Six Indicators of Life Growth
Right now, do you all have a path and growth with respect to your life entry? Do you know what the signs of growth in life entry are? Which changes in your spiritual state, or which manifestations that are different from the ones you previously possessed allow you to feel that you have life growth, or allow the brothers and sisters to see that you have grown up, and that your disposition has begun to change? Looking at the spiritual state, when someone experiences growth in their life entry, they no longer feel vague about believing in God, they do not hesitate, and they have a path to follow; they know that belief in God is for salvation, and they know that only those who pursue the truth can attain salvation. Clearly seeing and stepping onto this path first brings people’s hearts peace and comfort. Do you have this peace and comfort in your hearts now? (Yes. When we encounter people, events, or things, and are able to grasp God’s will, and see that these circumstances are arranged specifically for the things we lack—that they are the things we need—at that time, we feel peace of mind. But when we encounter difficulties and do not know how to deal with them, we feel alarmed.) No matter what state you normally have within when you run into difficulties, first look at the big picture: In your hearts, do you not think that choosing the path of belief in God is correct, that it is perfectly natural and justified? Have you not already determined that this path is the correct one for life? Do you not have the resolve and will to continue, without being of two minds? Is this not your state? (It is.) This is one changing aspect, which is the first indication that your life is growing. Additionally, with regard to many matters—for example, people, the world, this society, the path of life, life goals and direction, the meaning and values you have toward life—are there any changes in your thoughts and viewpoints? (There are some changes.) When people regularly listen to sermons, then there are some changes in doing their duty, in their conduct and behavior, and in their thoughts; but are they truly changing in their viewpoints toward people, matters, and life goals and direction? If they do change in this respect, then this involves life entry. The degree to which you change is evidence of how much life entry you have. Many people are still muddled about this aspect of things. They do not know how to view people or matters, nor do they know how to experience the things and circumstances that they encounter. Compared to the time before they believed in God, on the surface they look as though they have accepted some correct viewpoints, which are in line with the truth, but they do not know how to apply them when they encounter matters, and they cannot relate them to the matters. Is this a true change? (It is not.) It is not a true change. How many indicators have been mentioned to see whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life entry? (Two.) These are the first two indicators, which have to do with the truth of visions and theories.
When judging whether or not someone has experienced growth in their life entry, there are several other indicators which have to do with practice. First off, the most preliminary and most basic indicator is this: Each day, no matter what you are busy with or what duty you are doing, how much time your heart is calm before God, and lives in His presence. This ratio is crucial. If you spend almost the whole day busying yourself with outside affairs and working for your living, without setting aside some time to read God’s words or pray to Him, without spending your thoughts on pondering the truth, then your relationship with God is abnormal; you have no place for God in your heart, and you do not treat belief in God as something important. If your heart always lives in such a state, then you will grow further and further away from God, your faith in Him will grow less and less, and you will become passive and weak when things happen to you. When this happens, your inner state becomes increasingly abnormal. That is to say, whether or not you are in a condition of belief in God, whether or not you have the normal state that a believer in God ought to, how much time you live in this kind of normal state, and aside from the many matters of physical life that occupy your heart, how much time you spend before God—this is the first indicator with regard to practice. Some people, aside from their physical life, spend very little time reading God’s words or fellowshiping about the truth. Most of the time, they spend their lives on external matters, living for carnal enjoyment. Is this not living in a corrupt disposition? If someone often lives in a corrupt disposition, their resistance to and rebellion against God will increase, which leads to an abnormal relationship with God, which is equivalent to having no relationship with Him. So, is preserving and upholding a normal relationship with God important or not? (It is important.) How important is it? Where is it important? (If one has no place for God in their heart as they do their duty, then they are relying on themselves, which is not practicing the truth at all. They cannot have life entry this way.) Perhaps you are able to understand this on a theoretical level, but you cannot speak clearly as to the practical aspect; by that, I mean the majority of people are not too clear on and do not understand well this aspect of the truth, and you only have a little perceptual knowledge, right? (Right.) Then I ask you all, if a believer in God frequently has nothing to do with belief in God or with God Himself in their actions, words, conduct, or in doing their duty, then will all they do have anything to do with the truth? (It will not.) Who are they doing all this for? What foundation are they built on? From where do their starting point, motivations, goals, and principles come? If someone is incapable of having a normal relationship with God, and nothing they do has anything to do with God, then what are they relying on to act? What is the source of their actions? (Satanic philosophies.) They rely on satanic philosophies to act, that much is apparent. If what a person acts out and lives out as they act and do their duty has nothing to do with God—the implication being that they have nothing to do with the truth—then what are they relying on as they busy themselves every day? They rely on Satan’s poisons and their satanic, corrupt disposition to act, do their duty, live, and conduct themselves. This is the third indicator for measuring whether or not a person has growth in their life entry—in brief, it is whether or not a person has a normal relationship with God.
There is one more indicator of practice that can be used to judge whether or not a person has experienced growth and change in their life entry. Can you think of what it is? (Isn’t it that when things happen to them, they believe that it is orchestrated and arranged by God, and they have a submissive heart?) That’s right, it is having a submissive heart; it is judged by looking at how submissive a person is toward the people, things, and events they encounter, and the degree to which they are able to submit. Whether or not a person can submit when something happens to them, the degree to which they are able to submit, and after they have submitted to all God’s orchestrations, what truth they are able to obtain—which aspect of someone’s life entry does this test? (It tests whether or not they have true faith.) It tests whether or not they truly believe in God, and it tests how great their faith in God is; that is one part of it. Anything else? (Fear of God.) It tests whether or not people have the fear of God, that is another part of it. What else? (Whether or not they love the truth.) That’s right, it also tests whether or not they love the truth, whether or not they are able to practice the truth. All together, that is three aspects. Whether or not you are able to submit depends on what attitude you have when things happen to you, whether you are resistant or accepting; that is the most basic thing. At times, when something happens, you may have a submissive attitude, but if the thing does not line up with your notions, it takes some effort for you to submit; if it aligns with your tastes and you can be benefited by it, it is easier for you to submit. Does this not mean that you are insufficiently submissive? Is occasional or temporary submission representative of true submission to God? With regard to that which comes from God and God’s arrangements, there are some things you are able to accept, and other things you are not able to accept. This is a problem. Is it not clear rebellion against God? For example, say God called you a fool, how would you react? You would think a moment, “God’s words are certainly not mistaken,” and you would accept it in your heart, and say amen to God’s word. This way, you would basically be about eighty or ninety percent submissive, but in the process of experiencing it, you might sometimes feel that you are pretty smart, not foolish—this is that last ten percent off, which prevents you from totally submitting. This kind of state is normal. At what point of experience will you fully understand this saying? (One day, when we will be exposed, realize that we are fools, and have a true knowledge of ourselves.) That’s right. When you have some knowledge about your own nature, disposition, and principles of action, as well as the quality of your humanity and your caliber, etc., then you will realize: “I am a fool! My thoughts are not at all clear, nor do I speak clearly; I deal with matters poorly, and I get through the things that happen to me in a muddled way; I don’t take anything seriously, and even if I do, I don’t understand—that’s what a fool is!” The more you experience, the more you will come to feel that God’s words are right, that He is speaking of you; you will increasingly submit to these words. People have an acceptance process regarding these words, but what is the first thing God wants? When God says that you are a fool, does He want a resisting, perfunctory attitude, or an accepting attitude from you? (An accepting attitude.) God wants people to have an accepting attitude. People must have such a state, which is that no matter how much they know, they should first learn to accept and submit. Although you might think that you are only a little foolish, not the total fool that God said you are, you should nevertheless accept it. In the process of experience, in the process of pursuing a change of disposition, you will gradually come to a knowledge of your own humanity, the outpourings of your corrupt disposition, your attitudes and the results of your actions, and all the states you have as you do your duty. You will realize that you are not a little foolish, but that you are actually a fool, and not a small one. At this time, you will have no thoughts or resistance to the fool God has revealed, nor will you have any notions, and you will be able to accept it. God searches the depths of people’s hearts. Do you accept God’s revelation as fact, or accept it as condemnation of you? (As fact.) Then do you accept it as the truth? In reality, God’s revelations of man are all in line with the facts, they are the truth, and people should accept them as such. Some people say: “Is the word ‘fool’ the truth?” How to explain this? In reality, it is not that this word is the truth, but rather the essence of this word—God’s definition and evaluation of this kind of disposition is the truth. That is the fact of the matter. To say that you are fools, you can basically accept it based on your current stature. Is the word “fool” offensive? (It is not.) Why not? (Because it is a fact.) Some people might not think so in their hearts, and they say: “The word fool is almost elegant and civilized, and it is not a curse, so why would we not accept it? We have heard much more severe words than this—we can accept those, so how much more should we be able to accept such an elegant word?” Is the implication not that your skin is thick, and so such an elegant, civilized word does not seem like a barb to you? Is that how it is? In fact, it is not. Whether a word is elegant or severe, if you think that you are not such a person, if you do not know whether the words of evaluation are right or not, whether or not that is your essence, then even if the word is pleasant and elegant, you will be unable to accept it. This has to do with the problem of whether or not a person can accept the truth, and also the problem of whether or not they have a true knowledge of their own nature essence. You have heard more severe words before, and you have accepted, endured, and acknowledged the more severe, so the less severe word “fool” does not bother you, but in reality, you are not truly applying the word to yourselves. This is not an attitude of true submission and acceptance. If you were really able to accept this word as the truth and apply it to yourself, then your self-knowledge would grow deeper. When God calls you a fool, He is not asking that you accept some statement, or word, or definition—He is asking that you understand the truth within this. So when God does call someone a fool, what truth is contained inside? Everyone understands the superficial meaning of the word “fool.” But as for what the manifestations and dispositions of a fool are, which of the things that people do are foolish and which aren’t, why God exposes people in this way, whether or not fools can come before God, whether or not fools are able to act according to principle, whether or not they are able to understand what is right and what is wrong, whether or not they are able to discern what is beloved by God and what is despised by God—most of the time, people are unclear about these things; to them they are ambiguous and ill-defined, utterly unapparent. For example: most of the time people don’t know—it is not clear to them—whether doing something in a certain way is simply following rules, or practicing the truth. Neither do they know—neither is it clear to them—whether something is beloved of God or despised by God. They do not know whether practicing a certain way is placing people in strictures, or fellowshiping the truth and helping people as normal. They don’t know whether the principles behind the way they act toward people are correct, and whether they are trying to create allies, or to help people. They don’t know whether acting in a certain way is abiding by principle and standing firm in their position, or being arrogant and self-righteous, and showing off. When they have nothing else to do, some people like staring at a mirror; they don’t know whether this is narcissism and vanity, or if it is normal. Some people have a temper and are a little odd; can they tell whether this is related to them having a bad disposition? People can’t even differentiate between these commonly seen, commonly encountered things—and yet they still say they have gained so much from believing in God. Is this not foolish? So can you accept being called a fool? (Yes.) Right now, it looks like the majority of people can accept this. What should you do after accepting it? You must compare it against your own state and specifically reflect about which matters you are being foolish in, and which you are being clear-headed in. Compare it against your own state, dig out your own corruption, and then come to know yourself in these matters, and strive to be numbered among the ranks of the fools. What do you think of this kind of practice? Is this knowledge total? (It is not. We must pursue the truth, and experience a change in this aspect.) That’s right. And do you want to be fools your whole lives? (No.) No one wants to be a fool. In fact, fellowshiping and dissecting in this way is not to make you try to class yourself as a fool; no matter how God defines you, no matter what He reveals about you, how He judges and chastises you, or deals with and prunes you, the ultimate aim is to allow you to escape those states, understand the truth, gain the truth, and try not to be a fool. So what should you do if you wish not to be a fool? You must pursue the truth. First of all, you must know in what matters you are a fool, in what matters you are always preaching doctrine, always meandering about in theory and words of doctrine, and staring blankly when you are faced with the facts. When you solve these problems and are clear about each aspect of the truth, there will be less times when you are foolish. When you have a clear understanding of each truth, when you are not bound by hand and foot in all you do, when you are not bridled or constrained—when, once something happens to you, you are able to find the correct principles to practice and are truly able to act according to principle after praying to God, seeking the truth, or finding someone to fellowship with, then you will no longer be foolish. If something is clear to you, and you are able to correctly practice the truth, then you will not be foolish when it comes to that thing. People have but to understand the truth for their hearts to naturally be enlightened.
God says that some people are fools, and in the beginning, they may not be able to accept it, but after some time passes, they realize that they truly understand nothing clearly; they do not know how to discern false leaders and antichrists; they feel quite foolish, and that their caliber is low, so they accept it and submit. “Fool” is a relatively pleasant-sounding, elegant word, and people have to go through a period of time before they can accept it; it might be harder for them to accept less pleasant-sounding, inelegant words. Among God’s words, some hit the nail right on the head as they reveal and judge people; they are more severe. The majority of people have too little stature to accept these. After hearing them, they feel pain and unhappiness; they feel that their dignity has been injured, that their immature hearts have been aggravated and wounded. Which words make you especially uncomfortable to hear, make you think that God should not say them, which you cannot accept? For example: trash, maggot, filthy demon, less than swine or dogs, beast, etc. It sounds like it is not easy for the majority of people to accept these words. Do civilized people usually say such words? You are all well-educated. You all pay attention to being refined and understated in your speech, as well as to the manner in which you speak: You are tactful, and have learned not to do damage to the dignity and pride of others. In your words and actions, you leave people room to maneuver. You do everything you can to put people at ease. You do not expose their scars or shortcomings, and you try not to hurt them or embarrass them. Such is the interpersonal principle by which most people act. And what kind of principle is this? (It is being a people-pleaser; it is deceitful and slippery.) It is conniving, slippery, treacherous, and insidious. Hidden behind people’s smiling faces are a lot of malicious, insidious, and despicable things. For example, when interacting with others, some people, as soon as they see that the other person has a bit of status, they think in their hearts: “When I speak with them, I need to choose pleasant-sounding words, otherwise I might damage their reputation—what if they were to punish me?” They just don’t say anything, or if they do speak, they do it in a tactful, pleasant-sounding, flattering way. When they meet, they say: “Ah! I’ve never seen someone as good-looking as you. Are you a fairy? You’re so pretty you don’t even need makeup; if you put makeup on, you’d be even more incomparable. Look at your build, everything you wear looks good! Such good-looking, pretty clothes must have been specially designed for people like you!” They speak especially pleasantly, so whoever hears them feels at ease, but do they actually think those things in their heart? (They do not.) What are they really thinking? They certainly have intents and ulterior motives, which are certainly shameful; they might be especially sinister, wicked, or contemptible, which would disgust others. Once they have parted ways, they speak ill of that person to others, saying any offensive and hateful thing they can about them. Their words contain an attack, a venom! The flattering words they just finished speaking cause them to feel annoyed and unwilling; belittling and slandering other people behind their backs brings them back into balance. Such people have darkness in their hearts; they are selfish and contemptible. This kind of conduct is disgusting and detestable. What kind of person is this? This is a deceitful person. There are too many such people among the unbelievers, and there are even some in the house of God. When they say those pleasant-sounding words, they have a shameful and contemptible intent and ulterior motive; they say whatever will help them achieve their objective. They do not speak in accordance with the facts at all, and they exaggerate; they have intents and objectives behind their pleasant-sounding words. When they speak offensively, they speak any hateful thing they can, and they are capable of speaking all kinds of venomous words. What kind of person is this? Beyond the surface outpourings of their dispositions, which are hypocritical, slippery, and deceitful, what else is in their nature? They are venomous—too venomous! When they compliment others, do the others ask for it? (No.) Why do they compliment them? (They have an objective.) That’s right. By fair means or foul, they toy with people in order to achieve their intents and objectives; they would say anything, no matter how sickening. Is this not venomous? Then to resolve the imbalance in their heart, they stab people in the back, curse, and slander them, and they say any offensive and hateful thing they can. Is this not venomous? It is so venomous! From this matter you can see the nature of man. Nothing they do in front of people or behind their backs is genuine or sincere, nor is any of it in accordance with the truth or with humanity; it is all evil, poisonous. Are there not poisonous elements in everything corrupt mankind says? (There are.) So, are people’s words reliable? Can their words be trusted? People are so unreliable, so untrustworthy! Why? Because as they live, the things that pour forth from their actions and speech, their every deed and action, their every thought and idea, are all of a satanic disposition, totally representative of a satanic nature essence.
Why do people believe in God, but do not believe that His words are the truth? It is because their eyes are blind, they do not understand what the truth is, and they have no knowledge of God. Many people read the words of God and can acknowledge that His words are the truth, but they have notions and resistance over what God has spoken regarding “maggots,” “trash,” “devils,” and “beasts,” to the point that they are totally unable to accept these things. This is because they do not know their own nature. How do people see human nature essence? (They acknowledge their own satanic dispositions, but they think they still have a good side, and they do not see that they themselves are a living Satan.) Do people understand their own nature essence as accurately, clearly, and truly as God does? (No.) In fact, human nature essence is totally inimical to God. God looks at human essence and nature. He does not look at what people say or do outwardly, He looks at their hearts, their essence, and their nature. Where do those definitions and modes of address that God has for man come from? They are defined based on human nature essence, as well as the corrupt dispositions that pour out of man. Having spoken to this point, do you understand what is meant by “God searches the depths of people’s hearts”? People always say that “God searches the depths of people’s hearts,” so what experiences do you have with these words? Have you ever really experienced them? What knowledge and understanding do you have of these words? Some people are muddled; they think it means that God knows the thoughts and ideas that pour out of them, that He knows the things they do which are not in line with the truth, that He knows the filth, corruption, and extravagant desires of their hearts; even if they do bad things without speaking of them, God knows. As God searches people, does He really only examine the surface level, the things that people are aware of? Could that be called God searching the depths of people’s hearts? (No.) What is the deepest part of a person’s heart? (Their nature essence.) Are people capable of being aware of their own nature essence? Can they feel it? Can they know it? (They cannot.) If people cannot feel it, then how do they come to truly know themselves? (They can only come to know themselves through the revelation of God’s words and His exposure.) God examines people’s nature essence, which they can neither feel nor know; when God reveals people’s nature essence, when the facts expose it, they are sincerely convinced. People’s thoughts, ideas, and views are all surface level things. Sometimes they are spoken aloud, and sometimes they are merely a momentary idea, a thought from the heart, or a temporary living thought, but they are all surface level things. These living thoughts can temporarily influence and guide your actions, but can they influence or guide the direction and goals of your life? They cannot. So what can influence and guide your actions, as well as guide the direction and goals of your life? Can you see this matter clearly? This is what is hidden in the deepest parts of people’s hearts, hidden in their minds. This is the thing that controls people’s thoughts and actions, the thing that gives rise to their viewpoints. Some people do not understand the meaning of the phrase “God searches the depths of people’s hearts.” What is meant by “the depths of people’s hearts” here? What things arise at the bottom of a person’s heart? Is it their deepest inner thoughts? From the surface, it would appear so, but what is it in reality? It is the things of human nature essence which no one can move from their place, people’s truest thoughts, which they never speak to anyone; at times, even they themselves do not know what they are. People live according to these things. They think that if they lose these things, if they lose the motivation that these things give them, they might no longer be able to believe in God. So do you know what things lie within the depths of people’s hearts? (Faith in God in order to obtain blessings; this is something that lies within people’s hearts.) That’s right, people believe in God in order to be blessed, to be rewarded, to be crowned. Doesn’t this exist in everyone’s heart? It is a fact that it does. Although people don’t often talk about it, and even cover up their motive and desire to obtain blessings, this desire and motive deep in people’s hearts has always been unshakable. No matter how much spiritual theory people understand, what experience or knowledge they have, what duty they can perform, how much suffering they endure, or how much of a price they pay, they never let go of the motivation for blessings hidden deep in their hearts, and always silently labor in its service. Isn’t this the thing buried deepest inside people’s hearts? Without this motivation to receive blessings, how would you feel? With what attitude would you perform your duty and follow God? What would become of people if this motivation to receive blessings that is hidden in their hearts was gotten rid of? It is possible that many people would become negative, while some would become demotivated in their duties. They would lose interest in their belief in God, as if their soul had vanished. They would appear as if their heart had been snatched away. This is why I say the motivation for blessings is something hidden deep in people’s hearts. Perhaps, as they perform their duty or live the life of the church, they feel that they are able to forsake their families and gladly expend themselves for God, and that they now have knowledge of their motivation to receive blessings, and have put this motivation aside, and are no longer governed or constrained by it. Then, they think that they no longer have the motivation to be blessed, but God believes otherwise. People only view matters superficially. Without trials, they feel good about themselves. As long as they don’t leave the church or deny God’s name, and they persist in expending for God, they believe they have changed. They feel they are no longer driven by personal enthusiasm or momentary impulses in the performance of their duty. Instead, they believe they can pursue the truth, and that they can continuously seek and practice the truth while performing their duty, so that their corrupt dispositions are purified and they achieve some genuine change. However, when things happen that are directly related to people’s destination and ending, how do they behave? The truth is revealed in its entirety. So at the end of the day, as far as people are concerned, is this circumstance one of salvation and perfection, or one of exposure and being cast out? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? To those who pursue the truth, it means salvation and perfection, which is good; to those who do not pursue the truth, it means exposure and being cast out, which is bad. Going through a period of time, do people not all encounter circumstances of trial and refinement? Why does God do this? It certainly has meaning, because God searches the depths of people’s hearts; He knows the real state of people’s innermost parts, He understands people, and He sees their nature essence clearly and completely. After a time, someone might have some success, they might have done some good things, not made any big mistakes, and they might be able to accept being dealt with and pruned. When things happen to them, they might have a somewhat submissive attitude. So they think that they are pretty good, that they have stepped onto the right track of belief in God, that they have been saved and perfected. When they are most complacent and self-satisfied, God’s discipline, judgment, and chastisement comes. These circumstances expose people, their stature, their corrupt dispositions, their nature essence, and their attitudes toward God. This exposure is actually good for people. If they pursue the truth, then this exposure, this circumstance, will cleanse them. Cleanse them of what? It will cleanse you of your unreasonable demands of God and your extravagant desires, and cause you to assume the correct viewpoint; you will no longer try to trade with God or make demands of Him for your extravagant desires; rather, your heart will increasingly, truly submit to God. You will not ask for anything, you will only seek to pursue the truth and satisfy God’s heart, causing you to become increasingly pure, until in the end, you are able to attain salvation. Is this not a result achieved by the work of God? (It is.) Does God not have a meaning behind doing this? Does this not cleanse people? Do people need to be cleansed in this way? (They do.) If God did not expose or cleanse people like this, then could people obtain the truth? (No.) They could not obtain the truth. Based on their satanic nature, what kind of road can people walk onto? (Following Satan and resisting God.) Can such a person be blessed? They cannot, they can only be cast out.
Do you know what a Pharisee actually is? Are there any Pharisees around you? Why are these people called “Pharisees”? How are Pharisees described? They are people who are hypocritical, completely fake, and put on an act in everything they do. What act do they put on? They pretend to be good, kind, and positive. Is this what they are actually like? Absolutely not. Given that they are hypocrites, everything that is manifested and revealed in them is false; it is all pretense—it is not their true face. Where is their true face hidden? It is hidden deep within their hearts, never to be seen by others. Everything on the outside is an act, it is all fake, but they can only fool people; they cannot fool God. If people do not pursue the truth, if they do not practice and experience God’s words, then they cannot truly understand the truth, and so no matter how nice-sounding their words are, these words are not the truth reality, but words of doctrine. Some people only focus on parroting words of doctrine, they ape whoever preaches the highest sermons, with the result that in just a few years their recital of doctrine grows ever more advanced, and they are admired and venerated by many people, after which they start to camouflage themselves, and pay great attention to what they say and do, showing themselves to be especially pious and spiritual. They use these so-called spiritual theories to camouflage themselves. This is all they talk about wherever they go, specious things that fit with people’s notions, but which lack any of the truth reality. And through preaching these things—things that are in line with people’s notions and tastes—they dupe many people. To others, such people seem very devout and humble, but it is actually fake; they seem tolerant, forbearing, and loving, but it is actually a pretense; they say they love God, but it is actually an act. Others think such people holy, but it is actually fake. Where can a person who is truly holy be found? Human holiness is all fake. It is all an act, a pretense. On the outside, they appear loyal to God, but they are actually just performing for others to see. When no one is looking, they are not the slightest bit loyal, and everything they do is perfunctory. Superficially, they expend themselves for God and have given up their families and careers. But what are they doing in secret? They are conducting their own enterprise and running their own operation in the church, profiting from the church and stealing offerings secretly under the guise of working for God…. These people are the modern hypocritical Pharisees. Where do Pharisees come from? Do they emerge among the unbelievers? No, all of them emerge among believers. Why do these people become Pharisees? Did someone make them that way? This is obviously not so. What is the reason? It is because this is what their nature essence is like, and this is due to the path they have taken. They use God’s words only as a tool to preach and profit from the church. They arm their minds and mouths with God’s words, they preach fake spiritual theories, and package themselves as holy, and then use this as capital to achieve the purpose of profiting from the church. They merely preach doctrines, yet have never put the truth into practice. What sort of people are those who continue to preach words and doctrines despite never having followed God’s way? These are hypocritical Pharisees. Their meager, so-called good behaviors and good conduct, and what little they have given up and expended, are accomplished entirely through the restraint and packaging of their own will. Those actions are entirely fake, and they are all pretense. In these people’s hearts, there is not the slightest reverence for God, nor do they have any genuine faith in God. More than that, they are nonbelievers. If people do not pursue the truth, then they will walk this sort of path, and they will become Pharisees. Is that not frightful? The religious place in which the Pharisees gather becomes a marketplace. In God’s eyes, this is religion; it is not the church of God, nor is it a place in which He is worshiped. Thus, if people do not pursue the truth, then no matter how many literal words and superficial doctrines about God’s utterances they equip themselves with, it will be of no use. Some people say: “It’s useless no matter how many I equip, so I just won’t equip myself at all.” What are they saying? Is that not nonsense? Is that not absurd speech? What is My purpose in fellowshiping on these words? Is it to prevent you from equipping yourself with the words of God? (No.) You must equip yourself with God’s words, but the crucial thing that you must be clear on is that you are not meant to use God’s words to package yourself in any way, nor are you meant to use them as capital to profit from the church, much less use them as a weapon to strike others. What are God’s words? God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life which resolve people’s corrupt dispositions. If you apply and practice these words perfectly, then you will obtain the truth; the truth will not be doctrine or just words to you, but will be your life reality. Once you have obtained the truth, you have obtained life.
On the subject of God searching the depths of people’s hearts, which I just spoke about, I will share a story: There was once a beautiful woman who was married to a rich man. How does the world usually look on such marriages? The beautiful woman is after the rich man’s money, and the rich man is after the beautiful woman for her looks; they each take what they need, and there is no real love—it is a transactional marriage. According to the imaginations of the world, this beautiful woman would certainly spend money wastefully, living luxuriously, but she did not do so. She lived like an ordinary housewife, doing chores; each day, she was diligent and conscientious, she was good to her husband and his family, such that she could be called virtuous and kind. But how did the rich man treat her? First off, he worried that this beautiful woman would not be able to truly live with him, and he worried that their marriage would not last, so he kept all his riches and important things to himself. He put them all under his own name, instead of under his wife’s control. But the beautiful woman did not care about any of this. No matter how her husband treated her—whether he did not trust her, or whether he restricted her financially—she did not manifest any unwillingness or displeasure. Rather, she was even more diligent. After a few years, the beautiful woman had several children, and she continued to care for her whole family as before, as a good wife and loving mother; she was obedient, gentle, and considerate to her husband. Finally, one day, the rich man felt that his wife was not as he had imagined her: She was not after his riches, nor was she after his material things. She had no extra requirements beyond those of a normal life, and moreover, she expended a great deal to manage the family—her youth, her looks, and her time. She was diligent and conscientious for the family, never complaining. The rich man was moved. After he was moved, what was his first thought? Would he not think: “Ah, my wife is so reliable, but I doubted her and guarded against her. It was unfair of me to treat her that way. I should give her all my riches and my things to take care of, because she is my true love, the person I most ought to trust, and who is most worthy of my trust. If I don’t believe in her, if I guard against her, then I’m being unfair to her. There is no character to such behavior. She has already gone through so many years of trials, I cannot doubt her any longer.” Did this thought not arise after seeing all the facts? (Yes.) This kind of thought comes from human judgment. Observing her behavior as things happened to her gave rise to his judgment, which gave rise to his definition of her. Therefore, when the rich man was stirred, he put all of his riches under his wife’s name, demonstrating his total trust in her, and answering her many years of loyalty and her investment in him. To the majority of people, this is in line with human conscience, judgment, morals, and ethics. Is this matter ended? (No.) After going through the legal procedures, the rich man put all his riches under his wife’s name. One day, the rich man returned home to eat, and as soon as he entered the door, he felt the atmosphere was wrong. His wife did not welcome him home or speak to him, and the house was cold. Why was the table, which was usually filled with food by now, empty today? He looked behind him, and on the dining table he saw a paper, on which were written two big words—Bye-bye!
The story is now over. You probably all more or less understand the point, so what is the purpose behind telling this story? (To let us know that people cannot be trusted, and they pretend too well.) The rich man was deceived by a false appearance. This beautiful woman pretended very well; in all those years, she never let slip a single flaw, and in all those years of living with her, the rich man never saw the tiniest hint. What kind of person is this beautiful woman? (She is sinister and deceitful, and especially crafty.) Did she have this intent from the very beginning, or did she only intend to do this in the end, after she had gotten all the riches? (From the beginning.) What were her original intentions when she married the rich man? Did she manifest them? (No, she hid them.) So what did she let pour forth on the surface? (A false appearance.) A totally false appearance. What was behind this false appearance, at its deepest? (She wanted to obtain wealth and profit.) She did not sincerely marry the rich man, she only wanted his riches. Whether it took ten or twenty years, as long as she could cheat him of his riches, then it didn’t matter to her that she had to marry him, or spend all those years of her youth and hard work. That was the deepest thought of her heart. Of what character are the things she did for the sake of this thought? (Pretending and deception.) Is that worth remembering, or should people spurn her? (Spurn her.) Is it good, or evil? (Evil.) It’s all evil. On what basis are all of her actions and all of the external prices she paid determined to be evil? Where does this conclusion come from? (It’s based on the intents and starting point of her actions.) So what do you understand from this story? (People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at people’s essence.) That is for certain. Why do people look at the outward appearance? Can people find out others’ intents and motivations from their words and actions? Do you know how to discern them? (We can see some obvious, surface-level ones.) You can see some external manifestations, but when you understand the truth and possess some of the truth reality, will you not be able to see people’s essence a bit more clearly? (Yes.) Why can God see people’s hearts so clearly? It is because God is the truth, He is omnipotent, and He searches the depths of people’s hearts. Do you think humans have a correct standard of judgment by which they can judge others like God does? (They do not, because humans are all of the same kind, and God is the Creator.) Humans are all of the same kind, so are there differences between humans? Is there a difference between someone who has the truth and someone who does not? Is there a difference between someone who knows God and someone who does not? Is there a difference between someone who fears God and someone who does not? (There is.) What kind of person can see through another person’s essence? (Someone who knows God and fears Him.) In the final analysis, how can a person see through another person’s essence? With respect to humans, only when they understand the truth and have the truth reality can they discern it. Then with respect to God, why is He able to see through people’s essence? How do you explain this matter? Can it be said that God is the standard by which to judge all people, events, and things, that He is the criterion by which to judge all positive and negative things? (Yes.) What is the practical element of these words? A person’s external conduct might be good and perfect, but if you have the truth reality, you can discern whether or not they practice the truth. However, if you do not have the truth reality, then when you see a person with perfect conduct, who disguises their outward appearance very well, a seamless disguise, then will you be able to see whether or not they practice the truth? You will not know how to discern them. Without the truth reality, you will not have a standard by which to judge others, and you will not know how to judge them. If you see someone with good external conduct, who speaks very genially, who suffers and expends a great deal, who outwardly reveals no problems, and who has no faults to speak of, how do you judge whether they are a good or bad person, whether they love the truth or are sick of it? How do you discern this? If you do not have a standard for your judgment, then you will be easily blinded by their external conduct and actions. If you are blinded and deceived by them, then will you be able to discern whether they are good or bad, whether they are kind or evil? You will not. Some people say: “Are people who understand the truth able to examine the hearts of others the same as God?” Humans do not have this capability. Even if they do have a deeper understanding of the truth, that does not mean they possess the reality of the truth. However, if a person understands the truth, then they are able to discern whether someone else is a good person or a bad person, whether someone else loves the truth or not, whether they are honest or deceitful, whether they fear God or are rebellious and inimical to God, and whether they sincerely follow God or are a hypocrite. You will be able to discern all these things. In the final analysis, what is most important? (Having the truth reality.) People who do not have the truth reality cannot thoroughly understand anything; they always act foolishly, and act in ways which are in conflict with the truth, and which resist God. Such people are pitiable. This touches upon the importance of whether or not a person is able to obtain the truth and enter into the truth reality. How do people see others when they themselves do not understand the truth? They can look at others only with their own notions and imaginings. When they judge and classify another person, they only look at their caliber and knowledge; they only look at whether or not their external conduct is ethical, whether or not it is in accord with traditional culture and human morality, and whether or not their actions benefit others. If they can see that a person’s words and deeds are basically reasonable, that they are totally in accord with human notions of ethics and morality, and that they are in accord with everyone’s tastes, then they will classify that person as a good person. But how does God classify people? Are all these methods that people use to reach conclusions and their starting points the standards by which God determines a person’s essence? (No.) What does God base His determination on? God bases His determination of a person’s nature essence on the thoughts and ideas of their heart, and the motive for their words and deeds, which is their intents and objectives. It is for this very reason that God is said to be the One who searches the depths of people’s hearts. Can a human search the depths of other people’s hearts? (No.) People can only see the external manifestations of others, and the intentions they reveal through their speech or through reading between the lines; at best, people are able to see these things, so they can only base their determination of others’ behavior on what they see and hear. When God determines people, on the other hand, He does not look only at their actions, the direction they are headed, or the quality of a particular action. God wants to see their truest thoughts, to see what their intents and objectives actually are as they act, what things their nature essence gives rise to, and which road those things compel them to go down. These are the things God looks at. So I ask you, God searches the depths of people’s hearts—what does “the depths of people’s hearts” refer to? Put simply, it is the truest thoughts of people’s hearts. So in the presence of God, no matter how you disguise yourself, how you conceal yourself, or what you fabricate for yourself, God has a clear grasp of all your truest thoughts and the things hidden in your deepest, innermost parts; there is not one person whose hidden, inner things can escape God’s scrutiny. Do you understand what I’m saying? With decades of life and behavior, that beautiful woman deceived the person closest to her—if the same thing happened to you, would you not also be deceived? (We would.) So could you not say that she not only deceived her husband, she also deceived you and everyone else? (Yes.) She did not divulge the truest thoughts of her heart to anyone else—she did not tell anyone—and moreover, her disguise was seamless, and no one was aware of it. Nevertheless, she neglected one thing—God watches everything people do. She may have been able to deceive everyone else, but she could not deceive God. That rich man seemed astute on the outside, he was able to earn a lot of money, but he fell victim to a woman. Was that momentary carelessness on his part? (No.) Then what caused it? It was because he could not see through her. What facts am I telling you with this story? I am telling you that you must walk the correct path as you believe in God and conduct yourselves, and do not engage in crooked and evil ways. What are crooked and evil ways? Believers in God always want to rely on little schemes, on deceptive and crafty games, and on playing tricks, to cover up their own corruption, their defects and faults, and problems like their own poor caliber; they always deal with matters according to satanic philosophies, which they think isn’t too bad. On surface-level matters, they fawn over God and their leaders, but they do not practice the truth, nor do they act according to principles. They carefully weigh the words and expressions of others, always pondering: “How has my performance been recently? Does everyone support me? Does God know about all the good things I have done? If He knows, will He praise me? What is my position in God’s heart? Am I important there?” The implication is, as someone who believes in God, will they obtain blessings, or will they be cast out? Is always pondering these matters not a crooked and evil way? This is indeed a crooked and evil way, not the right way. So then what is the right way? (To pursue the truth and a change of disposition.) That’s right. For those who believe in God, the only right way is to pursue the truth, obtain the truth, and achieve a change of disposition. Only the way in which God leads people to attain salvation is the true way, the right way.
God searches the depths of people’s hearts; He is able to see the deepest parts of people’s hearts, their truest thoughts. When God says “People are maggots,” on what basis does He speak? (Based on human nature essence.) Have you ever dissected the essence, state, and manifestations of the “maggots” that God speaks of and sees? What elements of man’s essence cause God to say this to them? Why does God say that people are maggots? In God’s eyes, corrupt humanity is clearly His creation; but do humans fulfill the responsibilities and duties that created beings ought to? Many people do their duty, but how is their performance as they do it? They do not take the initiative in doing their duty; if they are not pruned, dealt with, or disciplined, then they do not continue moving forward; they always need to meet, fellowship and be provided for in order to have even a little bit of faith, some small active elements—is this not their corrupt disposition? (It is.) People do not know their own position, nor do they know what they ought to do, what they ought to pursue, or the road on which they should walk; much of the time, they even act according to their own wills, and they run amok. If not for frequent watering, dealing with, and pruning, if not for God constantly arranging circumstances to guide people back to Him, what would people do? You could say that not only could such a person not do their duty well, they would also degenerate to the point that they would become negative, slack off in their work, act perfunctorily, and deceive God. If someone cannot do the duty that they ought to, then what is the quality of all their actions? You could say that they are all evil deeds—they only do evil! All day long, their thoughts have nothing to do with the truth, nothing to do with walking in God’s way. Every day, they eat three square meals without thinking or putting in any effort; even if they do have a thought, it is not in line with the truth principles, nor does it have any relationship at all to God’s requirements of man. They do interrupting and disturbing things, without testifying of God at all. Their heart is filled with thoughts of how to seek after their physical welfare, how to strive for status and fame, how to stand firm among other people, to have status and renown. They eat the food God grants and enjoy all that God provides, without engaging in human affairs. God does not like such people—He hates them. Some people do their duty as a mere formality. They come to church to observe the work like an unbelieving leader; they make the rounds once, shout a few slogans, lecture the brothers and sisters, make everyone listen to them obediently, and then they’re done. When they see someone just do their duty perfunctorily, without taking responsibility, they think: “That has nothing to do with me, and it doesn’t constitute a threat to my status, so I don’t care about it.” Day by day, they drift along like this, never doing any actual work, never solving any actual problems. What kind of person is this? (Someone who eats three square meals a day without thinking or putting in any effort.) They do not know what they ought to do each day, so they carelessly drift through the days, not knowing whether God is pleased with them or hates them, or whether He is examining them. Are the things they do in accord with the truth? Are they fulfilling their responsibilities? Are they loyal? Are they being perfunctory? Are they exalting themselves in the things they do? Are they testifying of God? They do not know any of this. Someone who eats three square meals a day without thinking or putting in any effort is commonly described as a “freeloader.” They do not do any real work; they are too lazy to even serve themselves a plate of food, and they want people to wait on them. What kind of person is this? They stay wherever they drift to each day, they eat wherever the food is good, they go wherever there is a comfortable place to sleep, and they go wherever there are people to flatter them. There is no difference between such a person and a maggot, is there? (No.) There is no difference. Based on these human behaviors, is it unfair to call people “maggots?” (It is not unfair.) People constantly live in this kind of degenerate nature; after they do a little bit of real work, they want recognition of their achievements. Some people say: “I’ve been doing my duty for five or six years already. I persist in doing my duty every day, and my hair is turning white.” Is this not a disgusting way to speak? How could you speak the same way as Paul? What is the objective behind trying to get recognition for your achievements? Is it not that you want a reward from God? What do we commonly call people who want a reward? Is it not “beggars?” Are such people not shameless? You are doing the duty of a created being, and who is your hard work for? Is it for God? God does not value such. In fact, you are acting on your own behalf, acting so that you can attain salvation, so what recognition do you want, and what reward are you asking for? Has God given you only a little grace, or few blessings? Has God given you this life so that you can ask for a reward? Is it so you can reach your hand out to beg God for food? Right now you are doing your own duty. This is your obligation and responsibility. God has entrusted you with a duty, which is gracious on His part, so you should not beg for anything; if you do, God will hate and be disgusted with you. People always want to beg God for grace and rewards. What kind of people are they? Are they not shameless people of inferior character? Are you all in such a state? (Yes.) How should you resolve this state? You must recognize which of your words and deeds belong to this state, and afterward, quickly come before God in prayer, and accept His scrutiny; dissect your ugliness and nature essence. After you have some knowledge and understanding, take these things to your brothers and sisters and fellowship about them, and lay yourself bare before them. At the same time that you fellowship and lay yourself bare in this way, you will actually be accepting God’s scrutiny, and in this way, your state will slowly be resolved. In order to resolve your own corrupt disposition, you must first clearly come to know just how wicked and hideous your corrupt disposition is; only then can you hate and despise yourself in your heart—if you do not despise yourself, you cannot resolve the problem. If you always think that there is nothing wrong with living according to a corrupt disposition, that other people will be fine with it, and that as long as you do not do anything evil, you are alright—is that not nonsense? Can such people obtain the truth? Can they attain God’s salvation? Why does God reveal people’s corrupt states? You should earnestly fellowship about God’s words, link people’s corrupt states and corrupt outpourings, and then compare them against the words with which God reveals that corrupt mankind is maggots—can you see that this problem is very serious? Are you able to accept it? (Yes.) When God says that people are maggots, who is He primarily addressing? Which of man’s states and corrupt dispositions is He primarily addressing? Which side of man’s corrupt nature is He revealing? First off, someone who is a maggot is worthless, without a sense of shame; in God’s eyes, they are not worth a single cent! Why do I say that they are not worth a single cent? God created you and gave you life, and you cannot even do the bare minimum of your duty; you are a freeloader. From God’s perspective, you are good for nothing, and your life is superfluous! Are such people not maggots? (Yes.) So what should people do if they do not want to be maggots? First off, you should find your own place and, by hook or by crook, find a way to do your duty, so that you can establish a normal relationship with the Creator, and so that you can give an accounting to God. Next, ponder how you can achieve loyalty in doing your duty, without being perfunctory; you should put your whole heart into it. Do not try to deceive the Creator. Do whatever God asks of you, listen, and submit. Now, do you have any other thoughts or resistance to God’s words calling people maggots? Can you relate this to yourselves? Some people say: “I have been doing my duty for many years, so I’m probably not a maggot, right?” Are they right? (No.) Why are they wrong? Whether you are a maggot or not has nothing to do with what you do on the outside. God wants to see how you do your duty, what state you are in as you do your duty, what you rely on to do your duty, whether or not you achieve results as you do your duty, whether or not you fulfill your responsibilities, and whether or not you are able to do your job. If you do your duty according to the truth principles, achieve loyalty, are able to do your duty up to an acceptable standard, and satisfy God, then you will have escaped the “maggot” form of address.
As you experience God’s work, you must first accept the words of His that reveal man’s nature essence. If you are able to clearly see people’s corrupt disposition and the truth of their corruption, and if you truly come to know yourself, then is this not the way forward for you to attain salvation? The way you approach God’s words which judge and expose man is crucial. First of all, you must ponder and understand the words of God which reveal man’s nature; if you are able to clearly see that what God’s words have revealed is totally in accordance with your real state, then you will reap the harvest. Some people, when they finish reading God’s words, always compare them against others; they always think that they are aimed at others, and that the words God has spoken have nothing to do with them, no matter how stern they might be. This is troublesome—this kind of person does not accept the truth. Then how should you approach God’s words? Every time you read any of God’s words, you should compare them against yourself, cross-reference them to your own state, to your own thoughts and viewpoints, and cross-reference them to your own behavior. If you are truly comparable to them and seek the truth to resolve your own problems, then in this way, you will reap the harvest. You should then use the reality of the truth you understand to go and help others; help them understand the truth and resolve problems, help them come before God, and accept His words and the truth. This shows love for others, and you can reap the harvest from it; it benefits both you and others, a twofold harvest. Acting this way makes you a useful person in the house of God; if you possess such truth reality, then you are able to testify for God. Do you not then win God’s acceptance? You should use the same methods to accept and submit to the remainder of the words with which God has exposed people, and then dissect yourself and come to know yourself. Do you know how to compare yourselves in this way? (A little bit.) If God said that you were Satan, that you were a devil, that you have a corrupt disposition, and that you resist Him, then you might be able to compare these larger things against yourself; but when His words touch on certain other states and outpourings to ascertain what kind of person you are, you are unable to compare them against yourself, and you cannot accept them—this is very troublesome. What does this mean? (It means we do not truly know ourselves.) You do not truly know yourself, and you do not accept the truth, isn’t that the case? (It is.) People need to slowly come to understand the words God uses to expose people, like “maggots,” “filthy demon,” “not worth a cent,” “trash,” and “good for nothing.” Is God’s objective in exposing people to condemn them? (No.) Then what is it? (To have people know themselves, and to cast off their corruption.) That’s right. God’s objective in exposing these things is to allow you to know yourself, to obtain the truth in the process, and to understand His will. If God exposes you as a maggot, as a lowly person, as good for nothing, how should you practice? You might say, “God says I am a maggot, so I’ll be a maggot. God says I am good for nothing, so I’ll be good for nothing. God says I am not worth a single cent, so I’ll be a worthless piece of trash. God says I am a filthy demon, that I am Satan, so I’ll be a filthy demon, I’ll be Satan.” Is this the way to obtain the truth? (No.) God’s objective in saying these words, His ultimate objective in all His judgment, chastisement, and exposure, is to allow people to understand His will, to step onto the path of practicing the truth, knowing God, and submitting to Him. If people always misunderstand God as they walk this path, if they are often unable to fully accept His judgment and chastisement, and if their rebelliousness is too great, then what can they do? You must often come before God, accept His scrutiny, allow Him to lead you through repeated trials and refinement, and allow Him to arrange circumstances to cleanse you. People’s corruption is so deep, they need God to cleanse them! If people do not have the will to do this, if they always indulge in comforts, if they are always muddleheaded, and if they do not seek the truth at all, then their hope of obtaining the truth is very slim. There are many practical manifestations of God scrutinizing the depths of people’s hearts, which can be seen from the many things in people’s corrupt dispositions which God exposes. Only God can see the things within man’s nature essence. So, if you do not listen to God’s words, do not live the way God has told you to, and do not believe in Him or do your duty in the way He has told you to, then you have no way to embark upon the path of satisfying God’s will; you have no way to embark upon the right track of belief in God, and it is very difficult for you to attain salvation. Is what I say right? (It is.) Can people satisfy God by believing in Him according to their own methods? (No.) People’s methods, imaginings, and the ways and means they arrive at are not in accordance with the truth, so this kind of belief in God can never satisfy Him.
I just spoke about the fourth indicator of how to judge whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life entry, which is the degree to which someone is able to submit to God in the people, events, and things they encounter. What determines the degree to which you are able to submit to God? If you are unable to receive or understand God’s words, if you cannot at all grasp the things God says and requires, then can you submit to Him? (No.) This is far too difficult. So in the final analysis, what does someone need in order to achieve submission? (To understand the truth.) If a person understands the truth, is that not equivalent to understanding God’s will? (Yes.) Only once they understand God’s will can they gradually achieve submission to God and satisfaction of His will.
In judging whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life entry, there is another key indicator, which is whether or not you are able to understand God’s will and obtain the truth in the midst of the things you encounter. Now, when most of you encounter a matter or circumstance, how much truth are you able to understand from it? Are you able to obtain the truth from it? Do you obtain the truth in the majority of matters, or are you unable to obtain the truth most of the time, always acting muddleheadedly and leaving loose ends? (Most of the time, we leave loose ends.) This is your true state: Most of the time you are unable to obtain the truth. What does this show? It shows that your stature is very small, and when you encounter many matters, you do not have the stature or the truth reality necessary to solve problems. No matter whether you encounter trials or temptations, you do not stand firm in your testimony, so you do not have the truth reality. If you cannot see through your own problems, and you do not know how to seek the truth to resolve your own problems, then you have utterly failed. If you encounter the same kind of trial again, you will still be muddleheaded, and you will use the same method to resolve it and the same attitude in your approach to it. Does this not show a lack of growth? (It does.) To what degree is your stature stuck right now? When things happen to you, you get confused, and then you search God’s words, the hymns, and sermons and fellowships, as well as the various principles you usually use, or else you go find people to fellowship with—is this the stature you are currently at? (Yes.) So is your stature great or small? (Small.) Can you live independently with this kind of stature? Can you independently solve your problems? (No.) If you are currently at this stature, then as soon as you leave the church life, leave your brothers and sisters, leave the circumstances and places in which you do your duty, are you still able to follow God? Can you really follow Him to the very end? This is not yet known. It is also possible that after three or five years, you might still be following God, but your behavior and conduct, the goals you pursue, the direction of your life, your viewpoints on matters, the way you get along with others, and the attitude with which you treat matters, none of these things will have changed, and you will be no different from an unbeliever. The only difference will be that you just call yourself a believer, you still believe in God in name only, and you still call yourself one of His followers. In essence, however, God is no longer in your heart, you no longer hold His way in your heart, and you have nothing to do with Him. Because you often come before God without knowing what to say in prayer to Him or what to seek, and have nothing to say to Him in your heart, you start to get farther away from God. When you encounter things, God’s words do not act as your guide, nor do you know how to seek the truth, and you act according to your own imaginings. Have you not thus become a through-and-through nonbeliever? What do I mean by these words? Before a person has obtained the truth, they always get confused when things happen to them, they do not know how to apply the truth, and they do not know how to deal with things in line with God’s will. Regardless of whether you are in good or terrible circumstances, whether you are being tempted or tested, you are always at a loss; you merely passively cope with it, and you are unable to use a positive attitude or the truth to resolve things. No matter what circumstances you encounter, you totally lack the ability to withstand them, and you are unable to take the initiative to use the truth to solve problems. Even if you were to seek the truth right at that moment to resolve them and try to satisfy God’s will regarding this matter, you would be unable to do it. So how much of your conduct and life is related to God, related to the conduct and life that a believer ought to have? If only one percent in terms of formality and the subjective wishes of your heart is related to God, and ninety-nine percent is unrelated to the truth, then you are just as God has said: “You have done much that is irrelevant to the truth.” Is this not frightening and dangerous? (It is.) This is very frightening, and very dangerous. So what are the problems people face? If people leave the circumstances that God has arranged, then they lose the opportunity to have God make them perfect, they become unworthy of God’s earnest intentions, and they give up on the lessons that God deliberately arranges for them. This is the thing that grieves God the most. God arranges appropriate circumstances for people so that they can pursue the truth. If people give up on their duties, give up on pursuing the truth, do not read God’s words, and are capable of departing from God at any time and place, then are they a sincere follower of God? Absolutely not. You can probably see this clearly—this is your real stature at the moment. People who do not pursue the truth do not understand God’s will at all. If people do not at all understand the circumstances that God arranges for them, nor do they know how to pray to or commune with God, what kind of stature do these people have? Is it not that their stature is too small, and they do not know how to pursue the truth? If they do not know how to pursue the truth, then how can they obtain it? From a subjective perspective, you might think that you have cast everything away and that your belief in God is true, but in fact, you do not accept the truth, and God has not obtained your heart—is this not the case? (It is.) God has not obtained your heart, which means that in many matters, you are still capable of resisting and betraying God, and departing from God, to the point that you would even deny God’s existence. Not only can you not submit to God, not be loyal to God, and not revere God, but you are also capable of resisting and betraying God at all times and places. This is the situation that people are in before they have obtained the truth. What is My purpose in saying all this to you? Why do I say these words? Is it to douse you with cold water? (No, it is to allow us to know our own true stature.) These words are a wake-up call for you and will benefit you. As a believer, if you do not obtain the truth, you will never gain God, and He will have no way to gain you. Thus, pursuit of the truth in your belief in God is the most important thing.
To pursue the truth, one must focus on practicing the truth, but where should one begin to practice the truth? There are no rules for this. You should practice whichever aspects of the truth you understand. If you have started a duty, then you should start practicing the truth in the performance of your duty. In the performance of your duty, there are many aspects of the truth to practice, and you should practice whichever aspects of the truth you understand. For example, you can start by being an honest person, by speaking honestly, and by opening your heart. If there is something about which you are too embarrassed to speak with your brothers and sisters, then you should kneel down and tell it to God through prayer. What should you say to God? Tell God what is in your heart; do not give empty pleasantries or attempt to deceive Him. Start with being honest. If you have been weak, then say you have been weak; if you have been evil, then say you have been evil; if you have been deceitful, then say you have been deceitful; if you have had vicious and insidious thoughts, tell God about them. If you are always competing for status, tell Him this, too. Let God discipline you; let Him arrange environments for you. Allow God to help you get through all your difficulties and resolve all your problems. You should open up your heart to God; do not keep it shut. Even if you shut Him out, He can still see into you. However, if you open up your heart to Him, you can gain the truth. So which path should you choose? You should open up your heart and tell God what is in your heart. By no means should you say anything false or disguise yourself. You should start by being an honest person. For years, we have been fellowshiping on the truth concerning being an honest person, and yet today there are still many people who remain indifferent, who speak and act only according to their own intents, desires, and aims, and to whom it has never occurred to repent. This is not the attitude of people who are honest. Why does God ask people to be honest? Is it to make it easier to understand people? Certainly not. God requires people to be honest because God loves and blesses honest people. Being an honest person means being a person with conscience and reason. It means being someone who is trustworthy, someone whom God loves, and someone who can practice the truth and love God. Being an honest person is the most fundamental manifestation of possessing normal humanity and living out a true human likeness. If someone has never been honest, or considered being honest, then they cannot understand the truth, much less can they gain the truth. If you don’t believe Me, go and see for yourself, or go and experience this for yourself. Only by being an honest person can your heart be open to God, can you accept the truth, can the truth become your life, and can you understand and gain the truth. If your heart is always closed, if you don’t open up or say what is in your heart to anyone, such that no one can understand you, then your walls are too thick, and you are the most deceitful of people. If you believe in God yet cannot purely open yourself up to God, if you can lie to God or exaggerate to deceive God, if you are incapable of opening your heart to God, and can still speak in circles and hide your intentions, then you will only harm yourself, and God will ignore you and not work in you. You won’t understand any of the truth, and you won’t gain any of the truth. Now can you see the importance of pursuing and gaining the truth? What is the first thing you should do to pursue the truth? You should be an honest person. Only if people seek to be honest can they know how deeply corrupted they are, whether or not they really have any human likeness, and clearly take their own measure or see their deficiencies. Only when they are practicing honesty can they become aware of how many lies they tell and how deeply hidden their deceit and dishonesty are. Only while having the experience of practicing being honest can people gradually come to know the truth of their own corruption and know their own nature essence, and only then will their corrupt dispositions be constantly purified. Only in the course of their corrupt dispositions being constantly purified will people be able to gain the truth. Take your time experiencing these words. God does not perfect those who are deceitful. If your heart is not honest—if you are not an honest person—then you will not be gained by God. Likewise, you will not gain the truth, and will also be incapable of gaining God. What does it mean if you do not gain God? If you do not gain God and you have not understood the truth, then you will not know God, and so there will be no way you can be compatible with God, in which case you are the enemy of God. If you are incompatible with God, God is not your God; and if God is not your God, you cannot be saved. If you do not seek to attain salvation, why do you believe in God? If you cannot attain salvation, you will forever be a bitter enemy of God, and your outcome will be set. Thus, if people wish to be saved, then they must start by being honest. In the end, those who are gained by God are marked with a sign. Do you know what it is? It is written in Revelation, in the Bible: “And in their mouth was found no lie; they are without blemish” (Revelation 14:5). Who are “they”? They are those who are saved, perfected and gained by God. How does God describe these people? What are the characteristics and expressions of their conduct? They are without blemish. They speak no lies. You can probably all understand and grasp what speaking no lies means: It means being honest. What does “without blemish” refer to? It means doing no evil. And what foundation is doing no evil built on? Without any doubt, it is built upon the foundation of fearing God. To be unblemished, therefore, means to fear God and shun evil. How does God define someone without blemish? In God’s eyes, only those who fear God and shun evil are perfect; thus, people who are unblemished are those who fear God and shun evil, and only those who are perfect are unblemished. This is totally correct. If someone lies every day, is that not a blemish? If they speak and act according to their own will, is that not a blemish? If they always ask for recognition when they act, always asking God for a reward, is that not a blemish? If they have never exalted God, always bearing witness to themselves, is that not a blemish? If they do their duty perfunctorily, act opportunistically, harbor evil intentions, and slack off, is that not a blemish? All these outpourings of corrupt dispositions are blemishes. It’s just that before people understand the truth, they do not know it. Right now, you all know that these corrupt outpourings are blemishes and filth; only once you understand a little bit of the truth can you have this kind of discernment. All that pertains to corrupt outpourings is related to lies; the Bible’s words, “found no lie,” are the key element to reflecting on whether or not you have blemishes. So, in judging whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life, there is one more indicator, which is: whether or not you have entered into being an honest person, how many lies can be found in the things you say, and whether your lies are gradually decreasing or if they are the same as before. If your lies, including your disguising and deceiving words, are gradually decreasing, that proves that you have started to enter into reality, and your life is growing. Is this not a practical way to look at things? (Yes.) If you feel like you have already experienced growth, but your lies have not decreased at all, and you are basically the same as an unbeliever, then is this a normal manifestation of entering into the truth reality? (No.) When someone has entered into the truth reality, they will at the very least speak much fewer lies; they will basically be an honest person. If you lie too much and your words are too adulterated, this proves that you have not changed at all, and you are not yet an honest person. If you are not an honest person, then you do not have life entry, and so what growth can you experience? Your corrupt disposition is still intact, and you are an unbeliever and a devil. Being an honest person is an indicator by which to judge whether or not a person has experienced growth in their life; people must know how to compare these things against themselves and know how to take their own measure.
In all, how many indicators of whether a person has experienced growth in their life entry have we fellowshiped about? (Six.) Summarize what these six things are. (The first is whether or not someone believes in their heart that choosing the path of believing in God is correct, and perfectly natural and justified, whether they have already determined that this path is the correct path in life, and whether they have the determination and will to follow God without being in two minds about it. The second is whether or not they have changed their viewpoints regarding people, the world, this society, life’s path, goals, and direction, and the meaning and value of life. The third is whether or not people have a normal relationship with God. The fourth is whether or not they are able to submit to God in the people, events, things, and circumstances they encounter, and the degree to which they are able to submit. The fifth is whether or not people can come to an understanding of God’s will and obtain the truth when things happen to them. The sixth is whether or not they have entered into being an honest person.) You must frequently examine yourselves to see whether or not you have entered into these things, and fellowship on them in gatherings. If you do not always focus on these things, your life will have no way to grow, and your disposition will have no way to change. People get results in whichever things they focus on, wherever they put forth effort. If you always focus on doctrine, then you will only obtain doctrine; if you focus on getting status and power, then your status and power might be stable, but you will not have obtained the truth, and you will be cast out. Regardless of the duty you do, life entry is the important thing. You cannot relax in this regard, nor can you be neglectful.
January 31, 2017