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Four Stages of a Change in Life Disposition

Classic Selections From Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life

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Four Stages of a Change in Life Disposition

The few steps, or stages, in the process of experiencing a change in life disposition are something that everyone pursuing a change in disposition, every pursuer of salvation, must understand. The process of salvation is the process of a person being purified by entering into the truth. It is also the process of a person’s life disposition transforming from rebelling against God, resisting God, to submitting to God, and turning to God. It’s absolutely no easy matter for deeply corrupted humanity to change from people betraying God and belonging to Satan, to people submitting to God and belonging to God. In this, there is an internal process of experience that follows an objective pattern. We who are experiencing God’s work all know that salvation is the result attained by pursuing the truth. As soon as people understand the truth and grasp the truth, people’s viewpoints, their outlook on life and their values will undergo a fundamental transformation, and following this their life disposition will also inevitably undergo a fundamental change. In this way a person’s satanic nature will completely crumble and be cleansed away. It is clear that a person’s salvation and their change in life disposition are established on the basis of an understanding of the truth, and a knowledge of God. Therefore, we can define the four stages in the process of experiencing a change in disposition as understanding the truth, knowing oneself, repentance and aversion, and change and renewal. Together, we simply call these the four stages of a change in disposition. Among these four stages, understanding the truth is the first step, knowing oneself is the second step, repentance and aversion is the third step, and change and renewal is the fourth step. Every step in a person’s life experience is built on a foundation of understanding the truth. People’s life experience begins with understanding the truth, so a person’s salvation, their change in disposition, at every step is inseparable from understanding the truth. In our experience of God’s work we have all had some progress and change, we all see clearly that entering into the truth is no simple matter. Every aspect of the truth requires at least a year or two of experience before understanding and true entry into it can be reached. It takes about as much time as learning a new skill or art. Next we’ll give some examples to explain the four stage process of life experience. People’s understanding of every aspect of the truth has its process, and this process is the first step of the four stages of life experience, that is understanding the truth. God’s judgment and chastisement of corrupt humanity achieves its results via the expression of the truth. In God’s judgment and chastisement we see that the words God expresses are all the truth, that which we must enter into, and if we can enter into all the truths expressed by God, we can reach purity, reach salvation, and be perfected.

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How should we enter into the truth of “obeying God”? Here, too, we must first understand the truth of obeying God. To enter into any aspect of the truth you must first understand and know it, then reflect on which corruptions, what resistance, and what rebellion your former behaviors show. After having known your own corruptions and resistance, and produced true remorse, you will be able to loathe Satan and despise yourself. In this way, you will produce true repentance, and finally achieve renewal and change. This is exactly the real process of entering into every truth. When we first begin to practice the truth of obeying God, we don’t realize how we resist God, how we rebel against God. We all think “Obeying God is right. This is very simple. Whenever God speaks we’ll listen. Whatever God says to do we’ll do. That’s easy. We can do it.” In the beginning this is how people think about obeying God, thinking, “After all aren’t we much better than animals? Listen when spoken to, understand it, do what you’re told, easy.” And what is the result? As soon as they are asked to put it into practice, as soon as real demands are made of them, they cannot do it. If they are told that “God asks you to cast everything away, can you really do it?” they will say “My family I won’t cast away, my wife, my husband, my sons and daughters, I can’t discard them. I can’t treat them unfairly, I can’t let them suffer hardship, or suffer the least grievance. I can’t cast everything away.” When they are told “If you feel these demands are too high, they won’t be demanded of you. How about this, you attend meetings every day, attend meetings regularly, and every day read God’s words, every day make one true prayer to God,” they will start off keeping to that for a few days, but as time goes on they can’t keep it up. They can’t even make a true prayer to God every day, and attending meetings regularly makes them feel that “There’s too much time spent on meetings, I have no time to rest, I have no time for fun. This won’t work!” You tell me, have they obeyed? If they are asked again to fulfill their duties, many people just don’t achieve it. Only a few have the true faith in God, the passion, to do it. Most people can’t do it. Is that obedience? In addition, God has spoken so many words, to let us understand, enter into, and live out the reality of God’s words. Can we do it? There are many other truths God would have us understand and know that we have not yet achieved. So are we people who have obeyed God? When we examine ourselves, we will see that in many things we have not truly obeyed, and see that we are so limited in the extent to which we have obeyed. Our obedience always has conditions, it is an obedience that does not cost us anything. When something conforms to our preconceptions, when it is beneficial to us, then we can obey. If there is a cost to it, if there is some difficulty, if it requires hardship, or does not conform to our preconceptions, then we find ourselves unable to obey. From this perspective, people’s obedience is conditional, people’s obedience is too limited. Is this kind of obedience true obedience? It is not true obedience. When people do not truly obey God, is this treating God as God? No, it is not. God is supreme, God is the Creator of all things. When God has spoken, if you do not heed and obey it as the word of God, then you are not really among the created, you are doing something outrageous. People do not just fail to obey God, but also develop notions about Him, pass judgment on Him, resist and betray Him. What are they, then, these people? They are things that belong to Satan, and are the same as Satan. Satan too did not obey God, Satan resisted God in all things, betraying God. Now we see that corrupt humanity’s attitude toward God is exactly the same as Satan’s. This is absolutely true. When God sees humanity becoming more and more corrupt, more and more sordid, more and more evil, God hides Himself from this humanity, and does not appear to them. When people see that God is not revealed to humanity, they raise complaints against God, they reproach God. What do people think? People think: God is not revealed to us, so we won’t acknowledge God, we’ll say that there is no God on earth. If You don’t reveal Yourself to us, we will deny You, we will distance ourselves from You, we’ll go our own way, and create happiness with our own two hands. Isn’t this what people think? You see, this is how humanity rebels, all betraying God. When we have a true knowledge of God, we will feel that it is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle for the created to obey God. If we do not truly obey God or heed the word of God we are doing something outrageous, and are not worthy of being called one of the created. Then, when we reflect on our own conduct and deeds, we will see that we are certainly people who rebel against God, who resist God, without any trace of obedience. We will see that we are of the kind who, just like Satan, betray God. In this moment we will get a true understanding of the truth of obeying God, and know what it is to obey God. When we see that our resistance against God, our rebellion against God, is so serious that we believe in God and yet we can judge God, conceive notions about God, and even betray God, so that we are no different from Satan, only then will we know that our corruption by Satan runs so deep that before God we show no conscience or reason, without any true obedience. We, such a corrupt humanity, a humanity that completely betrays God, becomes satanic devils without a shred of humanity. Finally, we will feel true loathing, remorse, and detest ourselves, seeing how we are really not fit to live before God. Then we will pray to God, acknowledging that our corruption runs so deep, acknowledging that we are the devil Satan, without a trace of obedience to God, not fit to live before God. Before God we will weep bitter tears, willing to become human again, to obey God and ease God’s heart. In this way, a person’s life disposition will have begun a new transformation, a true change, only then will they have begun to truly enter into the truth of obeying God. The truth of obeying God is entered into in this way, and just like the entry into the truth of belief in God, there are also four stages, exactly so.

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Let us then look at the truth of “loving God,” and how we should enter into it. People must love God. But if a person does not have a true knowledge of God, can they have a true love for Him? There is no love without its basis, just as there is no hate without its basis. Believers in God all want to get blessings from God. So they all try to practice loving God, but the result is that no love is forthcoming. Some people do many good things for God, but in their hearts they still do not have a true love for Him. They can do good deeds, they can relinquish things for God, they can spend for God, they can pay a price for the work of God’s house, but their hearts do not have a true love for God, they cannot show consideration for God’s will. They do not feel the urgency of what is urgent to God, they do not concern themselves with God’s concerns, they cannot in the duties they perform ease God’s heart, but instead they satisfy themselves in all things. They satisfy their extravagant desires, satisfy their vanity, they consider only themselves and do not consider God. One day when a person has gained a true knowledge of God’s love, when they see that all the work of God is love and is for the salvation of humanity, and that all God’s work is invested with God’s careful love and attention, and with God’s painstaking effort, only then will they feel how loveable God is, how God deserves people’s love. But then, why is it that people will still find their love for God is not forthcoming? Why is it so hard to love God? People will discover that humanity’s corrupt nature is too selfish, that what people love is what is beneficial to them, what they think is good, and what they like, loving whoever is good for them, loving whatever they like the look of, loving anything that is good to them. People love what is useful to them, and are not able to love things that are not useful to them personally. You see, people’s love becomes a kind of transaction, not a love that comes from the heart, from the depths of the heart. Here we discover another problem, and say “Where is a person’s love? Why can’t a person love in accordance with their conscience, with the truth? Why does a person’s love rely only on emotions and benefit? This means there is a problem with the essence of their nature!” When a person truly knows the essence of their own nature, they will see that humanity is too selfish, without a true love of God, with only a hatred of God. God is good to people in a hundred different ways but people are oblivious. If anything goes against them, people flare up instantly and are capable of hating God, complaining against God, judging God. Is this not the hatred people hold for God? The hatred people hold for God is enormous. When encountering anything disagreeable, people begin to have notions about God, start to pass judgment on Him. What love is there in this! When they don’t understand one little part of God’s work, people begin to have misconceptions. Is this love? People can tolerate other people, but don’t have tolerance toward God, people have feelings for other people, but don’t have any feelings for God, they just have hatred toward God directly and come up with their judgment and attacks. People hold inside them too much hate for God, people have no true love for God. This is a fact. Through this analysis we are now clear that people have no true love toward God, for there is a problem with the essence of their nature. People’s love is a charade, all driven by self-interest, and employed for self-interest, it all has a transactional nature. People love and hate according to their preferences, there is not a trace of truth in people’s love. After we have some knowledge of what a true love for God is, why people must love God, and how this love is fostered, we will see that our own corruption by Satan runs so deep. We will see that the essence of our own nature truly belongs to Satan. Humanity is unable to love God, but can love things that are of Satan. So you tell me, is humanity worth anything? Humanity is worthless, humanity is too corrupt, humanity has no value at all. After understanding the truth regarding the love of God, we will have a true knowledge of ourselves, and begin to detest Satan, to loathe ourselves. Then our life disposition will begin to transform, to change. Every aspect of the truth involves understanding the truth and knowing oneself before a true entry into it can be achieved. This is exactly how it is.

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