39. The Principles of Walking the Path of Peter
Relevant Words of God:
In summary, taking Peter’s path in one’s faith means to walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly getting to know oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by walking the path of Peter will one be on the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on how, exactly, to walk Peter’s path, as well as how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside one’s own intentions, improper pursuits, and even family and all things of one’s own flesh. One must be wholeheartedly devoted; that is, one must completely devote oneself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking of God’s words, concentrate on the search for the truth and the search for God’s intentions in His words, and try to grasp God’s will in everything. This is the most fundamental and vital method of practice. This was what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one can achieve the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God primarily involves seeking the truth, seeking God’s intentions within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from God’s words. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s will, as well as achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s corrupt nature and actual shortcoming, thus meeting all aspects of God’s requirements of man in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God; this was most in line with God’s will, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this manner of practicing, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but also came to understand man’s essence, nature, and various shortcomings. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s words—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials, but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. In addition, he particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words. In whichever aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will, Peter was able to put forth great effort in these aspects and achieve full clarity; this was extremely beneficial with regard to his own entry. No matter what God spoke of, as long as those words could become his life and they belonged to the truth, Peter was able to carve them into his heart to ponder and appreciate them frequently. After hearing the words of Jesus, he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginations. In this way, Peter entered into the reality of God’s words. Peter’s service came in line with God’s will primarily because he had done this.
If one can satisfy God while fulfilling one’s duty, is principled in one’s words and actions, and can enter the reality of all aspects of the truth, then one is a person who becomes perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God have been completely effective for such people, that God’s words have become their life, they have obtained the truth, and they are able to live in accordance with God’s words. After this, the nature of their flesh—that is, the very foundation of their original existence—will shake apart and collapse. After people possess God’s words as their life, they will become new people. If the words of God become their life, if the vision of God’s work, His requirements of humanity, His revelations to humans, and the standards for a true life that God requires them to meet become their life, if they live according to these words and truths, then they are perfected by the words of God. Such people are reborn, and have become new people through God’s words. This is the path by which Peter pursued the truth; it was the path of being perfected, perfected by God’s words, and gaining life from the words of God. The truth expressed by God became his life, and only then did he become a person who obtained the truth.
Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
What Peter sought was to come to know himself and see what was revealed in him through the refinement of God’s words and within the various trials that God provided for him. In the end, when he truly came to understand himself, Peter realized how deeply corrupt man is, and how worthless and unworthy of serving God, and that man does not deserve to live before God. Peter then fell prostrate in front of God. Ultimately, Peter felt, “Knowing God is the most precious thing! If I could not know God, then my death would be such a pity; I feel that knowing God is the most important, most meaningful thing. If man does not know God, then he does not deserve to live, and he has no life.” By the time Peter’s experience had reached this point, he was fairly knowledgeable of his own nature and had a relatively good understanding of it. Although he perhaps would not have been able to thoroughly explain it as people might imagine, he had reached this state. Therefore, the path of seeking life and achieving perfection by God involves gaining a deeper understanding of one’s own nature from within the words of God, 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 the old satanic nature—means to have achieved the results required by God. If your knowledge has not reached this point, yet you claim to understand yourself and that you have gained life, 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 standard of a human being, or how many satanic elements you still contain. 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 changing his disposition over the course of his trials. He strove to know God, and in the end, he felt, “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, I will still feel most gratified to do so; I will not complain in the least, and my entire life will have been fulfilled.” Peter was not able to obtain this understanding or reach this level immediately after he had begun to believe in God; he first had to undergo many trials. His experience had to reach a certain point, 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; his specific practice was mainly focused on this aspect.
Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Peter was of good caliber, but his circumstances were not like those of Paul: His parents persecuted Me, they were demons that had been possessed by Satan and, as a result, they taught nothing of God to Peter. Peter was clever, gifted, and doted on by his parents from a young age. Yet as an adult, he became their enemy because he never stopped pursuing the knowledge of Me, and subsequently turned his back on them. This was because, above all else, he believed that heaven and earth and all things are in the hands of the Almighty and that all positive things come from God and are directly issued from Him without being processed by Satan. The contradistinction of Peter’s parents gave him a greater knowledge of My lovingkindness and mercy, thus heightening his desire to seek Me. He focused not just on eating and drinking My words, but, moreover, on grasping My will, and was ever vigilant in his heart. As a result, he was always sensitive in his spirit, and hence he was after My own heart in all he did. He maintained a constant focus on the failures of people in the past to spur himself on, profoundly fearful of becoming ensnared in failure. So, too, did he concentrate on assimilating the faith and love of all those who had loved God throughout the ages. In this way—not only in negative aspects, but much more importantly, in positive aspects—he grew more quickly, such that his knowledge became the greatest of all in My presence. It is not difficult to imagine, then, how he put everything he had in My hands, how he even surrendered making decisions about food, clothing, sleeping and where he lived, and instead enjoyed My riches upon the basis of satisfying Me in all things. I subjected him to countless trials—trials, naturally, that left him half-dead—but amidst these hundreds of trials, he never once lost faith in Me or felt disappointed in Me. Even when I said I had forsaken him, still he was not discouraged, and continued to love Me in a practical way and in accordance with past principles of practice. I told him that I would not praise him even though he loved Me, that I would ultimately cast him into Satan’s hands. But amid such trials, trials that did not come upon his flesh, but were of words, he still prayed to Me and said, “O God! Among heaven and earth and all things, is there any human, any creature, or any thing that is not in the hands of You, the Almighty? When You are merciful toward me, my heart greatly rejoices with Your mercy. When You judge me, unworthy though I may be, I gain a greater sense of the unfathomableness of Your deeds, because You are filled with authority and wisdom. Though my flesh suffers hardship, my spirit is comforted. How could I not give praise to Your wisdom and deeds? Even if I were to die after knowing You, how could I not do so gladly and happily? Almighty One! Do You really not wish to let me see You? Am I really unfit to receive Your judgment? Could it be that there is something in me You do not wish to see?” During such trials, even though Peter was not able to accurately grasp My will, it was evident that he was proud and honored to be used by Me (even though he received My judgment so that humanity might see My majesty and wrath), and that he was not distressed by these trials. Because of his loyalty before Me, and because of My blessing of him, he has been an exemplar and model to man for thousands of years. Is this not precisely what you should emulate?
Excerpted from “Chapter 6” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe 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. … 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
Man lives amid the flesh, which means he lives in a human hell, and without God’s judgment and chastisement, man is as filthy as Satan. How could man be holy? Peter believed that chastisement and judgment by God were man’s best protection and greatest grace. Only through chastisement and judgment by God could man awaken and hate the flesh, hate Satan. God’s strict discipline frees man from the influence of Satan, frees him from his own little world, and allows him to live in the light of God’s presence. There is no better salvation than chastisement and judgment! Peter prayed, “O God! As long as You chastise and judge me, I will know that You have not left me. Even if You do not give me joy or peace, and make me live in suffering, and inflict countless chastenings on me, as long as You do not leave me, my heart will be at ease. Today, Your chastisement and judgment have become my best protection and my greatest blessing. The grace You give me protects me. The grace You bestow upon me today is a manifestation of Your righteous disposition, and is chastisement and judgment; moreover, it is a trial, and, more than that, it is a life of suffering.” Peter was able to put aside the pleasures of the flesh and seek a deeper love and greater protection, because he had gained so much grace from God’s chastisement and judgment. In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, in order that he may free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan, and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man. Man lives under the influence of Satan, and exists in the flesh; if he is not cleansed and does not receive God’s protection, then man will become ever more depraved. If he wishes to love God, then he must be cleansed and saved. Peter prayed, “God, when You treat me kindly I am delighted, and feel comfort; when You chastise me, I feel even greater comfort and joy. Although I am weak, and endure untold suffering, although there are tears and sadness, You know that this sadness is because of my disobedience, and because of my weakness. I weep because I cannot satisfy Your desires, I feel sorrow and regret because I am insufficient for Your requirements, but I am willing to attain this realm, I am willing to do all I can to satisfy You. Your chastisement has brought me protection, and has given me the best salvation; Your judgment eclipses Your tolerance and patience. Without Your chastisement and judgment, I would not enjoy Your mercy and lovingkindness. Today, I see all the more that Your love has transcended the heavens and excelled above all other things. Your love is not just mercy and lovingkindness; even more than that, it is chastisement and judgment. Your chastisement and judgment have given me so much. Without Your chastisement and judgment, not a single person would be cleansed, and not a single person would be able to experience the love of the Creator. Though I have endured hundreds of trials and tribulations, and have even come close to death, they have allowed me to truly know You and gain supreme salvation. If Your chastisement, judgment and discipline were to depart from me, then I would live in darkness, under the domain of Satan. What benefits does the flesh of man have? If Your chastisement and judgment were to leave me, it would be as if Your Spirit had forsaken me, as if You were no longer with me. If that were so, how could I go on living? If You give me sickness and take my freedom, I can continue living, but if Your chastisement and judgment were to ever leave me, I would have no way to go on living. If I were without Your chastisement and judgment, I would have lost Your love, a love that is too deep for me to put into words. Without Your love, I would live under the domain of Satan, and would be unable to see Your glorious face. How could I continue living? I could not endure such darkness, such a life. Having You with me is like seeing You, so how could I leave You? I implore You, I beg You not to take my greatest comfort from me, even if it is just a few words of reassurance. I have enjoyed Your love, and today I cannot be away from You; how could I not love You? I have shed many tears of sorrow because of Your love, yet I have always felt that a life such as this is more meaningful, more able to enrich me, more able to change me, and more able to allow me to attain the truth that should be possessed by the creatures.”
Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
During his time following Jesus, Peter formed many opinions of Him and always judged Him from his own perspective. Although Peter had a certain degree of understanding of the Spirit, his understanding was somewhat unclear, which is why he said: “I must follow he who is sent by the heavenly Father. I must acknowledge he who is chosen by the Holy Spirit.” He did not understand the things Jesus did and lacked clarity about them. After following Him for some time, Peter grew interested in what He did and said, and in Jesus Himself. He came to feel that Jesus inspired both affection and respect; he liked to associate with Him and stay beside Him, and listening to Jesus’ words rendered him supply and aid. During the time he followed Jesus, Peter observed and took to heart everything about His life: His actions, words, movements, and expressions. He gained a deep understanding that Jesus was not like ordinary men. Although His human appearance was exceedingly normal, He was full of love, compassion, and tolerance for man. Everything He did or said was of great aid to others, and Peter saw and gained things he had never before seen nor possessed from Jesus. He saw that although Jesus had neither a grand stature nor any unusual humanity, He had a truly extraordinary and uncommon air about Him. Although Peter couldn’t fully explain it, he could see that Jesus acted differently from everyone else, for the things He did were very different from that of normal men. From his time in contact with Jesus, Peter also saw that His character was different from that of an ordinary man. He always acted steadily and never with haste, never exaggerated nor underplayed a subject, and He conducted His life in a way that revealed a character which was both normal and admirable. In conversation, Jesus spoke plainly and with grace, communicating always in a cheerful yet serene manner—and yet never did He lose His dignity while carrying out His work. Peter saw that Jesus was sometimes taciturn, while other times He spoke incessantly. Sometimes He was so happy that He appeared like a frisking and frolicking dove, and other times He was so sad that He did not talk at all, appearing laden with grief as though He were a worn and weary mother. At times He was filled with anger like a brave soldier charging off to kill an enemy or, on some occasions, He even resembled a roaring lion. Sometimes He laughed; other times He prayed and wept. No matter how Jesus acted, Peter grew to have boundless love and respect for Him. Jesus’ laughter filled him with happiness, His sorrow plunged him into grief, His anger frightened him, while His mercy, forgiveness, and the strict demands He made of people made him come to truly love Jesus and develop a true reverence and longing for Him. Of course, it was not until after Peter had lived alongside Jesus for a number of years that he gradually came to realize all of this.
Excerpted from “How Peter Came to Know Jesus” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
And what did Peter regret the most? Not long after Peter had said “You are the Son of the living God,” Jesus posited another question to Peter (although it is not recorded in the Bible this way). Jesus asked him: “Peter! Have you ever loved Me?” Peter understood what He meant, and said: “Lord! I once loved the Father in heaven, but I admit I have never loved You.” Jesus then said: “If people do not love the Father in heaven, how can they love the Son on earth? And if people do not love the Son sent by God the Father, how can they love the Father in heaven? If people truly love the Son on earth, then they truly love the Father in heaven.” When Peter heard these words, he realized what he had been lacking. He always felt remorse to the point of tears over his words “I once loved the Father in heaven, but I have never loved You.” After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, he felt even more remorse and grief over these words. Recalling his past work and his present stature, he would often come before Jesus in prayer, always feeling regret and indebted due to having not met God’s will and not measuring up to God’s standards. These issues became his biggest burden. He said: “One day I will dedicate to You everything I have and everything I am, and I will give You whatever is most valuable.” He said: “God! I have only one faith and only one love. My life is worth nothing, and my body is worth nothing. I have only one faith and only one love. I have faith in You in my mind and love for You in my heart; these two things only have I to give to You, and nothing else.” Peter was greatly encouraged by Jesus’ words, because before Jesus was crucified, He had told Peter: “I am not of this world, and you too are not of this world.” Later, when Peter reached a point of great pain, Jesus reminded him: “Peter, have you forgotten? I am not of the world, and it was only for My work that I departed earlier. You too are not of the world, have you really forgotten? I have told you twice, do you not remember?” Hearing this, Peter said: “I have not forgotten!” Jesus then said: “You once spent a happy time gathered with Me in heaven and a period of time by My side. You miss Me, and I miss you. Although the creations are not worth mentioning in My eyes, how can I not love one who is innocent and lovable? Have you forgotten My promise? You must accept My commission on earth; you must fulfill the task I entrusted to you. One day I will certainly lead you to be by My side.” After hearing this, Peter became even more encouraged and received even greater inspiration, such that when he was on the cross, he was able to say: “God! I cannot love You enough! Even if You ask me to die, I still cannot love You enough. Wherever You send my soul, whether or not You fulfill Your past promises, whatever You do afterward, I love You and believe in You.” What he held onto was his faith, and true love.
Excerpted from “How Peter Came to Know Jesus” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter followed Jesus for a number of years and saw much in Him that was not in other people. After following Him for a year, Peter was chosen by Jesus from among the twelve disciples. (Of course, Jesus did not speak this aloud, and others were not aware of it at all.) In life, Peter measured himself by everything Jesus did. Most notably, the messages that Jesus preached were etched in his heart. He was utterly dedicated and loyal to Jesus, and he never spoke any grievances against Him. As a result, he became Jesus’ faithful companion everywhere He went. Peter observed Jesus’ teachings, His gentle words, what He took for His food, His clothing, His shelter, and how He traveled. He emulated Jesus in every regard. He was never self-righteous, but cast off all that was outdated, following Jesus’ example in both word and deed. It was then that Peter felt that the heavens and earth and all things were in the hands of the Almighty and that, for this reason, he was without personal choice. Peter also assimilated all that Jesus was and used it as an example. Jesus’ life shows that He was not self-righteous in what He did; instead of bragging about Himself, He moved people with love. Various things showed what Jesus was, and for this reason, Peter emulated everything about Him. Peter’s experiences gave him an increasing sense of the loveliness of Jesus, and he said such things as, “I have searched for the Almighty throughout the universe, and I have seen the wonders of the heavens and earth and all things, and I thus have gained a profound sense of the Almighty’s loveliness. However, I had never had genuine love in my own heart, and I had never seen the loveliness of the Almighty with my own eyes. Today, in the eyes of the Almighty, I have been looked upon with favor by Him, and I have finally felt God’s loveliness. I have finally discovered that it is not just God’s having created all things that makes humanity love Him; in my daily life, I have found His boundless loveliness. How could it possibly be limited to what can be seen right now?” As time passed, much that was lovely also emerged in Peter. He grew very obedient to Jesus, and of course, he also suffered quite a few setbacks. When Jesus took him to preach at various locations, Peter always humbled himself and listened to Jesus’ sermons. He never became arrogant because of his years of following Jesus. After being told by Jesus that the reason He had come was to be crucified so that He could finish His work, Peter often felt anguish in his heart and would weep alone in secret. Nevertheless, that “unfortunate” day finally arrived. After Jesus was arrested, Peter wept alone in his fishing boat and said many prayers for this. But in his heart, he knew that this was the will of God the Father, and that no one was able to change it. He remained anguished and teary-eyed only because of his love. This is a human weakness, of course. Thus, when he learned that Jesus would be nailed to the cross, he asked Jesus, “After You leave, will You return to be among us and watch over us? Will we still be able to see You?” Although these words were very naive and full of human notions, Jesus knew the bitterness of Peter’s suffering, so through His love He was considerate of Peter’s weakness: “Peter, I have loved you. Do you know that? Although there is no reason behind what you say, the Father has promised that after My resurrection, I will appear to people for 40 days. Do you not believe that My Spirit will frequently bestow grace upon you all?” Though Peter felt somewhat comforted by this, he still felt that there was one thing missing, and so, after being resurrected, Jesus appeared to him openly for the first time. In order to prevent Peter from continuing to cling to his notions, however, Jesus declined the lavish meal that Peter had prepared for Him, and disappeared in the blink of an eye. From that moment on, Peter finally had a deeper understanding of the Lord Jesus and loved Him even more. After His resurrection, Jesus frequently appeared to Peter. He appeared to Peter three more times after the forty days were up and He had ascended to heaven. Each appearance was right when the work of the Holy Spirit was about to be completed and new work was about to be begun.
Throughout his life, Peter fished for a living but, more than that, he lived to preach. In his later years, he wrote the first and second epistles of Peter, as well as several letters to the church of Philadelphia of that time. The people of this period were profoundly touched by him. Instead of lecturing people using his own credentials, he provided them with a suitable supply of life. He never forgot Jesus’ teachings before He left, and was inspired by them throughout his life. While following Jesus, he resolved to repay the Lord’s love with his death and to follow His example in all things. Jesus agreed to this, so when Peter was 53 years old (more than 20 years after Jesus’ departure), Jesus appeared to him to help fulfill his aspiration. In the seven years following that, Peter spent his life getting to know himself. One day, at the end of these seven years, he was crucified upside down, thus bringing his extraordinary life to an end.
Excerpted from “On the Life of Peter” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
During his lifetime, Peter experienced refinement hundreds of times and underwent many painful ordeals. This refinement became the foundation of his supreme love of God, and the most significant experience of his entire life. That he was able to possess a supreme love of God was, in one sense, because of his resolve to love God; more importantly, however, it was because of the refinement and suffering that he underwent. This suffering became his guide on the path of loving God, and the thing that was most memorable to him. If people do not undergo the pain of refinement when loving God, then their love is full of impurities and their own preferences; love such as this is full of the ideas of Satan, and fundamentally incapable of satisfying God’s will. Having the resolve to love God is not the same as truly loving God. Even though all that they think of in their hearts is for the sake of loving and satisfying God, and even though their thoughts seem to be entirely devoted to God and devoid of any human ideas, yet when their thoughts are brought before God, He does not commend or bless such thoughts. Even when people have fully understood all truths—when they have come to know them all—this cannot be said to be a sign of loving God, it cannot be said that these people actually love God. Despite having understood many truths without undergoing refinement, people are incapable of putting these truths into practice; only during refinement can people understand the real meaning of these truths, only then can people genuinely appreciate their inner meaning. At that time, when they try again, they are able to put the truths into practice properly, and in accordance with God’s will; at that time, their human ideas are lessened, their human corruption is reduced, and their human emotions are diminished; only at that time is their practice a true manifestation of the love of God. The effect of the truth of the love of God is not achieved through spoken knowledge or mental willingness, and nor can it be achieved simply by understanding that truth. It requires that people pay a price, that they undergo much bitterness during refinement, and only then will their love become pure and after God’s own heart. In His requirement that man love Him, God does not demand that man love Him using passion or his own will; only through loyalty and the use of the truth to serve Him can man truly love Him.
Excerpted from “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
All that Peter sought was after God’s heart. He sought to fulfill God’s desire, and regardless of the suffering and adversity, still he was willing to fulfill God’s desire. There is no greater pursuit by a believer in God. What Paul sought was tainted by his own flesh, by his own notions, and by his own plans and schemes. He was by no means a qualified creature of God, was not someone who sought to fulfill God’s desire. Peter sought to submit to God’s orchestrations, and although the work he did was not great, the motivation behind his pursuit and the path that he walked were right; though he was not able to gain many people, he was able to pursue the way of truth. Because of this it can be said that he was a qualified creature of God. Today, even if you are not a worker, you should be able to perform the duty of a creature of God and seek to submit to all of God’s orchestrations. You should be able to obey whatever God says, and experience all manner of tribulations and refinement, and though you are weak, in your heart you should still be able to love God. Those who take responsibility for their own life are willing to perform the duty of a creature of God, and such people’s viewpoint about pursuit is the right one. These are the people that God needs. If you did much work, and others gained your teachings, but you yourself did not change, and did not bear any testimony, or have any true experience, such that at the end of your life, still none of what you have done bears testimony, then are you someone who has changed? Are you someone who pursues the truth? At the time, the Holy Spirit used you, but when He used you, He used the part of you that could be used to work, and He did not use the part of you that could not be used. If you sought to change, then you would gradually be made perfect during the process of being used. Yet the Holy Spirit accepts no responsibility for whether or not you will ultimately be gained, and this depends on the manner of your pursuit. If there are no changes in your personal disposition, then that is because your viewpoint toward pursuit is wrong. If you are granted no reward, then that is your own problem, and because you yourself have not put the truth into practice and are unable to fulfill God’s desire. And so, nothing is of greater importance than your personal experiences, and nothing is more critical than your personal entry! Some people will end up saying, “I’ve done so much work for You, and though I may not have made any celebrated achievements, still I have been diligent in my efforts. Can’t You just let me into heaven to eat the fruit of life?” You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy, then it will be intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and who are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—this is an unalterable truth!
Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you are someone who pursues being made perfect, then you will have borne testimony, and you will say: “In this step-by-step work of God, I have accepted God’s work of chastisement and judgment, and though I have endured great suffering, I have come to know how God makes man perfect, I have gained the work done by God, I have had the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and His chastisement has saved me. His righteous disposition has come upon me and brought me blessings and grace; it is His judgment and chastisement that has protected and purified me. If I had not been chastised and judged by God, and if the harsh words of God had not come upon me, I could not have known God, and nor could I have been saved. Today I see: As a creature, not only does one enjoy all things made by the Creator, but, more importantly, all creatures should enjoy the righteous disposition of God and His righteous judgment, because God’s disposition is worthy of man’s enjoyment. As a creature that has been corrupted by Satan, one should enjoy God’s righteous disposition. In His righteous disposition there is chastisement and judgment, and, moreover, there is great love. Although I am incapable of completely gaining God’s love today, I have had the good fortune to see it, and in this I have been blessed.” This is the path walked by those who experience being made perfect, and this is the knowledge of which they speak. Such people are the same as Peter; they have the same experiences as Peter. Such people are also those who have gained life, who possess the truth. When they experience until the very end, during God’s judgment they will surely completely rid themselves of the influence of Satan, and be gained by God.
Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh