Now, let me ask a question: When people read the word of God, why are they content to feel like they understand it on a conscious level and that if there are no difficulties in doing that, they think it’s all done and they’ve gotten through? Why are they able to produce these kinds of notions? How do these notions come to be? Isn’t this the root of the problem? Do you think that reading the word of God is the same as reading a novel? When you are reading the words of a human, as soon as your eyes pass over the text you have some awareness in your brain, and you’re done. You might say, “I understand, that’s what it means,” but is reading the word of God that simple? The word of God is entirely the truth delivered by God, and this truth is by no means as simple as the speech of an ordinary man! If you truly have this notion in your brain, what does that show? It shows that you don’t know that God is the truth, that you don’t know God’s word, and that you treat God’s word as if it were the words of a man. Isn’t this the case? There are many people who read the word of God without pondering it, with the result that even though they have read for ten or twenty years, they have not understood what the truth in God’s word is. In all that time they have not obtained a great gain from within the word of God, and have only obtained a gain of some words and letters. Can this be considered reading the word of God? With respect to reading the word of God, if you cannot attain the results of experiencing God’s work, then that is not reading the word of God. In everything you read in the word of God, you must understand why God wanted to say those words, what is the goal and significance of God speaking those words, and what result He wanted to reach. No matter if your understanding is deep or shallow, you must have somewhat of an understanding, and only then can you be said to have gained something. What mistake are you making if you merely gain the literal meaning, and once you understand the literal meaning you move on and just walk away? What mistake is it if you think that there are no mysteries to be found in a certain passage and that there’s no truth there, just a very simple statement, and after that you just move on? You are scorning the word of God, the truth! This is being irreverent to God’s word, can I say this? What kind of disposition is it to be irreverent toward God’s word? Isn’t it arrogant and conceited? Isn’t this the disposition of Satan? This is the disposition of Satan. Satan does not know God at all, so it is irreverent toward the word of God, and can misinterpret God’s word however it wants; in the end it has committed the sin of resisting God. Now, there are many people who treat the truth in this way, and read the word of God in this way; isn’t this the attitude people have in how they treat the truth? Isn’t this the attitude people have in how they treat God? These kinds of people do not have hearts that revere God! So, in reading the word of God we must be diligent, for devout people have hearts that revere God. If they have no reverence they do not have piety. If you have a heart that reveres God, then when you read the word of God you will be godly, you will be able to calmly ponder the word of God and to pray-read the word of God. In the word of God there are some transitional phrases, because there are some words that cannot directly express the truth by themselves and must have some transitional phrases. As for some problems that are present in people, and some notions about God’s judgment, God has to simply demonstrate and explain them. Afterward, it then transitions to what judgment is after all, and what results judgment is able to attain, and finally it mentions that after the judgment ends all people will follow their own kind, and what will be the destination and outcome of every kind of person, and these outcomes of people are all determined after judgment. You see that God’s word says that people’s outcomes are determined after judgment—which people will be extinguished, and which people will suffer punishment, and you only accept it with words such as: “Right, after judgment God’s work comes to an end, and there is a group of people who receive salvation, there’s a group of people who suffer punishment, and there’s a group of people who are extinguished.” You merely understand some empty theories, but what it contains in concrete terms—as in what kind of people are extinguished, what kind of people suffer punishment, what kind of people receive salvation—can you speak clearly about these? You are only able to say something vague and broad without any usefulness, and that doesn’t count as you knowing God’s word. So, if in believing in God, a person isn’t able to be earnest in pondering the word of God, can’t be earnest about reflecting on himself, and can’t be earnest about seeking and prayer, he will never be able to understand the truth. You see that those religious pastors, when they speak about the Bible, only talk about the literal aspects. No one listens, and in the end they themselves aren’t able to continue to talk about it. What is going on here? It’s simply because they don’t put the truth into practice. In the Age of Grace, if you put the truth into practice, the words you speak will also be practical. People will also gain benefit from listening to them, and this is because the truth doesn’t favor any person. Isn’t this the case?
You see that there are some people who exert great effort in seeking knowledge, but when they seek the truth, they shrivel up and are devoid of energy. Is this kind of person, in the end, smart or stupid? He’s stupid. What is it that the truth brings to people? What is it that the truth accomplishes? The benefits it conveys to people are far better, higher, and more meaningful than knowledge, isn’t that right? Is it easier to seek knowledge, or the truth? Some people say that it’s easier to seek knowledge. Why is it easier to seek knowledge? Some people say it’s because it conforms to people’s notions. Being in accord with people’s notions is one aspect, but what else is there? Knowledge is an external thing. It is superficial and lacking any depth, and is without significance. Once a person practices, they will see directly and be able to feel it. It is easy to experience and practice, and it’s quite simple. As for seeking the truth, it is not easy. In seeking the truth you must do it by means of effort over some amount of time before attaining any results, it must be done with much labor to understand even a little, and you can only enter into the reality of the truth through the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It will not work for a person to merely rely on himself. For example, as for the truth about being an honest person, would you say that it is easier to be a person who has knowledge or an honest person? Being a cultured person, being a gifted musician, being a person with knowledge, and being a laborer are all easy, and all can be attained in a few years. But being an honest person is not easy! Why is it not easy? Even if you completely exert your strength and ability, you are unable to attain any result, unless God does work on you, unless you have the work of the Holy Spirit! If being an honest person were easy to attain, then having experienced the two thousand years of redemption of the Age of Grace, people would all have changed into honest people through confessing their sins and repenting. Then there would be no need for the judgment of the last days. It is not easy to be attained! Do you dare to say that among the many people who believed in God in the Age of Grace there were no benevolent people with high aspirations? High-minded people are not few, and people with brains and caliber are also not few, so why have they all not become honest men? This explains that it is not easy to enter into the truth! For the sake of mastering knowledge or learning to be a cultured or learned person, several years of experience would be sufficient. Say, for example, when a rustic person has studied culture for ten years and devoted himself to the work for ten years, he has mastered all the aspects of the culture of China and the West, and has become a learned man; through ten years of effort he can succeed in becoming a learned man. So can twenty years of effort produce an honest man? It can’t. Is it easier to enter the truth or enter knowledge? You can say that there is some knowledge that doesn’t need to be studied and that you will understand on your own after experiencing it for several years, right? It will be acquired unconsciously. Just by using a little diligence, you will acquire it in due course. There are not few women in households who experience this incidental matter of course, like when they have been making food in the kitchen for 20 or 30 years with the result that they cook even better than some chef. And who taught them to cook? Where did they graduate from? What professional standing have they reached? None at all, they just gained experience in due course and developed this knowledge.
Entering the truth cannot be reached without experiencing the work of God. Without the work of the Holy Spirit this cannot be completed, and no one can lead you into the truth. Even if someone who has the reality of the truth guides people, what they can enter into will still be limited. Isn’t this the case? How many words have I spoken in preaching for so many years? Countless words. In the end, what result has been attained? On the surface, there are a lot of people who have enthusiasm and have not given up, and this can be considered a kind of result. But actually, how many people have entered into the reality of the truth? I have not figured it out. I have spoken so many words, but the result obtained is very limited; if the Holy Spirit does not perfect people and perform work on people, however much a person does it is still limited. What does this show? It is not possible for people to succeed if they believe in God and experience the work of God but do not seek the truth. If you do not exert yourself in the truth, you will not succeed; no matter if you have a good guide, you will certainly not succeed if you don’t seek the truth, and you will not attain any results. I have cultivated quite a few people, but how many people are there who are able to communicate the reality of the truth? I have been watering people for twenty or thirty years, and haven’t seen many people who are genuinely able to speak about the practical truth. There are many people who speak too many words of doctrine when they preach—of course, they are better than religious pastors, and this is certain. Those religious pastors cannot even speak clearly about the spiritual terminology used by God’s house, and everything they preach about is merely the literal meaning of the Scripture. When many people of God’s house preach, the words are all correct, but they are too superficial, and the composition of the rationale in the words is also too overbearing. So, if you do not seek the truth, no matter who waters you, it will not work, and this is for certain.
In seeking the truth, how does one seek? The key is in how one reads the word of God, how one eats and drinks the word of God. This is the most important part, this is fundamental! Some people follow a certain rule every day, saying, “Every day I’ll read a section of the word of God.” In the past, I also persevered in this for a time, every day reading a section of the word of God. After reading for a certain number of days, I pondered this, and what did I gain from it? It was completely forgotten. Afterward, I saw that this path also would not work, so every day I simply pondered one part of the truth, pondered one short passage, and tried to figure out one practical problem. In this way, at first I achieved some results and after some time had passed, there were some words of God that I had pondered but had not experienced, and I forgot them. In the end, what is the most effective way to practice? Every day when doing my duty, I sought to use the truth to solve practical problems, and in the end this method yielded the best results. Take the words you eat and drink every day and use them in practice. See what truths in the word of God to use to solve your deficiencies and revelation of corruption in doing your duty every day, and reflect on yourself. In this way you will sometimes be able to solve some practical problems. But for key fundamental problems, you won’t be able to solve them all at once, and it will take one or two years. There are some corruptions that you can’t say will not arise again. Even if you’ve solved them one time, you might commit them again. Tell me, how can the problem of perfunctoriness be solved? You might say, “I will deal with my being perfunctory—I will hit myself on the mouth!” It doesn’t need to be said that nothing will be solved by hitting yourself. When you have finished hitting yourself, you tell me, can it be solved? You all say it can’t. What does this show? There are some problems that involve one’s nature and which you must solve by dealing with your own nature, and it will not work just to solve them superficially. This is the problem. So, in seeking the truth, how do you seek it? Is there any principle in seeking the truth? There is a principle that can be found here, and if you grasp the principle, your progress in life will be very quick. So what is the principle? In reading the word of God you must seek the truth and try to figure out the truth, and this is the most important. Furthermore, particularly in treating the words of the judgment and chastisement of God, you must check them against yourself. Don’t ascribe this responsibility or this problem to another person, thinking, “I don’t have this problem, only evil people are possessed of this problem. These words of God are for judging evil people, not for judging me.” If you think this way, you are wrong. To be precise, God reveals people’s corruption, and who dares to say that they themselves have none at all? Are there people who dare to say this? There are not. What if He reveals a person’s thieving nature? Do you have it? You say, “I have never stolen”; you have never stolen, but have you ever had thoughts of thievery? In a special circumstance could you have the expression of a thieving disposition? Do you dare to say you do not? I don’t dare to say this, for if I was so hungry I was feeling faint, and if there were another person’s food that he hadn’t eaten, I might go over and just eat a bite or two. This is in the realm of possibility! If someone died in his house and happened to have something to eat there, could I survive if I didn’t eat it? Since I’m starving, hurry up and eat it. He’s dead, so we should go ahead and eat it. If someone has any money that has fallen on the floor which he had forgotten, and in the moment I happened to need some money, I might pick it up and spend it. Do you dare to say that you wouldn’t do this? Do you dare to say that? When someone had his money in his pocket, you didn’t snatch it or grapple for it, but if he threw it on the ground and walked away, would you not dare to pick it up? This is not easy to say. It’s dependent on context, isn’t that right? Some people wouldn’t pick it up if they see there are people around, as other people will report them to the police and cause trouble for them; but they would go ahead and pick it up when they see there is no one around. Look, it’s different if there are people around or not. Afterward they will have some reason, “I picked it up because he threw it away, he didn’t want it, and only then did I pick it up. If he hadn’t thrown it I certainly would not have picked it up. I’m not that stupid.” That is to say, there are some crimes we have not committed, but we can’t say that we do not have that disposition within ourselves. For example, I have never embezzled, but if I had not passed through the judgment and chastisement of God, and were also employed as an accountant in factory, can you dare say that I wouldn’t embezzle? In the first one or two years maybe I wouldn’t do it, but in three or five years, in eight or ten years, I can’t guarantee it, isn’t that right? Man’s corrupt disposition is all the same, corrupt essence is the same. Even though the context in which it’s revealed is not the same, everyone still has a corrupt disposition, isn’t that the case? If you haven’t committed a sin, but you have committed sins in your mind, this is the same as committing the sin. This also proves that you have a corrupt disposition. With God, it is according to corrupt dispositions that He judges and condemns people, and in the end He determines your outcome in accordance with your corrupt disposition. You are convicted of a crime based on what you have done by the laws of the country you are in, but when God’s final judgment concludes the age, everyone will be condemned on the basis of his corrupt disposition. You will be condemned on the basis of whether you have obtained cleansing or not, or whether you have accepted the judgment and chastisement of God. Even monks and nuns cannot run away from God’s judgment in the last days, and will all be extinguished! Do you think monks and nuns have committed the sin of fornication? Have they committed robbery? On the surface they have not committed any sins, and the law cannot determine their crime, but they cannot escape the judgment of God. So in seeking the truth, how do you seek it? Do not go about it on the basis of whether you have done a thing or not. You should go about it on the basis of the expression of your disposition and thereby come to accept the judgment and chastisement of God. This is the principle of obeying God’s work, right? This is also the principle of God doing work. So now, when you read again the words about God revealing and judging people, how should you treat this? Can you again exclude yourself from this, and think it has nothing to do with you? Isn’t that something an idiot would do? “These words are for judging others. I have not committed that sin, it isn’t directed at me. I shouldn’t be foolish, I shouldn’t force these things on myself.” What kind of ridiculous talk is this? All people have corrupt dispositions. As long as you have a corrupt disposition in this respect, even if you haven’t done a certain thing, you should also accept God’s judgment. Only this is the choice of a wise person.