145. The Principles of How to Approach World Trends
1. All world trends have their source in the evil forces of Satan. Their essence is a negative thing which defies God, denies God and opposes the truth;
2. World trends are indeed a giant vat of sin and licentiousness, and you should see through the dark, evil and filthy corrupt truth of world trends;
3. Recognize that all world trends are games Satan uses to toy with people, luring people’s hearts so that they shun God, defy God and bring about their own ruin;
4. In your belief in God you should pursue the truth and shun evil things, and do not follow world trends. You should live in the light of God’s words and live by God’s words.
Relevant Words of God:
Each and every person will think of how imposing the manner is of the officials in the world, how lofty, hidden or nontransparent their philosophies of life are, how accomplished they are, how dressed up they are, how they have presence…. The majority of people envy these things in their hearts. Isn’t this right? All people have these things within them and they can be overwhelmed and tempted by these things, even to the extent that these things can make them momentarily weak…. Why do some people fear when they see the great forces of the unbelievers? Moreover, they envy them in their hearts, saying: “If I could believe in God and also have such power, have so much money and have so many people supporting me, then that would be great.” These are the things people envy. If people had no work of the Holy Spirit, had no oppressive environment, no one to lead them, no one to coerce them, then everyone would follow the trends of the world and no one would believe in God. … Through dissecting these things within people we will discover that the things they yearn for are not righteous, are not of the light, not of the truth and do not conform to facts. Instead, they yearn for those things that are worldly, for things that belong to Satan, and for things that people consider to be good. … Within these things that people worship—knowledge, status, fame and gain, wealth, power—which of them does God like? Which of them are positive things? Which of them conform to the truth? None of them! … Why has it been said previously that everything that exists in the heart of man is evil, and is not in conformity with the will of God? Man’s heart is filled with the eating of food, the wearing of clothes, enjoyment and fun. But to what do these things belong? They belong to the world; they belong to the devil.
from “The Elements of Faithlessness Within Man and Man’s Nature That Betrays God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In the eyes of people who don’t believe in God, these things that people like are especially good, and they are especially willing to pursue them. To give a simple example: People especially worship actors, celebrities or singers. There are groupies among unbelievers. They follow the celebrities, have them sign their autographs and leave messages, or shake hands and hug them. Do these things exist in the hearts of believers? Do you occasionally sing the songs of the celebrities whom you worship? Or do you occasionally emulate and dress up in the styles your hearts yearn for? You make these celebrities and famous people the objects of your worship and the models for your worship. These are the common things that people are fond of inside. Do believers truly not worship these things, which the unbelievers worship? Deep down in the heart, the majority of people still have the heart to worship them. You believe in God, and it seems like you are not clearly pursuing those things. However, in your heart you still envy those things, and you are still fond of those things. Occasionally you think: “I still want to listen to their music, and I still want to watch the TV programs they’re acting in. How do they live? Where are they right now? If I could see them and shake their hands, then that would be great, and even if I died it would still be worth it.” Regardless of who they worship, people all like these things. Perhaps you do not have the opportunity or you do not have the circumstance to meet these people, things, or objects; however, these things are in your heart. To yearn for these things is to wallow in the mire with the people of the world; it is what God detests, it lacks truth, it lacks humanity, and it is the likeness of the devil.
from “What You Should Know About Transforming Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Those who are of the devil all live for themselves. Their life maxims are mainly those words that come from Satan like, “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” The words of those fiends, great ones, and philosophers of the earth have become their life. Most of the words of Confucius, who is held up by Chinese people as a “sage,” especially have become man’s life. There are also the famous sayings of Buddhism and Taoism and the classic sayings frequently spoken by famous figures; these are all outlines of Satan’s philosophy and Satan’s nature. They are also the best illustration and explanation of Satan’s nature. These poisons that have been infused into the heart of humankind all come from Satan; not the least bit of them comes from God. These lies and nonsense are also precisely in opposition to God’s word. It is completely clear that the realities of all positive things come from God, and all those negative things that poison man come from Satan. … Satan educates people through each nation’s fine traditional culture and causes humanity to fall into and be engulfed in an expansive abyss of destruction, and in the end people are destroyed by God because they serve Satan and resist God. … In the current world under Satan’s domain, throughout the thousands of years of human history, who has obtained life? Nobody. Why is that? They are all people who have resisted God. Everything by which they have lived their lives and survived comes from Satan and was accepted from Satan and is precisely in opposition to God’s word. So, they are beings who resist God, who suffer His cursing, and they have no life to speak of. Even though they want to “leave a lasting reputation,” “have their names passed down for a hundred generations,” “enjoy eternal glory,” and “have an everlasting name,” this is all nonsense. In fact, they were cursed by God early on, never to be reincarnated. The words of the famous, whatever they are, fundamentally do not hold with God, and all are punished in the eighteenth level of hell after they die. Only God is the truth. God controls the heavens and earth and everything in them and has dominion over all. Not to believe in God, not to submit to God is to be unable to obtain truth. If you live according to God’s word, you will feel a clarity, stability, and incomparable sweetness in the depths of your heart; you will have truly obtained life.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Knowledge of several thousand years of ancient culture and history has closed off the thinking and concepts and mental outlook of man so tightly as to be impenetrable and nondegradable. Man lives in the eighteenth level of hell, as if they have been banished by God into the dungeons, never to see the light. Feudal thinking has oppressed man such that man can barely breathe and is suffocating. They have not the slightest strength to resist and just quietly endure and endure…. Never has any dared to fight or stand up for righteousness and justice; they simply live a life, no better than an animal’s, under the abuse and assault of feudal lords, year after year, day after day. Man has never thought to seek God to enjoy happiness on earth. It is as if man has been beaten down, like the fallen leaves of autumn, withered and browned. Man has long lost their memory and helplessly lives in the hell by the name of the human world, waiting for the coming of the last day so that they may perish together with the hell, as if the last day that they yearn for is the day they shall enjoy restful peace. Feudal ethics have taken the life of man into “Hades,” so that man has even less ability to resist. Various kinds of oppression forced man to gradually fall deeper into Hades and farther away from God. Now, God has been a complete stranger to man…. Knowledge of ancient culture has quietly stolen man from the presence of God and turned man over to the king of devils and its sons. The Four Books and Five Classics have taken the thinking and concepts of man into another age of rebellion, causing man to further worship those who wrote the Books and Classics, furthering their notions of God. The king of devils heartlessly cast out God from the heart of man without their awareness, while it gleefully took over the heart of man. From then on, man was possessed of an ugly and wicked soul with the face of the king of devils. A hatred of God filled their chests, and the maliciousness of the king of devils spread within man day by day until man was utterly consumed. Man no longer had freedom and was unable to break free from entanglement with the king of devils. Therefore, man could only stay in place and be seized, surrendering to it and becoming subjugated to it. It long ago planted the seed of the tumor of atheism within the young heart of man, teaching man fallacies such as “learn of science and technology, realize the Four Modernizations, there is no God in the world.” Not only that, it repeatedly proclaimed, “Let us build a beautiful homeland through our industrious labor,” asking all to be prepared from childhood to serve their country. Man was unconsciously brought before it….
From top to bottom and beginning to end, it has been disturbing the work of God and acting in discord with Him. All the talk of ancient cultural heritage, valuable knowledge of ancient culture, teachings of Taoism and Confucianism, and Confucian classics and feudal rites has taken man into hell. Advanced modern-day science and technology, as well as developed industry, agriculture, and business are nowhere to be seen. Rather, it simply emphasizes the feudal rites propagated by the ancient “apes” to deliberately disrupt, oppose, and destroy the work of God. Not only has it afflicted man until this day, but it wants to consume man completely. The teaching of the feudal code of ethics and passing down of knowledge of ancient culture has long infected man and turned man into devils big and small. There are but few who would readily receive God and jubilantly welcome the coming of God. Man’s face is filled with murder, and in all places, death is in the air. They seek to cast God out from this land; with knives and swords in hand, they arrange themselves in battle formation to annihilate God. Idols are spread across the land of the devil where man is constantly taught there is no God. Above this land permeates a nauseating odor of burning paper and incense, so thick that it is suffocating. It seems to be the smell of sludge that wafts up when the serpent twists and coils, and is enough that man cannot help but vomit. Besides, there can faintly be heard evil demons chanting scriptures. This sound seems to be coming from faraway in hell, and man cannot help but feel a chill down his spine. Across this land are scattered idols, with all colors of the rainbow, which turn the land into a dazzling world, and the king of devils keeps a smirk on its face, as if its evil plot has succeeded. Meanwhile, man is completely unaware of it, nor does man know that the devil has already corrupted him to such degree that he has become senseless and defeated. It wishes to wipe out God’s all in one blow, to again insult and assassinate Him, and attempts to tear down and disturb His work. How could it allow God to be of equal status? How can it tolerate God “interfering” with its work among men on earth? How can it allow God to unmask its odious face? How can it allow God to disrupt its work? How could this devil, fuming with rage, allow God to govern its court of power on earth? How could it willingly admit defeat? Its odious countenance has been revealed for what it is, hence one finds himself not knowing whether to laugh or cry, and it is truly difficult to speak of. Is this not its essence? With an ugly soul, it still believes that it is incredibly beautiful. This gang of accomplices! They come down among the mortals to indulge in pleasures and stir up disorder. Their disturbance causes fickleness in the world and brings panic in the heart of man, and they have distorted man so that man resembles beasts of unbearable ugliness, no longer possessing the slightest trace of the original holy man. They even wish to assume power as tyrants on earth. They impede the work of God so that it can barely move forward and close off man as if behind walls of copper and steel. Having committed so many sins and caused so much trouble, how could they expect anything other than to wait for chastisement? Demons and evil spirits have been running amok on earth and have closed off the will and painstaking effort of God, making them impenetrable. What a mortal sin! How could God not feel anxious? How could God not feel wrathful? They cause grievous hindrance and opposition to the work of God. Too rebellious! Even those demons big and small become haughty on the strength of the more powerful devil and begin to make waves. They deliberately resist the truth despite clear awareness of it. Sons of rebellion! It is as if, now that their king of hell has ascended to the kingly throne, they become smug and treat all others with contempt. How many seek the truth and follow righteousness? They are all beasts like pigs and dogs, leading a gang of stink flies in a dung heap to wag their heads and incite disorder. They believe that their king of hell is the most superior of kings, without realizing that they are nothing more than flies on rot. Not only that, they make slanderous remarks against the existence of God by relying on their pigs and dogs of parents. The minuscule flies think their parents to be as large as a toothed whale. Do they not realize that they are diminutive, yet their parents are unclean pigs and dogs a billion times larger than themselves? Unaware of their own lowliness, they run amok on the basis of the putrid odor of those pigs and dogs and have the delusional idea to procreate future generations. That is absolutely shameless! With green wings upon their backs (this refers to their claiming to believe in God), they begin to become conceited and boast everywhere of their own beauty and attractiveness, secretly casting away their impurities onto man. And they are even smug, as if a pair of rainbow-colored wings could conceal their own impurities, and thus they persecute the existence of the true God (this refers to the inside story of the religious world). Little does man know that, though the wings of the fly are beautiful and enchanting, it is after all no more than a minuscule fly that is full of filth and covered with germs. On the strength of their pigs and dogs of parents, they run amok across the land (this refers to the religious officials who persecute God on the basis of strong support from the country betraying the true God and the truth) with overwhelming ferocity. It is as if the ghosts of the Jewish Pharisees have returned along with God to the nation of the great red dragon, back to their old nest. They have again begun their work of persecution, continuing their work spanning several thousand years. This group of degenerates is sure to perish on earth in the end! It appears that, after several millennia, the unclean spirits have become even more crafty and sly. They constantly think of ways to secretly undermine the work of God. They are wily and cunning and wish to replay in their homeland the tragedy of several thousand years ago. This almost goads God into giving out a loud cry, and He can hardly keep Himself from returning to the third heaven to annihilate them.
from “Work and Entry (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at “institutes of higher learning.” The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him. Man’s disposition becomes more vicious by the day, and there is not a single person who will willingly give up anything for God, not a single person who will willingly obey God, nor, moreover, a single person who will willingly seek the appearance of God. Instead, under the domain of Satan, man does nothing but pursue pleasure, giving himself over to the corruption of the flesh in the land of mud. Even when they hear the truth, those who live in darkness give no thought to putting it into practice, nor are they inclined to seek out God even if they have beheld His appearance. How could a mankind so depraved have any chance of salvation? How could a mankind so decadent live in the light?
from “To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
One that is becoming more and more so. When people look upon the world, their hearts are drawn to it, and many are unable to extricate themselves from it; great numbers will be beguiled by those who engage in trickery and sorcery. If you do not strive for progress, and are without ideals, you will be swept away by this sinful wave. China is the most backward of all countries, it is the land where the great red dragon lies coiled, it has the most people who worship idols and engage in sorcery, the most temples, and it is the place where filthy demons reside. You were born of it, you enjoy its benefits, and you are corrupted and tortured by it, but after undergoing introspection you turn your back on it and are completely gained by God. This is the glory of God, and so this stage of work has great significance. God has done work of such great scale, has spoken so many words, and He will ultimately completely gain you—this is one part of the work of God’s management, and is the “victory spoils” of the battle with Satan. The better these people become and the stronger the life of the church, the more the great red dragon is brought to its knees. These are matters of the spiritual world, they are the battles of the spiritual world, and when God is victorious, Satan shall be shamed and fall down. This stage of God’s work has tremendous significance. Work of such a grand scale completely saves this group of people; you escape from the influence of Satan, you live in the holy land, you live in God’s light, and there is the light’s leadership and guidance, and then there is meaning to your being alive. What you eat and wear is different to them; you enjoy the words of God, and lead a life of meaning—and what do they enjoy? They enjoy only the legacy of their ancestors and the “national spirit.” They have not the slightest trace of humanity! Your clothes, words, and actions are all different from theirs. Ultimately, you will completely leave the filth, no longer be ensnared in the temptation of Satan, and gain God’s daily provision. You should always be cautious. Though you live in a filthy place you are untainted with filth and can live alongside God, receiving His great protection. You have been chosen among all on this yellow land. Aren’t you the most blessed people? As a created being, you should of course worship God and pursue a meaningful life. If you don’t worship God and live in the filthy flesh, then aren’t you just a beast in human attire? As a human being, you should expend for God and endure all suffering. You should gladly and assuredly accept the little suffering you are subjected to today and live a meaningful life, like Job, like Peter. In this world, man wears the devil’s clothing, eats food given by the devil, and works and serves under the devil’s thumb, becoming trampled in its filth. If you don’t grasp the meaning of life or the true way, then what is the point of your life? You are people who pursue the right path, those who seek improvement. You are people who rise up in the nation of the great red dragon, those whom God calls righteous. Isn’t that the most meaningful life?
from “Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who believe in Me but who yet suffer hardships, have they not also been rejected by the world? Those who live outside My word, fleeing the suffering of trial, are they all not drifting through the world? They are akin to autumn leaves fluttering here and there, with no place to rest, much less My words of consolation. Although My chastisement and refinement do not follow them, are they not beggars who go drifting from place to place, wandering the streets outside the kingdom of heaven? Is the world really your place of rest? Can you really, by avoiding My chastisement, attain the faintest smile of gratification from the world? Can you truly use your fleeting enjoyment to cover up the emptiness in your heart that cannot be concealed? You can fool anyone in your family, yet you can never fool Me. Because your faith is too meager, you are still to this day powerless to find any of the delights life has to offer. I urge you: better to sincerely spend half your life for My sake than your whole life in mediocrity and busywork for the flesh, enduring all the suffering a man can hardly bear. What purpose does it serve to treasure yourself so much and flee from My chastisement? What purpose does it serve to hide yourself from My momentary chastisement only to reap an eternity of embarrassment, an eternity of chastisement? I do not, in fact, bend anyone to My will. If a man is really willing to submit to all My plans, I would not treat him poorly. But I require that all people believe in Me, just as Job believed in Me, Jehovah. If your faith exceeds that of Thomas, then your faith will attain My commendation, in your loyalty you will find My bliss, and you will surely find My glory in your days. However, people, who believe in the world and believe in the devil, have hardened their hearts, just like the masses of the city of Sodom, with grains of windblown sand in their eyes and offerings from the devil in their mouths, whose beclouded minds have long ago been possessed by the evil one that has usurped the world. Their thoughts have almost wholly fallen captive to the devil of ancient times.
from “What It Means to Be a Real Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
1. “Consume” refers to the violent behavior of the king of devils, which plunders people in their entirety.
2. “Fickleness in the world” indicates that if someone is rich and powerful, people curry favor with them, and if someone is penniless and without power, people ignore them. This phrase refers to the injustice of the world.
3. “Incite disorder” refers to how people who are demonic run riot, obstructing and opposing the work of God.
4. “A toothed whale” is used mockingly. It is a metaphor for how flies are so small that pigs and dogs appear as big as whales to them.