Si’en Fuxin City, Liaoning Province
Many times God has required us to be a person who has reality. Then, what are the manifestations of “having reality”? Some leaders or workers think that they have reality because they have meetings with the brothers and sisters every day fellowshipping about the truth and have resolved many of their passive states and many difficulties in the church. Some of the brothers and sisters who preach the gospel think that they have reality because they can speak about the three stages of God’s works quite clearly and have caused many people to accept God’s new work. Some brothers and sisters think that they have reality in the truth of living out humanity because they pay much attention to their living out of humanity before the religious people or when they newly arrive at a host home and have received favorable comments and praise from them. Other brothers and sisters think that they have reality because they have written several acceptable sermons or communication articles on the experience of life. And still other brothers and sisters think that they have reality because they have never committed any serious transgressions or have never outwardly done anything that obviously offends God or resists God, and besides, the brothers and sisters also have a good opinion of them.
Then, are the above states really the manifestations of “having reality”? What does “having reality” actually refer to?
Regarding this question, let us first look at what God’s word says: “It is not your words that prove you have reality but your living out. Only if God’s word can become your life and become your natural expression, is this reality, and does it mean that you truly have knowledge and have a real stature. Only if you are able to withstand a long period of test and able to live out the likeness that meets God’s requirement, which is not a pose but a natural expression, can this be considered to be true reality and have life. … God’s requirement for man is not merely that man can speak forth reality. If so, isn’t it too simple? Why does God also talk about life entering in? Why does he talk about transformation? If one can only talk about reality, can he gain the transformation of his disposition? To train a group of good soldiers of the kingdom is not for them to be the ones who can only talk about reality or the ones who can only talk big but the ones who can live out God’s word at all times. They will not yield or flinch no matter what setbacks they encounter, and they can live by God’s word at all times and never return to the world. Only this is the reality God speaks about and is God’s requirement for people. Therefore, do not regard the ‘reality’ God speaks about as very simple. Having only the revelation of the Holy Spirit is not equivalent to having reality, and it cannot be considered to be man’s stature but is God’s grace, in which there is no achievement of man. With everyone, there should be not only Peter’s suffering, but even more, Peter’s glory, which is what man lives out after receiving God’s working. Only this is reality. Do not think that being able to talk about reality is having reality. This is a fallacy, a statement that is not in accordance with God’s will. It has no practical significance!” From God’s words we see that “having reality” is not as simple as we have thought. It is not that one can speak some knowledge of the truth, can receive some revelation of the Holy Spirit in God’s word, or can temporarily have some manifestations in accordance with the truth under special circumstances or backgrounds. Instead, it is that one can bring the truths he has understood into the practical life to practice and enter into them, and under whatever circumstances or whatever tribulations and setbacks he encounters, he can live by God’s word, can live out the likeness that meets God’s requirement, and can live out the reality of God’s word. And it is that God’s word has become his life and his natural expression.
Let’s have a look at our so-called reality: So many times when we fellowship with the brothers and sisters, we are full of revelation and can give a clear and reasonable fellowship, but when we encounter things, we have no practical entering in at all. Take, for example, a sister leader whom I knew. She had believed in God for several years, and she had good qualities and was eloquent. At ordinary times, when she fellowshipped with the brothers and sisters who were being refined for losing their positions, she could give a clear and reasonable fellowship about these truths, such as, “position cannot perfect people, exposing means salvation, how to love God and satisfy God in painful refining, one should take Peter’s path when believing in God,” and so on. Through her fellowship, some of them really struggled free from the bondage of position. At that time, we all admired her very much and felt that her fellowship was very practical. After a period of time, God’s family adjusted the administrative structure, and this sister was replaced. Much to our surprise, she left God because of losing her position. She had equipped herself with so much of God’s word and could resolve others’ states, and she seemed to really have some knowledge and reality when fellowshipping with others, but when this thing happened to her, she collapsed and fell. This shows that no matter how many things one understands and how well he can speak, he cannot be said to have reality. Some brothers and sisters, when first coming into contact with the religious people or arriving at a new host home, fear that they may leave a bad impression on these people and thus cause them to reject the new work or be unwilling to receive them, so they are careful and conscientious in doing things and are also very godly and decent in their speeches and manners, appearing to have some likeness of a normal man. However, as time goes on, their being poor in humanity and low in personality is gradually exposed. This is enough to show that our so-called “living out a normal humanity” is only a temporary manifestation and is a forced living out under a certain background rather than a natural expression. Therefore, temporarily having some proper practices cannot be considered to have reality at all. Some brothers and sisters, when preaching the gospel, can speak about the three stages of God works quite clearly and have caused many people to accept God’s new work. But this does not mean that they have reality either. As far as we know, there were so many who began to show off and testify themselves after having preached the gospel for several years and gained many people; and they also capitalized on that to barter and make bargains with God, thinking that God’s family should treat them properly in such and such a way because they had suffered a lot, rendered meritorious services, and borne many fruits. As a result, they were loathed by God and lost the working of the Holy Spirit. Some brothers and sisters have spoken some true knowledge of themselves and of the truth in the sermons and the communication articles on the experience of life they wrote. But after a period of time, when they examine their viewpoints on things and the expressions of their corruptions, they find that their states have scarcely changed compared with their previous ones described in the sermons and the articles, nor have they practiced according to the resolutions they have made or the ways of practice they have fellowshipped about in them. And what is even worse, some of them have rebelled against God and left God when their articles are accepted and published. Still some brothers and sisters have won favorable comments from the people around them and outwardly have never done anything that obviously offends God or resists God, but there is no truth or principles in their doing things. They can have good actions and behavior maybe because they were born with a good humanity and have successfully observed some regulations after believing in God, or because they have seen that some people were punished for resisting God and thus become cautious and meticulous. All in all, anyone whose change is not brought about by his knowledge of God or by his understanding of the truth and practicing of the truth cannot be considered to have reality no matter how good his behavior is or how many favorable comments he has won from others. Anyone who cannot bring the word of God and the revelation of the Holy Spirit into the real life to practice and enter into them cannot be said to have reality no matter how many things he understands or how well he speaks. After measuring the states of our so-called “having reality” against the standard of the truth, we will find that we actually do not possess the reality required by God, that the knowledge we have gained through the revelation of the Holy Spirit has not become our true stature, and that the outward practices we have cannot be considered to be reality at all.
Let us read a passage from The Fellowship of the Man, and we will be clearer about what having reality is. “Whether or not one has reality mainly depends upon whether or not he has gained the truth in his experiencing God’s work. He who has gained much truth possesses much reality; he who has gained little truth possesses little reality. That is to say, the amount of the truth one has gained determines the amount of the reality he has. Of course, the letters and doctrines, however many, cannot be called the truth. When one is fully clear about the truth, there will be the substance of the truth in the things he does. Only thus can he be considered to have reality in God’s eyes. If one has only good behavior but no truth, he cannot be considered to have reality. Reality is closely related to the truth and is completely from the truth. Only when one understands God’s will and can do things according to God’s will can he be considered to have reality. He who does not understand God’s will will not be considered to have reality in God’s eyes even if the things he does are good in man’s eyes. In what respect one understands the substance of the truth, in that respect he will have a change in his behavior. This is the reality brought about after he grasps the truth. When one knows God’s disposition, knowing what God likes and what God hates, his behavior will change for the better along with it. Therefore, if one has the truth, he has reality; if he has no truth, he has no reality.” From these words we see that reality comes from the truth and that one can only have it through practicing the truth. The more we practice the truth, the more truth we will gain, and the more reality we will possess. On the contrary, if we do not pay attention to practicing the truth, we cannot be considered to have reality no matter how many letters and doctrines we understand, how eloquently we can speak, how many proper outward practices we have, or how much we are admired by others. This is just as with Paul. He believed in God for many years, did many works, ran many miles, and preached many messages. However, the messages he had understood did not eventually transform his old nature, and he virtually remained as a natural man. Although he no longer persecuted the Lord Jesus, he did not have a renewed knowledge of God in his heart. All this resulted from his not pursuing the truth and not entering into reality. He was merely content with understanding doctrines and talking boastfully, content with having the revelation of the Holy Spirit and being able to do the work, content with outwardly doing nothing that obviously resisted God, and content with having good behavior and thereby being admired by others. Eventually he supplied all the works of the Holy Spirit to others but he himself gained nothing. Therefore, we should take warning from Paul. We should no longer be content with understanding some letters and doctrines, content with receiving some revelation of the Holy Spirit, or content with being able to practice the truth and having some proper outward practices under certain circumstances or backgrounds. Otherwise, we will, like Paul, become so arrogant as to lose our sense and be blind to our poorness and the crisis we are in, and we will also thus live in self-satisfaction and self-appreciation and have no desire to make progress. When trials come upon us, we will definitely fall and fail because of not having the reality of the truth as our foundation.
Lastly, we should also know that if we are merely content with having the revelation of the Holy Spirit, having a little knowledge of God’s word, and having some proper outward practices, but pay no attention to entering into the reality of God’s word, we will not be perfected by God even if we believe to the end. God’s word says: “…no matter how many of God’s words you eat and drink, you only feel peace and enjoyment in your spirit, and feel God’s word is incomparably sweet as if you cannot enjoy enough of it, but you do not have any practical experience of God’s word and do not have any reality of God’s word, what can you gain through believing in God like this? If you cannot live out the substance of God’s word, your eating and drinking or praying is of religious belief. Such a person cannot be perfected or be gained.” “In practical experience, there are many things that you cannot overcome, and you cannot rebel against your flesh, always acting willfully and not satisfying God’s heart’s desire. You even have the cheek to speak theories and knowledge. You really have no shame! You even have the cheek to speak your knowledge of God’s word. How shameless you are! Talking boastfully and talking big have become your nature…. Perhaps the brothers and sisters all support you, are all full of praises for your knowledge, and all admire you, but if you have no reality, the Holy Spirit will not let you off. Perhaps the Practical God will not find fault with you. However, the Spirit of God will disregard you. This will be enough for you to bear. Do you believe it?” From God’s words of judgment and disclosing, we can see how much God loathes and hates those who are merely content with enjoying the revelation of God’s word and with being able to speak and talk but do not pursue to enter into the reality of God’s word. Today, God is incarnated and has expressed so many words of life. His purpose is not just to let us understand these words and be able to speak them forth, but is to transform our corrupt satanic disposition with them and to work them into us, so that they will direct our words and deeds, direct our every act and every move, become the being of our life, become our natural expression, and cause us to live out the likeness of a perfected person. This is the result God wants to achieve in us through doing the work. That is to say, only by practicing God’s word and living out God’s word can we be perfected by God and be considered to have reality. May we all exert effort to live out the reality of God’s word and be able to “shift the focus from the practical knowledge to the practical practice and from the practice to the practical living out,” and soon become a person who truly has reality.