Word of God | "Understanding One's Nature and Putting the Truth Into Practice" | Excerpt 569
411 |March 4, 2021
People have an overly superficial understanding of their own nature, and there is a huge discrepancy between this and God’s words of judgment and revelation. This is not a mistake in what God reveals, but rather is humans’ lack of profound understanding of their own nature. People do not have a fundamental or substantive understanding of themselves; instead, they focus on and devote their energy to their actions and outward expressions. Even if someone occasionally said something about understanding himself, it would not be very profound. No one has ever thought that he is this type of person or has this type of nature due to having done this type of thing or having revealed something. God has revealed the nature and substance of humanity, but humans understand that their way of doing things and their way of speaking are flawed and defective; therefore, it is a strenuous task for people to put truth into practice. People think that their mistakes are merely momentary manifestations that are revealed carelessly rather than being revelations of their nature. People that regard themselves this way do not put the truth into practice, because they are not able to accept truth as truth and do not thirst after truth; therefore, when putting truth into practice, they only perfunctorily follow the rules. People do not view their own nature as being too corrupt, and believe that they are not so bad that they should be destroyed or punished. They think that it is not a big deal to lie occasionally, and consider themselves to be much better than they were in the past; in fact, however, they are nowhere close to being up to standard, because people only have some actions that do not outwardly violate truth, when they are not actually putting truth into practice.
Changes in a person’s behavior or conduct do not imply a change in their nature. The reason this is the case is that one’s conduct cannot fundamentally alter their original appearance, nor can it alter their nature. Only after one has come to know their own nature can their practice become profound and something other than adherence to a set of rules. Man’s current practice of the truth is still not up to standard, and cannot achieve fully all the truth requires. People practice only a portion of the truth, and only when they are in certain states and circumstances; they cannot put the truth into practice in all circumstances and all situations. When, on occasion, a person is happy and their state is good, or when they are fellowshiping with the group, and feel more liberated than usual, they may temporarily be able to do some things that accord with the truth; yet when they are in the company of negative people and those who do not pursue the truth, their practice is poorer, and their actions are somewhat inappropriate. This is because people practice the truth without an attitude of perseverance, but instead put it into practice guided by the fleeting influences of emotion or circumstance. It is also because you have not understood your state, nor have you understood your nature, so, at times, you are yet capable of doing things you cannot imagine yourself doing. You only know some of your states, but, as you have not understood your nature, you cannot control what you might do in the future—that is, you have no absolute certainty you will stand firm. There are times when you are in a state and you can put the truth into practice, and you seem to evince some change, yet, in a different environment, you are incapable of putting it into practice. This is out of your control. Sometimes you can practice the truth, and sometimes you cannot. One moment, you understand, and the next, you are confused. Currently, you are doing nothing bad, but perhaps you will in a little while. This proves that corrupt things still exist inside you, and, if you are incapable of true self-knowledge, they will not be easy to resolve. If you cannot attain a thorough understanding of your own corrupt disposition, and are ultimately capable of things that resist God, then you are in danger. If you can attain penetrating insight into your nature and hate it, then you will be able to control yourself, forsake yourself, and put the truth into practice.
Excerpted from Records of Christ’s Talks