Nowadays many people are filled up with letters and doctrines and spiritual theory; if this kind of person were permitted to give a sermon, they would be able to preach for days on end. Would you say that they possess the truth? Some people said “No.” Why not? Because letters and doctrines are not obtained from your experience. When you talk about these things, are they part of what you are? Do you actually live them out? Are you truly familiar with them? If you are not truly familiar with them—or worse yet, if you have not lived them out—then what kind of problem is there if you expound these doctrines? Isn’t this being hypocritical? Isn’t this cheating others? Isn’t this deceiving God? Aren’t these kinds of people providing false testimony? And aren’t people who provide false testimony telling lies? If this is true, then isn’t there a problem with people who expound letters and doctrines? Nowadays there are a lot of people who just stop here, and they believe: “I have professed my faith in God for more than ten years, soon it will be twenty years, I am aware of many aspects of the truth, and I can preach many sermons, so I have obtained it, I have the reality.” Are there a lot of people who believe this to be true? So what is it that these people truly have, is it reality or are they doctrines? It is difficult to say.
At this moment, if you had to provide testimony to a religious figure, and you had to talk about an experience you had with receiving God’s judgment and chastisement, what actual experiences do you have? Could you talk about anything? Some people wouldn’t know what to say. Some people have a little bit of experience, so they might be told, “Write an essay about your testimony!” But no matter how they try they won’t be able to write anything, they could waste a whole afternoon, they could wrack their brains and still come up with nothing. What they write would be all doctrines and empty talk, and after finishing their writing what you read would not be actual experience. Eventually, they would be worked up into a frenzy and they would say, “This is no good, maybe I don’t have any actual experience in this!” When you get serious and try to write a little bit about something real, you find that you are at a loss for words! What is wrong with this? Do these kind of people have the reality of the truth? They do not have it. But some people might say: “That’s not right, I am not without my hardships, I have learned through experience, and I have come to some understanding through my experience!” Then how come you can’t find words for it? You have learned things through experience, that I do not deny, and surely you have suffered your own hardships. When some people are faced with pruning and dealing, they will cry and cry. Are you saying that this is not suffering? When some people experience setbacks and failures there is no resounding testimony, but they will have heavy hearts for many days. Is this not experience? Is this not suffering? It is. No one can deny that, it is a fact! But then how come they come up with nothing as soon as we start to talk about writing or expounding upon an actual experience? This illustrates that people have not obtained the truth, doesn’t it? In this way we have arrived at a conclusion: There are some people who have experienced the lessons of failures and setbacks, and they have been pruned and dealt with. It is a fact that they have suffered some hardships, that cannot be denied, but they still have not arrived at a true understanding of God, and they have not come to a true understanding of the actual facts and essence of their corruption. After they have gone through a real experience, they do not genuinely search for the truth, they do not receive the illumination and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. So, although they have the experience, they have not obtained the truth, doesn’t this conform to the facts? It conforms to the facts. We must speak fairly and objectively. To experience God’s work is to go through hardships. It is not possible to never experience any suffering, but how many people are there that have obtained the truth? How many people are there that have come to a true understanding of God? How come there are so few that have reached this point? What problem does this point out? If people do not search for the truth, any hardships they suffer will be in vain! Is this something you can say? I think it is something you can say. In some people’s minds they think that whoever has suffered more has been ensured to receive more of the truth, and that they certainly have life, is this correct to say? Truth seekers who have experienced more hardships will obtain more things, and people that do not seek the truth, even if they spend their whole life in prison, will not obtain the truth, isn’t this how it is?
To whom are these words of God spoken to? They are spoken to those people that truly believe in God and experience and submit to God’s work, for these people love the truth, because people that truly believe in God love the truth. For people that love the truth, the more they suffer, the more they are refined, and the more they will acquire. That is because they have a deeper understanding of God, and this is the truth. As for people that do not seek the truth, it’s not as though they don’t experience many hardships, so why is it that they don’t acquire anything? How come they do not obtain the truth? According to the word of God, these people have missed the opportunity for God to perfect them. Since they do not seek the truth, they have missed many opportunities for God to make them perfect. If according to someone’s views they wanted to say, “It doesn’t matter if someone seeks the truth, as long as they experience God’s work and are able to get through hardships, they will be guaranteed to attain perfection.” Is this a sound argument? It really is not sound. Then what should we base what we say on? What we say should be based on the results of one’s experiencing God’s work. If someone hasn’t achieved any result at all, and though they have believed in God for many years and suffered through many hardships, yet they have not obtained the truth or come to an understanding of God, and they do not love God and obey the will of God, then what kind of person are they? They are a person who does not seek the truth. So they are lacking in their pursuit of the truth, they have suffered hardships, they have experienced many things, but since they do not seek the truth they have suffered many hardships in vain, in vain! Does this kind of thing happen a lot? It can be compared to when you go through persecution and tribulations. Some people are arrested and cry and cry, shedding tears as they pray; others sit in a prison cell, praying every day, and once they emerge from their prison, you cannot see how great their faith has grown. Some people acknowledge that “God is real. When I was praying in my prison, God performed a miracle, and He gave words to me, really!” But this has no effect on them when they perform their duties. They are disobedient now just as they were before. They do not take their work seriously, just as they didn’t before. For these people it seems like their faith may have increased a little, but do they have love of God? Some people sat in prison cells for many years and suffered many hardships, so now they feel that they have seniority in their faith in God—“I can be a leader!” However, they cannot say anything about the reality of the truth. Apart from their personal experience of sitting in their prison, they cannot tell how they experienced God’s judgment and chastisement, how they came to know their corrupt essence, and what they know about God’s disposition. They cannot talk about these actual things, so how can they help God’s chosen people enter into life? What is the issue here? Some people believe in God for 20, 30 years, and so everyone might say “He’s believed in God for so many years certainly he has experience, we should choose him as our leader!” But the result might be that after they are chosen, they are unable to communicate anything about the reality of truth. What is the issue here? We can see what is happening here very clearly. If someone does not seek out the truth, no matter how many years they hold on to their faith, no matter how many hardships they suffer, it will all be in vain. They will not receive the perfection of God. Isn’t this the truth of the matter?