Only Self-Knowledge Is of Aid in Pursuing the Truth
There are some people who, after having believed in God for many years and attended many sermons, have benefited a little from these things. At the very least they can recite some words and doctrines that sound like they all conform to the truth. And yet when something happens to them, they cannot practice the truth; they cannot do one thing that is in accord with the truth. It could also be said that in all these years of believing in God, they have not done a single thing to protect the church’s work, or a single righteous deed. How can this be explained? Although they can spout some words and doctrines, they definitely do not understand the truth, so they cannot put the truth into practice. When some people fellowship their self-knowledge, the first thing out of their mouths is, “I’m a devil, a living Satan, someone who resists God. I disobey Him and betray Him; I’m a viper, an evil person who should be cursed.” Is this true self-knowledge? They only speak in generalities. Why do they not offer examples? Why do they not bring the shameful things they did out into the light of day for analysis? Some undiscerning people hear them and think, “Now, that is true self-knowledge! To know themselves as the devil, Satan, and even to curse themselves—what heights they’ve reached!” Many people, new believers in particular, are prone to be deluded by this talk. They think that the speaker is pure and understands spiritual matters, that this is someone who loves the truth, and is qualified for leadership. However, once they interact with them for a while, they find that this is not so, that the person is not whom they imagined, but is exceptionally false and deceptive, skilled at disguise and pretension, which comes as a great disappointment. On what basis can people be deemed to truly know themselves? You cannot just consider what they say—the key is to determine whether they are able to practice and accept the truth. For those that truly understand the truth, they not only have true knowledge of themselves, most importantly, they are able to practice the truth. They not only speak about their true understanding, but are also able to truly do what they say. That is, their words and actions are completely aligned. If what they say sounds coherent and agreeable, but they don’t do it, don’t live it out, then in this they have become Pharisees, they are hypocrites, and absolutely not people who truly know themselves. Many people sound very coherent when they fellowship the truth, but don’t realize when they have outpourings of a corrupt disposition. Are these people who know themselves? If people do not know themselves, are they people who understand the truth? All who do not know themselves are people who do not understand the truth, and all who speak empty words of self-knowledge have false spirituality, they are liars. Some people sound very coherent when they speak words and doctrines, but the state in their spirits is numb and dull-witted, they are unperceptive, and they are unresponsive to any issues. It may be said that they are numb, but sometimes, listening to them speak, their spirits seem quite sharp. For example, right after an incident, they are able to know themselves straight away: “Just now an idea was made apparent in me. I thought about it and realized that it was crafty, that I was deceiving God.” Some undiscerning people are envious when they hear this, saying: “This person immediately realizes when they have an outpouring of corruption, and is able to open up and fellowship about it, too. They are so quick to react, their spirit is sharp, they’re much better than us. This is truly someone who pursues the truth.” Is this an accurate way of measuring people? (No.) So what should be the basis for evaluating whether people really know themselves? It must not only be what comes out of their mouths. You must also look at what is really manifested in them. The simplest method is to look at whether they are able to practice the truth—this is what’s most crucial. Their ability to practice the truth proves that they truly know themselves, because those who truly know themselves manifest repentance, and only when people manifest repentance do they truly know themselves. For instance, a person may know that they are deceitful, that they are full of petty schemes and plots, and they may also be able to tell when others reveal deceitfulness. So you should look to whether they truly repent and cast off their deceitfulness after admitting they are deceitful. And if they again reveal deceitfulness, look to whether they feel reproach and a sense of shame for having done so, to whether they are sincerely remorseful. If they have no sense of shame, much less repentance, then their self-knowledge is a cursory, slapdash thing. They are just going through the motions; theirs is not true knowledge. They do not feel that deceit is such an evil thing or that it is demonic, and they certainly do not feel what a shameless, vile behavior deceit is. They think, “People are all deceitful. The only ones who aren’t are fools. A bit of deceit doesn’t make you a bad person. I haven’t done evil; I’m not the most deceitful person out there.” Can such a person truly know themselves? They most certainly cannot. This is because they have no knowledge of their deceitful disposition, they do not abhor deceit, and everything they say about self-knowledge is pretense and empty talk. Not recognizing one’s own corrupt dispositions is not true self-knowledge. The reason that deceitful people cannot truly know themselves is that for them, it is no easy thing to accept the truth. So, no matter how many words and doctrines they can spout, they will not truly change.
How can one distinguish whether a person loves the truth? In one regard, one must look at whether this person can come to know themselves based on God’s word, at whether they can reflect on themselves and feel true remorse; in another regard, one must look at whether they can accept and practice the truth. If they can accept and practice the truth, they are someone who loves the truth and who can obey God’s work. If they only recognize the truth, but never accept or practice it, as some people say, “I understand all of the truth, but I can’t practice it,” this proves they are not someone who loves the truth. Some people admit that God’s word is the truth and that they have corrupt dispositions, and also say that they are willing to repent and remake themselves anew, but after that, there is no change at all. Their words and actions are still the same as before. When they talk about knowing themselves, it is as if they are telling a joke or shouting a slogan. They do not reflect or come to know themselves in the depths of their hearts at all; the key issue is that they have no attitude of remorse. Less still are they opening up about their corruption candidly in order to genuinely self-reflect. Rather, they are pretending to know themselves by going through the process and the motions of doing so. They are not people who genuinely know themselves or accept the truth. When such people talk about knowing themselves, they are going through the motions; they are engaging in disguise and fraud, and false spirituality. Some people are deceitful, and when they see others fellowshiping their self-knowledge, they think, “Everyone else opens up and analyzes their own deceit. If I don’t say anything, everyone will think I don’t know myself. I’ll have to go through the motions, then!” After which, they describe their own deceit as gravely serious, illustrating it in dramatic fashion, and their self-knowledge seems especially profound. Everyone who hears feels they truly know themselves, and thereupon looks upon them with envy, which in turn makes them feel as if they are glorious, as if they’ve just adorned themselves with a halo. This manner of self-knowledge achieved by going through the motions, coupled with their disguise and fraud, utterly misleads others. Can their conscience be at ease when they do this? Isn’t this just blatant deceit? If people only speak emptily about knowing themselves, no matter how lofty or good that knowledge might be, and afterward they still continue to reveal a corrupt disposition, just as they did before, without any change at all, then that is not genuine self-knowledge. If people can deliberately pretend and deceive in this way, it proves that they do not accept the truth at all, and are just like the unbelievers. By talking about their self-knowledge in this way, they are only following the trend and saying whatever suits everyone’s tastes. Isn’t their knowledge and analysis of themselves deceptive? Is this genuine self-knowledge? It absolutely is not. This is because they are not opening up and analyzing themselves from the heart, and they are only talking a bit about knowing themselves in a false, deceptive way for the sake of going through the motions. Even more serious is that to make others admire and envy them, they deliberately exaggerate to make their problems seem more serious when discussing self-knowledge, mixing in their personal intentions and goals. When they do this, they do not feel indebted, their conscience is not reproached after they disguise themselves and engage in fraud, they feel nothing after rebelling against and deceiving God, and they do not pray to God to admit their mistake. Aren’t people like this intransigent? If they don’t feel indebted, can they ever feel remorse? Can someone without true remorse forsake the flesh and practice the truth? Can someone without true remorse truly repent? Certainly not. If they are not even remorseful, is it not absurd to talk about self-knowledge? Isn’t this just disguise and fraud? Some people, after lying and deceiving, can realize it and feel remorse. Because they possess a sense of shame, they feel embarrassed to openly admit their corruption to others, but they can pray and open themselves up to God. They are willing to repent, and afterward they truly change. This is also a person who knows themselves and is truly repentant. Anyone bold enough to admit to others that they have lied and deceived, and who can also pray to God and open themselves up, acknowledging the manifestations of their corruption, is someone capable of knowing themselves and genuinely repenting. After a period of prayer and seeking the truth, they find the path of practice and undergo some change. Even though everyone all has the same nature essence, and all have a corrupt disposition, those who can accept the truth have hope of being saved. Some people, after believing in God, enjoy reading God’s words, and focus on self-reflection. When they see the manifestations of their corruption, they feel they owe God and often adopt methods of restraint to resolve the problem of their lying and fraud. Yet, unable to control themselves, they still frequently lie and engage in fraud. It is then they realize that the problem of a satanic disposition is not one that can be solved with restraint. So they pray to God, explaining their difficulties to Him, beseeching Him to save them from the control of the sinful nature and Satan’s influence, so as to attain God’s salvation. After a while, there will be some results, but no fundamental resolution of the problem of their lying and deceiving. So they finally realize the satanic disposition has long since taken root in their heart, penetrating to their core. Human nature is a satanic one. Only by accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and obtaining the work of the Holy Spirit can one break free from the shackling control of the satanic disposition. Only when God’s words enlighten and lead them do they see the depth of their corruption and recognize that corrupt humankind is indeed the progeny of Satan, and that, were it not for God’s work of salvation, everyone would suffer perdition and destruction. It is only then that they see how practical it is for God to save people through judgment and chastisement. After experiencing this, they are able to accept God’s judgment and chastisement from their hearts, and within them starts to grow genuine remorse. Now they truly have awareness and begin to know themselves. As for those who lack awareness in their hearts, they may also learn to speak some spiritual words, some words of reason. They are especially adept at reciting the catchphrases those so-called “pious folk” so frequently repeat, and they sound quite genuine too, deceiving their listeners to the points of tears. As a result, everyone likes and esteems them. Are there many people like this? What kind of person is this? Is this not a Pharisee? Such people are the most deceptive. People who don’t understand the truth, when they first come into contact with someone like this, may think that he is very spiritual, so they choose him as a leader. The result is that in less than a year, he has brought all these undiscerning people to his side. They flock around him, offering their approval and appreciation, ask him for guidance whenever something happens, and even imitate the tone of his speech. Those who follow him learn how to spout words and doctrines, they learn to deceive people and God, but as a result when trials do come they are all passive and weak. In their hearts, they blame and doubt God, not showing the slightest bit of faith. This is the result of worshiping and following a person. Despite believing in God for many years and being able to speak much spiritual doctrine, they do not have any of the truth reality. They have all been misled and enthralled by a hypocritical Pharisee. Is it not easy for those who cannot discern to be deceived and take the wrong path? People who cannot discern are muddle-headed, and they are all too easily misled!
To learn discernment, one must first learn how to reflect on and discern their own problems. There is arrogance and self-righteousness in everyone, and having even a little power can lead to acting arbitrarily. This is something people see happen quite often, and it can be perceived in an instant, but what are those corrupt dispositions that are not so easy to notice, or to which people are less sensitive, and which are difficult to detect in oneself or in others? (I am not sensitive to deceitfulness.) An insensitivity to deceitfulness, and what else? (Selfishness and contemptibleness.) Selfishness and contemptibleness. For instance, there are some people who do something and claim they are doing it out of consideration for others, using this as an excuse to gain everyone’s approval. But in actuality they do it for the sake of saving themselves trouble, a motive others are unaware of, and which is difficult to detect. What other corrupt dispositions are the hardest to detect? (Being hypocritical.) That is, appearing to be a good person on the outside, doing some things that align with human notions to gain praise, but inwardly hiding a satanic philosophy and ulterior motives. This is a deceitful disposition. Is this easy to discern? People of a low caliber and people who do not understand the truth cannot see through things; they especially cannot discern this type of person. There are some leaders and workers who, when resolving a problem, speak clearly and logically, as if they have seen through the issue, but when they finish speaking the problem remains unresolved. They even make you mistakenly believe the problem has been settled; is this not deluding and deceiving people? Those who do not take real action when performing their duty, and who speak a deluge of empty and flowery words, are all hypocrites. They are far too cunning and devious. After associating with this type of person for a long time, could you discern them? Why do they not change after believing in God for many years? What is the root cause? Speaking precisely, they are all people who are sick of the truth, so they are unwilling to accept it. They prefer to live by Satan’s philosophy, thinking that this not only doesn’t put them at a disadvantage, but helps them appear dazzling and glamorous, and makes others look up to them. Are people like this not sly and deceitful? They’d sooner die than accept the truth; can someone like this be saved? Some people, when faced with being pruned and dealt with, can verbally admit their wrongdoing, but in their hearts resist: “Even if what you’re saying is right, I won’t accept it. I’ll fight you to the end!” They disguise themselves quite well, saying they accept, but in their heart they do not. This is also a disposition that is fed up with the truth. What other corrupt dispositions are difficult to detect and notice? Isn’t intransigence difficult to spot? Intransigence is a type of disposition that is also quite hidden. It often manifests as stubborn insistence in one’s own views and difficulty accepting the truth. No matter how others speak in line with the truth, the intransigent person still clings to their own ways. A person with an intransigent disposition is the least likely to accept the truth. People who do not accept the truth often hide this sort of intransigent disposition within them. When people stubbornly cling to something within them or have an attitude of persisting with their subjective wishes, it is difficult to detect. What else is there? Not loving the truth and being fed up with the truth are difficult to detect. Viciousness is difficult to detect. The easiest to detect are arrogance and cunning, but the others—intransigence, being sick of the truth, viciousness, wickedness—are all difficult to detect. The hardest to detect is wickedness, because it has become man’s nature and they start to glorify it, and even more wickedness will not seem wicked to them. So a wicked disposition is even harder to detect than an intransigent one. Some people say: “How can it not be easy to detect? People all have wicked lusts. Isn’t that wickedness?” That is superficial. What is true wickedness? Which states are wicked when they manifest? Is it a wicked disposition when people use high-sounding statements to hide the wicked and shameful intents that lie in the depths of their hearts, and then make others believe that these statements are very good, aboveboard, and legitimate, and ultimately achieve their ulterior motives? Why is this called being wicked and not being deceitful? In terms of disposition and essence, deceitfulness is not quite as bad. Being wicked is more serious than being deceitful, it is a behavior that is more insidious and vile than deceitfulness, and it is difficult for the average person to see through it. For example, what kind of words did the serpent use to entice Eve? Specious words, that sound correct and seem to be said for your own good. You are not aware that there is anything wrong with these words or any malicious intent behind them, and at the same time, you are unable to let go of these suggestions made by Satan. This is temptation. When you are tempted and you listen to these kinds of words, you cannot help but be enticed and it is likely that you will fall into a trap, thereby achieving Satan’s goal. This is called wickedness. The serpent used this method to entice Eve. Is this a type of disposition? (It is.) Where does this type of disposition come from? It comes from the serpent, from Satan. This type of wicked disposition exists within man’s nature. Isn’t this wickedness different from people’s wicked lusts? How do wicked lusts come about? It has to do with the flesh. True wickedness is a type of disposition, deeply hidden, that is wholly undiscernible to people without experience or understanding of the truth. That is why among man’s dispositions it is the most difficult to detect. In which type of person is a wicked disposition most severe? Those who love exploiting others. They excel so much at manipulation that the people they manipulate don’t even know what happened afterward. This type of person has a wicked disposition. Wicked people, based on deceitfulness, use other means to cover up their deceit, conceal their sins, and hide their secret intentions, goals, and selfish desires. This is wickedness. Furthermore, they will use various means to entice, tempt, and seduce, making you follow their wishes and satisfy their selfish desires to achieve their goals. This is all wicked. This is an authentic satanic disposition. Have you displayed any of these behaviors? Which of the aspects of a wicked disposition have you displayed more: temptation, enticement, or using lies to cover up other lies? (I feel like all of them a bit.) You feel like all of them a bit. That is, on an emotional level, you feel like you both have and haven’t displayed these behaviors. You can’t come up with any evidence. In your daily life, then, do you realize it if you reveal a wicked disposition when faced with something? Actually, these things exist inside everyone’s disposition. For instance, there’s something you don’t understand, but you don’t want to let others know you don’t understand it, so you use various means to mislead them into thinking you understand. This is fraud. This kind of fraud is a manifestation of wickedness. There’s also temptation and enticement, these are all manifestations of wickedness. Do you tempt others often? If you’re legitimately trying to understand someone, wanting to fellowship with them, and it’s required for your work and is a proper interaction, this doesn’t count as temptation. But if you have personal intent and purpose, and you don’t really want to understand this person’s disposition, pursuits, and knowledge, but rather want to extract their innermost thoughts and true feelings, then this is called wickedness, temptation, and enticement. If you do this, then you have a wicked disposition; is this not something that is hidden? Is this kind of disposition easy to change? If you can discern what manifestations each aspect of your disposition has, what states they often cause, and match these up with yourself, feeling how terrible and dangerous this kind of disposition is, then you will feel burdened to change in this regard, and you will be able to thirst for the words of God and accept the truth. That is when you can change and receive salvation. But if after matching them up you still don’t thirst for the truth, have no indebtedness or accusation—much less any repentance—and do not love the truth, then it will be difficult for you to change. And understanding won’t help, because all you’d understand is just doctrine. Regardless of what aspect of the truth it is, if your understanding stops at the level of doctrine and does not connect with your practice and entry, there won’t be any use for the doctrine you understand. If you do not understand the truth, you will not recognize your corrupt disposition and repent to God and confess, and you won’t feel indebted to God and hate yourself, so you will have zero chance of being saved. If you recognize how serious your problems are, but you don’t care and don’t hate yourself, still feeling quite numb and passive on the inside, not accepting God’s judgment and chastisement, and not praying to Him or relying on Him to resolve your corrupt disposition, then you are in great danger, and will not receive salvation.
What are the conditions for being saved? Firstly, one must understand the truth and willingly accept God’s judgment and chastisement. Then, they must possess the will to cooperate, and be capable of forsaking themselves and willing to let go of their own selfish desires. What do selfish desires include? Face, status, vanity, various aspects of one’s own interests, as well as one’s own plans, desires, prospects, destination—whether it’s the immediate or the future—they are all included here. If you can seek the truth to resolve these corrupt dispositions, achieving breakthroughs in them one by one, abandoning them bit by bit, then practicing the truth will become easier and easier for you, and you will reach a state of submission to God. Your stature will gradually grow. Once you understand the truth and are able to see through and give up these selfish desires bit by bit, your disposition will change. What level of change have you reached now? Based on My observations, in terms of these truth realities of the changes in disposition, you basically have not entered into them yet. So, what is your current stature, and what state are you living in? Most of you are stalled at the level of performing duty, and stay lingering at this stage: “Should I perform my duty or not? How can I perform my duty well? Is performing my duty this way careless and perfunctory?” Sometimes, when your performance of duty is particularly careless and perfunctory, you will feel reproached in your heart. You’ll feel like you owe God, that you’ve let God down, even wailing and expressing to God your desire to properly perform your duties to repay His love. But two days later, you become passive again, no longer wanting to perform your duties. You can never get past this stage. Is this having stature? (No.) When you no longer need fellowship on how to loyally perform your duties, the need to perform your duties with all of your heart and mind, and the need to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and you can take on your duties as your own mission, doing them well without demands, without complaints, and without making your own choices, then you have achieved a certain stature. We’re always needing to fellowship on how to perform one’s duties well. Why must we continue fellowshiping this? Because people don’t know how to fulfill their duties, and they cannot grasp the principles; they have not thoroughly understood the various truths about performing duties, nor have they understood the truth and entered reality. Some people only understand some doctrines but are not willing to practice or enter them, not willing to endure suffering and exhaustion, always greedy for fleshly comfort, still having too many choices of their own, unable to let go, and not fully entrusting themselves into God’s hands. They still have their own plans and demands; their personal wishes, thoughts, and prospects still dominate and can control them: “If I perform this duty, will I have a good prospect ahead? Are there any skills I can learn from this? Will I achieve anything in the house of God in the future?” Always pondering these things, finding it unpleasant when performing duties is a bit hard, tiring, or lacking in enjoyments, feeling uncomfortable over time, becoming passive and still needing fellowship on the truth and ideological work. This is a lack of stature. Does this involve a change in disposition? It’s still too early for that. Once you grasp the truth principles that should be understood for performing your duties, overcoming this hurdle, you can achieve adequate performance of duty. Moving forward will then involve changes in disposition.
Now, whether it is carrying out duty or serving God, it all requires frequent self-reflection. No matter what wrong views or corrupt dispositions one reveals, they must seek the truth to resolve them. Only in this way can they fulfill their duty up to standard and receive God’s approval. One must be able to discern their corrupt dispositions, otherwise they cannot resolve them. Some people cannot see through what belongs to a corrupt disposition and what does not. For instance, what people like to eat or wear, what lifestyle habits they have, as well as the inheritance of ancestors and traditional concepts—some of these are caused by the influence of traditional culture and customs, some by upbringing and familial inheritance, and some by a lack of knowledge and insight. These are not major problems and have nothing to do with the goodness or badness of one’s humanity, and some can be resolved through learning and gaining more insight. However, notions or wrong views regarding God, or the problem of a corrupt disposition, must be resolved by seeking the truth, and cannot be changed through human education. In any case, no matter where your notions and ideas come from, if they do not align with the truth, you must relinquish them and seek the truth to resolve them. Pursuing the truth can solve all of one’s problems. Many issues that don’t appear to be related to the truth can be indirectly resolved by understanding the truth. It is not just problems pertaining to a corrupt disposition that can be resolved using the truth, but also those that do not pertain to a corrupt disposition, such as some human behaviors, methods, notions, and habits—these can only be thoroughly resolved using the truth. The truth can not only resolve people’s corrupt dispositions; it can also serve as a life goal, foundation of life, and principle for living, and it can resolve all of one’s difficulties and problems. This is absolute. What is the key now? It is to see that the origin of many problems is directly related to not understanding the truth. Many people do not know how to practice when something befalls them, and this is because they do not understand the truth. People cannot see through to the essence and root of so many things, and this too is because they do not understand the truth. But how can they still talk so articulately without understanding the truth? (It’s all just words and doctrines.) Then this problem of speaking doctrine must be resolved. Do less of speaking empty words, reciting doctrine, and shouting slogans; do more of speaking practically, practicing the truth, talking about self-knowledge and self-analysis, and letting others hear words which they find edifying and beneficial. Only one who does this possesses truth reality. Do not spout doctrine and speak empty words, do not speak hypocritical and deceitful words, and do not speak words that do not provide edification. How can you avoid this kind of speech? You must first recognize and see through the ugliness, stupidity, and absurdity of these things; then you will be able to forsake the flesh. Furthermore, you must also have reason. The more reason a person has, the more accurately and appropriately they will speak, the more mature their humanity will be, the more practical their words will become, and the less nonsense they will say. And in their hearts they will despise those empty words, exaggerations, and falsehoods. Some people have too much vanity and always want to say nice things to disguise themselves, wanting to acquire status in the hearts of others and earn their esteem, making others think they believe in God very well, are a good person, and are especially worthy of admiration. They always have this intention to disguise themselves; they are controlled by a corrupt disposition. People have corrupt dispositions, which is the root of people’s doing evil to oppose God, the most difficult problem to solve. Unless the Holy Spirit works and God Himself makes someone perfect, their corrupt disposition cannot be purified, and a change in disposition cannot be attained. Otherwise, there is no way for a person to resolve it. If you are one who pursues the truth, then you must reflect upon and understand your corrupt disposition according to God’s words, measure yourself against every sentence of God’s words of revelation and judgment, and bit by bit excavate all of your corrupt dispositions and states. Start by digging into the intentions and purpose of your words and actions, dissect and discern every word you speak, and do not overlook anything that exists within your thoughts and mind. This way, through incremental dissection and discernment, you will discover that your corrupt disposition is not just a little but rather abundant, and that Satan’s poisons are not limited but rather numerous. This way, you will gradually see clearly your corrupt dispositions and nature essence, and realize how deeply Satan has corrupted you. At this time you will feel how extremely precious the truth expressed by God is. It can resolve the problems of corrupt humankind’s disposition and nature. This medicine which God prepared for corrupt humans in order to save humankind is incredibly effective, even more valuable than any elixir. Thus, in order to receive God’s salvation, you willingly pursue the truth, cherishing every aspect of the truth more and more, pursuing it with ever increasing vigor. When one has this feeling in their heart, it means they’ve already gained an understanding of some truth, and have already rooted themselves in the true way. If they can experience it more deeply and truly love God from their heart, their life disposition will start to transform.
It is easy to make some changes to behavior, but it is not easy to change one’s life disposition. Resolving the issue of a corrupt disposition must begin with knowing oneself. It requires attentiveness, focusing on examining one’s intentions and states bit by bit, constantly scrutinizing intentions and habitual ways of speech. And then one day, there will be a sudden realization: “I’m always saying nice things to disguise myself, hoping to gain status in the hearts of others. This is a wicked disposition. It is not the revelation of a normal humanity and does not conform to the truth. This wicked way of speaking and intention are wrong, and must be changed and disposed of.” After having this realization, you will feel the grave severity of your wicked disposition with increasing clarity. You had thought wickedness just meant the existence of a little wicked lust between a man and a woman, and felt that although you displayed wickedness in this regard, you were not a person with a wicked disposition. This indicates that you lacked understanding of a wicked disposition; you seemed to know the superficial meaning of the word “wicked” but could not truly recognize or discern a wicked disposition; and in fact, you still do not understand what the word “wicked” means. When you realize that you have revealed this type of disposition, you start to self-reflect and recognize it, and dig deep into its origins, and you will see that you really do have such a disposition. What should you do next then? You must continually examine your intentions within your own similar ways of speaking. Through this constant digging, you will identify with increasing authenticity and accuracy that you do indeed have this kind of disposition and essence. Only on the day that you truly admit you really do have a wicked disposition will you start to develop hatred and aversion toward it. One goes from thinking they are a good person, upright in conduct, equipped with a sense of justice, a person of moral integrity, a guileless person, to recognizing that they possess such nature essences as arrogance, intransigence, deceitfulness, wickedness, and weariness of the truth. At that point, they will have accurately assessed themselves and know what they truly are. Merely verbally acknowledging or cursorily recognizing that you have these manifestations and states will not produce genuine hatred. Only by recognizing that the essence of these corrupt dispositions is the repulsive manner of Satan can one truly hate oneself. What sort of humanity is required to truly know oneself to the point of self-hatred? One must love positive things, love the truth, love fairness and righteousness, have conscience and awareness, be kind-hearted, and be able to accept and practice the truth—all people like this can truly know and hate themselves. Those who do not love the truth and who find it difficult to accept the truth will never know themselves. Even if they may speak some words about knowing themselves, they cannot put the truth into practice, and will not undergo any genuine change. Knowing oneself is the most difficult task. For instance, there may be someone of a low caliber who thinks, “My quality is poor. I’m naturally timid and afraid of getting involved. I might even be the most guileless, cowardly person in the world. So that makes me the worthiest recipient of God’s salvation.” Is this true self-knowledge? These are the words of one who does not understand the truth. Does having poor quality automatically mean one has no corrupt disposition? Do cowards not have corrupt dispositions either? Haven’t they also been corrupted by Satan? In fact, there is just as much of a wicked and arrogant disposition in such people, and furthermore it is quite deeply hidden, and more entrenched than the average person’s. Why do I say it is deeply hidden? (Because they always think they’re good.) That’s right. They themselves are deluded and confused by this illusion, which makes it impossible for them to accept the truth. They think they’re quite fine already and don’t need God’s judgment and purification. All those words God says about judging people and exposing their corruption are directed at others, those competent people with an arrogant disposition, those evildoers, and those who mislead—false leaders and antichrists; but they are not directed at people like them. They’re already good enough; their hands are clean, and they themselves are pure as the driven snow, free of all taint. When they define themselves this way, is it possible for them to truly know themselves? (No.) They cannot know themselves, and they certainly do not understand the truth. They cannot possibly understand such truths as the reason why God judges and chastises people, how He saves people, or how a corrupt disposition is purified. A person who does not know themselves one bit definitely doesn’t understand any truth. These wrong views they reveal are enough to show they are preposterous, absurd people. Their understanding is absurd, and they impose their own beliefs onto God; this too is a disposition of wickedness. Wickedness is a kind of disposition that doesn’t only manifest in the issue of conduct between a man and a woman; a little bit of wicked lust should not be labeled as dispositional wickedness. But if one’s wicked lusts are too strong, and they often engage in promiscuousness or persistent homosexuality, then that is wicked. Some people cannot distinguish between the two, always labeling wicked lusts as wickedness, and explaining wickedness in terms of wicked lusts; they lack discernment. A wicked disposition is the most difficult to recognize. The actions of anyone who is too deceitful and sinister are all wicked. For instance, some people, after lying, think to themselves, “If I don’t share my understanding, who knows what others will think of me? I must open up and fellowship a bit; once I’ve shared my understanding, that will be all there is to it. I can’t let others know my true intentions and think I’m deceitful.” What disposition is this? Opening oneself up in a deceitful way—this is called wickedness. And after lying, they will observe: “Did anyone find out I lied? Could anyone see my true colors?” They start to coax information from others and probe them; this too is wicked. It is not easy to detect a wicked disposition. Whoever does things in an especially sinister and deceitful way, making it difficult for others to see through them, is wicked. Whoever schemes and plots to achieve their goals is wicked. Whoever deceives people by doing bad things under the guise of doing good, making others serve them, is the wickedest of all. The great red dragon is the wickedest; Satan is the wickedest; those demon kings are the wickedest; all devils are wicked.
To pursue dispositional change, one must first be able to recognize their own corrupt disposition. Truly knowing oneself involves seeing through and thoroughly dissecting the essence of their corruption, as well as recognizing the various states a corrupt disposition gives rise to. It is only when someone clearly understands their own corrupt states and corrupt disposition that they can hate their flesh and hate Satan, which only then brings about dispositional change. If they cannot recognize these states, and fail to make the connections and match them up to themselves, can their disposition change? It cannot. Dispositional change requires one to recognize the different states their corrupt disposition produces; they must reach a point of not being controlled by their corrupt disposition and putting the truth into practice—only then can their disposition begin to change. If they cannot recognize the origin of their corrupt states, and only constrain themselves according to the words and doctrines they understand, then even if they have some good behavior and change a bit on the outside, it cannot be considered as dispositional transformation. Since it cannot be considered as dispositional transformation, what, then, is the role that most people play during the course of performing their duty? It is the role of a service-doer; they merely exert themselves and busy themselves with tasks. Although they are also performing their duty, most of the time they are only focused on getting things done, not seeking the truth but just exerting effort. Sometimes, when they’re in a good mood, they’ll put in extra effort, and sometimes when their mood is bad they’ll hold back a bit. But afterward they’ll examine themselves and feel remorse, so they’ll put in more effort again, believing this to be repentance. Actually, this is not true change, nor is it true repentance. True repentance begins with knowing oneself; it begins with a shift in behavior. Once someone’s behavior has shifted, and they can forsake their flesh, put the truth into practice, and in terms of behavior, appear to be aligned with principles, this means there has been genuine repentance. Then, bit by bit, they reach the point of being able to speak and act according to principles, completely conforming to the truth. This is when a change in life disposition begins. What stage have you reached in your experience now? (I have some good behavior on the surface.) This still belongs to the period of exerting effort. Some people exert a little effort and then think they’ve made a contribution and deserve God’s blessings. Inwardly they always ponder: “What does God think of this? I’ve put in so much effort and endured so much hardship, can I enter the kingdom of heaven?” Always trying to get to the bottom of things—what disposition is this? It is deceitful, wicked, and arrogant. Furthermore, hoping to gain blessings from exerting some effort while believing in God without accepting a bit of the truth; isn’t there an intransigent disposition here? Never relinquishing the benefits of status; is this not intransigence too? They’re always worrying: “Will God remember that I suffered hardship performing this duty? Will He give me some blessings?” In their mind they’re always making these calculations. On the outside it looks like they’re making deals, but in fact there are several types of corrupt dispositions at work here. Always wanting to strike a deal with God, always wanting to receive blessings from believing in God, always wanting to take advantage and not suffer losses, always engaging in crooked and underhanded means—this is being dominated by a wicked disposition. Each time such a person puts in some effort in fulfilling their duties, they want to know: “Will I receive blessings for all the effort I’m putting forth? Will I be able to enter the kingdom of heaven after suffering so much to believe in God? Will God commend me for forsaking everything to perform my duty? Does God approve of me or not?” They ponder these questions all day long. If they can’t figure them out for one day, they will become uneasy for that day, unwilling to perform their duties or pay a price, and even less willing to pursue the truth. Always controlled and bound by these matters, they lack any true faith whatsoever. They do not believe God’s promises are real. They do not believe that pursuing the truth will surely bring God’s blessings. In their heart they are fed up with the truth. Even if they wanted to pursue the truth, they lack the energy for it, so they do not have the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and they cannot understand the truth. This person frequently encounters problems while performing their duty, and they are often passive and weak. They grumble complaints upon encountering difficulty, and when disaster befalls them or they are arrested, they determine that God isn’t protecting them and does not want them, and consign themselves to despair. What disposition is this? Is this not viciousness? What will this person do as soon as they feel resentment? They will definitely be negative and lazy; they will throw up their hands in hopelessness. And they will frequently accuse leaders and workers of being false leaders and antichrists. They might even directly blame God and make judgments about Him. What is it that gives rise to these things? They are under the control of a vicious disposition. They believe, according to secular views and satanic logic, that there must be a return for every investment. Without such recompense, they won’t invest anymore. They have a retaliatory mindset and seek to give up their responsibilities, refuse their duty, and demand recompense. Isn’t this vicious? In what ways is this similar to Paul? (Paul believed that once he had finished his race and fought a good fight, a crown of righteousness would be reserved for him.) That is exactly how they match up with Paul. Do you exhibit any of these manifestations of Paul yourselves? Do you engage in self-comparisons like this? If you do not relate yourselves to God’s words, you won’t be able to know yourselves. Only by recognizing the essence of your corrupt disposition can you genuinely know yourself. If you only recognize the superficial rights and wrongs, or simply admit that you are a devil and Satan, this is too generic and vacuous. It is feigned profundity, it is a disguise, it is fraud. Talking about knowing oneself in this way is fake spirituality, it is misleading.
Have you ever seen how a deceitful person attempts self-knowledge? They try to make a mountain out of a molehill, talking about how they are a devil and Satan, and even cursing themselves; and yet they don’t say what fiendish and wicked deeds they’ve done, nor do they dissect the filthiness and corruption in their heart. They just say that they are a devil and Satan, that they’ve disobeyed and opposed God, using many empty words and sweeping statements to condemn themselves, making others feel, “Now this is someone who really knows themselves; what profound understanding they have.” They let others see how spiritual they are, making it so others all envy them as a pursuer of the truth. But after knowing themselves in this way for several years, they still haven’t genuinely repented, and one does not see any situation in which they actually put the truth into practice or do things according to principles. There is no change in their life disposition whatsoever, thus exposing the problem: This is not true self-knowledge. It is disguise and fraud, and this person is a hypocrite. No matter how someone talks about self-knowledge, do not focus on how nice their words sound or how profound their knowledge is. What is the key to observe? Notice how much of the truth they can put into practice, and notice whether they can adhere to the truth principles to uphold the work of the church. These two indicators are enough to tell if someone has undergone true transformation. This is the principle for evaluating and discerning people. Do not listen to the nice things that come out of their mouth; observe what they actually do. There are some who, when discussing self-knowledge, appear on the outside to be taking it seriously. They talk about any mistaken ideas or wrong thoughts they have with others, opening up and laying themselves bare, but when they’re done talking they still haven’t truly repented. When something happens to them, they still don’t practice the truth, nor do they adhere to principles, uphold the church’s work, or display any transformation. This kind of self-knowledge, opening up, and fellowshiping have no meaning. Perhaps this kind of person thinks that knowing themselves in this way means they’ve truly repented and are practicing the truth, but, in the end, there aren’t any changes after years of this understanding. Isn’t this way of knowing oneself just going through the motions, following procedure? There’s no actual effect; aren’t they just toying with themselves? I once went somewhere and when I arrived, someone was cutting the grass with a weed wacker. The machine was roaring loudly and making a racket. Each of the two or three times I went there I encountered the same situation, so I asked the person, “You don’t have some fixed time for cutting the grass?” He replied, “Ah, I only cut the grass when I see that God has come. It’s unpleasant for me as well.” People who can’t discern might hear this and think he’s being honest, saying whatever’s on his mind. They might think he’s admitting his mistakes and gaining self-knowledge, and thus they get misled. But would someone who understands the truth see it that way? What’s the accurate perspective on this? Those who can see through this situation will think, “You’re not taking responsibility while doing your duty; aren’t you just doing this for show?” But the grass-cutter fears others would think this way, so he preemptively speaks that way to shut them up. This is quite skillful rhetoric, is it not? (Yes.) In fact, he had long since figured out how to deal with this situation, to preemptively confuse you and make you think that he’s quite straightforward, that he can speak openly and admit his mistakes. What he’s thinking is: “I understand the truth; I don’t need you to tell me. I’ll admit it first. Let’s see what you can say against my clever phrasing. This is just what I’ll do; what can you do to me?” Which dispositions are at work here? First of all, he understands everything. When he makes a mistake, he knows to repent. This is the impression he gives others, using disguises and lies to create an illusion and make others look up to him. He is exceptionally calculating, knowing to what extent his words will confuse others and what their reactions will be. He’s assessed all of this in advance. What disposition is this? It is a wicked disposition. Furthermore, that he can say these things proves he doesn’t just realize this now, but has long since known that acting this way is careless and perfunctory, that he should not be doing this just now, that he should not be putting on such a facade, and should not be acting for the sake of his own pride. Why does he still do it then? Isn’t this intransigence? There’s posturing, intransigence, and also wickedness. Can you discern them? Some can only discern others and not themselves. Why is this? If one can truly discern oneself, then likewise they can discern others. If they can only discern others but not themselves, it means there is a problem with their disposition and character. Seeing how others match up to the truth but not how oneself matches up—this is certainly not someone who loves the truth, let alone one who accepts the truth.
Is it a good or a bad thing when someone is able to discover how serious a problem their corruption is? It is a good thing. The more you can discover your corruption and understand it accurately, and the more you can recognize your own essence, then the more you can be saved and the closer you will be to receiving salvation. The more you are unable to discover your problems, always believing you’re good and fine, then the farther away you are from the path of salvation—you are still in much danger. If you see someone who is always boasting about how well they do their duty, and their ability to fellowship the truth and practice the truth, this proves that person’s stature is minute. They are childish, and their life is immature. What kind of person has more hope for receiving salvation and can embark on the path of being saved? It is one who truly recognizes their own corrupt disposition. The more deeply they understand it, the closer they are to being saved. Understanding that one’s own corrupt dispositions all originate from the satanic nature, seeing that they have no conscience or reason, that they cannot put any truths into practice, that they live solely by their corrupt disposition and lack any humanity whatsoever, that they are a living devil and a living Satan—this is truly recognizing the essence of one’s own corruption. Understanding it this way makes the problem seem quite serious, but is this a good thing or a bad thing? (A good thing.) Although it is a good thing, some people become negative when they see their devilish and satanic side, thinking, “I’m done for, now. God doesn’t want me. I’ll surely be sent to hell. There’s no way I will be saved by God.” Is this something that happens? Tell Me, are there people who become more negative the more they understand themselves? They think, “I’m completely ruined. God’s judgment and chastisement are upon me. This is punishment, retribution. God does not want me. I have no hope of being saved.” Do people have these misconceptions? (Yes.) In actuality, the more one recognizes their hopelessness, the more hope there is for that person. Do not be negative, do not give up. Knowing oneself is a good thing, it is an essential path to receiving salvation. If one is completely unaware of their own corrupt disposition and the essence of their resistance to God in various aspects, and they don’t even plan on changing, then this is a problem. This type of person is numb, they are dead. Is it easy to bring a dead person back to life? Once they’re already dead, bringing them back to life is not easy.
To what type of person does God still extend opportunities for repentance? What type of person still has hope of being saved? What manifestations should these people exhibit? First of all, they must have a sense of conscience. No matter what befalls them, they can accept it from God, understanding in their hearts that it is God who is working to save them. They will say, “I do not understand God’s will, nor do I understand why this type of thing happens to me, but I trust God is doing it to save me. I cannot rebel against Him or wound His heart. I must submit and forsake myself.” They have this conscience. Moreover, in terms of reason, they think, “God is the Creator. I am a created being. Whatever God does is right. God judges and chastises me to purify my corrupt disposition. However the Creator treats His created beings is entirely reasonable and appropriate.” Isn’t this the reason people ought to have? People should not make demands of God, saying, “I am a human. I have personality and dignity. I will not allow You to treat me like this.” Is this reasonable? This is a satanic disposition, it lacks the reason of a normal human, and God will not save people like this; He does not acknowledge them as created beings. Suppose you said, “I was created by God; however He wants to treat me is fine. He can treat me as a donkey or a horse or anything else. I have no choices or requirements of my own.” If you said that, would you still want to pick and choose if performing your duty was somewhat difficult and tiring? (No.) That’s right. You must submit. How do you submit? At first, submission is hard and difficult to bear. You always want to escape and refuse. So what should you do? You must come before God and pray, seek the truth, see the essence of the problem clearly, and then find the path of practice. You should just put your heart and effort into practicing the truth, submitting little by little. This is having reason. You must first possess this kind of reason. Once one has conscience and reason, what else do they need? A sense of shame. For what situations does one need to have a sense of shame? When they do something wrong, when they reveal their rebelliousness, crookedness, and deceitfulness, when they lie and engage in fraud—that is when they need awareness and a sense of shame. They must know doing things this way does not conform to the truth and is undignified, they must know to feel remorse. One who has no sense of shame is a brazen and barefaced person unworthy of being called human. It is completely over for one who does not accept the truth. No matter how the truth is fellowshiped to them, they do not take it in; and no matter what is said, they still do not gain awareness. This is called lacking a sense of shame. Can people without a sense of shame feel remorse? Without a sense of shame, one has no dignity, and someone like this knows no remorse. Can people who do not know remorse turn around? (No.) Those who cannot turn around will not relinquish the evil that is in their hands. “Turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands” (Jonah 3:8). What must one possess to be able to do this? They must possess a sense of shame, a sense of conscience. When they make a mistake, they will reproach themselves and feel remorse, and they will abandon their wrong ways. This type of person can turn around. This is what, at the bare minimum, one’s humanity should possess. Aside from conscience, reason, and a sense of shame, what else is needed? (A love of positive things.) That’s right. A love of positive things means loving the truth. Only those who love the truth are kindhearted people. Do evil people love positive things? Evil people love wicked, vicious, and venomous things; they love all that is associated with negative things. When you talk to them about positive things, or about how something benefits people and comes from God, they are not pleased and not interested to hear about them—they have no hope of being saved. No matter how well one fellowships the truth to them or how practically they are spoken to, they are simply not interested, and might even express enmity and antagonism. But their eyes light up when they hear somebody talking about fleshly pleasure, and they become full of energy. This is a vicious and wicked disposition, and they are not goodhearted. So, they cannot possibly love positive things. In their heart, how do they regard positive things? They despise and look down upon them, they deride these things. When it comes to being an honest person, they think, “Being honest only puts you at a disadvantage. I’ll pass on that! If you’re honest you’re a fool. Look at you, enduring hardship and working hard to perform your duty without ever considering your own future or your own health. Who’s going to care if you collapse from exhaustion? I can’t tire myself out.” Someone else might say, “Let’s leave an out for ourselves. We can’t be breaking our backs like dopes. We’ve got to prepare our backup plan and then just exert a bit more effort.” Those evil ones will be happy upon hearing this; it hits right home with them. But when it comes to absolute submission to God and faithfully expending oneself for one’s duty, they feel repulsion and detestation, and will not take it in. Isn’t someone like this vicious? All people like this have a vicious disposition. All you have to do is fellowship the truth and talk about the principles of practice with them, and they become repulsed and unwilling to listen. They’ll think this injures their pride, wounds their dignity, and they can’t benefit from it. Inwardly they’ll say: “Going on and on about the truth, about the principles of practice. Always talking about being an honest person—can honesty feed you? Can speaking honestly make you money? Cheating is how I’ll profit!” What logic is this? It is the logic of a bandit. Isn’t this a vicious disposition? Is this person kindhearted? (No.) This kind of person cannot attain the truth. What little they do commit, expend, and forsake is all directed at a goal, one they’ve calculated well in advance. They only think it’s a good deal to offer something if they get more back in return. What disposition is this? It is a wicked, vicious disposition.
Most who believe in God don’t seek the truth. They always like to make their own schemes and arrangements. As a result, they won’t have gained much after several years of this—they won’t understand any truths and cannot share any experiential testimony. At this time they’ll feel regret, and think it would be best to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements and believe in God according to His requirements. They had felt quite clever at the time, making plans according to their own will, but, not having attained the truth, they were the ones who lost out in the end. People only come to understand the truth and awaken through these failures. Only after their life has suffered some degree of loss do they get on the right path, and begin taking shortcuts. If they believed in God according to His requirements, they would avoid so many detours along the path. Some people, after experiencing many things and facing some failures and setbacks, come to understand some truths. They see through these matters, and can entrust everything to God, willingly submitting to His orchestration and arrangements. At that point, they are on the right path. But people with wicked, vicious dispositions do not give themselves to God. They always want to rely on their own efforts, always questioning, “Is fate really controlled by God? Is God really sovereign over all things?” Some people, listening to the same sermons and fellowships in the house of God, feel more energized the more they listen. Their state improves and they undergo transformation the more they listen. But some others only think it sounds more and more complicated, more unattainable. These are people who lack spiritual understanding. And still others listen to sermons and fellowships and feel wearied and wholly uninterested. This reveals the differences in people’s nature, separating sheep from goats, those who love the truth from those who do not love the truth. One group accepts God’s words, accepts the truth, and accepts God’s judgment and chastisement. The other group does not accept the truth no matter how they listen to sermons. They think it’s all just jargon, and even if they do understand it, they aren’t willing to practice it, because they cannot relinquish their own plans, selfish desires, and interests. So, they don’t change even after years of belief. Are the differences between these two groups within the church not quite evident? Those who truly want God are not influenced no matter what others say; they persist in expending themselves for God, believe God’s words are correct, and that practicing according to God’s words is the highest principle. Those who are wicked and do not love the truth always have active thoughts. If today they see a glimmer of hope for receiving blessings, they’ll give it their all and do good deeds for everyone to see, hoping to win them over. After a while, however, when God has not blessed them, they become regretful and complain, and this is the conclusion they arrive at: “God is sovereign over all; He shows no partiality—I’m not so sure these words are true.” They cannot see beyond their own immediate interests; if it doesn’t benefit them, they won’t lift a finger. Isn’t this vicious? No matter who they interact with, they try to make deals with them, and they even dare to try to make deals with God. They think: “I need to see some profit, and right now. I must profit right away!” Such forcefulness—would it be going too far to say they have a vicious disposition? (No.) How can their viciousness be proven, then? When they are faced with a little trial or disaster, they won’t be able to take it and won’t perform their duty. They’ll feel they’ve suffered a loss: “I’ve invested so much and God still hasn’t blessed me. Is there even a God? Is this the right way or not?” Their heart stirs with doubt. They want to see profit, and this proves that they do not willingly and earnestly make sacrifices; in this way they are exposed. What did Job’s wife say when Job was experiencing his trials? (“Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9).) She was a nonbeliever, denying God and forsaking Him when disaster struck. When God granted blessings, she said, “Jehovah God, You are the great Savior! You’ve given me so much property and blessed me. I will follow You. You are my God!” And when God took her property away, she said, “You are not my God.” She even told Job, “Do not believe. There is no God! If there were, how could He let our property be taken away by bandits? Why didn’t He protect us?” What disposition is this? It is a vicious disposition. As soon as their interests are compromised, and their own goals and desires are not met, they fly into a rage, rebel, and become a Judas, betraying and forsaking God. Are there many people like this? Such rather obvious evil people and nonbelievers may still exist within the church to some extent. But some people only have this kind of state; that is, they have this disposition, but they are not necessarily of this type. However, if you have this kind of disposition, does it need to change? (Yes.) If you have this kind of disposition, then it means your nature is also vicious. With this kind of vicious disposition, you are capable of opposing God, betraying God, and acting hostilely toward Him at any moment. Every day you do not change these corrupt dispositions is a day you are not compatible with God. When you are incompatible with God, you cannot come before Him and experience His work and you have no way of receiving salvation.
Job was a man of true faith. When God blessed him, he thanked God. When God disciplined and deprived him, he also thanked God. At the end of his experience, when he was old and God took all he had away, how did Job react? Not only did he not complain; he praised God and bore witness for Him. Is there a wicked disposition here? A vicious disposition? (No.) Did Job rebel after losing so much property? Did he complain? (No.) He did not complain, he praised God. What disposition is this? It includes several things that a normal humanity should possess: conscience, reason, and a love for positive things. First of all, Job had conscience. In his heart he knew everything he had was given by God, and he thanked God for this. Additionally, he had reason. Which of his statements proves he had reason? (He said: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21).) This statement bears witness to Job’s true experience and understanding of God’s trials; it conveys his true stature and humanity. What else did Job possess? (A love of the truth.) How is this measured? How can we see his love for the truth in the matter of God depriving him? (When something befell him, he was able to seek the truth.) Seeking the truth is a manifestation of loving the truth. When these things were happening around him, no matter how uncomfortable or painful Job felt, he did not complain—isn’t this a manifestation of loving the truth? And what is another important manifestation of loving the truth? (The ability to submit.) How do we know this is a practical, accurate manifestation of loving the truth? People often say, “Everything God does for people is beneficial and comes with His good intentions.” Is this the truth? (Yes.) But can you accept it? You can accept it when God blesses you, but can you accept it when He takes away? You cannot, but Job could. He took this statement as the truth—didn’t he love the truth? When God took everything he had away, causing him grievous loss, and when Job suffered such serious illness, because of this one statement—“Everything God does is right and comes with His good intentions”—and because Job understood in his heart that this was the truth, no matter how greatly he suffered, he could still insist that this statement was correct. That is why we say Job loved the truth. Furthermore, no matter what means God used to test Job, he accepted it. Whether it was taking things away or having bandits take them, or even afflicting Job with sores, all of these things go against human notions—but how did Job treat these? Did he complain about God? He did not speak a single word of blame toward God. This is loving the truth, loving fairness, and loving righteousness. In his heart, he said, “God is so fair to us people and so righteous! Whatever God does is right!” Thus, he could praise God, saying: “No matter what God does, I will not complain. In the eyes of God, created beings are but maggots. However God treats them is fine and justified.” He believed everything God did was right, was something positive. Despite his severe pain and discomfort he didn’t complain. This is genuine love of the truth that must be admired by all; and it was all demonstrated pragmatically. Regardless of how much he lost or how difficult his circumstances were, Job did not complain about God; he submitted. This is a manifestation of loving the truth. He was able to overcome his own difficulties; he did not blame God for them or make any demands of God. This is loving the truth, it is genuine submission. Only those with genuine submission are people who love the truth. Some people excel at spouting doctrine and shouting slogans in ordinary times, but when something serious befalls them they always have demands for God, and persistently beseech Him: “Oh, God, please take away my illness! Please restore my wealth!” Is this submission? They are not people who love the truth. They like to lie and mislead others, and love wealth and gain in their hearts. Job regarded material benefits and all of his possessions lightly, having a pure understanding of all of them, so he was able to submit. In his heart, Job could see through these things. He said, “No matter how much one earns in this life, it all comes from God. If God doesn’t allow you to earn, you won’t earn a cent. If He allows it, then you’ll have however much He gives you.” He saw the fact of God’s sovereignty over all things clearly, this truth took root in his heart. “God is sovereign over all things”—this sentence came not with a question mark for Job, but with an exclamation mark. This sentence became his life and settled in his heart. What else was inherent in Job’s humanity? Why did he curse his own birthday? He would have rather died than have God see him in pain and grieve for him. What quality is this, what essence? (Kindness.) What are the primary manifestations of Job’s kindness? He was considerate and understanding of God, and he could love and satisfy God. If someone possesses these qualities, then they have character. How is character formed? Only one who understands the truth, who can stand firm in their witness during God’s trials and Satan’s temptations, who can live like a human, reaching the standard of being human, and who possesses a certain amount of the truth, has character. In terms of humanity essence, it was only because Job had a kind heart that he was able to curse his own birthday and would have rather died than let God see him in pain, causing God grief and worry. This was Job’s humanity. A person will only love and care for God if they have a kind humanity and essence. If they have neither, then they will be numb and callous. Contrast this with Paul, who was the complete opposite of Job. Paul was always looking out for himself, and even wanted to make deals with God. He wanted to obtain a crown, he wanted to be Christ and replace Christ. And when he couldn’t get his crown he tried to argue with God and litigate against Him. Such absence of reason! This shows Paul lacked a sense of shame. People with Satan’s corrupt disposition must change. If one understands the truth, and can accept and practice the truth, then they will be able to submit to God. They will not oppose God anymore and will become compatible with Him. Such a person is one who obtains the truth and life. This is the kind of created being that God desires.
July 13, 2018