28. What are the differences between the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of evil spirits?
Relevant Words of God:
You must understand what things arise from God and what things arise from Satan. The things that arise from God cause you to become ever clearer about visions, and they cause you to get closer and closer to God, earnestly sharing love with brothers and sisters; you are capable of showing consideration toward God’s burden, and your God-loving heart does not abate; there is a road ahead for you to walk. The things that arise from Satan cause you to lose visions and all you had before is gone; you become estranged from God, you have no love for brothers and sisters and you have a hateful heart. You become desperate, you no longer wish to live the church life, and your God-loving heart is no more. This is Satan’s work and is also the consequence brought about by the work of evil spirits.
from “Chapter 22” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God does not repeat His work, He does not do work that is not realistic, He does not make excessive requirements of man, and He does not do work that is beyond the sense of man. All the work He does is within the scope of man’s normal sense, and does not exceed the sense of normal humanity, and His work is according to man’s normal requirements. If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his satanic corrupt disposition, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit.
from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of the Holy Spirit is a form of proactive guidance and positive enlightenment. It does not allow people to be passive. It brings them solace, gives them faith and resolve and it enables them to pursue being made perfect by God. When the Holy Spirit works, people are able to actively enter; they are not passive or forced, but are proactive. When the Holy Spirit works, people are glad and willing, and they are willing to obey, and happy to humble themselves, and even though they are pained and fragile inside, they have the resolve to cooperate, they suffer gladly, they are able to obey, and they are untainted by human will, untainted by the thinking of man, and are certainly untainted by human desires and motivations. When people experience the work of the Holy Spirit, they are especially holy inside. Those who are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit live out the love of God, the love of their brothers and sisters, and delight in the things that delight God, and loathe the things that God loathes. People who are touched by the work of the Holy Spirit have normal humanity, and they constantly pursue the truth and are possessed of humanity. When the Holy Spirit works within people, their conditions become better and better, and their humanity becomes more and more normal, and though some of their cooperation may be foolish, their motivations are right, their entry is positive, they do not try to interrupt, and there is no malevolence within them. The work of the Holy Spirit is normal and real, the Holy Spirit works in man according to the rules of the normal life of man, and He enlightens and guides in people according to the actual pursuit of normal people. When the Holy Spirit works in people, He guides and enlightens them according to the needs of normal people, He provides for them based on their needs, and He positively guides and enlightens them based upon what they lack, and upon their deficiencies; when the Holy Spirit works, this work is in consonance with the rules of the normal life of man, and it is only in real life that people are able to see the work of the Holy Spirit. If, in their everyday lives, people are in a positive state and have a normal spiritual life, then they are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit. In such a state, when they eat and drink the words of God they have faith, when they pray they are inspired, when something happens to them they aren’t passive, and as it is happening to them they are able to see the lessons that God requires them to learn, and they are not passive, or weak, and although they have real difficulties, they are willing to obey all the arrangements of God.
What work comes from Satan? In the work that comes from Satan, the visions in people are vague and abstract, and they are without normal humanity, the motivations behind their actions are wrong, and although they wish to love God, there are always accusations within them, and these accusations and thoughts are always interfering within them, constraining the growth of their life, and stopping them from having normal conditions before God. Which is to say, as soon as there is the work of Satan within people, their hearts can’t be at peace before God, they don’t know what to do with themselves, the sight of an assembly makes them want to run away, and they are unable to close their eyes when others pray. The work of evil spirits wrecks the normal relationship between man and God, and upsets people’s previous visions or their former path of life entry, in their hearts they can never draw close to God, things always happen that cause disruption to them and enshackle them, and their hearts cannot find peace, leaving no strength to their love of God, and making their spirits sink downward. Such are the manifestations of the work of Satan. The work of Satan is manifested in the following: being unable to stand your ground and stand witness, causing you to become someone who is at fault before God, and who has no faithfulness toward God. At the interference from Satan, you lose the love and loyalty toward God within you, you are stripped of a normal relationship with God, you do not pursue the truth, or the improvement of yourself, you regress, and become passive, you indulge yourself, you give free rein to the spread of sin, and are not hateful of sin; furthermore, the interference of Satan makes you dissolute, it causes God’s touch to disappear within you, and makes you complain about God and oppose Him, leading you to question God, and there is even the risk of you leaving God. All this is of the work of Satan.
from “The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God works in a gentle, loving, delicate and caring way, a way that is especially measured and proper. His way does not cause you to feel intense emotions such as, “God must let me do this” or “God must let me do that.” God never gives you that kind of intense mentality or intense feelings that make things unbearable. Isn’t that right? Even when you accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement, how do you feel then? When you feel the authority and power of God, how do you feel then? Do you feel that God is divine and inviolable? (Yes.) Do you feel distanced from God at these times? Do you feel frightened of God? No, instead you feel fearful reverence of God. Do people not feel all these things because of God’s work? …
… When it comes to Satan’s work on man, here I have two phrases that can amply describe the malicious and evil nature of Satan, that can truly allow you to know the hatefulness of Satan: In Satan’s approach to man, it always wants to forcefully occupy and possess him, each and every one, so that it can get to the point where it is completely in control of man, harming man, so that it can achieve this objective and wild ambition. What does “forcefully occupy” mean? Does it happen with your consent, or without your consent? Does it happen with your knowing, or without your knowing? It is completely without your knowing! In situations where you are unaware, possibly when it has not said anything or possibly when it has not done anything, when there is no premise, no context, there it is around you, surrounding you. It looks for an opportunity to exploit, then it forcefully occupies you, possesses you, achieving its objective of being completely in control of you and harming you. This is a most typical intention and behavior in Satan’s fight against God for mankind.
from “God Himself, the Unique IV” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people say that the Holy Spirit is working in them at all times. This is impossible. If they were to say that the Holy Spirit is always with them, that would be realistic. If they were to say that their thinking and sense are normal at all times, that would also be realistic, and would show that the Holy Spirit is with them. If they say the Holy Spirit is always working within them, that they are enlightened by God and touched by the Holy Spirit at every moment, and gain new knowledge all the time, then this is by no means normal! It is entirely supernatural! Without a shadow of a doubt, such people are evil spirits! Even when the Spirit of God comes into the flesh, there are times when He must eat and must rest—to say nothing of humans. Those who have been possessed by evil spirits seem to be free of the emotion and weakness of the flesh. They are able to forsake and give up everything, they are capable of enduring torment and do not feel the slightest fatigue, as if they have transcended the flesh. Is this not extremely supernatural? The work of evil spirits is supernatural—no human could achieve such things! Those who lack discernment are envious when they see such people: They say they have such vigor in their belief in God, have great faith, and never show the slightest sign of weakness! In fact, these are all manifestations of the work of an evil spirit. For, normal people inevitably have human weaknesses; this is the normal state of those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit.
from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
The clear differences between the various work of evil spirits and the work of the Holy Spirit are specifically manifested in the following aspects: The Holy Spirit chooses honest people who pursue the truth, who have conscience and sense. These are the kind of people He works in. Evil spirits choose people who are crafty and absurd, who have no love for the truth, and who are without conscience or sense. Such are the people that evil spirits work in. When we compare those who are chosen for the work of the Holy Spirit and those who are chosen for that of evil spirits, we can see that God is holy, and righteous, that those who are chosen by God pursue the truth, and are possessed of conscience and sense, that they are comparatively honest, and love that which is just. Those who are chosen by evil spirits are crafty, they are selfish and contemptible, they have no love for the truth, they are without conscience and sense and do not pursue the truth, and they are not true humankind. Evil spirits only choose negative things, from which we see that evil spirits love wickedness and darkness, that they run a mile from those who pursue the truth, and are quick to possess those who are twisted and crafty, who are enamored of unrighteousness, and easily bewitched. Those in whom evil spirits choose to work cannot be saved, and are eliminated by God. When, and against what background, do evil spirits work? They work when people have strayed far from God and rebelled against God. The work of evil spirits bewitches people. When people sin, when they are at their weakest, especially when they are in great pain in their hearts, when they are feeling bewildered and confused, evil spirits take this opportunity to slip in to bewitch and corrupt them, to sow discord between them and God. When people call upon God, when their hearts turn to God, when they need God, when they repent to God, or when they seek the truth, then the Holy Spirit begins to work in them. All that the Holy Spirit works is in order to save man, and He looks for opportunities to save man, whereas evil spirits look for chances to corrupt and beguile people. God is love, and evil spirits hate people. Evil spirits are contemptible and wicked, they are insidious and sinister. All that evil spirits do is in order to devour, corrupt, and harm man, and all that the Holy Spirit does is for the love and salvation of man. The effects of the work of the Holy Spirit are to purify people, to save them from their corruption, to allow them to know themselves and to know Satan, to be able to rebel against Satan, to be able to pursue the truth, and to ultimately live out the likeness of man. Evil spirits corrupt, defile, and bind people, they plunge them ever deeper into sin, and bring ever greater pain to their lives, and so when evil spirits work in people, they’re finished; ultimately, they are devoured by Satan, which is the outcome of the work of evil spirits. The effect of the work of the Holy Spirit is to eventually save people, to make them live out a real life, be completely free and liberated, and receive God’s blessings. Evil spirits bring man to darkness, they take him to the abyss; the Holy Spirit takes man from darkness, into the light, and into freedom. The work of the Holy Spirit enlightens and guides people, He gives them opportunities, and when they are weak and have transgressions He brings them solace. He allows people to know themselves, allows them to pursue the truth, and He does not force people to do things, but lets them choose their path themselves, and ultimately takes them into the light. Evil spirits force people to do things and order them about. Everything they say is false and bewitches people, deceives them, and binds them; evil spirits do not give people freedom, they do not allow them to choose, they force them on the road to ruin, and ultimately plunge them deeper and deeper into sin, leading them to death.
from “Knowing the Work of the Holy Spirit Is of the Utmost Importance to Man’s Salvation” in Sermons and Fellowship II