Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God Perfects Those After His Own Heart”
Now let’s start our meeting. We’ll first read the latter part of the article of God’s words “God Perfects Those After His Own Heart.”
“Those without understanding of God can never completely obey God. People like this are sons of disobedience. They are too ambitious, and there is too much rebellion in them, so they distance themselves from God and are unwilling to accept His observation. People like this cannot be perfected easily. Some people are selective in how they eat and drink of God’s words and in their acceptance of them. They accept portions of God’s words which accord with their notions while rejecting those which do not. Is this not the most blatant rebellion and resistance against God? If someone believes in God for years without gaining even a little understanding of Him, he is an unbeliever. Those who are willing to accept God’s observation are those who pursue an understanding of Him, who are willing to accept His words. They are the ones who will receive God’s inheritance and blessings, and they are the most blessed. God curses those with no place for Him in their hearts. He chastises and abandons such people. If you do not love God, He will abandon you, and if you do not listen to what I say, I promise that God’s Spirit will abandon you. Try it if you don’t believe! Today I tell you a path of practice, but whether you put it into practice is up to you. If you are faithless, if you do not practice, you’ll see whether or not the Holy Spirit works in you! If you don’t pursue understanding of God, the Holy Spirit will not work in you. God works in those who pursue and treasure His words. The more you treasure God’s words, the more His Spirit will work in you. The more a person treasures God’s words, the greater his chance of being perfected by God. God perfects those who truly love Him. He perfects those whose hearts are at peace before Him. If you treasure all of God’s work, if you treasure God’s enlightenment, if you treasure God’s presence, if you treasure God’s care and protection, if you treasure how God’s words become your reality and provision for your life, you are most after God’s heart. If you treasure God’s work, if you treasure all the work that He has done upon you, He will bless you and cause all that is yours to multiply. If you do not treasure God’s words, He will not work on you, but He will only give you a little grace for your faith, or bless you with a little material wealth or safety for your family. You should strive to make God’s words your reality, satisfy Him and be after His own heart, and you should not merely strive to enjoy His grace. Nothing is more important for believers than to receive God’s work, gain perfection, and become ones who do God’s will. This is the goal you should pursue.
“All that man pursued in the Age of Grace is now obsolete, because there is currently a higher standard of pursuit, a pursuit of something both loftier and more practical, a pursuit that can better satisfy what man requires inside. For those in ages past, God did not do today’s work upon them, He did not speak to them as much as He has spoken today, nor were His requirements of them as high as today. That God raises these things to you now shows that God’s ultimate intention is focused on you, this group. If you truly wish to be perfected by God, then pursue it as your central goal. No matter whether you are running around, spending yourself, serving a function, or are entrusted by God, you should seek to be perfected and meet God’s will. You should seek these in all you do. If someone says he does not pursue perfection by God or entry into life, but only pursues fleshly peace and joy, then he is utterly blind. Those who do not pursue the reality of life, but only pursue eternal life in the world to come and safety in this world are utterly blind. So, all that you do should be done for the purpose of being perfected and gained by God.
“The work God does in people is to provide for them based on their different requirements. The larger a man’s life, the more he requires, and the more he pursues. If at this phase you have no pursuits, it proves the Holy Spirit has abandoned you. All those who pursue life will never be abandoned by the Holy Spirit—they always pursue, and always yearn. People like these are never content to rest where they are. Each phase of the Holy Spirit’s work aims to achieve an effect in you, but if you grow complacent, if you no longer have needs, if you no longer accept the work of the Holy Spirit, He will abandon you. People require God’s observation every day; they require abundant provision from God every day. Can people do without eating and drinking of God’s word every day? If someone always feels like he can’t eat or drink enough of God’s word, if he always seeks it and hungers and thirsts for it, the Holy Spirit will always do work upon him. The more someone yearns, the more practical things can come out of his fellowship. The more intensely someone seeks the truth, the more quickly his life grows, giving him rich experience and making him a wealthy man in the house of God.”
“Those without understanding of God can never completely obey God. People like this are sons of disobedience. They are too ambitious, and there is too much rebellion in them, so they distance themselves from God and are unwilling to accept His observation. People like this cannot be perfected easily.” Do you understand what God means by this? There are several issues covered in these lines, and we need to be clear on what they are and what the key points are. The first is “[t]hose without understanding of God can never completely obey God. People like this are sons of disobedience.” How have we phrased our views on this in the past? “What is a son of disobedience? Someone who doesn’t believe in God, or someone who calls himself a believer, but doesn’t eat and drink God’s word, doesn’t experience God’s work, and doesn’t perform his duty, not in the slightest, that is a son of disobedience!” Isn’t that how we understood the issue in the past? So now, looking at God’s words, what exactly is a son of disobedience? “Those without understanding of God can never completely obey God. People like this are sons of disobedience.” These are God’s words, God gives us a clear definition here, stating exactly what a son of disobedience is. Given this, is it not clear that our previous understanding and knowledge of what a son of disobedience was were merely the notions and imaginings of man? It seems now that what we learned about sons of disobedience was wrong. Now, don’t we have to reflect on whether we ourselves are sons of disobedience? It’s not as simple as reading and understanding of God’s words literally, we have to relate them to our own reality and understand our own state. We have to ask ourselves whether we are after God’s heart and whether we are truly obedient to God. Those who are not truly obedient to God and those who can’t reach a state of complete obedience are sons of disobedience. Don’t say you can’t accept it, because these are God’s words. God’s words are the truth, so which aspects of what God has and is do these words from God represent? Which aspects of God’s disposition do they represent? In the past we saw those who partially obeyed God and could follow God, cast things aside for God, and expend themselves for God as those truly obedient to God, and even saw them as those entirely after God’s heart. Is that viewpoint correct? Why isn’t it correct? What is “partial obedience”? “I obey that which is in accord with my notions and taste, and that which is beneficial to me.” And isn’t it a good thing to practice obedience in these aspects? Yes it is, it’s good to do so. But what does this man express on the disobedient side? What things does his disobedient side include? What kind of behavior does he exhibit on this side? Isn’t it his resistance to God? Isn’t it still his disobedience to God? If his disobedient side still contains arrogance and conceit and resistance to God, then what is this man’s nature and essence? Is this someone obedient to God, or a son of disobedience who disobeys God? He is a son of disobedience who disobeys God.
If we say that someone has a side that obeys God, but behind it is a side resistant to God, how should we see this person? Is he someone who obeys God or is he disobedient to God? He is disobedient to God. Why do we say that? What is his essence? Has he achieved change in his life disposition? Isn’t that the key question? Are those who haven’t achieved change in their life disposition after God’s heart? Are they truly obedient to God? Do they follow God’s will? If he is none of these, then what is he in essence? A son of disobedience, isn’t he? Some might argue, “I obey God in more aspects than I disobey, so aren’t I truly obedient to God?” Are those obedient to God in more aspects than they are disobedient truly obedient to God? What do these “more” aspects refer to? Which aspects are “more”? What do those “less” aspects refer to? If your disobedience in those “less” aspects results from your antichrist nature, then your disobedience in those “less” aspects will ruin you and will cost you your life, won’t it? I will ask you another question: Was the Pharisees’ obedience to God more or their disobedience to God more? Their disobedience was more. Why do we say that? There was disobedience at the core of their obedience, their obedience contained adulterations and hypocrisy, and so what were the Pharisees in essence? They were ones who resisted God. The Pharisees who seemed so pious to man’s eyes were those who resisted God in God’s eyes. God and man see things differently, and the difference is so large.
So how should we view those who can’t completely obey God in all things, those who appear to obey in some aspects outwardly, have some piety, and have spent to a limited extent for God, or have undergone many sufferings for God? We have to look at whether they have achieved change in their life disposition. If there is hypocrisy and pretense in their obedience, which has no essence of true obedience, then that little obedience is not at all after God’s heart. To God, they are still the sons of disobedience. Some people are obedient in small matters or those in accord with human notions, but the more it’s a matter of importance, a key matter, a matter of principle, the more disobedient they become, the more arrogant and self-righteous they become, the more they follow their own directives. What sort of people are these? They obey God in small matters while resisting God in major matters. If you resist God in major matters, have you achieved change in your life disposition? No, you still resist God. If you resist God in major matters, if you stand in opposition to God in major matters, if you oppose God in major matters, if you obstruct the execution of God’s will in major matters, the essence of your error is grave, and you are true antichrists and nonbelievers, because those are acts only satanic devils can commit. So while some are obedient in small matters outwardly, and they have left their families and jobs for the sake of God, or refused to marry or start a family in order to expend themselves for God and fulfill their duties, when it comes to matters concerning the truth and doing God’s will, they have notions, are disobedient, and even resist God. No matter what God’s house says or demands of them, if they have their notions about it they disobey, refuse to practice, and reject it. They have expended, cast aside, and suffered something outwardly, but the more important the matter at hand, the less they are able to obey. They can accept and obey the portions of God’s word they agree with, but the moment something conflicts with their notions they resist, oppose, and absolutely refuse to be convinced in their hearts. Notions take root in their hearts, their necks stiffen in disobedience, and they refuse to perform their duties. Are people like this obedient to God? And if they maintain their resistance, what will be their end? Some say they will be eliminated and punished. Based on what? “Those without understanding of God can never completely obey God. People like this are sons of disobedience.” They base their conclusion on this sentence. These people are sons of disobedience. When some people have cast aside and expended something for God, others say to them, “God’s house has a job for you, God’s house wants to entrust you with a task, go do it!” But they don’t do it with devotion, they do it in a perfunctory manner, and after working for a long time, they produce no results. They usually hope to stand out among their peers and have others think highly of them in all things they do, and when they are elected as leaders they should be obedient to God, but they do no practical work and accomplish nothing, so what’s the problem here? They are sons of disobedience! When we make no real demands of them they are very active and run around working themselves to the bone, but the minute we demand results they accomplish nothing and can’t finish their work. Are they not sons of disobedience? Are those elected as leaders and workers who accomplish no practical results not sons of disobedience? God’s house plans duties for them, but no matter what duties they are given, they fail to perform them well, they make a mess of things no matter what job they are given. Are they not sons of disobedience? They are nothing other than sons of disobedience!
What does true obedience refer to? Obedience to God’s arrangements, which means using all your strength and effort to do whatever work and take on whatever responsibilities God’s house arranges for you. That comes from God and is arranged by God, and if you don’t accept that this way, you are the worst of wrong-headed fools. You should see the work given to you as God’s arrangement, and say to yourself, “I’ll make sure it gets done well, and even if I can’t do it perfectly, I’ll at least do it to standard, at least that counts as obedience to God as well.” If you do it badly, if you make a mess of it, if people can’t stand to look at your work, isn’t that trouble for you? Very much so. There are so many people working who are driven by passion, doing this and that. What is their outcome? We don’t know. Why don’t we know? Because no real demands have been made of them, no special arrangements have been made for them. But the moment special arrangements are made for them, the moment they are truly asked to fulfill their duty and real demands are made of them, their outcome will be revealed by their performance in that task. A good comparison is children. While our children are growing up and going to school, we make no real demands of them, so we don’t know which of them are truly or falsely filial, but when they leave home and establish themselves, by that point it should be revealed which of them are filial and which are disobedient. When it comes time to truly perform your duty, your character, whether or not you truly pursue truth, whether or not you possess any reality of the truth, and whether you are a true believer or a false believer will be revealed. So, this is why in the past I’ve so often said that performing your duties reveals a man most. Although people are adept at speaking doctrinal words in the church life, and many do so very well, and it seems that they all have reality, there’s no rush, because the truth will come out when you perform your duty. All will be revealed then. In the final moments, during the period before the great disasters loom, how you perform your duties reveals this problem more than anything. That’s why, in the portion of God’s word we just read, God said, “Those without understanding of God can never completely obey God. People like this are sons of disobedience.” Do you understand the true meaning of these words? “Those without understanding of God can never completely obey God.” In which matters does obedience matter most? In the final moments of performing your duty, which is your final performance by which you will be judged, as spoken of in God’s words. What “performance” is God referring to? Primarily that in performing your duties. Your attitude toward your duty, whether or not you practice truth, whether or not you obey God, whether or not your work is effective, and whether or not you are loyal to God will all be revealed in your performance of your duties.
“They are too ambitious, and there is too much rebellion in them, so they distance themselves from God and are unwilling to accept His observation. People like this cannot be perfected easily.” What do these lines mean? They mean there is a type of person who cannot be easily made perfect by God, more exactly, they cannot be made perfect by God. They cannot be easily made perfect by God, that is, they cannot achieve the state of being made perfect by God. Which type of person is this? Those with too much ambition and those with too much rebellion in them, which distance them from God. The primary behavior in which people distance themselves from God is that they don’t accept God’s observation. Those who don’t accept God’s observation can’t be made perfect by God, because in nothing do they accept God’s observation. Some might ask, “Is it really that simple?” It really is that simple. What does refusing to accept God’s observation prove? First, the hearts of those who refuse to accept God’s observation are already distanced from God; second, their refusal to accept God’s observation proves they have no fear of God in their hearts; third, those who refuse to accept God’s observation have no place for God in their hearts and do not honor God above all else. How do we explain that someone has no place for God in his heart? He believes in God, but he has no place for God in his heart, which means we can be certain he has absolutely no fear of God in his heart, and beyond that, someone without a place for God in their heart are nonbelievers. Is saying this in accord with the facts? Let’s look at an example, it’s like one person loves another. If he says, “I love this person,” does the one he loves have a place in his heart? If he loves someone, that person has an especially important place in his heart, so important that this person’s position in his heart is higher than that of anyone else. Others are simply acquaintances, common friends, but this person is a best friend, a special friend, so this person’s position in his heart is the highest. That’s why, if one person loves another, the loved holds the highest position in his heart. Now let’s talk about believers in God. What kind of God is God? The heavens and earth and all things were created by God, so God is the Creator of all things and the Master of all things. If people accept such a God, how should they treat Him? If people believe in such a God, what kind of position should God hold in their heart for their belief to be genuine? What place should God hold in their heart for their faith to qualify as such? Think about it. A good example is how people believed in the Lord Jesus in the past. How did they believe in the Lord Jesus? What about the Lord Jesus was it that they believed in? What was the Lord Jesus to them? “He is my Redeemer. He redeemed me from my sins. He created me, so I have to follow Him, I have to worship Him, and I have to obey Him, because He is my Lord, He is my God!” Is that not what it means to believe in God? So, any who truly believe in God give God the highest place in their hearts, higher than that of their parents, ancestors, idols, and everyone they love. That’s the proper place for God in your heart, that is where God belongs, and nothing can alter that truth! But if God’s place isn’t that high in a believer’s heart, as though he is indifferent to God’s presence in his heart, as if it is only a type of doctrine, a formula to live by, he still has no understanding of God, much less fear of God. He only thinks that a vague God exists somewhere, who created the heavens and earth and all things in them, and redeemed mankind during the Age of Grace, and now that He is expressing so much truth today, so it must be true, why not accept? Such confused belief in God, belief that doesn’t truly grant God a place in the believer’s heart, means the believer is incapable of honoring God above all else or putting God first in all things, and cannot truly be obedient. In this believer’s heart, God has to take a number and wait, perhaps God will eventually get a seat. Is such belief truly faith in God? If God has no place in his heart, if God isn’t his Lord and his God, if he doesn’t fear, obey, and worship God as his God and Lord, there is a problem in his faith. His faith is not up to standard! If his faith is not up to standard, if it is faith in an uncertain God, an invisible God, a vague God, mere acknowledgement without obedience, and more so without worship, lacking even the ability to have an open-hearted exchange with God through prayer, he is not a true believer, he merely believes in God verbally. Strictly speaking, he is a nonbeliever, and that’s not an exaggeration. What are the behaviors of a nonbeliever? First is that no matter what happens to them, they don’t seek the truth or God’s will, they simply put God aside and make their own decisions and act according to their own will. Are these not nonbelievers? Second is that when God’s house arranges work for them, duties a man ought to fulfill, they ignore it or engage in it at whim, they practice when they feel like it, and they put it aside when they don’t feel like it, and say it has nothing to do with them. Are these not nonbelievers? If the sermons and fellowship from the above are in accord with my notions and imaginings, I will agree, accept, and approve; if they aren’t in accord with my notions and imaginings, I will not respond to them, ignore them, refuse to accept them, and act as though they have nothing to do with me. Are those not the third behavior of a nonbeliever? But there’s one more, they perform their duties conditionally, with their priority on living well. If they can’t live well or the rest of their lives don’t go smoothly, they won’t perform their duties and demand exemption. If they think it might cause them to suffer loss or get into an intractable situation, they will refuse to accept it and only consider their own escape. They demand a lifetime of recompense for fulfilling their duties, they demand a pension and that you cure their illnesses and diseases. “So,” they say, “God might demand that I fulfill my duty as one of creation in His words, but whether I will depends on whether you give me the right conditions, and if you don’t, I won’t fulfill my duty, that duty won’t have anything to do with me, and I’ll be happy to simply believe in God in my heart.” Is that not the viewpoint of a nonbeliever? “The truth rules in God’s house, and I acknowledge and accept portions of the truth in accord with my notions, but I reject and refuse to obey portions of the truth not in accord with my notions. I can treat it however I like, because I don’t do anything evil, so I’ll be fine if I don’t leave God.” Is that not the notion of a nonbeliever? If the views and ideas we’ve described exist in people, they are in trouble, and their belief is useless, because they won’t follow to the end.
“Those without understanding of God can never completely obey God. People like this are sons of disobedience. They are too ambitious, and there is too much rebellion in them, so they distance themselves from God and are unwilling to accept His observation. People like this cannot be perfected easily.” This reveals something, an aspect of the truth. What kind of person can be made perfect by God? Only those who accept God’s observation can be made perfect by God, and any who refuse it cannot! Some say, “I want to be made perfect by God, I want to gain the truth, I want to become someone who does God’s will, I want to spend my life to do God’s will, that kind of life is so valuable, it’s a life with meaning. I don’t desire to do something earth-shaking. All I want is to gain God’s approval. I only want to satisfy God!” It does no good to do something earth-shaking. If we can do God’s will so that when God sees what we do, He smiles and nods, that’s enough. But for someone who has this desire, how can he be made perfect by God? Once he reads this passage of God’s word, will he have a path? First, accept God’s observation. Then, learn to completely obey God. Don’t rely on your own notions and imaginings and doctrines and reasons. Be like a soldier in the military of the unbelievers, make obedience your highest principle. Soldiers have no higher responsibility than obeying orders. The obedience of believers in God must be complete, and there are three conditions to complete obedience: first, obey whether or not you understand; second, obey God’s word whether or not it accords with your notions and imaginings; third, obey without asking for any reasons or saying anything about any conditions. Those who can achieve that kind of obedience are those completely obedient to God. Be completely obedient to God and accept God’s observation in all things, and you are sure to be made perfect by God. Now is the path to being made perfect by God clear? There are two principles. One is to become completely obedient and achieve these three conditions. Next is to accept God’s observation in all things. That’s all you have to do. And there are two details associated with accepting God’s observation. What are they? Don’t be selective according to your notions and imaginings in which matters you accept God’s observation; especially in things which don’t accord with your notions and imaginings accept God’s observation, seek and grasp God’s will and obey God’s arrangements.
Some say, “If this is in accord with my notions, I’m willing to obey, and I’ll pray to God to observe me, but if not, I won’t accept God’s observation.” Is this a principle? Is this not acting according to your own whims? Is this not a son of disobedience? See this for what it is. This is the error many commit in their pursuit, following their own notions and imaginings instead of acting according to the principles of the truth. If you find something not in accord with your notions and imaginings, then pray and accept God’s observation even through your tears, because you must obey. “God, I don’t want to obey, but to satisfy You I must, even if it goes against my own notions and imaginings I must. Even if I suffer insult and disgrace, even if I suffer harm to my bodily interests, I must obey.” Obedience in this way is correct. Some are dealt with and shed tears, but in the end, they say, “I obey!” This is right. You need to experience obedience to this level for it to be proper and qualified. You’ve just complained about what it takes to obey, but then you pray, confess your mistake, express your obedience, and obey immediately. So, God won’t look at the weakness and rebelliousness you’ve exposed. As in the end you obey, God will nod. This is right. After your show of disobedience, grumbling, and complaints, if you think, “Wait, that’s not right” and you pray at once, “God! I want to obey, I firmly believe that this is Your will, so I’ll obey You, no matter how hard or difficult it is, I’ll obey!” When God sees this, He will nod in silence. What does God mean by “nod”? God will reluctantly let it go, God will not remember the corruption and complaints you’ve just exposed in your unwillingness. Have you ever experienced such obedience? Have you? Reluctant obedience, the kind where yesterday you wouldn’t obey at all, but today you finally can. Such people have some experience, some true obedience, obedience in which you silence yourself despite it going against your own notions and imaginings, obedience in which you slap your mouth after expressing your displeasure, and tell yourself, “Obey! I have no excuse, what I said just now was wrong.” Experiences like this are priceless. One could say you have some reality of the truth. What do we mean by saying you have some reality of the truth? We mean that is a kind of true obedience. True obedience like this is far more valuable than any running, expending, sweating, or tears for God, because this is the testimony of true obedience!
Look at the trials Job faced, the fruits of a lifetime of labor taken in a single day, carried away by robbers, did his heart not ache? His wealth was gone, that was painful. But what was even more painful? Were his children not also taken? This was an old man losing his children, not just a son, all of them, along with his daughters. Can you imagine the depth of his pain? An ordinary man would beat his chest and howl in pain at the death of one child, never mind all of them! Who could stand it? A healthy man’s blood pressure would skyrocket until he passed out, there might be thrombosis, even a fatal stroke if it’s serious. Ordinary people couldn’t take the pain. But why didn’t Job die? He had a heart that feared God, so he didn’t die, he withstood it. Some might ask, “What are you talking about? If you have a heart that fears God, you won’t die? If something happens, you’ll be able to get through it? That’s illogical, explain yourself.” If someone has a heart that fears God, God is above all else in his heart, he understands God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and he has true faith. Listen to the words Job said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away.” Based on those words alone, did he understand how to forsake? He had the right understanding, he had the truth, so when those things happened to him, he could stand firm, he wouldn’t die. But if he hadn’t had the truth, what happened to him would have killed him! Before all his trials, did he have the penetration to understand this? Absolutely. Before Job’s seventies, a man once said to him, “Job, look at how much wealth you’ve earned, you’re quite a businessman!” Job answered, “You’re wrong, this was all granted to me by God. If God hadn’t granted me these things, my talent wouldn’t matter at all.” How often must he have had to say those words? He had understanding, didn’t he? Some might further ask, “You say your wealth was given to you by God, but what about your children?” “They were also given to me by God. That’s right, God gives what He sees fit to give, and what God doesn’t give, no matter if you’re the king, or how many wives you take, you won’t have a child, and even if one of your wives somehow does give birth, it will be stillborn.” And they said to him, “You’re right, that’s the truth, you understand the truth.” It was because he understood this truth that he had the penetration to understand this matter, so when everything happened to him, he didn’t fall, and he didn’t die. So, wasn’t the truth protecting him? It was because he understood this truth prior to his trials that he could withstand them, and he was able to pray, “God, You granted me all my wealth and my children, so even though You’ve taken them away, I will obey, I will still praise You and extol You, I won’t complain, You still deserve my extolment.” He had that understanding of God and faith in his heart, so when his trials came, when he lost his wealth and his children, it didn’t hurt so much, and he didn’t fall! So after this fellowship, after this explanation, do you still have any notions about this? Is this still illogical? No, correct?
“Those who are willing to accept God’s observation are those who pursue an understanding of Him, who are willing to accept His words. They are the ones who will receive God’s inheritance and blessings, and they are the most blessed.” People have no say in who is most blessed, it does no good, it doesn’t count. But when God says who is most blessed, they are the most blessed, because that’s the truth, God’s word is the truth, so it becomes fact. Who does God say is most blessed? Those who accept God’s observation. Is that easy to do? Are there difficulties involved? First, we should understand what it means to accept God’s observation, we should know the practical significance of it. Some people pray, “God! I’m willing to accept Your observation in this matter, and if I disobey You, may You curse me, I’m willing to bear Your curses and punishment.” So, when a person accepts God’s observation, what are his behaviors? He is already obeying God, he has already come before God, he has already brought this issue before God, he is willing to obey and satisfy God, he is already someone who lives in the presence of God, he already exhibits true obedience. Once he has true obedience, he lives in the light of God’s countenance, and he will often pray to God and communicate with God about this. So, in the process of accepting God’s observation, it’s difficult for him to avoid weakness and wavering, but he has the resolve to accept God’s observation, so God will lead and illuminate him, give him faith, and make him able to stand witness. I want all of you who’ve had this experience to raise your hands and tell me that you’ve been through it in some matters, that you’ve sworn an oath to God to accept His observation, that you’ve been determined to obey God and flatly refused to disobey Him. I tell you, people with that kind of experience are people who truly pursue the truth, they have the courage to accept challenges, they are the bravest people of all. Those who can accept God’s observation in many things, especially in the most key and important matters, will absolutely be made perfect by God. But if you only accept God’s observation in insignificant matters, can you count as having the resolve to accept it? If we say we accept God’s observation, when and where does it count? When we encounter major temptations which we cannot see through and we lack faith and feel weak or waver, those with such a resolution should accept God’s observation and swear an oath to God. Accepting God’s observation includes having the confidence to make an oath. As we accept God’s observation, we will stand firm in these matters. When we receive the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, we will grasp God’s will and know how to practice, and our path and experience will become brighter, and in the end, we will stand firm. So only those who accept God’s observation in key matters are those who yearn the most for God, God makes these people perfect; but all those who never accept God’s observation live their days in confusion, they don’t pursue the truth at all, and they have no interest in the truth. When things happen to them, they are full of their own notions and imaginings, Satan’s philosophies, and their own cleverness. They don’t need God, and they don’t need God’s word. So, those who never accept God’s observation are those who do not fear God, they are not true believers, can we say that? Those who never accept God’s observation are those with no place for God in their heart, God is not in their heart, and though they may claim to believe in God, they don’t consider God to be important, and that is very troublesome! Look at those people who, when they make offerings to God, don’t properly wrap and seal their offerings or treat them like treasures to be revered. They simply bring their offerings, and when their brothers and sisters see it, they say, “Is that for God? Let me see what it is. Quick, bring it here!” They touch and fondle the offerings, even touch it to their faces and smell it. Then another says, “Let me see what you are offering to God, too, I also want a look at it,” and fondles it, and smells it. They do this to offerings for God, they allow so many hands to touch it and so many noses to smell it. What is the problem here? They do not have hearts that fear God. How does God view these people? Does God not despise them? Does God not have disgust for these people in His heart? God does not recognize those with no fear of Him in their hearts, am I correct in saying that? Absolutely. Those who commit such wicked deeds and these people who God detests should repent and understand their deeds! Are offerings to God meant to be casually touched and felt? They don’t even package their offerings. When God sees these offerings, He says, “How many people’s hands have touched this? And now you give it to Me? I reject this offering! It disgusts Me!” God does not recognize those without fear of Him in their hearts as true believers. Remember this, this is very important. No matter whether you admit it or not, this is very important.
“God perfects those who truly love Him. He perfects those whose hearts are at peace before Him. If you treasure all of God’s work, if you treasure God’s enlightenment, if you treasure God’s presence, if you treasure God’s care and protection, if you treasure how God’s words become your reality and provision for your life, you are most after God’s heart.” Those most after God’s heart are those who truly believe in God, and God blesses and perfects such people. You see where some people put God’s words. They pile God’s word together with the vile books of the unbelievers, do such people treasure God’s words? What are those revolting books of the unbelievers? They are the words of Satan, and they put God’s word in a pile of Satan’s words! Do they not profane God? Often when I’m fellowshiping with a group, many of my listeners are taking notes, because some of them hunger and thirst for righteousness, and if the words I speak truly have the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, if they truly benefit them, they think, “I’d better write this down so I don’t forget, because I’ve forgotten so much before.” They write it down, and they weigh and consider it, after weighing it a few times, they understand, it makes sense, they remember, and it’s in their hearts. But some people write down my fellowship as if it’s simply a process to follow, “Everyone is writing his words down, so I probably should too, I’ll find a sheet of paper, borrow a pen, and take notes.” They take notes, the fellowship ends, and they throw their notes in the trash. Why write it down if you meant to throw it away? Why are they so vain? Don’t write it down if you don’t want to, why go through the process? Some people understand and gain something as they listen without writing it down, so why bother?
Can those who believe in God without love for the truth succeed? Can they gain the truth? If you don’t gain the truth, an infinite number of lifetimes of belief would be useless, and you will achieve no real change in your life disposition, so what good does such belief do you? God won’t approve. Do you think God’s house is like the world? “Nothing is more important for believers than to receive God’s work, gain perfection, and become ones who do God’s will.” What commission does God entrust to those He perfects? To spread the gospel of the kingdom to the whole world and all of humanity, so that God’s will and God’s words can be carried out on earth, just as they are in heaven, and this is God’s commission for all who love Him. If a man is loyal to God, what should he do? Struggle and fight for God all his life, ceaselessly, without rest. What should he fight ceaselessly and without rest for? To do God’s will. He should strive to do God’s will as long as he has breath. Such people are those God will make perfect. And we can see that the God’s gospel of the kingdom is spreading on earth today, but to what effect? More and more people in all nations and places believe in Almighty God, belief in Almighty God is becoming mainstream, and the kingdom of Christ is appearing. This is the day, the result, and the goal we fight for, so fulfill your duty with all your strength. Some are tasked with spreading the gospel, so they should use all their strength and all their wisdom to spread it and gain more people. No matter what gifts God gave you, you should use them to do God’s will. Skip marriage and devote all your energy to doing God’s will, fulfilling your duty and developing new skills or abilities; do your duties well, and don’t expend your energy on other things. Do not under any circumstances waste your energy on romance, love, or the pursuit of pleasure, use your energy to fulfill your duty. Then you will be someone who does God’s will, and you will definitely gain God’s approval. Is there not a limit to people’s energy? If you use your limited energy on finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, won’t that expend your energy? And if you expend your energy, are you not merely one of the walking dead made of flesh? Become that, and you’re finished. God won’t approve.
The more our energy is limited, the more we should treasure it. We should use it to fulfill our duty, to use it in developing new skills and improving our abilities, and if we fulfill our duty by becoming nails in the structure that supports the spread of gospel work, then our performance of our duties will be satisfactory. Where do the unbelievers use all their energy? Some in pleasure-seeking. Others in striving for their prospects, reputation, and status, because they seek fame. Others still use their energy for wealth, they want to get rich, but once they get their hands on riches, boom, an earthquake happens, they die, and who gets the wealth? That money becomes as good as waste paper to them. That’s why everyone who recovers from a grave illness or tastes the flavor of death isn’t interested in money. They say, “I nearly died, what good is money? It’s not part of me, and I can’t take it with me!” Have any of you ever seen someone on the brink of death in the hospital saying they want money? “Bring all the money here, I’ll make a will and divide it up for you!” Do people like that exist? No. Why not? Because they have more important things to worry about. They don’t care about money. They don’t know if they’re going to live or die, why worry about money? It’s useless at that point. That’s why unbelievers use their energy in the wrong place, and end up dooming themselves. If you use your energy to pursue the truth and fulfill your duty, and if you have a heart that loves God and use your strength to do God’s will, even though the little bit of strength you have doesn’t count for much, you’ve used it in the right place, you’ve used your best steel to make a sharp blade, and you will gain God’s approval! So what’s the smart thing to do? Use your energy to fulfill your duty; in order to satisfy God, try to perform your duty properly, pursue more truth, and understand more of the truth. What is our purpose in understanding more of the truth? To know God and be made perfect, and after we are perfected and live out the likeness of a real man, we can do the things that man should do and lead valuable lives. You see how the unbelievers earn doctorates and write books, does that matter? There’s no value in it at all! Those books sent to museums, do they have any value? One earthquake and they’re gone, one volcanic eruption and they’re ashes, they have no value at all, and there’s no use keeping them, because no one reads them! In the Age of Kingdom, who of the God’s chosen people will read such garbage? They are worthless. Is that not the case? Some of our brothers and sisters read my sermons and fellowship and say, “I can gain something from this.” Even my fellowship is better than those books. In the end, God’s word is the best, because God’s word expresses the truth, the way, and life. God’s word is the source of life, which is the truth. If you don’t expend your energy pursuing the truth and fulfilling your duties, you are a fool, you are the most foolish of fools, you have no wisdom or cleverness in you at all, you’re just a silly, ignorant fool.
What is the commission God gives to those He makes perfect? To become those who do God’s will. I ask you, why are you alive? What do you want to live for? Your children? Pleasures of the flesh? Reputation and status? If you live for these things, you are dead. The result is always death. They are worthless! If you live to do God’s will, then your life is valuable, it has significance, and it pleases God, is that not true? Is a doctorate valuable? Not a bit. It may feed you, but boom, once an earthquake hits, you’re dead. Can it still feed you now? No. Once you’re dead, what are you? Nothing. You’re extinguished. If you are perfected by God and do God’s will, you gain God’s approval. God will bless you, you are the most blessed. God says you are the most blessed, those aren’t the words of man. I didn’t say that, God said it, do you understand? Then where should your pursuits be? You should pursue the truth, you should pursue perfection by God, becoming one who does God’s will, and finally becoming one who spreads the gospel of the kingdom and contributes in some small way to realizing the kingdom of Christ using all of the little strength you have. This is the meaning and the value of life. You’ll see. One day, boom, disaster will hit, and then you’ll understand what it truly means to live, and what the real value of life is. You’ll understand all of this in an instant. Those who’ve spent their life fighting for worldly things, reputation, and status will all die, because those things are worthless and meaningless. Only those who pursue the truth and know God can become those who do God’s will, they are the ones who will be blessed with survival. Only they are the ones living out the true meaning of human life. Only they live valuable lives. Is that not so? When a scientist lies dying in the hospital, and you ask him what is the value of a life, he will understand. He will know that the path he took and the way he lived had no true value and was meaningless, and he will die. If you can still die after all you do, then all you’ve done is meaningless. Gaining the approval of God and being gained by God, the Creator, is more significant than anything. If you earn medals from the president, or awards from the emperor, and then you die, do they have any meaning? None, they are nothing, they are false, empty honors. Only those who gain God’s approval and come to know God who do their work is to spend their lives doing God’s will, and this is a valuable, meaningful life. Only they will survive and not die, only they will be with God and live in the presence of God, and the purpose of God’s 6,000-year management plan is to gain such a group of people to accompany God.
Question & Answer
Question 1: What does it mean to be wise in the practice of being an honest person, and what behaviors are deceitful? I lack discernment in this aspect, and have trouble grasping it. What are the principles I should understand in this respect?
Answer: This is a very broad question, and I cannot answer with one or two sentences. There are principles involved with being an honest person, but what are they? First, speak no lies; second, hold no deceit in your heart; third, do not fulfill your duties perfunctorily; fourth, and this is the most important, your prayers and fellowship with God must be truthful, you must be innocent and open with God, and communicate truthfully with God. If you practice and live out these four principles correctly, you are an honest person. If you can’t live out the realities of these four aspects, or if you’ve never practiced them, and merely follow the rules of being an honest person, it won’t work, because merely following rules will never change you, and never allow you to become an honest person, that’s an immutable fact. So what can we rely on to make us honest people? The fear of God in our hearts that comes from pursuit and understanding of the truth and knowing God’s disposition. Without a heart that fears God, people can never become honest, and without understanding of all aspects of truth concerning knowing God, people can never become honest, this is the basic principle of being an honest person.
Next I’ll explain “What does it mean to be wise in the practice of being an honest person, and what behaviors are deceitful?” If you lie and practice deceit toward God’s chosen people, you are a deceiver, and if you lie and practice deceit toward God, you are a deceiver. What does it mean to be wise? Wisdom here applies not to your conduct toward God, but toward devils and Satan, and the unbelievers. Devils, Satan, and the unbelievers are the objects of this wisdom. Some say, “I am honest with God, and deceitful to Satan.” But does that make sense? No. How can you call your attitude toward Satan deceitful? Your attitude to Satan should be called wisdom. If you are deceitful, you are deceitful to all, including Satan, aren’t you? To say you are honest with God, but deceitful with Satan, that’s ridiculous! It’s illogical. But if you are innocent, open, obedient, and true with God, you are an honest person. Honest people occasionally express corruption, but that’s not a big problem, because Satan has corrupted man for thousands of years, and becoming an honest person needs a process, as does God’s salvation of man, so all you can do is be truthful, practice the truth, accept the truth, and obey God. That’s the only way man can be purified. It’s a process that takes years, it’s not something that can be accomplished in a day. The more of the truth you understand, and the more you know God, the bigger the change in your life disposition will be. The most obvious proof of that change is primarily that your wild arrogance is solved, you are no longer arrogantly self-conceited or self-right, you simply become low-key, abide by the duty and obey God’s arrangements without making your own demands and choices. Is that not a change? This change in your life disposition is most important. There is another important change, but it comes second, and it’s that you are much more honest than you were, and you practice much less deceit, lying, and cheating. Some ask why this comes second, and not first. Why does changing arrogance take primacy? Because it sticks out too much. The most despicable part of humanity’s corruption, that which disgusts God most, is their arrogance and self-righteousness. It sticks out too much, so it has to be sanded down first! The second aspect is that as a person becomes more simple and honest, their deceit and cheating decreases, until finally, if they tell even a single lie, they can’t help but admit it to someone else, or pray to God to admit their guilt, “God, I just lied.” Some say to me, “Brother, what I said just now was a lie, so now I’m admitting it to you, and I’ll change.” And I say it’s good to have such understanding and experience, because it means there’s hope for you, it’s a good thing, a hundred times better than those who can lie without flinching. So, when we practice wisdom in being an honest person, do you understand what we mean? Toward whom will we practice wisdom? Be wise with the unbelievers, the devils, and Satan.
Some ask, “I can be wise with unbelievers, devils, and Satan, but some of my brothers and sisters don’t have any truth or wisdom, can I be simple and open with them?” Before your brothers and sisters gain the truth, they are living under the domain of Satan, so there are some secrets and some things in your hearts that you can’t be open about with them. If you are, they will ruin your plans, or report to Satan. They will tell their husbands or wives, and that will bring trouble, won’t it? A good example would be if one of your sisters opens up to you and says, “Your husband is very handsome.” Then you go home and tell your husband, “One of the sisters in the church says you look good, that you’re handsome.” The result will be that he asks, “Which sister said that? Bring her to the house, I’d like to hear her fellowship, I’ll believe in God too.” You think that’s good, so you bring her to your home, and the minute you do, rather than believe in God, he tries to make her his girlfriend. Is there any wisdom in such sharing? None at all. Why do we need to be wise where devils and Satan are concerned? It’s important to understand the reason. It’s because we have to prevent devils and Satan from gaining any handles on us, to prevent them from causing trouble, to deny them opportunities to cause trouble or find chinks in our armor. This is the reason, it is to protect the work of God’s house and to protect our brothers and sisters, that’s why we need to be wise with Satan, do you understand? Once you understand that, is there not a necessity to be wise where devils and Satan are concerned? There very much is. We have to understand wisdom while believing in God, and we have to know how to practice it, because if we don’t we will ruin things. If we don’t know how to practice wisdom, it’s far too easy to cause trouble! What qualifies as deceit? Is this not easy to discern? Deceit means to cheat, toy with, and use trickery to compete with your brothers and sisters, it means to be one way to their face and another when their backs are turned, it means to be two-faced and treacherous, to say and do two different things, and to speak lies instead of the truth. These behaviors are deceitful, as are any meant to confuse, cheat, or otherwise hide the truth for your own ends. Also, lying to God and hypocrisy are deceit. Any who engage in deceit are deceitful to all, but to be wise only applies to honest people. We need to be wise with devils and Satan, so if we don’t speak the truth with devils and Satan, then we conduct ourselves wisely, and if you call that deceit, you’re being preposterous. In saying that, you don’t discern insiders and outsiders, nor do you make a distinction between allies and enemies. Do you understand? That should answer your question about “extent.”
Question 2: I know I need to be an honest person, and I know that being honest is the likeness of a real man, and I consciously try to open up and expose myself, but when I open up and expose myself I still try to preserve my image and reputation, so I can’t completely open up, and afterward I regret it and hate myself. How can I completely expose the ugliness inside me, all of it, and become a truly honest person?
Answer: This person has understood that to be an honest person, he has to completely open himself up to his brothers and sisters, and that only by completely opening up himself can he become an honest person, but this understanding is incorrect. Why is it incorrect? Because opening up yourself is only one aspect of being an honest person, and it’s not absolute, he is simply following a rule. He doesn’t understand what an honest person is. The most important element of being an honest person is to practice the truth, to speak the truth and not lie, to be open with yourself in your heart, not to deceive God in God’s presence, and not to lie to your brothers and sisters. There are some things you can open up and fellowship about regarding your own experience, but there are other things that would be harmful to your work, that would give evildoers a handle or an opening, these are things you shouldn’t open up about, and you need the discernment to know the difference. You can open up about your own personal secrets if you like, or keep them to yourself if you like, don’t force yourself, that isn’t practicing the truth, and isn’t much related to the truth at all. In your practice of truth, the most important element is whether or not you can achieve complete obedience to God as you fulfill your duties, whether or not you can act according to principle, whether there are any of your own intentions or deceit in your actions, whether or not there are any intentions for yourself and any impurities. It is appropriate to open up and fellowship about this truth and fact. So, when we talk about opening up, we’re referring to whether or not you have any impurities as you fulfill your duties, and whether or not you have any impurities, obstructions or difficulties as you practice the truth, and once the source of these are solved, you will have no trouble practicing the truth and acting according to principle, no difficulties, and no obstructions, and then your opening up will be effective. Opening up is not for you to confess your sins, or to simply expose all the secrets and shameful things you’ve done, that’s not what it means. To open up means that you bring to light your impurities, intentions, and rebelliousness which are revealed as you practice the truth and fulfill your duty, through fellowship on the truth, you understand more of God’s will, and become willing to forsake the flesh, so that you practice the truth, and the duty you fulfill is effective. So, do you understand what it means to open up? Do you understand what opening up refers to? Your real difficulties, the impurities in your practice, and your restraints, entanglements, and confusion, these are what you should open up. If a church leader says at a meeting, “Let’s all open up our personal secrets, whoever opens up his secrets is an honest person. Open up your heart and God will bless you, begin!” one might say, “I’ve slept with two people”; another might say he’s slept with one; another might say he’s slept with three. Is that what it means to open up? Do you think they might have misunderstood what it means to open up as an honest person? Does anyone act like that? Such a person’s ability to receive seems a bit weak. How could he come to understand it like that? I saw some people’s resumes, and they wrote down how many people they had slept with, and I thought, “Why are they telling me this? They’re so simple!” It turns out after so much opening up, this has actually become a trend. Is this not mistaken? This is twisting the concept!
So now we have to ask what we’re referring to when we speak of opening up. We’re referring to impurity in your fulfillment of your duties and your practice of the truth, which piece of God’s words you eat and drink at meetings, which aspects of the truth fellowshiped by God in a certain piece of God’s words you relate, you fellowship about your views of those aspects of the truth, and what you learn from those aspects of the truth. Open up about those, and when we discuss how God’s house uses the truth to solve problems, open up about how we previously thought about, interpreted, and understood such problems, and through opening up and fellowshiping, we will help everyone see that, “Oh! The mistake in our understanding was here!” We will find out which interpretation we think is more correct and which intentions and impurities are incorrect, so that there is more of reality in our fellowship, and so that it can help us solve problems. So what are we really referring to when we talk about opening up? When we fellowship about the truth, it refers to fellowshiping our understanding of the truth, and communicating on our individual notions, misunderstandings, and biases about the truth, that is opening up. When we are trying to solve a specific problem, it means to talk about how we interpret it, how we practiced in the past, and how we see the problem now, that is opening up and fellowshiping. Also, what notions and opinions about the truth God expresses and God’s work we developed at the beginning, what our current understanding is, and how to solve it, we should fellowship about that. What is the purpose of opening up and fellowshiping about these things? To benefit and edify our brothers and sisters, so that everyone can see our mistakes, biases, difficulties, and the sources of our problems, and in the end we’ll solve our deviations and use the truth to solve our problems. We need to see clearly the principle and significance of opening up, do you understand? An example would be to say that if one of our brothers and sisters is weak, and another offers support, how would he offer support? If he simply fellowships about the truth and his own views, the brother or the sister will say he speaks from on high and only offers words and doctrine. So he will say, “Alright, well let me tell you my experience, I’ve experienced something like what you’re going through, it may have been a different set of circumstances, but the nature was the same,” and he tells him or her his experience, if he fellowships about his own weaknesses and thoughts at the time, and how he prayed to God and solved his problem, and then stood up from his weak, negative state, how he emerged from it and returned to the normal fulfillment of his duties. When his weakened brother or sister hears him, he or she’ll say, “It’s good that you had that experience, and it helps me, because my situation is almost the same as yours, isn’t it?” By speaking about his real experience, he offers him or her support. He or she understands, and no longer feels so negative, and understands why God’s will presented him or her with his or her current situation, and then he or she praises God from his or her heart. So what do we mean by opening up? What effect are we trying to achieve? To use our own experience to solve the problems of others, isn’t that why we open up? If he hadn’t opened up, what would he think? He would see his brother or sister and think, “He’s or she’s so negative about what happened! It’s crushing him or her! That’s what happened to me as well, when that happened to me, I was crushed for days, and then someone came, supported me, and helped me stand up. So today, I won’t open up and fellowship with you, I won’t talk to you about my experience, I’ll let it crush you until it kills you!” This isn’t a good person. Why not? Because he is wicked! And is that the problem of not opening up? While it appears that he simply isn’t opening up from the outside, there is wickedness hidden inside, because he can’t stand to see him or her do well. He would rather see him or her suffer, even die, even stop believing. He thinks, “Why should my suffering lessen his or hers?” Opening up means to talk about your own experiences and how you go through. Is opening up beneficial to others? Tremendously, it’s absolutely necessary. Without opening up, there’s no way we can truly support others or truly solve their problems. Our efforts are worthless without it. If we don’t open up, that brother or sister won’t get support, and many more of our brothers and sisters won’t find the solutions to problems like yours. So, you do it to benefit your brothers and sisters. When you fellowship your past weakness, how you fell, and how you got back up, when you fellowship about that, you can cure people’s sickness. You can save them! Such an opening up is so necessary. And this is one type of opening up.
How many types of opening up are there? We need to open up to speak about our own notions, imaginings, and absurd understandings and interpretations when we fellowship on the truth. We need to open up when we offer others support. We need to open up when we interact with our brothers and sisters. We need to open up even more when we pray to God. If we can open up and say what’s in our hearts in all these aspects, we are honest people. If you merely open up about who you’ve slept with, but can’t open up when you fellowship with God, and can’t open up when you practice the truth or fellowship about it, is that the behavior of someone honest? No. There is no significance in that. That’s why the ability to open up is only one aspect of being an honest person. Another is that they tell the truth, another is that they treat others sincerely, and yet another is that they don’t deceive people, they keep their word, and do what they say they will do. God has the essence of credibility, what God says counts, and what counts becomes real, and remains real forever, so we also need to keep our word, do what we say we will do, and be worthy of trust. Also, we need to abide by the resolutions we express to God, and strive to abide by them. If we don’t abide by them, if we express our determination and don’t back it up with behavior, if we don’t accomplish our oaths at all, what is the problem? Is that the determination of someone honest? Is that not saying one thing and doing another? Is that not saying one thing to someone’s face and doing another behind their back? Is that not double-crossing and being two-faced? Is it not unflinching deception, and not doing real work? This is why we need to possess all these principles in our practice of being honest. Simply opening up doesn’t make us honest people. The most important thing is being able to practice the truth. We also have to do what we say, maintain our credibility, abide by the resolutions we express to God, and pay a price for them. Some swore oaths to God that they wouldn’t find a girlfriend or boyfriend, or would devote their youths to God, and then they meet someone that suits them and change their minds, and then they go back to seeking a girlfriend or boyfriend. What they do proves that the sacrifices they made to God were because they hadn’t met someone that suits them, they hadn’t found that special someone, so when they did, when they found the right person, they decided to enter into a relationship. Do the words of someone like that count? His words don’t count. If he meets someone suitable who pursues him, in order to offer himself to God, expend himself for God, and return God’s love, he won’t start that relationship. He won’t agree, he will refuse it, which is the testimony of his resolution to offer himself to God! This is true. When he is tempted by such things, he will overcome them, he will stand by his promise and offering to God. This is an honest person. The man whose word does not count and who pursues the girlfriend isn’t an honest person. Why isn’t he an honest person? Because his word doesn’t count, he betrays his promise, and his betrayal is one reason, but the other is that he deceives God. Is that not a fact? He loses his credibility time and time again before God, he makes offerings and time and again takes them back, he betrays his own word time and time again, and that proves he is dishonest, a deceiver, and corrupt, is that not a fact? And that’s why prayer is also necessary, because you need to continue your conversation with God. “God, the promise I made to You still counts, no matter how large or small my spiritual stature was then, I understand a little of the truth now, I will continue to make my offering and continue to keep my promise, I accept Your observation, and should I break my oath, may You curse me!” If you truly have the resolution, you should continue to offer yourself up, and continue your dialogue with God, “This time I will be an honest person and my words will count.” Do you have the courage to accept God’s observation? Some have the courage, but some lack the courage, and will wither.
Question 3: When I discover problems I always try to protect myself. I always consider my own interests, and I’m always afraid of offending others or damaging the image others have of me in their hearts. How can I solve this problem?
Answer: “When I discover problems I always try to protect myself. I always consider my own interests, and I’m always afraid of offending others or damaging the image others have of me in their hearts.” This person doesn’t have God in his heart. He doesn’t have a heart that fears God! That he lacks a heart that fears God proves he has no place for God in his heart, he has only a name, an expendable name. He has only allowed the name of God in his heart, and it makes no difference whether it’s there or not, God has no place in his heart. His faith only goes this far, which is why when something happens to him, he thinks first of protecting himself and his interests, and not offending people. Do such thoughts and actions not prove that satanic philosophy has a place in his heart? Is this not his satanic nature controlling him? People like this have none of the truth, so they have no fear of God. But even though he has no fear of God, he still has the resolution, and he realizes how serious the problem within him is, and now that he realizes it, he wants to solve it. He still means to pursue the truth, so how should he solve this problem? Is it possible for him to learn to obey God in an instant? It would be difficult, because his spiritual stature is too small, so he’ll have to eat and drink more of God’s word and pursue to understand the truth more, and slowly, God’s position in his heart will rise as he understands more of the truth. And when he finally understands more of the truth, and understands God, God’s place in his heart will be high, higher than himself. And once God reaches that position in his heart, his desire to protect himself, consideration of his own interests, and fear of offending others, these satanic philosophies, will have no place to stand in his heart, because those things fear the truth most of all, and cannot stand in the face of the truth. He has none of the truth, and what is in his heart is protecting his own interests and not offending others. These are stubborn things, and things he won’t be able to overcome on his own, but if someone fellowships the principles of the truth to him clearly, will his head not lower in shame? If he lowers his head, it is truth that makes him do it. So if he stays steady on this path and seeks the truth, if he continues down this road, after a year or two, when he understands more of the truth, his spiritual stature will grow, and as it grows, he will be willing to betray himself and betray his satanic philosophies and the interests of the flesh, and he will be willing to forsake the interests of the flesh. Once he does, practicing the truth won’t be difficult. So for those like him, who have just expressed their intent to pursue the truth, all they have to do is follow that intent. So what is he to do right now? First is to continue to pursue the truth, but also to fellowship about the truth with the brothers and sisters who understand more of it when he runs into trouble, because once his brothers and sisters fellowship the truth to him clearly, he will be able to practice forsaking of the flesh and of Satan. It will be gradual, but it will happen.
Question 4: Sometimes I find myself telling ridiculous lies to protect my image and vanity, but after I reflect on it, I realize I should correct the lies and speak truthfully, but then I worry about how others would think of me if I spoke the truth. I can’t escape the binds and restraints of reputation, interest, and status, which makes it impossible for me to be an honest person.
Answer: That this person can raise this question proves he still hasn’t settled on the principles by which he will be a man. Those who live without principle are those without truth. He doesn’t know how to live, so his vanity and honor are very important to him. If he understands some of the truth, vanity and honor will naturally solve themselves. So don’t worry about being constrained by your vanity and sense of honor all your life, because as long as truth grows within you, as long as your understanding of the truth grows, as long as you gain more and more penetration, and understand more and more of God, what will vanity and honor matter in the end? They are simply the shell of the egg, and when the chick inside is fully grown, it will peck its way out and break the shell, which will shatter. This isn’t a problem. Vanity and honor are solved as the life inside them grows. When that life is grown, when it is strong, vanity and honor can’t control it. Then, vanity and honor will count for nothing. Those who can be bound by vanity and honor simply have a spiritual stature that’s too small and too immature! What is honor? Nothing at all, it’s worthless! There are some brave enough to say to me, “Brother, what I said yesterday was a lie, I’d like to correct it today.” That makes me happy, and I encourage people like that, I say, “It’s good that you can practice like this!” Do I use the fact that he lied to gain leverage over him? I not only don’t do that, I encourage him. Why do I encourage him? Because this is someone who loves the truth. He speaks according to truth and the facts, so this is a positive character, someone who deserves encouragement. This is someone who is starting to experience God’s work, and someone who has started to practice truth. These are good signs. This is someone with potential! The more someone behaves like this, the more use God’s house has for them! Without opening up and doing it well, you will be eliminated all the same. If someone can open up and correct their lies, I not only don’t look down on them, I try to foster them. How do their brothers and sisters view people who can open up? Once someone explains their mistaken intentions and their source, most of their brothers and sisters look up to them! Those who look down on them and laugh are some individuals, those without experience, or children. Adults and those with experience see what you do and say, “Wow, you opened up and spoke the truth about yourself, impressive! I’ve never been able to practice like that. That takes courage. You are better than me!” It’s courage that many people don’t have, and if they see it, all they can do is admit that you are better than them. Your brothers and sisters not only won’t look down on you, they’ll actually look up to you and admire your courage, and they’ll want to make friends with someone like you, because you have some of the reality of being honest and you behave like an honest person. Everyone wants to be friends with an honest person, but no one wants to be friends with someone deceitful. If you try to protect your vanity and honor in all you do, that’s foolish! If you still worry that you won’t be able to escape the binds and constraints of reputation, interests and status, which will mean you can’t be an honest person, that’s impossible, because your strength and courage will allow you to practice and pursue, and once you do, you’ll escape them, do you understand?
Question 5: How should I speak from my heart when I pray? Sometimes I feel that God is very far away, I have nothing to say to God, and at times like these I don’t know how to tell God what’s in my heart. At times God’s work doesn’t accord with the notions of man, and I feel myself living in a condition of rebellion against God, so I can’t understand God’s will. At times like these I don’t know how to pray or speak from my heart to gain God’s guidance, understand my own corruption, and resume my relationship with God.
Answer: He wants to speak from his heart when he prays, but he has another condition, “At times God’s work doesn’t accord with the notions of man, and I feel myself living in a condition of rebellion against God,” so he doesn’t speak to God from the heart, he can’t say what’s in his heart. He also has conditions and contexts for speaking from the heart. Once he doesn’t speak from the heart, he can’t get God’s guidance or understand his own corruption and resume his relationship with God. At times like these, you should seek the truth, because as you seek the truth, you’ll find the solution to this problem. If God’s work isn’t in accord with man’s notions and imaginings, what does this prove? The fact that God’s work isn’t in accord with man’s notions and imaginings proves that God is almighty, and that these are the acts of God. It’s proof that this is the work of God. If it was in accord with man’s notions and imaginings, it would be the work of Satan. Anything entirely in accord with man’s notions and imaginings is entirely the work of Satan, isn’t it? But what other problem does this prove? Which aspect is not in accord with man’s notions and imaginings? Is it God’s words that aren’t in accord with man’s notions and imaginings, or God that isn’t in accord with man’s notions and imaginings, or the man used by the Holy Spirit that isn’t in accord with man’s notions and imaginings? You have to make it clear! The scope of things not in accord with man’s notions and imaginings is very wide, so which aspect is it? Some say the incarnation isn’t in accord with man’s notions and imaginings. The meaning involved in this is very profound, and beyond the profundity of it, there is also wisdom in it. If it were in accord with man’s notions and imaginings, that would be troublesome, because it wouldn’t be significant. If God sent an angel to deliver His message, that would be in accord with man’s notions and imaginings, but it would be meaningless, it wouldn’t gain or perfect people, which would invalidate this stage of God’s work. Now do you understand the severity of the consequences? It is precisely because God’s work is not in accord with man’s notions and imaginings that those who pursue the truth can be made perfect, have you considered that? It is precisely because God’s work is not in accord with man’s notions and imaginings that it is so practical, more practical than anything, is it fair to say that?
I’ll give you a simple example, if the man used by the Holy Spirit were in accord with man’s notions, how would that person appear? First, he would look supernatural, tall, handsome, and immediately loved by all. Whoever saw him would say, “You’re my Prince Charming!” “One came down from heaven!” Would that be a good thing? Some say it wouldn’t. Why not? It accords with man’s notions and imaginings. If he were loved by all, if everyone wanted to follow him, could he still be able to do the work? He would have no way to do the work at all, it would be impractical! No matter what he said, everyone’s eyes would be fixed on him, and people would cling to him, they would all want to pursue him and live in his presence, they wouldn’t want to be apart from him for a minute, how could he do his work? So this is the first reason, it’s impractical, it would be impossible for him to work. Second, if his words, sermons, and fellowship were in accord with man’s notions, gentle, kind, like a light breeze or a spring rain, that didn’t harm people’s self-respect at all or issue prunings and dealings, if his words were spoken lovingly, cautiously, and amiably, wouldn’t that be in accord with man’s notions? Would the work done that way be effective? No. Why wouldn’t it be effective? I didn’t expect this to happen. I lived half my life and finally followed God and was used by God, and never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me. When this suddenly happened to me, in your opinion, how did I think about it? I also wondered, thinking, “Why would God use someone like me? I come from a laboring background, I’m not an intellectual, not a professor, I don’t have much education, my disposition is as corrupt as anyone’s, so why use me?” It was astounding! I said, “If God used an intellectual, someone handsome who spoke intelligently and bookishly, someone who was a man of literary culture, someone who could sing and dance, someone who could say the right things and perform the right acts at the crucial moment, wouldn’t the work he does be more effective? I can’t do any of that, so why me?” It didn’t make any sense to me, and I pondered it for years before I figured it out. And now I tell you that when the Holy Spirit uses someone, the fact is that this person is chosen from among all of corrupt humanity and is preordained. That person’s corruption is the same as everyone else’s, his level of corruption can’t be light, much less can he be devoid of corruption; otherwise he would have no experience. Such experience is beyond him. This is certain. First, his corruption needs to be as deep as all of God’s chosen people, because then his words carry weight, and can stand as true testimony. Second, he needs to be an honest, upright person with the courage to speak bluntly and open up. Why does he need to be that way? Because people like that are the most suitable for use, and used most easily. Are deceitful people easy to be used? Not at all. That’s why God uses those who pursue the truth and are relevantly honest. If you ask, “Do you mean he has no experience of corruption? Do you mean there is no deceit in him?” no, that’s not what it means. It means they are relevantly honest in their humanity. There is deceit and corruption in them, but their nature and essence is rather open and honest. Wasn’t Peter in the Age of Grace a man like that? Didn’t Peter have times when he was weak and negative? What does it prove that Peter eventually had true love for God? Peter, though weak and negative, eventually became someone who truly loved God, which proves that Peter had experience, more experience than anyone. His experience was deepest. From someone corrupt, rebellious, and in denial, he became someone accepting, obedient, and who loved God. There is no testimony more convincing or credible, which is why it stands as such ringing testimony.
A point all those used by the Holy Spirit share is that they have experienced Satan’s corruption, then been granted salvation and made perfect by God, which is to say they are chosen from among those who pursue the truth. They are those who have been perfected in the end, which qualifies them to lead others, right? So they need to have been perfected by God, but what humanity does someone perfected by God need to possess? They need to love the truth and be people who pursue the truth. That’s why, within the scope of those who can be perfected and used by God, God will unquestionably use these people. Stated like that, is God’s selection of those He uses not practical? Is it not appropriate that God chooses people to use from among this group? That’s why we say God’s work is so practical, and God’s choice of those He uses is so practical and principled. If it were done according to the notions and imaginings of man, would it not go against principle? The Holy Spirit’s use of such people in accord with the notions and imaginings of man makes no sense, their use is unworkable, and that is impractical, do you understand now? So now I ask you, those idols you worship, those great men and gurus, if one of them was your leader, compared to a leader like me, whose leadership do you gain more from? Whose leadership benefits you more? If you were led by the Pharisees and scholars, would you gain more? They, with their words and doctrine and high-sounding theories, can’t lead you into the realities of truth. It’s just like when you listen to the Pharisees expound the Bible, if you follow them, you’ll follow them down the path of the Pharisees, and then you’ll be finished, because they’ll all be extinguished in the end, and you along with them. What’s good about a leader like me is that I speak the truth, I talk about practical experience, and I speak directly, bluntly, and from the heart. I use living words and language, your vernacular, to explain all of my experiences, understanding, and knowledge. I make it easy to understand and accept, so that you can directly gain from it and benefit from it! Am I not telling you the truth?
A good comparison is that if my sermons and fellowship are practical and easy to understand, would the effect of Pharisees speaking the language of knowledge be as or more effective? Definitely not. Also, it’s true that there are pruning and dealing when I speak, and sometimes my words are sharp, even blunt, so it’s impossible to avoid causing suffering to many people, but such suffering, after you pray and reflect, gives you experience in life entry and creates genuine repentance, which is greatly beneficial for people. The Pharisees wouldn’t lead like that, they wouldn’t try to hurt you, every one of them would try to comfort and console you and make you feel better. They would use gentle words to coax and lead you, and if you grow, good, if you don’t, you die, but they won’t offend you one bit, isn’t that the case? With leaders like that, you might worship their appearance, and you might not develop notions about them, but what can you gain from them? Nothing at all. That’s why we say that God incarnate and those used by God are the most practical, they give you the most benefit, and they are the best choices, even if you don’t understand. God’s considerations are directly for those He saves and perfects. Those God uses are those who benefit such people the most. Those God uses are the best suited to His work, and the most helpful and most beneficial to those He saves and perfects. God has thoroughly considered who truly benefits the most from His choices, and you might not understand, but after ten or twenty years of experience you’ll understand everything, and have gained much. Some people ask, “Why do I lack the penetration to see this?” Don’t be so arrogant and self-right. If you had the penetration to understand everything, if you were able to see through everything, you would be God. These things aren’t easy for people to understand, and if you have the penetration to understand even a third or half of it, that’s about the best a human can do. If you have the penetration to understand a tenth or a fifth and obey, you’re doing very well, because if you wait for God’s departure to completely understand it, it will be too late, won’t it? That’s why we shouldn’t assume we’re clever, and we shouldn’t be arrogant, self-important, or self-righteous, because in the end, we are only being caught by our own craftiness. Sometimes God’s work isn’t in accord with man’s notions, but your job is to obey. How much do you think you should understand? Everything God does is the best, it brings the most possible benefit to mankind, it is the wisest, most practical, most principled course, so the best choice is to trust God. Having the faith to do so is the best choice, so obey, and in the end you will comprehend everything, do you understand? The more out of accord God’s work is with your notions, the more you should seek the truth. The most lovable and wise aspects of God are here, and God’s love for humanity is here. There is no flaw in God’s brilliant plan, not a single mistake, it is seamless, flawless, and perfect, do you understand?
Let me ask you, does my height have any significance? My height is more significant than anything. People ask, “What could possibly be significant about your height?” It’s significant to me, because if I were tall, wouldn’t I be even more arrogant? I would be finished if I were. The way I look is very significant, because if I looked too good, how much more arrogant would I be? I would be in trouble, because I would face more temptation, wouldn’t I? This is why God’s arrangements are flawless, everything is the best, all that God does is perfect, it’s only the best, and whether or not you understand that, it’s a fact. Can you comprehend what I’m saying to you? At the very least you should be able to understand it contains the wisdom to humiliate Satan. To humiliate Satan doesn’t require the outward knowledge, attractiveness, or height. Instead, it occurs through the use of the tiniest, most despised by the Satan-types, most not in accord with man’s notions, and humblest people to do God’s work and lead God’s chosen people. Nothing is more humiliating to Satan. This is least in accord with man’s notions, and most useful for conquering people, making them understand the truth, and making them obey God. Does putting it this way make it easy to understand? The day will come when you say, “God is so wise! Man could never understand! God is almighty! God can use any person and wear any incarnate flesh, and He will still conquer humanity and make His will be done, God is indeed almighty!” Is it easier to understand when stated this way? Do you still have any notions? Probably not. On the day you see the incarnate God, in His innocent, childlike manner, you will say, “This is normal humanity. Why don’t I see any of God’s greatness in the disposition of His incarnate flesh? Why don’t I see any arrogance, self-importance, or self-righteousness? So this is normal humanity! Incredible! If it had been me to express these truths, it would have been different. I would have squashed Satan underfoot. I would have gone to the ruling house of every nation and made them bow to me. I would have said, ‘Who do you think you are? Devils and Satan, how dare you call yourselves rulers?!’” But do you see? God didn’t do that, Christ didn’t do that, and if you have any real comprehension, what do you see in this? One thing we see is a God whose outward appearance and disposition are lovable, and a God who does all manner of great deeds without showing off, as if the thought doesn’t occur to Him at all. You might ask Him, “You are God, don’t You know that?” He will answer, “No, I don’t know.” It doesn’t occur to Him. You’ll ask, “With the mighty works You’ve done, don’t You feel proud? Don’t You think people should worship You?” “Not really.” It doesn’t occur to God. Why not? God simply quietly goes about His own work, He doesn’t flaunt it or display it. This is His flesh, and this is how He behaves. Is this not a divine mystery? God is indeed God! And that’s the absolute truth.
In the past I wondered, “No matter what sermons I preach, the Holy Spirit testifies that I am a man used by God, so why can’t I express God’s word?” Later I understood. For corrupt humanity to express God’s word would be an insult to God! When I understood, I felt unworthy. Unworthy! So when I fellowship about the truth, I always add this addendum: Humans are unworthy to express God’s words, because it insults God! If you express God’s words, you will unconsciously insult God, and Satan will mock God in the spiritual world, and that’s very bad. So, without experience in these matters, can we see them clearly? They are very serious matters. So, if you still lack such penetration even after several years of faith, you are a failure, you lack the most basic comprehension, and your caliber is too poor. You should realize God’s work is so good, and the incarnate flesh worn by God is so significant, the people used by God are so significant, and so practical! But we humans who are used by God are different than the incarnate flesh worn by God. Why are we different? Because God’s incarnate flesh has never been corrupted by Satan. We are humans who have been corrupted by Satan, and we were unworthy to be used by God, so we are the exceptions who have been raised up, that’s the only difference, do you understand? That’s why, if we believe in God but don’t seek the truth, we will never solve our human notions. If we don’t solve our human notions and imaginings, can we ever truly obey God? Can we still obey God and praise God when God’s work isn’t in accord with our human notions? It would be difficult, it would be hard enough to not resist God, let alone praise God. Job said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.” Note that he said “blessed be the name of Jehovah.” How did he come to say that? Why blessed? “‘Blessed’ when He gives, and ‘blessed’ when He takes away? Are you stupid?” He said, “No, I should even more bless His name when He takes away.” Why even more blessed? And that’s the mystery. His words weren’t mere talk, they weren’t empty theorizing! When trials come, will you be able to say it? You may be able to lie against your will, but Job’s words were spoken from the heart. Why even more blessed be the name of Jehovah when He takes away? How could Job say that? He said it because he had understanding, it wasn’t hollow talk, and it wasn’t forced, even less was it meant to please his listeners. This is why we have to solve our human notions and imaginings. God’s work is so practical, so almighty, and so wise. If you lack the penetration, how will you be able to know God’s loveliness? Will you be able to praise God’s wisdom and almightiness? Will you be able to praise God’s righteousness and holiness? His work is practical! When God said David was the man after His heart, was it before or after David’s fornication? Afterward, and did God consider David’s fornication when He said that? Yes, so what is the significance of that? What does it show us? What we need to understand about God is here. What is it that you see? God’s work is so practical. Among the corrupted humanity, a man like David, became the best. Someone who fornicated, but who in the end became someone after God’s heart. He truly repented, and he became the best. God doesn’t look at the sins you’ve committed in the past, He looks at how you repent, fear Him, obey Him, and are considerate of His will after you have sinned. He looks at how you behave now. If God looked at your sins, not a single person would be after God’s heart. As to looking at repentance after sinning, David is the model, the archetype, the example to follow. Even if you haven’t sinned, you aren’t as good as David, is it fair to say that? So from this, how should you understand God’s will? How should you know God? This is where you need to seek the truth. If you don’t ponder God’s words here, can you ever gain the truth?
Question 6: After hearing the Brother’s fellowship and what you’ve exposed, I see that the hypocrisy within me is grave. I disguise and deceive far too much. For example, I often fellowship with pleasing words, but afterward I don’t practice them. I often speak in letters and doctrines, deceive God, fool people, and when I am pruned or dealt with, I often debate and argue, and I can’t help but tell lies to cover up the ugly truth about myself. After your fellowship last time, I understand how serious the essence of this problem is, it’s resisting God and deceiving people. I’d like to ask for more fellowship to analyze the problem. How can I escape my false hypocrisy and leave the path of the Pharisees? How can I more quickly solve the problems of my hypocrisy, disguising myself, and deception?
Answer: This man has raised a good question. Since people can be hypocrites and deceive God, where is the root of the problem? Is the root of the problem not that people have no knowledge of God? What is the root of human notions about God? A lack of knowledge of God. Notions and imaginings are the thoughts of men, but God’s work differs from the notions and imaginings of man, and then they clash, and these things are produced. People’s hypocrisy and the path of the Pharisees occur because people have no knowledge of God, and if you don’t pursue the truth ordinarily, you will act blindly according to your notions and imaginings when things happen to you, and you will seek to make people think highly of you and worship you. The result of that is hypocrisy and deception, which is what Pharisees do, and the root of the problem is having no knowledge of God, which stems from not pursuing the truth. Some will ask, if a man doesn’t pursue the truth, and we allow him to serve God and fulfill his duties, is everything he does hypocrisy, deception, and merely going through the motions? Yes, that’s absolutely right, so how do you think we should solve this problem? Properly pursue the truth, seek God’s will in all things; when you have sought and understood God’s essence, the principles by which God works, and God’s righteous disposition, you will feel the depth of their significance, and you will know that God’s mind is higher than the mind of man, and once you do, you will not only have none of your own notions and imaginings, but you will also not dare to deceive God. You will open up and truly obey God, and your life disposition will begin to change. This is because when you have a true understanding of God, fear of God will take shape in your heart, and once you have a heart that truly fears God, you will no longer dare to follow your own intentions or act carelessly, and at the very least you will abandon your notions and imaginings. “I can’t have these notions and imaginings, I’m wrong to think these things.” You may have notions and imaginings, but you won’t dare to resist God or conflict with Him, and you’ll say to yourself, “My notions and imaginings are wrong, I’d better not resist God, I don’t have any truth in this, these are notions and imaginings, and even though I don’t understand the truth, and can’t let go of these thoughts, I don’t dare to resist God. I’ll obey God, and I won’t judge God.” The moment you have a heart that fears God, your state is different in the presence of God, isn’t it? Aren’t you a little more honest and simple? You won’t dare to speak recklessly about things you don’t comprehend or do things that you know are wrong. So how can you achieve this? Your heart has changed, you have the fear of God in your heart. “Even though I don’t understand, I’d better not do anything to offend God!” That’s what happens when a heart that fears God serves its purpose inside you. It limits the corruption, the satanic thoughts, notions, and ideas, and the capricious recklessness inside you. It suppresses, binds, and controls them, this is the use of a heart that fears God in man.
If a man dares to walk the path of the Pharisees, and dares to disguise himself and deceive, and lacks the penetration to understand the nature of these things, he will think, “What I’m doing is honest, I’m being sincere, I’m doing the right thing, this is appropriate, I’m not wrong!” Why does he feel that way? Because he lacks the truth. He lacks the ability to analyze his own state, he lacks penetration, so he blindly thinks, “What I’m doing is right, this is normal, this is appropriate, I’m not committing a wicked deed, this is what normal people think and do.” If these things remain in a man’s heart for a long time, if these things persist for long periods without being solved, what does that prove? It proves that, for a long period, he hasn’t pursued the truth to any real depth, he hasn’t been serious about his own behavior, he hasn’t opened up in fellowship with God, and has never sought the truth in these things, which is why, for a long period of time, he hasn’t grown or made progress, can we put it like that? If you have been afflicted by this “illness” for a long time, it proves that you’ve never come to understand it, nor have you sought treatment, you haven’t sought to solve it, which is why you can’t get rid of the disease. One day, when the work of the Holy Spirit enlightens and illuminates you, sudden awareness will awaken within you, and you’ll say, “I have no idea my hypocrisy problem is so severe, I have no idea so many of my behaviors are deceptive to God. Now that I look at it, I’m really not an honest person at all!” Then, you’ll start to be afraid, and you’ll feel that your life entry is far too shallow. And once you’ve become aware, isn’t that a good thing? It’s a very good thing, because God gives you grace and takes pity on you!
So how, exactly, should we solve the problems of hypocrisy and deception? Isn’t this a problem of too shallow an understanding of the truth? It is precisely because people have too shallow an understanding of the truth. This is why they don’t see the problem clearly. Because such a man doesn’t know God, there isn’t much fear of God in his heart, nor is its presence obvious. You could say that there is some fear of God in his heart, but it’s far too little, and in many things he loses opportunities to seek truth. But is understanding the truth something simple? Is it something that can be done in a few days with a little effort, with a burst of strength? It’s a long, slow, arduous process! I’m fellowshiping about these things today, but I haven’t fellowshiped about them before, have I? The work of the Holy Spirit hadn’t led me here, but today the Holy Spirit has, so I see these things exceptionally clearly. Is that not the guidance of God? Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit in the church? Don’t assume that someone can lead you here, don’t say, “You have the deepest experience, so fellowship about everything with us, and we’ll all gain deeper entry into all the realities.” I owe the depth or shallowness of my experience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will guide you in the same way. The Holy Spirit guides me, and He guides all of you. As He guides me, He uses me to guide you. This fulfills one of God’s words, doesn’t it? “The work of God is to be done by God Himself.” It may be the incarnate God, or the man used by God, but it’s always God doing His work by Himself. God became incarnate to express the truth, and the Holy Spirit works in the church upon those of God’s chosen people who pursue the truth, especially through the man used by the Holy Spirit to lead the church and shepherd His chosen people. Some ask if the shepherding of the man used by the Holy Spirit should be considered the shepherding of God. This too is God’s shepherding, because this is all the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is the work of God, can you understand that? If you read more of God’s words, you’ll understand, everything will be clear, “God said this here, I understand, He said that there, I understand.” Then, there won’t be any more inconsistencies or conflicts. If someone reads God’s word and feels that this and that portion conflict, or this and that passage conflict, it proves he hasn’t understood the spirit, he doesn’t understand, because his spiritual stature is too small. If he could understand, there would be no conflicts in God’s words, it says this here, it says that there, and put together there would be no conflict. At root, it’s all still the work of God.
So how should we look at the problem of being an honest person? Haven’t we basically made the path clear? One important thing is accepting the truth in God’s word, the other is accepting the work of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination, that’s also important, and you need both! If you don’t strive to pursue in God’s word, if you don’t eat and drink of God’s word, and instead only glean your understanding from sermons at meetings, what does this prove? Your spiritual stature is small, so small that you can’t eat and drink of God’s word on your own. If you can eat and drink of God’s word independently, you’ll gain more, and if you obey the work of the Holy Spirit, what you gain will double, you’ll get twice the amount, won’t you? Some people don’t know how to eat and drink God’s word on their own, because their spiritual stature is too small, so they only listen to sermons and fellowship, is that right? That’s mistaken. If you only listen to sermons and fellowship, there are some things you’ll be able to understand, and you’ll understand the ways of practice, but if you also read God’s words, you will gain some things from God’s word that aren’t talked about during fellowship. There are also some things in God’s word that you won’t be able to comprehend or truly understand, but sermons and fellowship will help you completely understand. That gets you a double-serving, doesn’t it? It’s an extra helping. Some people can’t absorb God’s word, they fall asleep as they read, which means their spiritual stature is too small. But some people gain illumination from reading God’s words by themselves, they say, “After listening to sermons and fellowship for years, now that I read God’s words, I can understand most of them, I can keep up.” People like this are like newborns who have just learned to drink milk. After a year or two of milk, they can stomach solid food, and once they can eat solid food, they grow quickly. People who only listen to sermons and fellowship are like infants who can only drink milk, aren’t they? Their spiritual stature is so small. If you could eat and drink of God’s word on your own, you would get two servings, and you would grow up. So that’s to say, to be an honest person and be perfected requires this experience. You won’t accomplish anything if you don’t pursue the truth.