Chapter 6. How to Achieve a Change in Life Disposition
The Path to a Change in Life Disposition
To achieve a change in life disposition, one must experience God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, and trials of many kinds. This is the path to a change in life disposition. God’s judgment and chastisement is mostly about experiencing and receiving God’s judgment and chastisement from God’s words, this is the most crucial experience in submitting to the work of God. The experience of God’s judgment and chastisement is a result which must be achieved through the work of the Holy Spirit. We have seen most people read the word of God, eat and drink the word of God, but they have not experienced God’s judgment and chastisement. They have only seen in the word of God the revelation and the judgment of people’s rebelliousness and corruption. They have not personally felt the individual judgment and chastisement of themselves by God, this illustrates that these people have not experienced the judgment and chastisement of God. When some people see that the words of God’s judgment and chastisement are quite strict, they avoid and get out of them. When some people see the words of God’s judgment and chastisement, they think that they are talking about other people, that these words are not directed toward themselves, so they think nothing of it. Anyone who is in this state has not experienced God’s judgment and chastisement. So, God’s work does not have much of an effect on those people who have not experienced God’s judgment and chastisement in eating and drinking the word of God. We have seen that people in the Age of Grace all read the Bible and understood much of the writing contained within it. However, they did not feel the judgment and chastisement of God in their hearts and, at that time, God did not express words of the judgment and chastisement, so no matter how long people believed, they were not seen to have a change in life disposition. If people do not feel that God’s judgment and chastisement is directed toward themselves when they eat and drink the word of God in the Age of Kingdom or if they feel even less that God’s judgment and chastisement has a real effect on their hearts, then their experience of God’s work will not have much meaning. So, the entry into experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement is a crucial issue. So, how does one enter? You must do so through prayer. You pray before God: “God, I am willing to accept Your judgment and chastisement. May Your judgment and chastisement have an effect on my heart.” Afterward you will probably have the work of the Holy Spirit. When you read the words of the judgment and chastisement, you will feel that they are judgment and chastisement of you, that they are directed toward you. It will feel as if your heart has been stabbed and you will feel that “these words are so true, they are judging me, these words chastise me.” You will only truly experience God’s judgment and chastisement when you have this feeling. Most people, when seeing that the words of God are too strict, just like a two-edged sword, do not dare to face them but choose to avoid them. The result is that God’s judgment and chastisement seems to have nothing to do with them and, because of this, their corruption and nature will not change. Therefore, the experience of God’s judgment and chastisement lies in a person’s pursuit and acceptance. If you do not choose acceptance there is no way for this judgment and chastisement to happen to you. That is to say, a person must personally experience God’s judgment and chastisement—in your heart you truly feel that you have received God’s judgment and chastisement and you experience much suffering and refinement from the words of judgment and chastisement, and in the end, this makes you recognize your satanic nature, recognize the hatefulness of your satanic nature and recognize that Satan is the essence of your corruption. If you have no experience of God’s judgment and chastisement, then you must have not suffered too much from God’s words. If you have not suffered very much, then you definitely will not recognize your nature and the essence of your corruption and if you do not recognize this, how can you bring about change? So it can be said that experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement is dependent on a person’s pursuit. If people do not have this experience and do not suffer much from God’s words, changes in life disposition are not possible, this is a key experience. The most important thing in the submission to God’s work is to experience God’s judgment and chastisement and this depends on a person’s pursuit. If people do not pursue, they will not be able to receive the judgment and chastisement. After people are corrupted by Satan, they all think that they are good people, that they are much better than others, that they are after God’s heart, that they can be saved by God and they even consider themselves loved by God and to be God’s favorite.
These people do not recognize the essence of their corruption. So the first experience is the experience of God’s judgment and chastisement. If people do not truly experience this in God’s work, this is the greatest mistake and is also the greatest loss. The second is to experience God’s pruning and dealing. Some of God’s words are specifically about the pruning of people and dealing with people’s corrupt condition. If people truly experience these words, they will feel that all of these words are dealing with themselves and are directed toward their own condition. They will see that their condition is too corrupt and that God’s dealing is right and entirely appropriate and proper. Of course, when people receive God’s pruning and dealing, their heart will suffer somewhat, they will despise their own corruption and repent, pray before God and weep. If people are not able to submit to and accept God’s words, the pruning and dealing cannot achieve any effect. They must seek the pruning and dealing of God. They must obtain the work of the Holy Spirit through prayer, so that they may feel that God’s pruning and dealing is directed toward them, is directed toward their situation yesterday or the day before. And they may feel as if God is speaking to them in person. If they have this experience, then that is to truly experience God’s judgment and chastisement and truly experience God’s pruning and dealing. Ordinary people do not have this true experience but there are some people who can feel it. You see, there are some people who after reading God’s words say to others, “this is about me,” they say this to others in public. Why do they feel that God is talking about them? Where does this feeling come from? This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The enlightenment of the Holy Spirit makes them feel that God is talking about them. They see that they have those corruptions and rebelliousness mentioned and that these words are pruning and dealing with them. This is a true entry and a true experience. If some people, no matter what aspect of the word of God they read, whether it is the words of judgment and chastisement or the words of pruning and dealing, feel that the words of God are never directed toward them, that they have nothing to do with them and the words are directed toward others, then this kind of person does not have the work of the Holy Spirit with them. In experiencing the work of God, one must also experience God’s discipline and punishment, this is also a necessary experience. Some of God’s discipline is carried out through words and sometimes God uses the environment or people, events and objects around us to discipline and punish us. If you truly have the work of the Holy Spirit, your heart will be very clear about it, you will say: God is disciplining me through this environment, this is God punishing me. If people have this kind of experience—they of course have to suffer a lot—and they can feel God’s discipline and God’s punishment, this is an effect of the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it can be said that, whoever seeks the truth and seeks to change their disposition must have this kind of experience. If a person does not have this kind of experience, their corrupt disposition will not change. There is also another experience which is the most formidable. It is the experience of God’s trials of many kinds. If a person does not experience God’s trials of many kinds, their life disposition will definitely not change. Experienced people will definitely know about these trials of many kinds while inexperienced people will definitely not know them. The trials of many kinds are not a sort of trial. In the initial stage of God’s work, most people underwent the trial of the service-doers, the trial of death and the refinement of the times of chastisement. However, after experiencing these trials were they able to achieve a change in life disposition? Impossible. They experienced some changes but did not achieve a change in life disposition. To achieve a change in life disposition, they must experience God’s trials of many kinds. So, in God’s work, those who experience God’s trials of many kinds are the most blessed. Only in this kind of person can a real change in life disposition be seen. Some people often ask: “What trials are included in the trials of many kinds? What kind of occurrence constitutes a trial?” Put it this way, anything which makes you suffer and which refines you has the nature of a trial or refinement. If you are a person who pursues the truth, anything which makes you especially suffer or refines you and is a kind of experience which you endure without collapsing and which makes you stronger afterward is a trial. For example, sometimes you may find that you cannot feel God for a while, that when you pray you cannot sense the presence of God either, and in your heart, no matter how you pray to be close to God, you cannot feel God. Will people suffer when they are in this situation? Of course they will suffer, no one could bear this. If a person cannot feel God, his first reaction is: “Oh, God does not want me, God has eliminated me, I’m finished! What sins have I committed? Why has God forsaken me?” If he is able to pursue the truth, he will undergo a period of refinement and endure much suffering. In his heart he will say: “This is no good. Even though I cannot feel God I must still have faith, even though I cannot feel God I will still pursue the truth, I cannot leave God.” He will still keep his faith, this is the expression of a person who pursues the truth. If a person who does not pursue the truth cannot feel God, he will think: “Why can’t I feel God at the moment? Is it because my faith was misplaced? Well, if there is no God then I will not believe,” and he will return to the world. This kind of person will thus be eliminated, this is not a test of him but is a way to expose him, to expose his evil heart of disbelief and eliminate him. However, the more people who pursue the truth fail to feel God, the more worried they will become. The more worried they become, they more they will pray to God, the more they will reflect on themselves, the more they admit their transgressions to God, the more they admit their corruption and in their heart they will do their utmost to call for and want God. This kind of desire will become more and more intense with the passing of time. They will feel that they cannot go on living without God, that life without God has no meaning and is empty. They will think: “This is no good, I must go on pursuing the truth, I must go on reading God’s words….” This is a person who truly wants God. If he encounters this kind of situation and it does not make him collapse, but on the contrary, it makes him stronger, this is a kind of test. It is like when a young child is living with his parents. Sometimes the parents want to test whether or not the child can be independent, to see if he can be apart from them. So they suddenly hide themselves. When the child cannot see his parents he becomes worried, cries and looks for them. The parents, when seeing the child crying most miserably, suddenly appear before him again. At this time the child thinks: Oh, my parents are great, they are truly worthy of my love! And immediately he throws himself into their arms. This is similar to how God sometimes tests people. God conceals Himself so that people cannot feel Him. However, if a person truly pursues the truth, no matter how long this kind of trial lasts, he will still want God, still pursue the truth and still read Gods words, he will not leave God. This is one kind of trial. There are also times when some people will suddenly feel as if they were about to die, that they don’t have long to live. They have a kind of premonition that something special is going to happen. After they have this kind of premonition, they will suffer inside and be very worried: “What will it be like if I really die? If I really die, have I received salvation or not? After I die where will I go? I have not gained God, nor obtained the truth, if I really die will I not miss the opportunity to be made perfect through God’s work?” This trial of death is quite painful, upon encountering this trial one will probably feel like he is about to die. What would a person who pursues the truth think? He would think: “I am about to die, that is no good; since I am about to die I even more have to do my duty properly, I must satisfy God for once, and even if I die I will not complain. I was created by God, and should offer my loyalty to God. I must live for God when alive. If I am about to die I must do well my duty so that my life is not wasted.” You see, this trial of death has this kind of effect on people. Is this not a kind of purification? It is indeed a kind of purification, it can change people. It is a result that people will obtain after experiencing the trials of many kinds. Many times when this kind of trial happens, you will feel in your heart as if it is really happening to you. This is your refinement, the refinement of your heart. At last, once it has had a certain effect, the feeling of this trial will go away. There are many trials like this, they probably occur once every 8 or 10 days. Sometimes they involve the word of God. God will have you read a sentence and you will feel that it is testing you. This one sentence will cause you to suffer for five, six, seven or eight days. After you have suffered, you will think: “Why is God judging me like this? These words are directed toward me. Is it possible that I am really about to be punished? Is it possible that I am really about to go to perdition or destruction? Then what should I do? How should I practice?” In the end, you will still choose to satisfy God and submit to God. You must be refined so that you can achieve the following result: You will have a heart to satisfy God, you are willing to best fulfill your duty as a created being, you are willing to give your loyalty until the end, you are willing to repent, you are able to despise yourself and curse yourself and you are able to praise God and you feel that God is righteous and so lovable. When refinement produces such a result, does it not mean that you have been purified? This is indeed the process by which a person is purified. So the trials of many kinds are of great benefit to a person! I have seen God’s words which talk of Peter facing hundreds of trials in the last 7 years. In the beginning, I did not understand, I thought: “Facing hundreds of trials in 7 years, wow, that is one trial every few days. What kind of trial did he receive once every few days?” Later, with experience, I understood. I also experienced some trials, so I knew that these trials were of great benefit to a person. In short, whether you experience God’s judgment and chastisement, experience God’s pruning and dealing, experience God’s discipline and punishment, or experience God’s many kinds of trials, these are all the process by which God purifies a person, they are the process by which God saves or transforms a person and are of great benefit for a person’s change of disposition. If you are a person who pursues the truth, you will long for this kind of experience. You will be willing to receive God’s judgment and chastisement, be willing to receive some pruning and dealing, and be even more willing to receive discipline and punishment. You will also feel that God is lovable and righteous while living with God’s many kinds of trials and feel that this is God’s exaltation and grace. Now, when experiencing God’s work, the more suffering you receive from God’s words, the more blessed you are. If a person does not receive any suffering from God’s words, there are problems with his method of faith, practice, pursuit and resolution. Strictly speaking, anyone who does not suffer from God’s words is not truly experiencing God’s work. If you read a lot of God’s words or if you read God’s words for several years and you do not feel that you have suffered very much, it could be said that this is the greatest loss! If you have not suffered, you have definitely been too selective when reading God’s words. You have tried to choose some words to read which do not cause suffering. This is of no benefit to your growth in life or your change in disposition. This is the truth. At the beginning when I read God’s words in experiencing the trial of the service-doers, I thought: Wow, why are these words so harsh, these words are so piercing to the heart. After one glance I do not want to read anymore. At that time I was also like this. However, as time passed, I discovered that the work of the Holy Spirit did not leave me and it was impossible to not suffer, I wanted to avoid it but could not. After I experienced it for a time, I felt better, the state inside me changed. At this time I realized: Wow, it is good to suffer in reading God’s words. The more I feel judgment and chastisement from the words, the more I should read them carefully and attentively, the more I should write them down in my notebook. This is what I felt later, it wasn’t like this at the start. Therefore, any of you who fears suffering while reading God’s words, should go back and read God’s words carefully. You should truly submit to God’s words, and should be able to truly satisfy God in God’s words. Reading God’s words this way is guaranteed to make your life grow and bring you a change in life disposition. If you read God’s words in the way that people eat food, choosing delicious food and food which suits their own taste as much as possible, then it will not be of any benefit. Reading the word of God in this way is not truly experiencing God’s work. This is the truth. A change in life disposition depends on experiencing God’s work. The most important thing is to receive God’s judgment and chastisement, to receive God’s pruning and dealing, to receive God’s discipline and even punishment and even more so to receive God’s trials and refinement of many kinds. If you do not experience enough of these four kinds of suffering, your life disposition will definitely not change very much. Achieving a change in disposition is dependent on experiencing God’s work and much pain. If a person merely continually reads God’s words while he lives in tranquility and peace without experiencing any suffering at all, he will not be able to achieve this result. So, you must understand the true path of achieving a change in life disposition, it is obtained by truly receiving God’s judgment and chastisement, by truly receiving God’s pruning and dealing, by receiving God’s discipline and punishment and finally by experiencing God’s many kinds of trials. This is the only way to truly receive this blessing of a change in life disposition. So, I’m afraid that anyone who does not suffer through God’s words, especially those words of judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, discipline and even punishment will not receive life and will be even less able to achieve a change in life disposition.