100. The Principles of Identifying Whether One Possesses the Reality of the Truth
(1) See whether one, when reading God’s words, can engage in self-reflection, is capable of discovering how their corruption is revealed in life, and can know themselves and genuinely repent;
(2) See whether one can seek the truth in performing their duty, can use it to resolve problems, can treat others fairly, and treat their brothers and sisters with love;
(3) See whether one can accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, as well as being pruned and dealt with by them such that their corruption is purified, and can express true testimony from their experience;
(4) See whether there has been any genuine transformation of their views on things, outlook on life, and values; whether they can view things in light of God’s words; and whether they are honest in both word and deed.
Relevant Words of God:
God is a practical God: All of His work is practical, all of the words He speaks are practical, and all of the truths He expresses are practical. Everything that is not His words is vacuous, non-existent, and unsound. Today, the Holy Spirit is to guide people into the words of God. If people are to pursue entry into reality, then they must seek reality, and know reality, after which they must experience reality, and live out reality. The more that people know reality, the more they are able to discern whether the words of others are real; the more people know reality, the fewer notions they have; the more people experience reality, the more they know the deeds of the God of reality, and the easier it is for them to break free from their corrupt, satanic dispositions; the more reality people have, the more they know God and the more they detest the flesh and love the truth; and the more reality people have, the closer they come to the standards of God’s requirements. People who are gained by God are those who are possessed of reality, who know reality, and who have come to know God’s real deeds through experiencing reality. The more you cooperate with God in a practical way and discipline your body, the more you will acquire the work of the Holy Spirit, the more you will gain reality, and the more you will be enlightened by God, and thus the greater your knowledge of God’s real deeds will become. If you are able to live in the present light of the Holy Spirit, then the present path to practice will become clearer to you, and you will be more able to separate yourself from the religious notions and old practices of the past. Today reality is the focus: The more reality people have, the clearer their knowledge of the truth, and the greater their understanding of God’s will. Reality can overcome all letters and doctrines, it can overcome all theory and expertise, and the more reality people focus on, the more they truly love God, and hunger and thirst for His words. If you always focus on reality, then your philosophy for living, religious notions, and natural character will naturally be expunged following the work of God. Those who do not pursue reality, and have no knowledge of reality, are likely to pursue that which is supernatural, and they will be easily tricked. The Holy Spirit has no means of working in such people, and so they feel vacant, and that their lives have no meaning.
Excerpted from “How to Know Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Holding up God’s words and being able to explain them unabashedly does not mean you are in possession of reality; things are not as simple as you imagine. Whether you are in possession of reality is not based on what you say; rather, it is based on what you live out. Only when God’s words become your life and your natural expression can you be said to have reality, and only then can you be counted as having gained true understanding and actual stature. You must be able to withstand examination over long periods of time, and you must be able to live out the likeness that is required by God. This must not be mere posturing; it must flow from you naturally. Only then will you truly possess reality, and only then will you have gained life. Let Me use the example of the trial of the service-doers with which everyone is familiar: Anyone can offer the loftiest theories regarding service-doers, and everyone has a decent understanding of the subject; they speak on it and each speech surpasses the last, as if it were a competition. However, if man has not undergone a major trial, then it is very difficult to say that he has good testimony to bear. In short, man’s living out is still very lacking, entirely contrary to his understanding. Therefore, it has yet to become man’s actual stature, and it is not yet man’s life. Because man’s understanding has not been brought into reality, his stature is still like a castle built on sand, teetering and on the verge of collapse. Man possesses far too little of reality; it is almost impossible to find any reality in man. There is too little reality naturally flowing from man, and all the reality they live out has been forced. This is the reason I say man possesses no reality. Although people claim their love of God never changes, this is merely what they say before they have faced any trials. When they are suddenly faced with trials one day, the things that they speak of will once again fall out of step with reality, and this will again prove that man possesses no reality. It can be said that whenever you encounter things that do not fit with your notions and that require you to put yourself aside, those things are your trials. Before God’s will is revealed, everyone goes through a rigorous test and an immense trial. Can you fathom this? When God wants to try people, He always allows them to make their choices before the actual truth has been revealed. This means that when God is subjecting man to trials, He will never tell you the truth; this is the manner in which people are exposed. This is one way that God carries out His work, to see whether you know the God of today, as well as whether you possess any reality. Are you truly free of doubts regarding God’s work? Will you be able truly to stand firm when a major trial comes upon you? Who dares to say, “I guarantee that there will be no problems”? Who dares to assert, “Others might have doubts, but I never will”? It is just as when Peter was subjected to trials: He always boasted before the truth had been revealed. This is not a personal flaw unique to Peter; this is the greatest difficulty currently facing every man. If I were to visit a few places or pay a visit to a few brothers and sisters to see what your understanding is of God’s work of today, you would certainly be able to say much about your knowledge, and you would seem not to have any doubts whatsoever. If I were to ask you, “Can you really determine that the work of today is performed by God Himself? Without any doubt?” you would certainly answer, “Without any doubt whatsoever, it is the work performed by the Spirit of God.” Once you had answered in such a way, you surely would not feel a shred of doubt, and you would even feel quite pleased, thinking you had gained a bit of reality. Those who tend to understand things in this way are people who possess less reality; the more one thinks one has gained it, the less one will be able to stand firm when faced with trials. Woe to those who are arrogant and haughty, and woe to those who have no knowledge of themselves; such people are adept at talking, yet fare the worst when putting their words into action. At the smallest sign of trouble, these people begin to have doubts, and the thought of quitting steals into their minds. They do not possess any reality; they merely have theories that are above religion, without any of the reality required now by God. I am most disgusted by those who only speak of theories without possessing any reality. They shout the loudest when carrying out their work, but as soon as they are faced with reality, they fall apart. Does this not show that these people have no reality? No matter how ferocious the wind and waves, if you can remain standing without allowing a shred of doubt to enter your mind, and can stand firm and remain free from denial, even when there is no one else left, then you will be counted as having true understanding and genuinely in possession of reality.
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God does not require of people the mere ability to talk about reality; that would be too easy, would it not? Why, then, does God speak of entry into life? Why does He talk about transformation? If people are capable only of empty talk about reality, then can they achieve a transformation in their disposition? The good soldiers of the kingdom are not trained to be a group of people who can only talk about reality or boast; rather, they are trained to live out God’s words at all times, to remain unyielding no matter what setbacks they face, and to live constantly in accordance with God’s words and not to return to the world. This is the reality of which God speaks; this is God’s requirement of man. Thus, do not regard the reality spoken of by God as being overly simple. Mere enlightenment from the Holy Spirit does not equal the possession of reality. Such is not the stature of man—it is the grace of God, to which man contributes nothing. Each person must endure Peter’s sufferings, and, even more, possess Peter’s glory, which they live out after they have gained the work of God. Only this can be called reality. Do not think that you possess reality just because you can talk about it; that is a fallacy. Such thoughts do not accord with God’s will and have no actual significance. Do not say such things in the future—extinguish such sayings! All those with a false understanding of God’s words are unbelievers. They do not have any real knowledge, much less any real stature; they are ignorant people who lack reality. In other words, all those who live outside of the essence of God’s words are unbelievers. Those deemed unbelievers by people are beasts in the eyes of God, and those deemed unbelievers by God are people who do not have God’s words as their life. It can therefore be said that those who do not possess the reality of God’s words and who fail to live His words out are unbelievers. God’s intention is to cause everyone to live out the reality of His words—not merely to have everyone talk about reality, but, more than that, to enable everyone to live out the reality of His words.
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Remember this from now on! Do not speak of empty knowledge; only talk about the path of practice and about reality. Transition from real knowledge to real practice, and then transition from practice to real living out. Do not lecture others, and do not talk about real knowledge. If your understanding is a path, then let your words go free upon it; if it is not, then please shut your mouth and stop talking! What you say is useless. You speak of understanding in order to deceive God and make others envy you. Is that not your ambition? Are you not deliberately toying with others? Is there any value in this? If you talk about understanding after you have experienced it, you will not be seen as boasting. Otherwise, you are someone who spits out arrogant words. There are many things in your actual experience that you cannot overcome, and you cannot rebel against your own flesh; you are always doing whatever you want, never satisfying God’s will—yet you still have the gall to talk about theoretical understanding. You are shameless! You still are so bold as to speak of your understanding of God’s words. How impudent of you! Orating and boasting have become your very nature, and you have become accustomed to doing so. Whenever you wish to speak, you do so with ease, but when it comes to practicing, you indulge in ornamentation. Is this not a way to fool others? You may be able to trick men, but God cannot be deceived. Men are unaware and have no discernment, but God is serious about such matters, and He will not spare you. Your brothers and sisters might advocate for you, praising your understanding and admiring you, but if you possess no reality, the Holy Spirit will not spare you. Perhaps the practical God will not seek your faults, but God’s Spirit will ignore you, and that will be difficult enough for you to bear. Do you believe this? Talk more about the reality of practice; have you forgotten already? Talk more about practical paths; have you forgotten already? “Offer fewer lofty theories and worthless, inflated talk; it is best to begin practice starting now.” Have you forgotten these words? Do you not understand at all? Do you have no comprehension of God’s will?
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
How can it be seen whether a person is possessed of the reality of the truth? It is apparent from the moment they open their mouth to speak. A person without the reality of the truth speaks wholly of doctrine, no matter the topic; one knows at a glance that they do not generally practice the truth. As soon as one possessed of the reality of the truth comes into contact with you, their fellowship can resolve the problems that beset you at once. With just a few words, they lay bare problems that have troubled you for years, problems that no one else has been able to clarify by preaching doctrine, and they enable you to understand the truth and God’s will. You are no longer troubled, and no longer do you feel fettered; you are no longer constrained, but free and liberated. If you do not understand their words, no matter what they say, and if what they say does not solve your problem at its root, then what they are saying to you is merely letters and doctrines. Letters and doctrines cannot provide for people or help them, and they cannot resolve people’s practical difficulties.
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
No matter how many years people have had faith, they never gain a sense of what is good about believing in God. They cannot sense what tangible benefits they can gain from having faith, and are often even like the unbelievers, unable to beat the world’s trends, or its various temptations and enticements, or the fame and gain of the flesh. They even feel quite empty, and this feeling emerges from time to time and becomes increasingly obvious. More and more, they wonder, “There isn’t any meaning to believing in God, is there? If my faith has developed to this degree, shouldn’t I be just about there? I guess this is just how it is then, and there’s no telling whether I can be saved.” What does this indicate? (Not understanding the truth, and not having entered the reality of the truth.) That is it exactly; they have not entered the reality of the truth. That is, people do not understand any of those truths they should understand that God has granted and provided to them. Why haven’t they understood? It is because they have not taken God’s words as principles and a path of practice to implement in their daily lives and turn into their own reality. None of what they do, how they live, how they exist, or the way they deal with people, events, and things is based on God’s words. You have not experienced or learned through practice any of these words of God, and you have not personally experienced, nor do you know, what the true meaning of His words is. For this reason, God exposes the world and exposes people’s corruption and reveals the various states of every type of person, revealing the exact nature of each and every kind of person, event, or thing you encounter in the world when you come across it, yet you cannot fathom their essence. Because you have not experienced or entered them, you will never be able to fathom them. Nominally, you have believed in God for so many years, yet you are still you; you have not changed at all. That is, with regard to the depths of your heart and to your nature and essence, your corrupt disposition has not transformed in the least, so, from start to finish, you cannot let go of the world, of humanity, of Satan, of trends, and of fame and gain, because you cannot see them for what they are. Therefore, you often feel empty and listless, and that you have no confidence; moreover, you are unable to give rise to a genuine faith in God.
Excerpted from “Only by Seeking the Truth in Everything Can One Enter Its Reality” in Records of Christ’s Talks
What are the manifestations of someone who lacks the truth and life? Without the truth, people will naturally be subject to the constraints and bonds of their satanic nature; they’ll naturally reveal a disposition that is arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, reckless, and autocratic. They will be prone to bragging, being deceitful and treacherous, suspicious of others, and prone to attacking and judging others; they will always assess people through their prejudices and motives. They will always rely on their own preferences in their words and actions, and when they encounter setbacks or failures will become negative. Sometimes they’ll be supremely arrogant, and at times they’ll be so negative that they practically burrow into the ground. They go to extremes and are never normal. When they’re not baring their fangs, they’re putting on a pathetic face. You’ve come to a halt here: You’re willing to suffer and to pay a price; your resolution and determination are complete, but you don’t have the reality of the truth. What is the expression of someone having the reality of the truth? I’ll tell you a few major indications. When people have the reality of the truth, on one aspect, they’ve understood some truth. What else? Changes in disposition have a characteristic. That is, being able to submit to what is right and in line with the truth. No matter who gives you suggestions—whether they are young or old, whether you get along well, and whether the relationship between you is good or bad—as long as they say something that is correct and in line with the truth, and beneficial to the work of God’s family, then you can listen, adopt it, and accept it, and not be impacted by any other factors. This is the first aspect of that characteristic. First you can accept the truth, as well as things that are correct and in line with the truth. Another is being able to seek the truth whenever you encounter a problem. You not only can accept the truth; you must also be able to seek it. For example, if you encounter a new problem that no one can fathom, you can seek the truth, see what you should do or practice to make the matter in line with the principles of the truth, and meet God’s requirements. Yet another aspect is gaining the ability to be considerate of God’s will. How should you be considerate of His will? This depends on what duty you are performing and what requirements God has of your duty. You must grasp this principle: Carry out your duty according to what God requires, and carry it out to satisfy God. You must also understand the will of God, and what the desired result of your duty is, and you must be able to act with responsibility and faithfulness. All of these are ways to be considerate of God’s will. If you do not know how to be considerate of God’s will in the thing you are doing, you must do some seeking in order to accomplish that and to satisfy Him. If you can put these three principles into practice, measure the way you actually are living by them, and find a path of practice, then you will be handling affairs in a principled manner. No matter what you encounter and no matter what problems you have to deal with, you must always search for what principles you should be practicing by, what details these each include, and how they should be practiced so that you will not be violating the principles. Once you have a clear understanding of these things, you will naturally be able to practice the truth.
Excerpted from “Only by Putting the Truth Into Practice Can You Cast off the Binds of a Corrupt Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
People who have the truth are those who, in their real experiences, can stand firm in their testimony, stand firm in their position, stand on the side of God, without ever retreating, and who can have a normal relationship with people who love God, who, when things happen to them, are able to completely obey God, and can obey God unto death. Your practice and revelations in real life are the testimony of God, they are man’s living out and the testimony of God, and this is truly enjoying God’s love; when you have experienced to this point, the due effect will have been achieved. You are possessed of actual living out and your every action is looked upon with admiration by others. Your clothing and outward appearance are unremarkable, but you live out a life of the utmost piety, and when you communicate the words of God, you are guided and enlightened by Him. You are able to speak God’s will through your words, communicate reality, and you understand much about serving in spirit. You are candid in your speech, you are decent and upright, non-confrontational and decorous, able to obey God’s arrangements and stand firm in your testimony when things befall you, and you are calm and composed no matter what you are dealing with. This kind of person has truly seen God’s love. Some people are still young, but they act as someone of middle age; they are mature, possessed of the truth, and admired by others—and these are the people who have testimony and are the manifestation of God. Which is to say, when they have experienced to a certain point, inside they will have an insight toward God, and their external disposition will also stabilize. Many people do not put the truth into practice and do not stand firm in their testimony. In such people there is no love of God, or testimony to God, and these are the people most loathed by God. They read the words of God in the gatherings, but what they live out is Satan, and this is dishonoring God, vilifying God, and blaspheming God. In such people, there is no sign of God’s love, and they do not have the work of the Holy Spirit at all. So, people’s words and actions represent Satan.
Excerpted from “Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s desire made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s desire, 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 desire. 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. Paul sought only superficial reputation and status. He sought to show himself off before man, and did not seek to make any deeper progress in life entry. What he cared about was doctrine, not reality. Some people say, “Paul did so much work for God, why was he not remembered by God? Peter carried out but a little work for God, and did not make a great contribution to the churches, so why was he made perfect?” Peter loved God to a certain point, which was required by God; only such people as this have testimony. And what of Paul? To what degree did Paul love God? Do you know? What was Paul’s work done for? And what was Peter’s work done for? Peter did not do much work, but do you know what was deep within his heart? The work of Paul pertained to the provision to the churches, and the support of the churches. What Peter experienced were changes in his life disposition; he experienced the love for God. Now that you know the differences in their substances, you can see who, ultimately, truly believed in God, and who did not truly believe in God. One of them truly loved God, and the other did not truly love God; one underwent changes in his disposition, and the other did not; one served humbly, and was not easily noticed by people, and the other was worshiped by people, and was of great image; one sought holiness, and the other did not, and though he was not impure, he was not possessed of a pure love; one was possessed of true humanity, and the other was not; one was possessed of the sense of a creature of God, and the other was not. Such are the differences in the substances of Paul and Peter. The path that Peter walked was the path of success, which was also the path of achieving the recovery of normal humanity and the recovery of the duty of a creature of God. Peter represents all those who are successful. The path walked by Paul was the path of failure, and he represents all those who only submit and expend themselves superficially, and do not genuinely love God. Paul represents all those who do not possess the truth. In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey 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 love for God. Was this not the ultimate love for God? Was this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love for God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but you will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to 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 obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.
Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If people have a genuine understanding of God’s disposition, and can give heartfelt praise to His holiness and righteousness, then it means they truly know Him and possess the truth; only then do they live in the light. Only once a person’s view of the world and of life changes does one undergo a fundamental transformation. When one has a life goal and comports oneself according to the truth, when one submits absolutely to God and lives by His words, when one feels peaceful and illuminated to the depths of one’s soul, when one’s heart is free of darkness, and when one can live entirely free and unrestrained in God’s presence, only then does one lead a genuine human life, and only then has one become a person who possesses the truth. In addition, all the truths in your possession have come from God’s words and from God Himself. The Ruler of the entire universe and all things—God Most High—approves of you as a real person living a true human life. What could be more meaningful than God’s approval? This is what it means to be in possession of the truth.
Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks