The Consequences of Not Pursuing Life Entry

April 4, 2024

By Han Qing, China

In September of 2023, the sister partnered with me was arrested by the police. At that time I was a church leader, and when I saw that the brothers and sisters were all living in fear and needed help and support, and that the aftermath work desperately needed to be handled, I felt very anxious, and I started busying myself non-stop with transferring books, fellowshipping and resolving the states of the brothers and sisters, and watering and supporting newcomers. At that time, every day I went out before daylight, and at night I stayed up very late before going to sleep. Although I felt very tired at times, when I saw the states of the brothers and sisters changing for the better so that they could do their duties normally, and the books transferred smoothly to a safe house, I felt especially happy, and I thought, “In such dangerous circumstances, I am able to handle matters well, and the work of the church hasn’t suffered any loss. If I continue cooperating in this manner, in the end I will definitely receive God’s salvation.” When I thought of this, I did my duty more energetically. Every morning when I woke up I would go straight to gathering and to implement the work, but as for whether the work I did was in line with the principles, I reflected very little. Even when I took some time to eat and drink God’s words, I kept thinking about which passage of God’s words could resolve the states of the brothers and sisters, and I compared God’s words to my state very seldom. Sometimes, I realized that I only placed emphasis on doing work, and very seldom did I seek the truth and reflect on myself; but when I saw progress in the work, I felt like it didn’t matter if I ate and drank little of God’s words or didn’t seek the truth; as long as I did the work well, that was enough. Besides, the church still had a lot of work that needed to be done, so I kept busying myself with tasks.

Later, a sister was chosen to partner with me. Because she was new to some work, I did a lot of the work myself. When it was time to discuss the work, I noticed the sister didn’t take initiative, so I had a negative opinion of her, and my tone with her was harsh. I noticed how she felt constrained by me, and I didn’t reflect on myself. I believed this wasn’t a serious problem, and it wouldn’t delay me doing my duty. I still had so much work to do; where was there time for me to seek the truth and resolve my state? What if I spent time on this and delayed the work? Fulfilling my duty and achieving results was the most important thing. Later, I continued busying myself with work. One day, I was discussing work with two deacons. They both had a slow temperament, and didn’t actively express their opinions, so I felt a little anxious: “While discussing the work, if you don’t express your viewpoint, how is that good?” Then I reproached them, “Brothers, if you fail to actively express your viewpoints every time, how are we going to discuss this work?” After I finished, one of the brothers hung his head and looked embarrassed. Many similar occasions happened during that time. As soon as I saw the brothers failing to actively express their viewpoints, I began to hold them in contempt. One of the brothers was feeling a bit negative and said, “I’m old and have slow reflexes—I can’t keep up with your tempo, and I can’t fulfill this duty properly.” In reality, I knew that the brothers were new to this duty, and it was normal for them not to understand it or be able to do it. I should have encouraged and helped them. But I didn’t think it was that big of a problem to say what I did: I wasn’t making extra demands of them, I just wished for them to be a bit more proactive in doing their duty. So I didn’t put emphasis on resolving this. I thought, “One’s corrupt disposition can’t change in a moment. I should resolve the problems with work while I have the time. If I don’t do the work, how can I achieve results?” Because I was only getting things done, and I never put emphasis on reading God’s words and seeking the truth, or learning lessons from things that came up, I felt empty inside. One time, I arranged for a family in danger to safeguard the books of God’s words, and after the superior leader found out she pruned me for not doing things according to principles. I felt wronged and kept arguing and resisting. Seeing that I would not accept it, the leader said, “You run around doing things quite a lot, but you do things without principles, you’re always going by your own will and by experience—this will harm the interests of God’s house. Also, when you meet with pruning, you don’t have an attitude of submission and seeking, and you don’t practice self-reflection. Can you progress like this?” Later, I reflected on my own performance, and I realized that I always put emphasis on running around and doing work—I really didn’t have any life entry to speak of. I came before God in prayer, and I asked God to lead me in knowing and resolving my own issues.

While seeking, I read a passage of God’s words: “During the last days God has done no work that is not connected to His words, He has spoken throughout, used words throughout to guide man unto today. Of course, while speaking, God has also used words to preserve His relationship with those who follow Him, He has used words to guide them, and these words are of the utmost importance for those who wish to be saved, or whom God wishes to save, God shall use these words to accomplish the fact of humankind’s salvation. Evidently, whether viewed in terms of their content or number, no matter what kind of words they are, and no matter which portion of God’s words they are, they are of the utmost importance to each of those who wish to be saved. God is using these words to achieve the ultimate effect of His six-thousand-year management plan. To humankind—whether to the humankind of today or the future—they are of the utmost importance. Such is the attitude of God, such is the aim and significance of His words. So what should humankind do? Humankind should cooperate in God’s words and work, not ignore them. But such is not the way of some people’s faith in God: No matter what God says, it is as if His words have nothing to do with them. They still pursue what they want to, do what they want to, and do not seek the truth on the basis of God’s words. This is not experiencing the work of God. There are others who pay no attention no matter what God says, who have but a single conviction in their hearts: ‘I will do whatever God asks, if God tells me to go west, I’ll go west, if He tells me to go east, I’ll go east, if He tells me to die, I will let Him see me die.’ But there’s just one thing: They do not take in the words of God. They think to themselves, ‘There are so many of God’s words, they should be a little more straightforward, and they should tell me exactly what to do. I am able to submit to God in my heart.’ No matter how many words God speaks, such people ultimately remain incapable of understanding the truth, nor can they talk of their experiences and knowledge. They are like a layman who lacks spiritual understanding. Do you think such people are beloved of God? Does God wish to be merciful toward such people? (No.) He certainly does not. God does not like such people. God says, ‘I have spoken untold thousands of words. How is it that, like someone blind or deaf, you have neither seen nor heard them? What, exactly, are you thinking in your heart? I see you as nothing more than someone who is obsessed with chasing after blessings and the beautiful destination—you are chasing after the same goals as Paul. If you do not want to listen to My words, if you do not wish to follow My way, then why do you believe in God? You are not chasing after salvation, you are chasing after the beautiful destination and the desire for blessings. And since this is what you are plotting, what is most suitable for you is being a service-doer.’ In fact, being a loyal service-doer is also one manifestation of submission to God, but this is the minimum standard. Remaining as a loyal service-doer is much better than being plunged into perdition and destruction like an unbeliever. In particular, the house of God has a need for service-doers, and being able to render service to God also counts as a blessing. This is far better—incomparably better—than being lackeys of the devil kings. However, rendering service unto God is not wholly satisfactory to God, because God’s work of judgment is in order to save, cleanse, and perfect people. If people are content with merely rendering service to God, this is not the aim that God wishes to achieve by working in people, nor is it the effect that God wishes to see. But people burn with desire, they are foolish and blind: They are bewitched, consumed, by some petty profit, and dismiss the precious words of life uttered by God. They can’t even treat them seriously, let alone hold them dear. Not reading God’s words or cherishing the truth: is this smart or stupid? Can people achieve salvation this way? People should understand all this. They only have hope of salvation if they put aside their notions and imaginings and focus on pursuing the truth(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Treasuring God’s Words Is the Foundation of Belief in God). God exposes that people only place emphasis on surface-level actions. No matter how God fellowships, they always maintain an indifferent attitude toward God’s words, and they don’t place emphasis on eating and drinking His words, or on seeking the truth in His words. Believing in God this way is not experiencing God’s work at all. Comparing my behavior to God’s words, I saw I was just like that. I thought that I would do whatever the church asked me to do, and that if I did things well, I could satisfy God and receive His approval. Because of this, while doing my duty, I only placed emphasis on doing things. I totally disregarded God’s words, and I even felt that eating and drinking God’s words would delay me from doing my duty. I knew that God has expressed so many words during His work in the last days in order to let people pursue the truth and a change in disposition, so that in the end they might gain the truth and receive God’s salvation. But because I didn’t love the truth, I was still pursuing according to my own notions and imaginings, thinking that it was enough to get things done. Therefore, when my corruption was revealed in my partnerships with others, I didn’t seek the truth to resolve it. God expresses the truth and exposes all kinds of corrupt dispositions in humans, and He sets up real circumstances for us to experience, in order to make us able to understand the truth, cast off our corruption, and be cleansed. This is God’s love! If He only wanted people to labor and render service, then He wouldn’t have to work step-by-step up to now, and He wouldn’t have to become incarnate, express the truth, and endure so much hardship. I read so much of God’s words but still didn’t understand God’s intention to save people, my corrupt disposition hadn’t changed at all. I was exactly the kind of layman spoken about in God’s words. Going on like this, even if I did more work, in the end I would not be saved. Realizing this, I came before God and prayed, “Almighty God, through the exposure of Your words, I finally realized the mistaken views toward pursuit in my faith in God. I am willing to repent and change. Please lead me in walking out of my mistaken viewpoints, putting effort into Your words, pursuing the truth, and focusing on life entry.”

Later, I read these words of God: “These days, most people are in this sort of state: In order to gain blessings, I must expend myself for God and pay a price for Him. In order to gain blessings, I must abandon everything for God; I must complete what He has entrusted me with, and I must perform my duty well. This state is dominated by the intention to gain blessings, which is an example of expending oneself for God entirely for the purpose of obtaining rewards from Him and gaining a crown. Such people do not have the truth in their hearts, and it is certain that their understanding merely consists of a few words and doctrines which they show off everywhere they go. Theirs is the path of Paul. The faith of such people is an act of constant toil, and deep down they feel that the more they do, the more it will prove their loyalty to God; that the more they do, the more He will certainly be satisfied; and that the more they do, the more they will deserve to be granted a crown before God, and the greater the blessings they gain will be. They think that if they can endure suffering, preach, and die for Christ, if they can sacrifice their own lives, and if they can complete all of the duties with which God has entrusted them, then they will be those who gain the greatest blessings, and they will be certain to be granted crowns. This is precisely what Paul imagined and what he sought. This is the exact path that he walked, and it was under the guidance of such thoughts that he worked to serve God. Do those thoughts and intentions not originate from a satanic nature? It is just like worldly humans, who believe that while on earth they must pursue knowledge, and that after obtaining it they can stand out from the crowd, become officials, and have status. They think that once they have status, they can realize their ambitions and bring their businesses and family practices up to a certain level of prosperity. Do not all unbelievers walk this path? Those who are dominated by this satanic nature can only be like Paul in their faith. They think: ‘I must cast off everything to expend myself for God. I must be loyal before God, and eventually, I will receive great rewards and great crowns.’ This is the same attitude as that of worldly people who pursue worldly things. They are no different at all, and they are subject to the same nature. When people have this sort of satanic nature, out in the world, they will seek to obtain knowledge, learning, status, and to stand out from the crowd. If they believe in God, they will seek to obtain great crowns and great blessings. If people do not pursue the truth when they believe in God, they are sure to take this path. This is an immutable fact, it is a natural law. The path that people who do not pursue the truth take is diametrically opposed to that of Peter(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter). God exposes that people forsake and expend themselves in their belief in God and performance of duty to receive blessings and a good outcome and destination for themselves—they are governed by the motivation to receive blessings. When I reflected, I found that I had these exact views toward pursuit. I believed that doing more work and duties, fulfilling the tasks that leaders entrusted to me and achieving results—this would lead to God’s approval, and I would have a good outcome and destination. Because of this, I dove whole-heartedly into getting things done, and every day I busied myself with work. I thought of Paul, who only emphasized preaching and doing work. He traveled a long way and paid a significant price, but he didn’t put God’s words into practice, and his corrupt disposition didn’t change at all. In doing all this he was merely making a deal with God in the hope of receiving a crown and rewards. In the end, he even bore witness to himself, saying, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He offended God’s disposition and was cast out and punished by God. Looking back now, I was walking the path of Paul: I relied on my own notions and imaginings, believing that as long as I did more work and fulfilled the duties that were entrusted to me, achieving results, God would surely give me a good destination in the end. In this way, I only put emphasis on getting things done, and I even felt that eating and drinking God’s words would delay me. I revealed an arrogant disposition, constrained others, but I didn’t emphasize resolution. I wanted only to exchange my superficial sacrifice and expenditure, and the results of my work, for blessings from God. How could this gain God’s approval? On the outside, I appeared to be working nonstop every day, and seemed quite loyal in my duty, but in actuality, I wasn’t doing it to satisfy God at all, or for the sake of the church’s work; instead, I was plotting for my own outcome and destination, I was taking advantage of God, trying to make deals with Him—this is what God hates. If I still pursued with a selfish heart and adulterated intentions, and my corrupt disposition didn’t change at all, I would certainly be cast out by God in the end.

Later, I read more of God’s words: “Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s will made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s will, then he would feel remorseful, and would look for a suitable way by which he could strive to satisfy God’s heart. In even the smallest and most inconsequential aspects of his life, still he required himself to satisfy God’s will. He was no less exacting when it came to his old disposition, ever rigorous in his requirements of himself to progress deeper into the truth. … In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to submit to all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and going without in his life, none of which could alter his God-loving heart. Was this not the ultimate love for God? Was this not the fulfillment of the duty of a created being? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving submission unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a created being, this is the purity of the love for God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified created being, and there is nothing which better satisfies the will of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not submit to God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a created being, but you will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of submitting to God, and who rebels against God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not submit to or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately rebellious against God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks). God’s words say that whatever trivialities Peter met with in life, he was able to seek the truth and pursue satisfying God. He was also able to reflect promptly about the corrupt dispositions he revealed, and while he worked he emphasized his own entry. He bore a burden for God’s commission and his own life entry—the path he walked was one of success. But I only emphasized running around and doing work, not seeking the truth. When I revealed corruption I didn’t think anything of it, I didn’t reflect and know myself, and up to today I haven’t changed at all—the path I’ve walked has been one of failure. In reality, people should pay the price and expend themselves for God: This is their duty, it isn’t like what I imagined, that it was enough to just get my work done. Being able to seek the truth when things come up, putting emphasis on knowing one’s own corruption and shortcomings in the process of doing one’s duty, seeking the truth to resolve one’s own corrupt disposition, and taking the truth as a criterion for acting and comporting oneself—only this will lead to progress in life. Although my corrupt disposition can’t be resolved in a moment, I should put emphasis on knowing it and reversing course, reflecting on myself based on God’s words, finding the principles I ought to adhere to, and practicing in accordance with God’s words.

Later on, I read another passage of God’s words: “No matter how busy people who pursue the truth are with their duties, they can still seek the truth to resolve problems that befall them, and seek fellowship about things that are unclear to them in sermons they have heard, and quiet their hearts daily to reflect on how they performed, then consider God’s words and watch videos of experiential testimony. They gain things from this. No matter how busy they are with their duties, it doesn’t hamper their life entry at all, nor does it delay it. It is natural for people who love the truth to practice in this way. People who do not love the truth do not seek the truth and are unwilling to quiet themselves before God to reflect on themselves and know themselves, regardless of whether they are busy with their duty and of what problems befall them. So, no matter whether they are busy or at leisure in their duty, they do not pursue the truth. The fact is that if someone is of a heart to pursue the truth, and longs for the truth, and carries the burden of life entry and dispositional change, then they will grow closer to God at heart and pray to Him, however busy they are with their duty. They are sure to gain some of the enlightenment and brilliance of the Holy Spirit, and their life will grow without cease. If someone does not love the truth and does not carry any of the burden of life entry or dispositional change, or if they are uninterested in these things, then they cannot gain anything. Reflecting on what outpourings one has of corruption is a thing to be done anywhere, at any time. For instance, if one has poured forth corruption while performing their duty, then in their heart, they must pray to God, and reflect on themselves, and know their corrupt disposition, and seek the truth to resolve it. This is a matter of the heart; it has no bearing on the task at hand. Is this easy to do? That depends on whether you are someone who pursues the truth. People who do not love the truth are uninterested in matters of growth in life. They do not consider such things. It is only people who pursue the truth who are willing to apply themselves to growth in life; it is only they who frequently ponder problems that actually exist, and how to seek the truth to resolve those problems. In fact, the process of resolving problems and that of pursuing the truth are the same thing. If one is constantly focused on seeking the truth to resolve problems while performing their duty, and has resolved quite a few problems over several years of such practice, then their performance of their duty is certainly up to standard. Such people have many fewer outpourings of corruption, and they have gained much true experience in performing their duties. They are thus able to testify for God. … Whether someone pursues the truth is not a matter of how busy they are with their duty or how much time they have; it depends on whether they love the truth at heart. The fact is that everyone has the same abundance of time; what’s different is where each person spends it. It is possible that anyone who says they do not have time to pursue the truth is spending their time on fleshly enjoyments, or that they are busy with some external endeavor. They do not spend that time on seeking the truth to resolve problems. This is how people are who are negligent in their pursuit. This delays the great matter of their life entry(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (3)). I found the path of practice in God’s words: Take time every day to eat, drink, and ponder God’s words, reflect on myself, what corruption I have poured forth today, what things I have done without principles—it doesn’t matter whether I do this for a long time or not, as long as I can reap gains. When I’m not busy during the performance of my duty, I can take some time to read God’s words, and when I am busy I can focus on doing my duty, bringing God’s words into real life to practice and experience them. Before, when it came to spiritual devotion or seeking God’s words to resolve my state, I would argue that I didn’t have time. In reality, it wasn’t that I was busy doing my duty and didn’t have time to read God’s words; it was that I didn’t love the truth and only emphasized getting things done. Even when I wasn’t busy with my duty, I still didn’t focus on reading God’s words or seeking the truth to resolve my own corrupt dispositions. Now I understood that in reality there isn’t any separation between doing one’s duty and life entry. While doing our duty, we seek the truth to resolve issues and our corrupt disposition—all this involves life entry. We have to do the work we ought to do, but we can’t ignore life entry. Afterward, I placed emphasis on pondering God’s words, seeking the truth, and reflecting on myself. I took advantage of some spare time. While I was usually eating, taking a walk, or doing laundry, I also pondered my own state and God’s words—as long as I wanted to pursue and seek, there was always time. And I also reflected on myself. I always held my partners in contempt, and I was often hot-headed—what kind of issue was this? I came before God to pray, and I found passages in God’s words to eat and drink with regard to my own state. I knew that my hot-headedness was governed by an arrogant nature, and that my demands toward others were too high. The brother I was partnered with was old, and he had never performed this duty before. It was normal that his reactions were a bit slow. I always made demands of him according to my own standards, and I spoke to him in a disapproving tone. I didn’t adopt his perspective to consider things, and I didn’t approach matters according to each person’s different situation. In this way, when I interacted with others, I always made them feel harmed and constrained. I really was being too unreasonable. When I realized this, I finally started to really take this problem seriously. In our following discussion of the work, when I saw the brothers were slow to respond, I could then treat it correctly and give them some time to ponder. I could fellowship the corresponding principles in some more detail as best I could, and when they asked me certain questions, I could patiently fellowship with them and seek the truth and enter in together. Later, when things came up I started to put emphasis on examining what I had revealed. When I had incorrect thoughts or ideas, or when I revealed a corrupt disposition, I prayed to God consciously and sought the related truths to resolve it, instead of treating those things according to my corrupt disposition.

Later, there was a period when my duty got busy again. Some of the brothers and sisters went against the principles in their actions and needed to be fellowshipped with and resolved. Also, there were some potential gospel recipients who needed the gospel to be spread to them. When I saw all this work needed to be done, my first thought was to hurry and go do it. It was then that I suddenly thought of how before I always cared only for getting things done, I went where I needed to go, and did what I needed to do, but I didn’t reap any gain. I couldn’t do that again, I had to seek the principles. So I calmed down and pondered the manifestations of the brothers and sisters, finding some of God’s words and thinking how to fellowship in order to achieve results and make them know the essence of the problem. Regarding the potential gospel recipients, I also found out what their primary issue was and sought the relevant truth to get ready beforehand. Through this seeking, I understood certain truth principles that I hadn’t grasped before, I reaped some gains and achieved some results in my duty. Through this experience, I realized the importance of paying attention to life entry and seeking the truth principles while doing my duty.

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