Do you see anything in this passage of God’s words we’ve just read? This is a passage that illuminates people’s insight and shines light upon our hearts. This passage is entitled “God Perfects Those After His Heart.” We all know that God’s work of judgment in the last days is done primarily to perfect those after His heart, and that after they are perfected, those who have no love for the truth will finally be revealed and eliminated, and the wicked evildoers will be condemned and punished, of which Christians speak when they say “God will reward the good and punish the evil in the last days.” Then who are the good that God will reward? Those who pursue the truth. Those who, as they experience God’s work of judgment in the last days, can accept and obey the truth, come to truly live in the presence of God, and who perform their duties adequately and please God in the end are after God’s heart. Some will ask: “How did those after God’s heart come to live in the presence of God? How did they come into accord with God? What do they mainly possess?” You all heard in this passage of God’s word that there is a vitally important practice. What is it? We must accept God’s observation, as Christians each and every thing we do must be subject to God’s observation! If people accept God’s observation, what will be the result? They will do less evil, or none at all, they will not seek debauchery and dissipation, and they will practice restraint, which means they can obey the truth and dare not act wildly. Even if they cannot practice the truth, they will at least do no evil. If someone can achieve this result, is this not a person who accepts God’s observation? And are those who accept God’s observation not after God’s heart? Then what does “after God’s heart” in this passage primarily refer to? It refers to those who can accept God’s observation. Those who can accept God’s observation in all things are those after God’s heart, who are in turn those who truly accept and obey God’s work and those who truly pursue the truth, so the principle of accepting God’s observation can best expose man. If someone practices acceptance of God’s observation, we can call this person a true believer in God, someone who is truly experiencing the work of God. And those who do not accept God’s observation? They have no true faith in God, they do not experience God’s work, they are mere embellishments, followers, gain-seekers, and opportunists.
In the past, we’ve often said people who believe in God need to pursue the truth, and that only those who pursue the truth can be perfected, but today we say God only perfects those after His heart, so does “after His heart” refer to when people are already perfected, or a real condition people should have as they experience God’s work? It refers to a real condition people should have as they experience God’s work. So it comes back to what we often discuss, that this is someone who truly believes in God, is someone who pursues the truth and is truly obedient to God’s work, so we will simply call people like this “correct.” Is the correct person after God’s heart? The correct person can practice true acceptance of God’s observation, he dares to make an oath to God, he seeks truth in all things, he obeys God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and no matter how much God’s work does not fit with the notions of man or whatever he faces that does not fit with the notions of man, he always seeks the truth, remains obedient in God’s presence, does not resist God, and does not pass judgment on God. Put this way, is the correct person someone who reveres God? Only these, the people who are correct, have fear of God and are truly after God’s heart, and these are the people God will perfect. So, whoever pursues the truth in God’s house and is truly obedient to God’s work will be perfected in the end.
Some will then ask: “If we are perfected, will we become sanctified and without defect? Will we become completely able to practice the truth, without any corruption remaining? Can we become absolutely honest, without harboring any deceit?” This is not a reasonable assumption. Those after God’s heart are precisely those who pursue the truth and are considerate of God’s heart, those who accept God’s observation and seek the truth when they encounter issues, and what phrase do we so often use to describe such people? Those who pursue the truth. Today, most of God’s chosen people can discern those who pursue the truth, who do not pursue the truth, and those who refuse to accept and never seek the truth. It means that God’s chosen people, through their experience of God’s work, have come to understand parts of the truth, but to greater and lesser degrees. Are all those who pursue the truth after God’s heart? When God perfects those after His heart, He perfects all who pursue the truth, do you understand? Some people say: “I’m also a pursuer of truth, so why have I still not received it?” How can we explain this? You feel you are a pursuer of truth, but after so many years of faith, it seems like you still haven’t received it. How does not having received the truth manifest? Those without the truth do things without principle, never see things from the right perspective. They have no real discernment, they see small things with some discernment, but very shallow, and in large things they do not comprehend, these are the aspects in which a person expresses that they have not received the truth. Some people say: “I am also a pursuer of truth, I listen to the fellowship and sermons from the above whenever I have time, I understand what I’ve heard clearly, the above is right about everything, I’ve found the path, I practice it, so why haven’t I received the truth?” How do we explain this? They do not pursue the truth with enough resolution. They do not pursue the truth as though they crave and thirst for it, they are merely inclined to pursue the truth, and they only seek the truth in some critical matters, they do not seek the truth in most things, so their understanding of the truth is still too shallow even after years of believing in God, they have gained too little of the truth. Why have you gained so little? Where were you deficient? You think of yourself as a pursuer of the truth, but your pursuit was so inadequate, and time will show the difference against others who pursue the truth. It concerns the degree of pursuit. What does the degree of pursuit determine? Your degree of hunger and thirst for righteousness and love for the truth. Some have three degrees of ten of love for the truth, some have five, some have eight, and those make a substantial difference. Over the course of years, will the fruits of their efforts be the same? Of course not, am I right?
Some people say: “I am a pursuer of the truth, but I’ve gained so little of it, it must be because I pursued it too little and without enough enthusiasm.” Is this right or wrong? Then what about your enthusiasm? You are a pursuer of truth, and you desire and thirst for the truth, but to what degree? You love the truth, but to what degree? Be clear about this, and you’ll know what kind of a person you are and whether you love the truth. Some people, when they are dealt with, do nothing but rationalize, giving more arguments than anyone, but to what degree does this person love the truth? Eight degrees? Does he reach six? Does he reach three? Does he reach one? If he does not reach one, he is finished. Is this person a pursuer of truth? None as argumentative as you pursue the truth. You have never sought the truth. How could you be spoken of as one who pursues the truth? The most practical expression of the pursuit of truth is seeking it in all things. Those who seek the truth in all things are those who truly pursue it, and those who are obedient to the truth in all things are those who truly pursue it. If you meet only one of these conditions, either of them, you are a true pursuer of the truth, you are after God’s heart, and you will be perfected by God. If you meet neither of these conditions, you can’t be perfected. If you don’t expend any effort, how can you have results? It’s the same as farmers who rely on planting to survive, but who spend their year playing mahjong and gambling while they neglect the soil, and then hope for a bumper harvest in the autumn. Isn’t that just a fantasy? The old proverb goes, “As a man sows, so he shall reap,” and it’s entirely right! God sees all that man does, and you see how many people follow God and perform their duties, but God also sees all of it, and what does God see? God looks upon every thought and idea of man, every word and deed of every man, to see who is pursuing the truth, how they practice in their pursuit of truth, who does not pursue the truth, and what evils they do. These are all witnessed and recorded. Finally, God will reward the good, punish the evil, and determine whether every man is righteous or evil according to these records, and finally, based on their behavior and whether or not they have gained the truth, decide every person’s final outcome.
Some who have been pruned and dealt with pray in their hearts: “God, where was I wrong? Illuminate me and help me understand! When I understand I will obey!” But then later they reflect, and they understand: “I truly acted without principle, it was rash and arrogant of me, I brought trouble to the house of God, I was truly disruptive. It’s a serious problem, and I was dealt with properly. God is righteous, so I’ll obey Him.” In the end, they pray: “God, I bear no complaint, I realize I was wrong, I acted without principle, it was purely because I was rash and arrogant, I deserved to be dealt with! God, You are so righteous, and I will obey You, I will accept any chastisement You give me without complaint.” An attitude so accepting of God’s observation, and such a sincere prayer, this is an honest person. Why do we say this is an honest person? It’s because this person accepts God’s observation! Some people say: “Why can’t I see his acceptance of God’s observation?” Look at his prayer: “God, where was I wrong? Illuminate me and help me understand!” After his prayer he ponders on what happened, and once he reflects, “Oh no, I acted without principle in this matter, my actions were obviously driven by my own desires, I had personal intentions and goals at the time, and after I did it the leaders, workers, and the brothers and sisters were not satisfied, the way they looked at me told me something was wrong, and that’s when I knew I was wrong!” And then he prays again: “God, You examine the hearts of man, and You miss nothing. What I did was not in accord with Your will, it was unprincipled, purely a wicked deed, and nothing but a disruption. I admit my sin, I want to repent! God, however You chastise me, I accept, for You are righteous.” Is this prayer, when said before God, spoken from the heart? After that prayer, his heart feels at peace. It’s finally over, and he has told God everything, “I will act according to the principles of truth in my duties, if I don’t understand the truth I will seek it, and I cannot allow myself to be rash or arrogant anymore.” When his thoughts reach this point, he makes an oath to God: “If I am ever rash or arrogant, act without principle, and disrupt work in the house of God, I beg You, God, punish and chastise me heavily!” Is one who can swear such an oath not honest? This is someone honest, and he can accept God’s observation. As you experience God’s work, this is how you must obey His arrangements—submit to His pruning and dealing with you, obey God’s enlightenment and illumination, and use your prayers and oaths to commune with God to show Him your sincerity. Any who experience God’s work this way, no matter if they are receiving God’s judgment and chastisement, His pruning and dealing, or His trials and refinements, can open their hearts and commune with God, and after understanding the truth through prayer, can genuinely repent, and then after undergoing several rounds of pruning, dealing, trial, and refinement, can make progress in their life, come to obey some of the truth, and gradually learn to act according to principle. Day after day, as they experience God’s work, they will understand more and more of the truth. As they accept God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing, real change will start to occur in them, and if they experience God’s work to the end, after ten, twenty, or thirty years, change will occur in their life disposition, they will be obedient to God, they will also understand much of the truth, they will act according to principle no matter what their duty, and put God at ease. Is this not what it means to be perfected by God? To be perfected means that after years of experience, a real change occurs, you put God at ease, no longer need so many people to supervise you, you no longer require constant pruning and dealing, and you no longer require your leaders to constantly watch you. With some people, others would say, “You have to keep an eye on him. If you don’t, he’ll do something bad the moment no one is watching, and there’s no telling what he’ll do, he’s completely unpredictable!” When the “fever” takes such a man his passion burns hot, but the moment God’s work ceases to fit with man’s notions, he turns cold and distant, complains bitterly, and is ready to betray God until someone stronger comes to stop him, and just as he is about to make a grave mistake, “THWACK!”, the stronger party knocks him to the ground. Unwatched, this man is capable of any wickedness, there’s no end to the damage or problems he might cause, but he is capable of contributing positively under supervision. Is this someone who puts God at ease? Does he have the reality of truth? Does he accept God’s observation? He must be watched, or things will go wrong. If you don’t believe, you may give him a place of leadership, then leave him alone, do not ask about anything, and do not prune and deal with him; he would stand in a confused daze, he could fool you for four or five years without doing any productive work, and he would even abandon himself to a life of pleasure. Is this someone after God’s heart?