6. Discussing Dispositional Change
God’s work of salvation is work of changing man’s disposition. The final outcome of man’s acceptance of and obedience to the work of God is to achieve dispositional change. We may also say that dispositional change is a sign that measures whether or not each man belongs to God. To see if a man has become compatible with God’s intentions is to see how his disposition has changed. In fact, with regard to the self-awareness, forsaking of the flesh, obedience to God, knowledge of God, loving God, striving for the life, striving for holiness and pursuing to be overcomers that men have sought in the past, all of them refer to dispositional change. As long as man’s disposition changes, then he will arrive at all these various states. The basis producing these various arguments was the stature of man at that time, the background in which he lived at the time, and his practice at the time. They conformed with reality completely and they were precisely that which the Holy Spirit demanded of man at that time, and the ultimate outcome that they reached was dispositional change. In this stage of God’s work, all the ways in which God works and every step of His work are in order to change the things within man that do not accord with His intentions. They are not meant to treat man as a plaything and deliberately have him suffer, but they are in order to change man’s disposition, and once man has arrived at the standard which God requires of him, God’s heart was satisfied. We now understand God’s earnest intentions and we are boundlessly gratified, our hearts filled with thanks and praise.
Because man has been so profoundly corrupted by Satan, his disposition can in no way change thoroughly within the space of a few years, and instead it requires a lifetime. Over the period of experiencing the work of God, man’s dispositional change is staged, gradually proceeding in an orderly way step by step. It is entirely based on God’s work and His words, with first a change in awareness of oneself, and later a change in knowledge of God, from a change in the way of looking at things to being completely compatible with God. The change in self-awareness is a transformation from believing that one is good in everything, that one is great, never obeying others and standing high above ordinary people, to acknowledging one’s disobedience, corruption, wild arrogance and lack of reason, and one’s degradation and meanness. The change in knowledge of God is a transformation from believing that God is particularly vague and indistinct, or believing that God is only the sort of God described in legend, to knowing the practical existence of God, knowing God’s actions, knowing God’s disposition of righteousness and majesty that is unoffendable, knowing God’s omnipotent wisdom and the wonderfulness of His domination of the entire universe, and it is also a transformation from all the various conceptions of God to a practical knowledge, from doctrines to the truth, a transformation from guessing and vagueness to genuinely seeing, and revering and praising that come from the bottom of the heart. To sum up, the change in knowledge of God is a shift from passiveness to activeness, from negative to positive, from the image of Satan to the reality of God and the loveliness of God. This is the key area of change in man that God’s work demands. When we say that the dispositional change that man is able to achieve in his life is to live out a normal humanity. Most people feel as if this is unattainable, it cannot be achieved, or perhaps some people believe that if they are no longer disobedient to or resist God, then is this not dispositional change? In fact, these two arguments are right in one aspect, and not without reason. However, to put it more accurately, dispositional change is living out the likeness of man, and that which has been made perfect through God’s words and His work is this likeness of man. In the past, God summarized the corrupted nature of man in four words, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, and self-righteousness. This is a summary of the nature of Satan, and it is the exact image of Satan. Why does God say that man is the descendant of Satan, the offspring of the great red dragon? This is said on the basis of man’s nature. If man has been corrupted to this extent by Satan, where can we find a modicum of the likeness of man? Why has man been despised by God, why has God detested and rejected man? Is it not because all that man expresses is Satan’s image of arrogance, conceit, self-righteousness, and self-importance? If mankind lives out the likeness of man, then there is no way that God will curse mankind. Therefore, we can say with certainty that God saves man primarily by changing man’s nature of Satan and leading man to live out the likeness of man. Well, why do we say that this work is a work of conquering? Work of conquering is directed at hostile forces. Man’s arrogance, self-righteousness, self-importance, and pride are precisely resistance against God. According to man’s nature, man is exactly a hostile force opposing God. It is not easy for man to absolutely obey God. This cannot be done without work of conquering. This method must be used to begin with, followed by progressively being made perfect through the hardship of all manner of trials and tribulations. Only in this way can man shed his corrupted disposition of arrogance, conceit, self-importance, and self-righteousness. However, within the space of several years he will at most achieve different levels of change and he will not be able to change completely. Dispositional change is not as simple as people imagine, God has His standards and levels in His work. In striving for dispositional change man should pay attention to his own nature of arrogance, as this is a key area that it is most easy for man to ignore. If man’s arrogant nature does not change, however many doctrines that he understands are of no use. This involves the essence of life, and whether or not man is able to be rescued. If these questions are not resolved, man will not only be greatly despised by God but other men will also loathe him and completely abandon him. This corrupted nature of man will be as repulsive to everyone as a rat crossing the road. If men see someone revealing their arrogance and self-righteousness, it is simply the same as eating a dead fly, vile and sickening. This disposition of arrogance, conceit, self-righteousness, and self-importance is precisely the nature of the great red dragon, they are things that the great red dragon has embedded within men. These things are the diehard followers of men and God’s sworn enemy. What God despises are those things in men that Satan has deeply corrupted, and what God most greatly despises is Satan’s nature that makes man unable to obey God and unable to love Him. This then is man’s arrogance, conceit, self-righteousness, and self-importance. These poisons in man have turned him into the enemy of God, and into mankind that is most loathed and cursed by God. Therefore, the most fundamental work in God’s salvation of man is to change man’s disposition of Satan, to turn man into a man who is liked by God, a man who is compatible with God’s intentions, a man who no longer belongs to Satan but who has turned to God. What the work of God exterminates is the great red dragon, and that which is defeated is God’s true enemy—Satan, while that which is saved is mankind that has been corrupted by Satan. Therefore, whichever step in God’s work, whether it is redemption, or conquering, or perfecting and obtaining, they are all in order to achieve the aim of changing man’s disposition, and they are also in order to achieve the aim of man being completely saved. Satan has corrupted mankind for thousands of years and it has planted the roots of its poison deep within the heart of man to the extent that the poison of the great red dragon courses through the blood and the bones of men. It is obvious how deeply Satan has corrupted mankind. God’s salvation of man is no easy matter, it is like treating a cancer. Drawing out the roots of the poison requires several years of work and eliminating the poison takes an even longer time. During these several years of work, men have acknowledged the importance of dispositional change but they have all felt that the most difficult thing for man to manage is that man’s nature of arrogance is not easy to be changed: His own exertions will not work. He despises himself, but he is still unable to resolve the problem because this is a problem of man’s nature. It is truly easier to change the landscape than it is to transform man’s nature. The problem of dispositional change can only be ultimately resolved through God’s work of salvation together with the cooperation of man. The reason why man’s disposition is not easily changed is because the nature of Satan has become man’s nature. If it were not for the work of God Himself of conquering and perfecting, man’s resourcefulness would not do, and this is the true meaning of God being the only One who is able to save man. The arrogance, conceit, self-righteousness, and self-importance in man have become the nature of man which cannot be resolved in the space of several years, to the extent that it is not certain that man can be cleansed of these over a whole lifetime. This is a matter within the life which is as difficult as being reborn and brought back from the dead. The arrogance of man becoming his nature is the same as Satan becoming the life of man, and what is lived out is of course the image of Satan, and no one can deny this. If man can truly know himself he will then acknowledge this fact and he will be able to say that he is a living and breathing Satan. Come the day when man sees his own true face he will then know what the image of Satan is.
Satan’s aim in corrupting man is in order to have man leave God and to betray God, to prevent man from enjoying God’s blessings, and all that God bestows, to bring man to sever completely his relations with God, to be completely divorced from the truth, to be mired in darkness, ignorant of justice and the truth, and even less aware of what humanity is, unable to distinguish between those that are positive things and those that are negative things. He only knows how to cheat people and harm people, strive for fame and seize advantages, scheme against each other, and slaughter each other. It eventually leads mankind into oblivion. That which is expressed in common by all men who have been corrupted by Satan is: Not only do they deny the existence of God, but they also do their utmost to resist God, and to resist the truth. And, those men corrupted by Satan who enshrine Satan stray from God, they deny God, the disposition that they express is wild arrogance and conceit, their talk is all raving, they are willfully wild and completely lawless. Therefore, by resolving our wild arrogance we can achieve obedience to God, and worship of God. When these two items have been achieved, man’s difficulties will have been solved. Changing man’s disposition commences with changing man’s wild arrogance and conceit. If you are wildly arrogant, then you will certainly regard yourself as all important; if you are wildly arrogant, then you are certainly irrational and will not listen to reason; if you are wildly arrogant, then it is certainly difficult for you to obey any person, and it is even harder for you to obey all of God’s work and God incarnate; if you are wildly arrogant, then you are unable to accept the real factual situation, and you are unable to accept the truth; if you are wildly arrogant, then you are unable to fulfill your duty loyally and honestly in God’s family. The wildly arrogant person always holds conceptions in respect of God, he always delimits God, as if only he can see through God and God ought to work as he sees fit. Since the wildly arrogant man is puffed up with conceit and looks down his nose at others, he is not friendly to others and is unable to treat others as equals, and he can never live in harmony with other people. Wild arrogance is the root of man’s illness. If a wildly arrogant disposition cannot be shed, then you are unable to know yourself, you cannot know God, and you cannot perform your duties with devotion. If a wildly arrogant disposition is not resolved, even if on the outside you appear to be obedient to God, you do not have essential obedience to God because you still have the roots of poison in your bones and in your blood. This is to say that the nature of disobedience has still not been resolved; if it is only speaking token words and being willing at heart, then I am afraid that such a small part of obedience cannot be sustained for long and it cannot be said for certain at what time the old illness can no longer be controlled and will suddenly break out. Words within that are full of conceptions and grievances, sentiments that turn black and white upside down, words in vindication of oneself and that give vent to one’s personal spite, as well as demonic words blaming Heaven and earth and everyone but oneself will all burst out, and the end result will be your destruction in the manner of bursting asunder in the middle. If man’s nature of wild arrogance and conceit is not resolved he cannot offer himself up to God, nor can he bear witness to God, because he always has a stinky smell about him and will make others feel nauseous. He cannot edify others, he cannot bring benefits to others; to the contrary he will bring to others the misery of corruption. This is what all men will feel in common. When people really know God’s disposition and all that the life of God is, they will also know what they are. They really know their true conditions. At that time, they may be humble. I see it as having to be put down. What does a piece of smelly dung have to be arrogant about? Is this not an irrational moron? Although these words of mine are vulgar, this is the truth and I will not beat around the bush. I myself have experienced this. After knowing myself, I became more obedient, spoke in a more honest manner and reduced my arrogant airs and manner of speaking. I am also simple and straightforward and a bit naive. Satan’s toxins in me have greatly reduced and I am much more relaxed and natural than before. When communicating the truth, I speak more objectively and accurately, more realistically, without mixture. I do things in a more steady and sophisticated manner and pay attention to effectiveness. I can correctly deal with other people and have love and confidence. I stand in an appropriate position and I speak rationally. Work is work and getting along is getting along. When I do work, I do it with sense. When I get along with others, there is a personality for getting along. In working, besides talking about work, even when I fellowship about truth of life, you cannot see me behaving as a worker, because I stand as equal to the others. When someone’s own disposition has changed, it also brings others great benefits. Their work and speech can always produce results. You see, when someone’s arrogant disposition has changed, do they not live in the likeness of man? They particularly have truth, humanity, and personality. What they say, do and show is seen by people as being appropriate and people will all welcome this kind of person. People like to get on with whoever has the truth because they are of benefit and edification to people and can bring a supply of life and communication of the truth. This can all be lived out after one’s disposition has changed. In the changing of men whose satanic nature is wildly conceited and arrogant, self-important and self-righteous into men who have the truth and humanity, into men who belong to God, I can see the vastness of God’s saving grace and that man is truly resurrected from the dead. The resolution of the problem of wild arrogance, conceit, self-importance, and self-righteousness in men, so that he cannot again resist God, be disobedient to God, and furthermore he has a life of normal humanity, and he is able to formally fulfill his duties, this is complete salvation, and such a man is compatible with God’s intentions. It is only with dispositional change that there is the likeness of a normal person, and only then can we call him as someone who has obtained the life and become a new person belonging completely to God. If man’s disposition has not changed, regardless of how humble he may be, or how compassionate, he is only passing himself off as being good. Because his nature is wildly arrogant, conceited, self-important and self-righteous, he has no way not to act as himself, and furthermore he does so in spite of himself. Even if he manifests himself, he cannot have knowledge of himself, and he still believes that he himself has the truth, and that he is extremely brilliant. The man with a wildly arrogant disposition always thinks that he stands head and shoulders above all others and is unwilling to be under the control of others, rather he wants to control other people. The man with a wildly arrogant disposition always regards himself as better than others and no one is his equal. He is unable to see the strengths and good points of others and even if he does see them, he does not accept them at all and only steps up his attacks, and denigrates them. He sees the faults and shortcomings of others with unusual clarity, and he spreads these around at will. He likes in particular to talk about his own strengths, he particularly likes to compliment himself, to exalt himself while denigrating others. The man with a wildly arrogant disposition is always extremely conceited, inclined to be self-centered, making others hold him in high esteem and gather around him. Regardless of what he says and does, others must listen to him and pay close attention to him. The wildly arrogant man loves most to reveal himself. Regardless of the occasion, whenever something occurs he will be the first to show off and express a view for others to enjoy, to make others respect him. Moreover, he is prone to expose the faults and shortcomings of others to set off his own brilliance, without bearing witness to God in the slightest. The man of wildly arrogant disposition never takes other people to heart as in his eyes other people are all stupid and good-for-nothing, to be played about with as he pleases, to be made fun of, and he does not even respect his own parents, he truly never submits to any person. Because the wildly arrogant person has no reason, he cannot hear the truth and it is as if he is the truth, he stands above the truth; if others communicate the truth he is completely unable to hear it and to submit to it, he only takes himself to be in the right. The man of wildly arrogant disposition likes to be the master of others and he does not at all like to hear others speak; after having been in contact with him for a length of time you can feel in particular that he has very little consideration for others, he seldom listens to others respectfully, he rarely submits himself to others, he has too little respect for others, he has little appreciation of others, like a cold-blooded killer, what he says is always instructing others, it is always drawing conclusions, it is always making definitions, it is always condemning people, it has a rather cruel and merciless feel to it. Because he despises the truth and does not revere God, how can the man of wildly arrogant disposition treat God as God? He is only concerned with his personal prestige, and only concerned with whether or not people are able to obey him, and listen to him, and what position he holds in people’s minds. Look! Are not those whose wild arrogance is at this level precisely the antichrist? The work of those of wildly arrogant disposition is to chide people, to deal with people, to sap their enthusiasm. When they bring people down, beat them into passiveness, and beat them into complaining, people should abandon them, and their work stops. Because the man of wildly arrogant disposition does not have the truth, and he has no life experience, even less does he know what dispositional change is all about, he is absolutely unable to speak the essence of the truth and he can only resort to letters and doctrines and rules to measure people and make demands of people, he cannot at all supply the life and communicate the truth, his work is nothing but cheating people, harming himself, and shaming God, and therefore God detests his service and the way he conducts himself. The wildly arrogant man has no reason, he has lost his humanity, he is a thorough embodiment of Satan. It may be said that all that he has and is, all that he reveals is completely a demonic nature, he does not have the slightest humanity and all that he reveals is dissemination of death, and corruption of man, accepting his instruction is to suffer great harm! Now that people have accepted the work and the words of the practical God they have expanded the breadth of their knowledge and they have discernment, they know what the truth is and that which is fallacy, and they are able to distinguish between positive things and negative things, thereby protecting themselves enormously. Otherwise, people would be led into the abyss of death by these false apostles and false workers who are arrogant and conceited. What we need to understand now is in what aspects dispositional change is embodied, which areas are important, whether being able to discuss doctrines and follow a few rules represents dispositional change, and what is the likeness one can live out after dispositional change. These must be known. It is the right track in life entry and the key to receiving salvation. Only those whose dispositions have changed are compatible with God’s intentions.