Daily Words of God: Entry Into Life | Excerpt 388
December 30, 2020
What Peter sought was to come to know himself and see what had been revealed in him through the refinement of God’s words and within the various trials that God provided for him. When he truly came to understand himself, Peter realized just how deeply corrupt humans are, how worthless and unworthy of serving God they are, and that they do not deserve to live before Him. Peter then fell prostrate before God. Ultimately, he thought, “Knowing God is the most precious thing! If I died before knowing Him, it would be such a pity; I feel that knowing God is the most important, most meaningful thing there is. If man does not know God, then he does not deserve to live and has no life.” By the time Peter’s experience had reached this point, he had grown fairly knowledgeable with regard to his own nature and gained a relatively good understanding of it. Although he perhaps would not have been able to thoroughly explain it in terms that would accord with what people nowadays imagine, Peter had indeed reached this state. Therefore, the path of pursuing life and attaining perfection by God involves gaining a deeper understanding of one’s own nature from within God’s utterances, as well as comprehending the aspects of one’s nature and accurately describing it in words. To thoroughly understand one’s old life—the life of that old satanic nature—means to have achieved the results that God requires. If your knowledge has not yet reached this point, but you claim to know yourself and say that you have gained life, then are you not simply bragging? You do not know yourself, nor do you know what you are in front of God, whether you have truly met the standards of being human, or how many satanic elements you still have within you. You are still unclear about who you belong to, and you do not even have any self-knowledge—so how can you possess reason in front of God? When Peter was pursuing life, he focused on understanding himself and transforming his disposition over the course of his trials, and he strove to know God, and in the end, he thought, “People must seek an understanding of God in life; knowing Him is the most critical thing. If I do not know God, then I cannot rest in peace when I die. Once I know Him, if God then has me die, then I will still feel most gratified to do so; I will not complain in the slightest, and my entire life will have been fulfilled.” Peter was not able to gain this level of understanding or reach this point immediately after he had begun to believe in God; he first had to undergo a great many trials. His experience had to reach a certain milestone, and he had to completely understand himself, before he could sense the value of knowing God. Therefore, the path Peter took was one of gaining life and of being perfected; this was the aspect upon which his specific practice was primarily focused.
What path are you all walking now? If it is not on the same level as Peter’s in terms of seeking life, understanding yourself, and knowing God, then you are not walking the path of Peter. 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 perform my duty well.” This is dominated by the intention to gain blessings, which is an example of expending oneself entirely for the purpose of obtaining rewards from God and gaining a crown. Such people do not have the truth in their hearts, and surely their understanding merely consists of a few words of doctrine 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 will certainly receive the greatest blessings in His house. 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 among God’s most blessed—those who gain the greatest blessings—and will then be certain to be granted crowns. This is precisely what Paul imagined and what he sought; it 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 only after obtaining it can they 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 homes and businesses up to certain levels. Do not all unbelievers walk this path? Those who are dominated by this satanic nature can only be like Paul in their faith: “I must cast off everything to expend myself for God; I must be faithful before Him, and eventually, I will receive the most magnificent crown and the greatest blessings.” This is the same attitude as that of worldly people who pursue worldly things; they are no different at all, and are subject to the same nature. When people have this sort of satanic nature, out in the world, they will seek to obtain knowledge, status, learning, and to stand out from the crowd; in God’s house, they will seek to expend themselves for God, be faithful, and eventually to obtain crowns and great blessings. If, after becoming believers in God, people do not possess the truth and have not undergone a change in their dispositions, then this is certainly the path they will be on. This is a reality that no one can deny, and it is a path that is diametrically opposed to that of Peter. Which path are you all currently on? Though you may not have planned to take the path of Paul, your nature has ruled that you walk this way, and you are going in that direction in spite of yourself. Though you want to set foot upon the path of Peter, if you are not clear on how to do that, then you will take the path of Paul involuntarily: This is the reality of the situation.
—Records of Christ’s Talks
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