless and perfunctory when they perform their duties, and they are replaced; some are transferred. Does this mean they have been cast out? That is not what God has said; you still have a chance. So what should you do? You should reflect on and come to know yourself, and attain true repentance; this is the path. But that is not what some people do. They fight back, and go all about saying, “I wasn’t allowed to perform this duty because I said the wrong thing and offended someone.” They don’t look for the problem in themselves, they don’t reflect, they don’t seek the truth, they don’t obey the arrangements and orchestrations of God, and they oppose God by spreading notions. Have they not become Satan? When you do the things that Satan does, you are no longer a follower of God. You have become an enemy of God—could God save His enemy? No. God saves people with corrupt dispositions, real people—not devils, not His enemies. When you go against God, and complain about God, and misinterpret God, and pass judgment on God, spreading notions about God, then you are wholly against God; you are raising an outcry against God. What role are you playing when you believe in God yet also raise an outcry against Him? You are playing the role of Satan. Have you done this kind of thing before? (Yes.) And how did you feel after doing it? (My heart darkened, and my state became worse.) That is not the right way. You are all aware of this, but some people have no awareness. Why is it some people lack awareness? (They have no heart and no spirit.) Aren’t those without heart and spirit just like beasts? People who lack awareness of conscience are bound to not be true believers in God. They are evildoers who infiltrate God’s house seeking to profit from His blessings. Anyone with heart and spirit has awareness; if they are replaced or transferred, they will be able to self-reflect and come to know themselves. When they see where they erred, they can repent and change. There is still hope for this kind of person to be saved.
Fulfilling one’s duty is the greatest and most valuable thing in a person’s life. One must act in accordance with the truth principles, and never plot for their own sake, for the more one plots for their own sake, the more their life growth is delayed. Some people are always plotting: “When will God’s day come? I haven’t found a partner yet; when will I get married? When will I live my own life?” There are many trifling concerns within each person. When they have fleshly comfort, they start making plans for their future life, prospects, destiny, and destination. If you can see through all of this and let go, you will perform your duty better and better, without being constrained or held back. For instance, suppose you are asked to make food or send letters for your brothers and sisters, if you can view these simple tasks as your duty and treat them seriously, performing them according to the truth principles, you will be able to fulfill your duty better and better—this is performing your duty up to standard. Standing firm in your position and fulfilling your duty is one aspect; another aspect is that you must also know how to fulfill your duty and what principles to follow. Once you grasp these, and if you adhere to these principles in your daily tasks, as well as when you are given duty or during the process of fulfilling it, you will undergo an inner transformation without even realizing it. It is like taking medicine when you’re sick. Some people say, “How come I don’t feel much better after taking the medicine for two days already?” What’s the rush? The illness did not develop in a few days, and it cannot be cured in a few days either. It requires time. Some people say: “I’ve been practicing the truth and acting in a principled manner for a long time; why haven’t I received God’s blessings? Why don’t I feel filled with the Holy Spirit?” You cannot rely on feelings for this. So how will you know when these changes occur? You will know when, after something happens to you, it becomes easier and easier to submit. At first it took effort to submit; you always rationalized, scrutinized, and analyzed, wanting to challenge and resist, and you’d have to exercise self-restraint. But now you don’t have to restrain yourself. When something happens to you, you don’t scrutinize it. When you have some notions or ideas, you pray and read God’s words to dispel them and let go. You resolve your problems more quickly and easily. This proves you understand the truth and have changed. At first this is a change in behavior, but it gradually becomes a change in life and disposition. It becomes easier and easier to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Moreover, your intentions, designs, and plans become fewer and fewer, gradually decreasing. If, however, they do not decrease but instead increase, then there’s trouble. This proves that during this period you were not pursuing the truth but merely exerting yourself. Those who do not pursue the truth feel that the more effort they put in, the more merit they will earn, and the greater the crown they will receive in the future. Unknowingly, they follow the path of Paul. Those who do not pursue the truth are always concerned with the size of the crown or halo on their head. Always focusing on these leads to a desire for quick success and instant benefits. They always want to put in more effort, thinking that the more they exert themselves the more blessings they will receive, that great effort will bring great blessings, that performing a great duty will garner great merits and rewards. Can they perform their duty well if this is what they are always focusing on? Those who do not accept the truth cannot fulfill their duty.
There are indicators of achieving life growth by pursuing the truth. You can feel it in your heart too. People’s thoughts and viewpoints undergo some changes after experiencing a period of being pruned and dealt with. For instance, you might say, “I no longer care about personal gain and loss. Whether God grants rewards doesn’t seem important now, and whether I receive blessings in the end doesn’t seem to matter much either; these concerns no longer have a place in my heart. Now, if God says He will not bless me, that He wants to refine me, to deprive me of something, I seem to be able to submit. There will be some sadness in my heart, but there will also be some submission.” What does this prove? You now have a little fear of God in your heart, you’ve shed quite a bit of your corrupt disposition, and you’ve truly changed. For instance, in the past if you were chosen to undertake a duty that required some physical suffering, you might have wept about it for a couple of nights. But now you can submit after shedding just a few tears. It has become easier to submit, and you no longer fear hardship. How did this submission come about? It came about from establishing a normal relationship with God, and from gradually accepting being pruned and dealt with by God, as well as accepting His orchestrations and arrangements. After achieving this result, your subjective desires, plans, intentions, and ambitions become less apparent, and you stop considering personal gain and loss. In the past you made these things your second, third, or fourth priority, but they are not important anymore; you do not consider any of them. Your desire to obey God’s will has grown stronger, and gradually you are able to say, “I’m fine with whatever God gives me and whatever He wants to take away,” without these being just empty words. Just as Job said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah,” you too can now say the same. But do you have the stature of Job? (No.) Would you dare pray to God for Him to test you as He did Job? You would not; you do not have the faith or the stature for it. When you imagine Job covered in sores, scraping his sores with a piece of pottery, you feel afraid and tremble, thinking to yourself, “How painful that must have been. I hope that never happens to me. I wouldn’t be able to endure it. I don’t have that kind of faith.” Is this not so? So, do not take on that which you do not have the faith to see through. Do not be impatient for results and don’t think you have stature. Let your feet convey you with steady steps, learn to let things proceed naturally, and deepen your experience bit by bit. When you truly understand the truth, you will be able to clearly perceive the corrupt things that exist within you, and you will easily let go of your personal thoughts, designs, plans, and intentions. Your relationship with God will become increasingly normal. The normality of your relationship with Him depends primarily on whether you can practice the truth to achieve submission to God. As for submission, it means direct and absolute obedience, acceptance, and practice, without any scrutinizing or quibbling. Scrutinization is not obedience. And what about quibbling? It’s even less so. If you say, “God wants me to do it this way, but I will do it my way regardless,” is that okay? (No.) It is worse than not okay; it is not submission. You must know the practical manifestations of submission, and if you cannot achieve them, then do not say you are one who submits to God. Instead, speak according to the level you have attained; speak objective facts. Do not exaggerate and certainly do not lie. If you cannot grasp something, simply state that you do not understand it, and then seek the truth to comprehend it; there will always be time for you to speak about it later. Some people clearly can’t achieve this and still talk big, claiming they submit to God. Is this not arrogant and unreasonable? This is something those who do not pursue the truth and do not understand the truth love to say. When they see someone has forsaken their family and work to perform their duty, they say, “Look how much that person loves God.” These are the words of a blockhead, and they completely lack any understanding of the truth. Do you dare proclaim you are someone who obeys and loves God now? (No.) You have some sense about yourself then. Those arrogant, unreasonable blockheads are always saying they love and obey God, and when they make even a little bit of sacrifice or endure some minor hardship, they think: “Did God reward me? Was my family blessed? Will my children get into the college they want? Is there hope for my husband to get a promotion and a raise? Have I gotten anything from the duties I fulfilled these past two years? Have I been blessed? Will I obtain a crown?” Always contriving for these things—is this a manifestation of the pursuit of the truth? (No.) What is your understanding of pursuing the truth then? (To pursue the truth, we must recognize our corrupt dispositions, pursue change in our dispositions, and live like a true person.) In fact, you need not evaluate anything else, and it doesn’t have to be so complicated; simply observe whether, in the course of performing your duty, you had any submission and loyalty, whether you did it with all your heart and strength, and whether you acted according to the truth principles. These criteria can clearly determine whether you are a person who pursues the truth. If someone puts a lot of effort into performing their duty but resists and dislikes practicing the truth, then they are not a person who pursues the truth. Some people are always talking about all the things they do for the church, about how great their contributions to the house of God have been. They still talk about these things even after believing in God for some number of years—is this someone who pursues the truth? (No.) People like this are pitiable! Their statures are minute, and they never grow. They have no life. Why do people with no life still exert so much effort? (To receive blessings.) Correct. They are directed by their personal ambitions and desires. If they do not pursue the truth, they can never let go of these things. You see, they also attend sermons and listen to others fellowship about the truth at gatherings, so why can’t they understand? Day after day they ponder to themselves, “How can I listen more, read more, remember more, and then speak more when I work? Then I will have performed good deeds and can be remembered by God, and I can receive blessings.” In the end, it’s all done to receive blessings. And this person believes receiving blessings would be justified. Once a person who pursues the truth understands and attains the truth, they no longer pursue blessings; they believe doing so is unreasonable. What blessings can you receive if your corrupt disposition has not transformed at all and you have no submission to God whatsoever? Who would give you blessings? How do blessings come about? (God grants them.) And if He does not give you them, can you snatch them from Him yourself? (No.) Some people even want to take them by force; is this not idiotic? Most people believe they’re quite clever, but are unwilling to seek the truth more in performing their duties and to act according to principles. How can they receive God’s blessings like this? They’re too clever for their own good!
August 28, 2018