Chapter 98. Only When You Put Your Heart, Your Mind and Your Soul Into Fulfilling Your Duty Will You Have a Human Likeness
Is it okay to not use your brain, to spare no thought and to not contemplate things carefully when you do your duty? Is it okay to do shoddy work? It’s not okay to be thoughtless when you do things; in that way, you’ll never learn anything. Is this a good attitude to have when doing your duty? If you do your duty this way, your professional work will never improve. Some people aren’t afraid that their professional work won’t improve, for there is a benefit to doing things this way; you may perhaps have already experienced this benefit personally. What is it? It’s that you don’t need to search online for any material or consult anybody, you don’t need to exercise your brain or spare any thought; it’s not taxing and you won’t damage even one brain cell. How great is that? You won’t tire yourself out! Neither your heart nor your mind will get tired, you won’t go through any physical suffering, and you still get your work done. You say “I’m not lazy, I’ve done my work. Who can find fault with it? I’ve done it in the proper order and I didn’t take any rest. I didn’t rest either my hands or my eyes, I didn’t stop talking and I talked so much that my mouth went dry. I went everywhere to get things done, and I ran myself ragged.” What do you think about how your duty has been done? You always say you are cooperating. When someone asks you: “What kind of duty are you doing?” you say, “I’m cooperating with spreading the gospel.” Or you say “I’m cooperating with bearing witness.” Or “I’m cooperating with writing songs.” Your cooperation is, conversely, a “tacit agreement.” No one has to make any effort, no one has to spare any thought, and no one has to rack their brains or think so much that they go without appetite or sleep for a certain matter—pondering it before going to sleep in the evening and then beginning to ponder it again as soon as you open your eyes in the morning, thinking “What is best to use here? How can I do this well?” No one thinks about it like this, no one prays, no one discusses it together; everyone just does their own work. Someone asks “Have you finished?” You say “Finished.” And they say “It’s my turn to do the next stage, so hand it over to me.” Is this not saving trouble? This really does save a lot of trouble.
Whenever you produce a work, especially a large work, how many days do you go without having an appetite? Do you suffer anything? Do you overcome any of your own difficulties? Do you pay some price? Someone says, “After I took on this duty, there were two nights where I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t help but think about this matter constantly. I thought so much about it that I couldn’t sleep.” How come they couldn’t sleep? It’s because they were thinking about it all the time and their heart couldn’t put it down. They say, “If I haven’t done it well then this is troublesome, and it would mean that I have not performed my duty well and am not loyal; I would be conscience-stricken and my conscience would not be at ease.” While others are eating, this person thinks: “How can I do this well? I’ve done this wrong again. This is something I should check strictly, but I didn’t. What can I do? This isn’t about having to endure being dealt with. It is my responsibility, and I didn’t do it.” They see others eating their meal and they say: “How come everything you eat tastes so good to you and I can’t swallow a morsel?” And those people say: “The food tastes great. How come you’re not hungry?” They reply, “I have no appetite.” After a couple of days without any appetite, they lose a couple of pounds. Is this not making effort? Have you ever made this kind of effort before? Do I say this so that you lose weight, or so that you are more economical in terms of food and clothing? (No.) So what do I say it for then? (So that we put more heart into our duties, so that we have a sense of responsibility, and so that we know what we are doing our duties for.) Having a sense of responsibility and having conscience, and having a conscience that is not at ease when you do things irresponsibly or in a slipshod way—only thus can you be loyal. If you have no sense of responsibility, and if your conscience feels no blame or you have no awareness when you do things badly or in a slipshod way, then how can you be loyal? It is simply not possible. Say this work has a tight deadline, and you have to think about it quickly and make effort to ponder it—how then do you make this effort? “I’m making effort. I just stare at it constantly. I just sit and stare at it constantly.” And someone says: “In what manner are you staring at it? Have you made any effort if you want to do it well? Have you sought anybody to fellowship with?” You reply “Nope.” “Then you haven’t yet made enough effort. How many materials have you looked up?” “I haven’t looked any up yet. I’ve just been staring at it constantly.” “And have you achieved anything?” “Not yet. I reckon I’ll achieve something after staring at it for a couple more days.” What do you think of this attitude? This is no good, and this is obvious. It is merely bragging and not getting real! What do I mean by bragging? I mean someone who says nice-sounding things, who says things for others to see or for others to hear; they give people misconceptions or they purposefully mislead people into thinking they suffer greatly, that they put their heart into what they do and that they spare no effort, when in actual fact their heart is simply not stirred at all, and they don’t think at all. Why do I say this? Because they don’t take action. If you spare some thought and you genuinely exert your heart, if this matter is truly within your heart, then you should take action. How should you take action? You should say, “I have to get moving,” and keep so busy that your feet don’t touch the ground, and you’re all but flying! “I have to look up materials, see whether these issues are mentioned in books, or look up the principles of God’s family. I have to read and listen more, or ask whoever understands or whoever is good at this aspect; I have to consult with them.” Someone asks about you, saying: “Where are they?” “They’re off everywhere consulting with people. They’re so busy!” “How come I didn’t see them at meal time?” “They’re still busy. They weren’t yet done when it got to meal time and they said they had no time to eat. They’ll eat later.” After two or three days, you’ve looked up a lot of materials and fellowshiped a lot with others, and thus you achieve something. What do you achieve? You’ve found an approximate path to follow and you’ve more or less grasped the principles, so you should start work, and after a few days or a week, you produce a draft. Is this not an achievement? If you didn’t do things in this way, if you had a slipshod attitude in your approach to this matter, you could still achieve something after a few days. What would the quality of that achievement be like? It would be something passable, without any obvious faults, but it wouldn’t be a fine piece of work or something done with great care; it would be rough around the edges, and would have been completed by being slipshod in work.
Tell Me, which kind of noodles is a good, fine-crafted and carefully-made kind? Usually, when there is a tasty kind of noodles, everyone likes them and they’re a famous dish, it isn’t easy to make them inside of an hour and you have to prepare many ingredients; they take quite a long time to make and they take effort. What kind of effort? Is it that you have to get your hands and legs moving and exert your strength? Starting from kneading the dough, put the flour into the bowl and knead it until it forms a dough, and knead it several more times during the process, then make the sauce last of all and, after the noodles are boiled, pour the sauce over the top; the whole process takes more than an hour. Is it easy to get a bowl of good noodles? If you want to eat good noodles, then you have to put in the effort, have industrious hands and legs, put your heart into it and use your brain. Do people who are slipshod in work and whose heart is bad have a sense of responsibility? (No.) To turn it around, do people who have no sense of responsibility have a good heart? People who have no sense of responsibility do not have a good heart. They adopt a slipshod attitude toward everyone, they do not want to take responsibility and they do not want to pay any price or do anything good. By adopting this kind of attitude in your duty, are you then doing it in a way that is up to standard? (No.) In terms of time, are there any criteria by which one does their duty in a way that is up to standard? Some people say: “To do my duty in a way that is up to standard, it’s enough for me to start at 8 a.m., to clock off at 5 p.m., and to have a rest for a couple of hours in the afternoon.” In this way, how long do they work for in a day? How many hours is it from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.? (Nine hours.) Then remove the two hours for rest in the middle, and remove the time spent going to the bathroom, chatting, snoozing and thinking about other things, and how many hours are left? (Four or five hours.) And within the scope of these four or five hours, how much thought and energy is truly expended for the sake of performing their duty? Have you ever calculated this? (No.) Then in terms of your attitude toward your duties, do you have any standards you require of yourselves? Some people say yes, so what standards do they have? The first is not to get exhausted; the second is not to get hungry; and the third is not to be noticed. What do I mean by “not to be noticed”? They think like this: “I mustn’t arrive before others get there, I won’t be the first to arrive; before others have left, I start to think about leaving. I don’t suffer what others don’t suffer, I only suffer what others suffer. I do what everyone else does and I don’t do anything that no one else does.” What do you think of this standard? “If I don’t feel so happy today, then I have to postpone doing my duty for a little while, I have to cut down on the time I spend working and I can’t be so proactive when I’m asked to cooperate. I’ll be a little more proactive when my mood gets better.” What do you think of this standard? Moreover, they think: “If everyone is nice to me when I’m doing my duty and it’s all acceptable, if no one rubs me up the wrong way or hurts me, then that’s okay, I’ll exert a little strength and will work at 80% capacity; if someone rubs me up the wrong way, if someone always has a problem with me or is always criticizing me, then I won’t want to go, I won’t want to do my duty and I’ll have to avoid that person. I’ll only go if that person isn’t there. If they’re there, then I won’t go.” What do you think of this attitude? Another is that they think: “When I do my duty, no one can demand that I do anything. It has to be me that actively decides what to do. I must keep face. It’s not okay for someone to push me hard or give me difficult tasks or assign missions to me.” What do you think of this attitude? “When I’m doing my duty, it’s not okay to always be using the principles of the truth of God’s family to make demands on me. My stature is immature and I cannot achieve it. I’ll use all my strength to achieve that which I am able to achieve. Don’t press me to do things that I cannot achieve; if you do then I’ll throw my hands up and walk away, and I’ll come back only when you stop pressing me to do things.” What do you think of this principle? (It’s bad.) These are all bad, right? It looks as though everyone knows that these things are bad, and this is obvious. So then, how do you do your duties? Do you have these expressions when you do your duties? Being undisciplined, being wayward and arrogant, not listening to anyone else, being self-right, slipshod, not having a conscientious attitude in anything you do, always putting on airs when there is something you’re good at, and when something doesn’t go your way even slightly you scowl and pout, you don’t wish to work anymore, you always want to leave, and you always want to give up on your duties—have you ever been like this? (Yes.) When you’ve been like this, did you fellowship together? Can someone do their duty well if these problems exist? Can they perform their duty in a way that is up to standard and that satisfies God? Evidently, they can’t.
Then have you tried to resolve these problems? Is there a way to resolve them? When you discover a problem then you have to resolve it; problems that people do not resolve remain problems forever, and they will worsen as time goes by. What do I mean by worsen? I mean that, if you don’t resolve your problem, then it will affect your state and it will affect other people. In this way, over time, your problem will stop you from doing your duty well, stop you from understanding the truth and stop you from coming before God. Aren’t these all problems? This is a serious problem, not a small one. As time goes on even more, then the complaints, the misunderstandings, the resentment, the misunderstandings about God, the misunderstandings about God’s family, the prejudices about people and the estrangement between people that are within people’s hearts are all kept inside them, and the more these things are stored up the more of them there are. Is it good to have these things stored up inside people over a long period? Do they lead you to the way of entering into the reality of the truth, or do they lead you to walk the way of evil men? Will you get better and better on this path, or will you get worse and worse? (Worse and worse.) Worse to what extent? When these things are stored up inside people over a long period of time, their faith disappears little by little; when their so-called faith disappears, their enthusiasm disappears; when their enthusiasm disappears, doesn’t the heart and the energy for doing their duty shrink more and more? They are unable to feel the joy of believing in God, nor are they able to feel the blessings from God in the doing of their duties, so they cannot find the strength inside, and complaints, negativity, conceptions and misunderstandings fill them up and control them. When they live within these things and are enveloped by these things, controlled by them, all they can do when they perform their duty is exert strength, just endure it, be slipshod and depend on self-restraint in everything they do—they are unable to see God’s guidance or His blessings. So what comes next? No matter how they do their duty, they are unable to find principles. The more they do, the more confused and the more trapped they get, and they lose their energy for doing their duty.
There are some people who say: “When I first started doing my duty I felt so moved, so enlightened. I felt that God was with me, I felt joy, I felt relaxed in everything I did and I felt like I could see clearly any issue. But after a while it’s not the same, my inner state is different, and I can’t feel God anymore.” What is the situation here? There is a sickness inside them. What is that sickness? People have so many corrupt dispositions within them and they live within these states without resolving them. They carry these sicknesses with them when doing their duty, and if they want to do their duty in a way that is up to standard and that satisfies God, it is very strenuous for them, and this cannot be achieved by their relying on their own good intentions, enthusiasm, self-restraint, stamina or resolution. Can anyone who is naturally decent be seen as a genuinely good person, and as someone who has the truth in the eyes of God? Then what kind of person is a genuinely good person, someone who has the truth in the eyes of God? First and foremost, they have to understand God’s will and understand the truth. Secondly, they have to be able to put the truth into practice with their understanding of it as the foundation. They are able to resolve the things within themselves that do not conform to the truth—their conceptions and imaginings, their prejudices about others and the misunderstandings they have about other people and about God—the moment they are discovered. And when they live within bad states or negative states, they are able to turn themselves around in good time; they don’t cling to these states. That is, the moment they discover a problem within themselves, they are able to come before God to resolve it, and are able to maintain a normal relationship with God. They may be weak and corrupt, as well as rebellious, and they reveal all manner of corrupt dispositions such as arrogance and being self-right, yet once they know that they are revealing a corrupt disposition, once they are aware of it after their self-reflection, they are able to resolve it and turn themselves around in good time. What kinds of people are these? These are people who love the truth and who practice the truth. How are they seen in the eyes of God? These are good people in God’s eyes. Some people are always holding onto their old conceptions, stubbornly clinging to their prejudices, misunderstandings, negative moods or their opinions of others. They know perfectly well that they’re wrong, thinking: “That is how I’ll do it and I won’t relinquish myself. You may relinquish yourself, but I won’t. That is the opinion I’ll have of you. I just don’t believe it’s fair, the way God’s family handles this, and I just won’t resolve this problem. No matter how you say it’s fair, I won’t accept it. I do not regard your words as the truth.” They cling to themselves, thinking, “You say I do my duty in a slipshod way. I’ll keep doing it that way, so what can you do about it? You say my attitude when I do my duty is improper, yet I’ll keep doing it that way! You say I am slipshod when I do my duty, so what is not being slipshod? My doing it like this is not bad and I’m better than other people! I’ll do my duty like this and I’ll see whether God is fair to me in the end. If I do my duty like this and God doesn’t accept it, then God is not being fair, and God’s righteousness is fake.” Is this someone who accepts the truth? Do they have an attitude that accepts the truth? What will God do after He sees people like this? Will God say “See this little darling. They know to resist, and they know to speak up when they have misunderstandings”? (No.) How will God see them? Are they hardened and rebellious people in the eyes of God? Are they people who accept the truth? Although you are corrupted, God does not remember it. God does not reject you or condemn you because of your corruption or because you are a corrupt person, but rather it is because you know perfectly well that it’s the truth and yet you defy it and rebel against it purposely. Because you have this kind of attitude God is grieved, He detests you and is disgusted by you—this is God’s attitude. So is this kind of person considered to be a good person in the eyes of God? Is this kind of person a good person in the eyes of man?
If you want to become a good person in God’s eyes, then you may proceed in two stages. If in one step you can’t manage to get God to say you are a good person in His eyes, and to say that you are someone who loves the truth and pursues the truth in His eyes, then you must first get the people around you to see you as someone who loves the truth, who pursues the truth, as someone who comparatively loves positive things and who loves fairness and righteousness; you must get them to see you as someone who is comparatively upright, who corrects mistakes, who turns yourself around as soon as you discover your own rebellious state, who finds others to fellowship with as soon as you discover your own corrupt dispositions, and who seeks out the path to practice and make amendments once you have finished fellowshiping. Proceed in two stages. First of all you need to get your brothers and sisters, or the people around you who comparatively pursue the truth, to appraise you and say you are someone who loves the truth and that you are a good person. Then, pursue one step at a time in order to get God to see you as someone who loves the truth. What do you think of this way of proceeding in two stages? Is it a bit easier? You say, “I don’t dare hope to get God to say I’m a good person all at once; this is setting the bar too high. I don’t think I have that resolution or that stature, and my faith is too immature. But I still want to be a good person, then first of all, I must get the brothers and sisters around me to say I am a good person.” What criteria are weighed up to determine whether or not someone is a good person? Firstly, it concerns how you do your duty; how many criteria do you have to reach when doing your duty? Conscientiousness, taking responsibility, willingness to suffer, willingness to pay the price, taking things seriously and not being slipshod in work; at a slightly higher level, it is being able to find the correct principle in everything you do, then work according to that principle. “No matter who says it, even if the brother or sister I most look down on says a certain principle, as long as what they say is correct and conforms to the truth, then I shall listen to it and I shall try to accept it, try to forsake my own ways of thinking and forsake my own conceptions.” What do you think of this attitude? (It’s good.) Saying it’s good is easy, for you just have to move your mouth, but it’s not such an easy thing to achieve. “Is it good?” “It’s good.” “Where do you start if you want to be a good person?” “Doing my duty.” “Doing my duty” and “good” make four words altogether. They are so easy to say, you just open your mouth and there they are. So how do you live up to it? How do you change yourself into that kind of person? Can you achieve it just by saying these four words? (No.) You have to pay something, and you also have to give up some things. What do you have to pay? At the most basic level, you have to pay some time, spend more time than others do. Maybe other people have gone to bed already, and you are still there pondering, pondering for maybe 8 or 10 minutes, and you really are so tired that you can’t stay awake anymore, so you fall asleep. You spend 10 minutes, or even 20 minutes a day longer than other people. You have to pay more in terms of time, so do you also need to pay more thought and energy? When other people have nothing to do, they rest, they space out and they slumber. If you want to have a sense of responsibility and you want to do your duty well, then your mind cannot stop and you have to think, you have to get close to God, pray on this matter, implore for this matter, and even sometimes implore God weeping bitter tears, asking Him to enlighten you and guide you. Other people go shopping, go find a distraction, go for a stroll or engage in chit chat, and what are you doing instead? Your hands are rubbing your head and pushing through your hair, you are pondering, pondering so much that you’re losing hair, and these hairs are a symbol, a representation of the price you pay. When other people encounter this same issue, they eat two bowls of food at meal time and they still don’t feel full. But you, after you’ve finished one bowl then you don’t want to eat anymore. This issue is pressing on you so much that you have no appetite. Is this not a price you pay? This is a price. How much more than others should you pay? 10 to 20 minutes less of sleeping time. Besides this, how much more energy and painstaking effort should you pay? One to two hours of painstaking effort and energy. Any others? Eat one bowl less. Is this not something that you have to pay? Is this not a practical price? Have you ever paid a price like this? The majority of sisters enjoy working on their appearance. Every day, they paint their eyebrows, apply rouge and powder, put on lipstick, and they even wear all kinds of accessories and fix their hair into all kinds of styles. They spend an hour and a half doing this in the morning, then one or two hours in the evening to take it all off again. In a day, they spend around three to four hours rinsing and washing, fixing their appearance and putting on makeup. They’ve never made any less effort on their appearance; they always do their makeup so beautifully, they always dress so appropriately, always dressed in such special clothes. But they’ve never taken their duties seriously, and they’ve never made any effort. Where is the lack of effort expressed? It is that one’s heart has never been stirred and they’ve never spared any thought for anything. They go to bed late or stay up all night because that’s what everyone else does. They have no choice—if their work isn’t finished then they can’t clock off, they can’t leave. But as for themselves, they have never spent any more time or spent any more energy, or paid any more of a price for this matter. That is, they have never suffered anything for it. They just eat with everyone else, go to work with everyone else, clock off with everyone else, and their hearts are so unwilling. What do you think of this attitude? Is there anything in this attitude toward doing their duty that conforms to the truth? So then, how do you do your duty normally? Have you ever taken it seriously?
Say a young girl falls in love with a man. How is that love expressed? She pays a price. What price? She thinks: “What does this man I love like to eat? I’ve heard he likes spicy food, but I don’t like spicy food. It’s not good for girls to eat food that is too spicy. He likes to eat spicy food so I’ll learn how to cook it, and I’ll cook something spicy for him.” She then thinks of ways to cook spicy dishes. When she cooks something spicy, as soon as she scratches the chili seeds out or fries chilies in hot oil she begins to choke unbearably, and her fingers sting horribly—is this not a price she pays? So does she think of this price as suffering? Not only does she not consider it to be suffering, but she feels great, she enjoys it and she thinks it’s worth it. “It’s worth any price for the one I love. I wouldn’t hesitate to go through fire and water for him, and any suffering is worth it!” She doesn’t know yet if the man she loves will like it, and she starts to make effort in secret, buys all kinds of condiments and then starts to practice at home. Sometimes she cuts her hand when chopping vegetables, but she thinks “Don’t give up! Keep going!” Her eyes sting so much that she can’t open them, her nose runs constantly and the spices cause her to keep coughing, but she thinks, “Don’t give up. It’s worth this pain for the one I love!” Does she consider it to be suffering? (No.) You see, it’s just the love she has for this person. This man has nothing to do with her yet, and yet she can pay in this way, and suffer and pay a price in this way. So do people have this kind of resolution when doing their duties? Do they have these kinds of expressions? You know perfectly well that you do not have this kind of resolution and that you do not pay anything like this; you know perfectly well that you rely wholly on self-restraint and stamina to support yourself when doing your duty. You know this kind of state isn’t right, but have you ever turned yourselves around? You should know how to do your duty correctly, right? I said just now that first of all you have to pay the price, and this price involves getting moving, going to bed late sometimes and having to get up early sometimes—this is physical suffering. Moreover, you have to spare more thought, spend more energy, use your brain more, think more, come before God more, give your time to God, spend it on doing your duty and spend your energy on your duty—this is the price you pay in terms of time and energy. When you pay, expend and give your all in terms of energy and time, then isn’t this the price you pay in doing your duty?
What kind of suffering do you undergo when doing your duty? (I pay some price in terms of time.) And in what aspects do you come up short? (Using my brain more, and coming before God and praying to Him more. I come up short with these aspects.) What kind of problem are these inadequacies? Out of the things I mentioned previously—putting all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength into something—which of these responsibilities does spending more time apply to? (Strength.) Only strength. Then which ones have you not achieved? You have not achieved putting all your heart and all your mind into doing your duty; have you achieved putting your soul into it? You haven’t achieved these three main aspects; you’ve only achieved putting your strength into your duty. So what does only putting your strength into your duty pertain to? (Exerting strength.) What are you doing by exerting strength in the eyes of God? (It is rendering service.) Do you wish to render service? Do you wish to be a service-doer? You have no wish to be a service-doer, and yet you are rendering service, and what’s more you take delight in it and never get tired of it—this is the kind of path you walk. You don’t wish to be a service-doer, and yet you actively render service—is this not a contradiction? Why has this come about? How has it come about? It is because of the kind of path you walk. The kind of path you walk determines the goal you reach in the end. In colloquial terms, it is “you reap what you sow.” The path you walk is that of a service-doer, and the path you’ve chosen is that of a service-doer, so what result do you gain in the end? It is that you render service. Because you always concern yourself with exerting strength, you’re not willing to spend any energy or spare any thought or to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul, then the result you gain in the end can only be that you use your strength, and so you end up rendering service. There is no contradiction here, is there? What is the contradiction? It is that people don’t wish to be a service-doer, and when they hear they are a service-doer then they become unhappy, thinking “Aren’t You besmirching me by saying that? Aren’t You underrating me? Aren’t You treating me poorly? Aren’t You showing favor to others over me? I make so much effort and exert so much strength. How can I be a service-doer?” You’re right. When you exert that much strength then you are a genuine service-doer. You must think of how to not just exert strength, but to also put all your heart into it. Reach for this standard. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul.” What do these words mean when applied to doing your duty? It means that you shall do your duty well with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul, and in this way, you become a good person in God’s eyes. As I said just now, how should the first step to becoming a good person in God’s eyes be measured? (By putting all our hearts into what we do.) With regard to what matter? Firstly, it is with regard to doing your duty, and this is the most real, the most direct and the most intuitive way and standard to measure whether or not someone pursues the truth and loves the truth, and whether or not they are someone that God loves and are a good person in God’s eyes. Does this give you a path to follow? So do you have the resolution to strive not to be someone who only uses their strength? The standard of requirement of only using your strength is too low; this is manual labor, hired labor, slave labor. God is not a slave owner, however. If you volunteer to be a slave then there’s nothing to be done and, in the end, God will give you blessings, grace and promises that are appropriate to what you pursue and what you express. You may gain something, but won’t that gain be too little? Is the promise God gives to man the one He gives to service-doers? Is the standard achieved by God after He saves someone that they render service? (No.) Therefore, you feel uncomfortable being a service-doer, and God feels even more pain, and is even more grieved and sad. Is it glorious to spend such energy to save a bunch of people who render service? Is this the sign of God gaining glory? Is this the testimony man should bear for God? This is not the path man should walk, nor is it the testimony man should bear for God. “I am completely willing to render service for God. I exert strength no matter what God asks. No matter what He asks me to exert my strength with, I’m completely willing. I never give less than my all, and when I’m asked to put great effort into something then I put great effort into it. It’s only that I don’t put my heart into what I do, and I’m satisfied with exerting strength. Doesn’t God gain glory in this?” Is this the truth? This is not the truth.
What is the truth? The truth is what God requires of you, and it is the words of God. So what do the words of God require in this regard? This comes down to the truth, to the principles of practice. What are the principles of practice? They are what you should employ in your lives and in your duties; they are your path and they are your direction and goal in life. What was the Lord Jesus’ saying? (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mak 12:30).) You must remember this line perfectly, and engrave it on your heart. When you do things, you should apply these words to determine whether or not you have achieved them, and say, “Which aspect have I achieved? Which aspects have I not yet achieved? What is my inner state like? Is there any rebelliousness in it? Am I calculating? Do I try to make bargains? Am I hardened? Do I lay conditions on God? Are there any negative parts in my inner state? Do I try to be slack in my work? Is there anything slipshod?” Engrave this line in your heart. That is, remember this line of God’s words, this truth, within your heart. What is the purpose of remembering it in your heart? The purpose of remembering these words is not so you can say them to others, but rather it is to regulate your state, regulate your behavior, and use them to guide your direction in everything you do. For example, when you do something you get confused again, and you don’t know how to do it. Straight away, you think of what God has said. “He says ‘You should use all your heart.’ I am no longer confused. I have to use all my heart when I do things, so how do I use all my heart? Ah, that’s right, there’s someone who understands this better than I, so I must go ask him and fellowship with him.” And after you fellowship, the two of you pray together, and you feel at peace, and feel that it’s very suitable to do this in this way. Okay, you’ve used your heart to the utmost limit. You have used all your heart. After examining yourself, you find you think of nothing else, nor do you have any individual ideas or selfish aims, and so you work in this way. If you want to use all your heart, then you must think often, communicate and interact with people and with God. It is a matter for the heart, your heart is stirring, your thoughts are detailed, and you are living before God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Aren’t these words useful in reality?
Why is it said that God’s words are a beacon for man? It is because God’s words are not spoken in vain, they are not some kind of theory and they are not some kind of argument. God’s words are there for you to use. When you encounter issues and you can see no way forward and have no idea what to do, when you act rashly, you think of God’s words, and think “God’s words require people to work in this way, so I shall contemplate it in accordance with God’s words.” You contemplate it for a while, and then you think, “I know the way forward. This is what God’s words mean. To work in accordance with the meaning of God’s words is to practice in accordance with God’s will.” By practicing in this way, your approach is corroborated, and you discover that this way of practicing is good. Within your spirit, you feel at peace, you feel enjoyment, and other people are edified. During the process of practicing these words of God, you gain some enlightenment, you gain some experience and learning, and you come to understand some things. What do you come to understand? You come to understand what God means by saying these words to get people to do things in a certain way, you locate the relevant principles, you find the source of these words, and you come to know the significance of God saying these words—this is understanding the truth. Once you have understood the truth, then you are no longer confused, stupid or apprehensive when you do things. Do you know what not doing something apprehensively means? It means that you do not find it difficult when you encounter an issue, you have a path forward and you don’t get puzzled. You think, “I know how to do this, I know the principles and I know what God requires with this issue.” This is being unapprehensive. It means that you are not afraid to encounter this kind of issue. In simple terms, when you encounter this kind of issue you think, “I have an idea, I have a method and I know how to resolve it.” This is having a path forward. It’s just like students studying mathematics, physics or chemistry. Say they are asked how exactly a problem can be solved, and when a student who is good at mathematics, physics or chemistry comes across this problem, they know straight away how to solve it, and they answer it in the end—this is having a path forward. How do they get this path forward? They apply some formulas and laws and solve the problem in the end, they get the correct answer. So what does having a path to practice God’s words mean? It means your comprehension of God’s words and that you understand the principles of practice behind these words of God; you understand what state these words God says refer to, and they are telling you how you should act and how you should practice. Isn’t that so?
The topic I spoke of earlier concerned why God’s words are the way for man. God’s words may look to you like simple words, but actually they are telling you how you should live, what you should do when you encounter an issue and how you should resolve it. They are the truth and they can become your way. That is, they allow you to encounter issues with wisdom, principles and with a path to practice. If you have a path forward in every aspect, in doing your duty or some other aspect, and if you know what God wills, then doesn’t this show that you understand the truth? This shows that you understand the truth and that you understand God’s words. Service-doers don’t need to understand God’s words. It’s enough for them to just exert strength, therefore rendering service is simple work. Some people render service badly—they can’t even do such simple work as this. These people are unacceptable and they are just so deficient! You understand what “so deficient” means, don’t you? It means that they are not competent even to do the work of rendering service, that they do not meet the standards of what it is to be human. They never exert their strength in a good way, and they are always acting up, are always disturbing, are always negative and slack in their work, always having to be coaxed along by others, and always having to be watched by others. These people are not up to the mark, and they do not meet the standards of what it is to be human. Which path do you now plan to take? What kind of person do you plan to be? Are you striving to be a standard service-doer or do you want to be someone who puts all their heart, all their mind and all their soul into fulfilling their duty? (We want to be people who put all our heart, our mind and our soul into fulfilling our duty.) This is good and your aim is correct; none of you want to be a service-doer, none of you want to just exert strength, so then you have to strive for the truth. In order to strive for the truth, which words must you get to first? (Fulfill our duty with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul.) You have to strive for these words. Are these words the truth? Regard these words as the truth, place them in your heart, practice and place requirements on yourself in accordance with these words. Don’t place requirements on anyone else; placing requirements on yourself is correct, and your starting point is correct. When you strive for this aspect you slowly achieve results, you slowly come to have a human likeness, gradually you become closer and closer with God, and your relationship with God gets closer and closer. When that happens, if you have some misunderstanding or are in a negative mood, or you feel weak, then it is not a big deal.
Most of you who now live in free, democratic countries have never suffered persecution like your brothers and sisters have in mainland China, you have never suffered anything in that environment like they have. To you, living so comfortably is not a good thing. It is more effort for you to pursue the truth, and it is more laborious for you to suffer and to pay the price in doing your duty. Those who have been raised under free democracies live pretty cozy lives and they have this fault—they don’t let anyone criticize them and they don’t let anyone offend them, they think relatively freely, they have fairly liberal thoughts, and they always demand their personal space, their freedom, to do as they please and they demand all manner of things relevant to their own selves. These things are so troublesome! If you don’t give up these things, then it is very difficult to get out of the kind of state or the kind of condition whereby you only exert strength. Always being fastidious about their own selves and their own personal space is troublesome. What must you pay attention to? You must pay attention to the truth, to God’s words, to what positive things are and to what the correct path of life is. Freedom, democracy, independence, personal space—these things are not the truth. They are merely a kind of progressive idea and progressive system in this dark and evil world, and they are a kind of system which is relatively fitting for human existence, and a system of human rights. But they are not the truth, and this is something you must see clearly. Don’t think “I was born into such a social system so I have these rights. I can think what I want, say what I want, do what I want, and no one can interfere. These are my human rights, and they are the rights that society and the nation have given to me.” It is troublesome to see this as the supreme truth, and having these kinds of thoughts will damage you. If you have these kinds of thoughts then you won’t be able to enter into the truth, and you won’t be able to regard yourself genuinely as a member of the followers of God and of Christ. This will be so troublesome! This is the difficulty you face. The faults people have, the difficulties they have, the problems they have, the serious problems, the representative problems may have been caused by some kind of social background, or they may have been caused by some kind of context in life. If you cannot see the substance of this problem clearly, if you cannot see the severity of this problem clearly, if you always approach your duty in this way, and always approach your belief in God and the trust God gives to you in this way, then you will never be able to step up. What are the current facts? Mainland people live against that kind of social background feeling inferior and, as they live, they form a habit, which is that they must suffer and endure hard work—they live like a willing ox that works diligently and conscientiously. They have this kind of social background and foundation, and it creates this kind of life habit or their principles of conducting themselves; and people in other countries, those who live in countries under different systems or in free democratic countries, don’t think like this. They don’t want to be restricted by anyone else, they want to break loose from fetters, break loose from all established practice, and even when they come to God’s family they want to break loose from the administrative system or the work arrangements of God’s family, or from the church rules. They don’t want to be disciplined or managed, it’s unacceptable to them to be dealt with by anyone, or criticized by anyone, or for their work to get a little busier, or a little more tiring. This will be troublesome! This is not the manner a Christian should have, and it is not a manner for good soldiers of Christ.
People always spoke of saintly decency in the Age of Grace. But does it still hold true in modern times? Is it still applicable? It is so applicable! It is a positive thing and it fits in with any place and at any time. We don’t need to talk now of the most basic thing, that is achieving the likeness of a created being that God requires. If you are a Christian, then shouldn’t you have Christian decency? If you don’t, then you’re not worthy to be a follower of God; you are not a follower of God and God does not acknowledge you. If you want to follow God, regardless of whether you want to live as a created being or as an ordinary person, then you must arouse your strength and take a stand. If you want God to acknowledge you then you must do more than just show it on the surface; you must set your heart before God and say: “God, I plan to follow You like this. Is this acceptable to You? I have this kind of plan and goal. Does it conform to Your will?” Or perhaps you don’t speak to God directly, but instead you just let God see that your heart is planning in a certain way, and then you let God see how you act on it. No matter what kind of country or what social background you were born into, you are now following God. You do not belong to that country, or to that people. You are a follower of God, you are a believer in God, and you are a member of God’s family. You must regard yourself as a member of God’s family, a follower of God, a good soldier of Christ in all things, and you must measure yourself by the standards of the saints. If you measure yourself by saying, “I am Korean,” or “I am Taiwanese,” or “I am from Hong Kong,” or “I am American,” then are you still a Christian? This view is wrong, and it is clearly a view of the unbelievers. Those people do not believe in God! And if you don’t believe then what are you doing fooling around here? Are you trying to pass yourself off as a Christian? That is not permitted here. If you are a Christian then you must be a good Christian and be a good follower of God. Don’t be a part-time Christian who is neither fish nor fowl. Those of you who are neither fish nor fowl, please leave as soon as possible; God’s family doesn’t want these kinds of people. If today you regard yourself as one of the people of the kingdom, then apply to yourself the criteria of the people of the kingdom. “The people of the kingdom? I’m Taiwanese, and in all things I must have human rights, I must have the dignity of a Taiwanese person, and I must have the rights and interests of a Taiwanese person. No matter what I do, you must take my measure and place requirements on me in accordance with the standards of someone from Taiwan, otherwise there’s no need for discussion!” If you say this then leave as soon as possible. Sorry, we don’t want any nationalities here, we only want the people of the kingdom. Understand? When you follow God, you must heed God’s words. “I follow God but I willfully heed the words of Satan, I heed what people say, I heed what I myself say, I heed what celebrities say, I heed what the head of my country says, I live in accordance with my national system and I live in accordance with national laws. I use the national system, national laws, our national culture, social customs and habits, and my family rules to measure myself in all things. If I am up to the mark, I am a good person, and what God says doesn’t count.” If you say this then, I’m sorry, but please leave as soon as possible. There can be none like you in God’s family and we don’t want people like you. You are not one of the people of the kingdom, so hurry up and leave! God’s family doesn’t speak with people like that, doesn’t have contact with people like that, and doesn’t ask people like that to perform any duty. Hurry up and leave, the sooner the better!
Some people say: “How can I not believe that these words God says are able to save man? How can I think that what some specialist, someone from a human rights organization or some celebrity says can carry any weight? Can these people in God’s family be called the people of the kingdom? Look at our nation. The head of our nation is so prestigious! Look at the events our nation holds—that situation, that aura, that style—how can we possibly compare with that?” Is this how you see things? If you see God’s family as being unable to measure up to the outside world in any way, see God’s family as not as good as any nation, see the people in God’s family as not as good as any other group, see the administrative decrees of God’s family as not as good as the system or laws of any nation, then what are you doing still believing in God? Is this how you look upon everything that comes from God? Is this how you look upon everything to do with God? Apart from having no reverence, you have no respect, and aren’t you then an unbeliever? Shouldn’t this kind of person be asked to leave as soon as possible? And what if they don’t leave? (Make them leave.) Make them leave as soon as possible and drive them out, like chasing away foul flies. Some people say, “Wouldn’t this be so discourteous?” Yes, it is being so discourteous! In God’s family, the truth is in power and God is in power, and things are done in accordance with the principles of the truth. These kinds of people should get out. Are you happy to have these unbelievers mingling amongst you, who say they believe in God, but belittle God’s family and look down on God this much? (No.) So we have to clear them out and drive these kinds of people out as soon as possible. No matter how attractive or talented they are, they must still be driven out. Make them leave, understand? Is this being discourteous and without love? (No.) This is doing things in accordance with principles. What do I mean by this? No matter how mature your stature, how great your resolution to pursue the truth or whether you have any faith in God, there is one thing that is certain and beyond all doubt—Christ, God, is the truth, the way and the life. This is forever unchangeable, it should be a rock in the heart of each person, it should be the most solid foundation for their belief in God. And it should be certain and beyond all doubt within your heart. If you doubt even this, then you are not worthy to stay in God’s family. Some people say: “We are a great people and we are a noble race. Our people, our customs and our culture are incomparably noble, more noble even than the truth and the words of Christ.” Should these kinds of people be cleared out? Is this not the voice of an unbeliever? This is the voice of an unbeliever, and these kinds of people should be cleared out, driven out and not allowed to stay—they are unbelievers.
Sometimes people are in a temporary state or they have temporary thoughts, yet their faith in God is real. People can be somewhat foolish, or they may be unable to understand matters, or they may be deceived, or because they don’t understand the truth or they experience passing foolishness they say some confused things, or they have some confused expressions—these are the results of a corrupt disposition, the results of foolishness, the results of ignorance, and they are the results of not understanding the truth, but these people are not really this type of person. They need to understand the truth and fellowship about the truth in order to resolve these problems. Some people are the type of unbelievers, and these people are not members of God’s family. Do you understand what I mean by this? Do you know that I tell you how to pursue and which things to avoid? I fellowship these things with you to tell you to pursue the truth in earnest and not merely to exert strength. God saves man through His words and through the truth. If you are to achieve salvation, the most direct way is for you to understand the truth and practice the truth while performing your duty. In this way, God’s heart is satisfied and comforted. What is it that God most wishes not to see? God has said many words and paid many a painstaking effort for you, and what He gains in the end is a group of people who exert strength, and those who remain are a group of service-doers who do not understand the truth and do not understand God’s will—they just exert strength. Although they remain, they do not conform to God’s will and they cannot be counted as genuine created beings. This is what God most wishes not to see, and it is not what God originally intended in His management plan to save mankind. Understand?
You have to pursue in earnest. Don’t get mired in bad states or bad interpersonal relationships that are man-made, don’t get caught in these nets, don’t spend all day racking your brains for the sake of interpersonal relationships and drop your duties, or let it interfere with your duties. It doesn’t pay to do any of these things and they are inappropriate. Don’t get all red in the face, lose your integrity and lose the dignity of being a person for the sake of tiny gains. No matter what difficulties you encounter, no matter what troubles you encounter or what situation arises, whether it’s an exceptional situation or one that comes unexpectedly, to do anything you must first and foremost come before God seeking the truth. Be sure not to fight amongst yourselves or bicker with each other. Those are the expressions of a child and of an immature stature. These issues arise easily when many people are all together. “You’re correct, I’m mistaken, rights and wrongs, going around in circles, you judging me and me judging you behind each other’s backs.” You fuss about these issues all day long, your hearts are filled with them so that you are unable to come before God, and you get all caught up in these issues. You must extricate yourselves from these states; these are all expressions of an immature stature. People with an immature stature tend to deliberate over a tiny pebble for ages, or over one tiny ant, or over a flying insect that has lost a wing, and they let these things interfere with their real work; aren’t these the expressions of a child? When doing things, they always go off-track and work erroneously, or they never know what real work is, what proper work is, and these are the expressions of a child who has not matured. You have to learn to grow up! What do I mean by “grow up”? I mean that you should do the things adults should do, and grope toward and seek the things adults should do and the path they should walk. You must seek and know to grope for the things normal people, respectable people do and how those who do their proper duties do things, and what style, what method and what principles these people use to do things. Normally, when an adult comes across an issue, say the sky falls down or the ground caves in, they say “I must not delay to do this real work.” Or say their house catches fire, they say “I must hasten to do this real work. I cannot delay it, I must finish it.” A child, however, goes off to take a look when a bird chirps outside, or a kitten meows, or dogs fight with each other. Anything can make them delay their real work and can disturb their real work. Isn’t this being somewhat derelict in one’s duties? One small matter can fill their mind—one word spoken incorrectly, one wrong look, or one joke told badly and they start sulking, their duty is delayed, they throw up their hands and stalk off and other people have to coax them and talk them through it. Aren’t these all expressions of immaturity? When people are immature they cause others to dislike them; they have no dignity and no integrity.
You must focus on the truth. Don’t bother about what others do incorrectly. We should do our utmost to help them strive for the truth. When they do something wrong, we must still examine ourselves, and strive to achieve a situation where everyone does things right. We have to have this kind of atmosphere within the church—everyone focusing on the truth and all striving for the truth. Don’t separate people into degrees of seniority, old and young, or whether they are qualified or competent. You need only discern who speaks correctly, who speaks in conformity with the truth, who is thinking of the interests of God’s family, who holds the work of God’s family most in their heart, who understands a lot about positive things, who has a sense of righteousness and who is willing to pay the price. Amongst everyone, it is only right for these kinds of people to be supported and to gain approval. An atmosphere of uprightness that comes from pursuing the truth must gain the upper hand within the church. In this way, there will be the work of the Holy Spirit, and God will give blessings and guidance. If the atmosphere of being fastidious about who is right and who is wrong, making a fuss about each other, bearing grudges with each other, being jealous of each other and arguing with each other has the upper hand within the church, then the Holy Spirit will certainly not work on you. Struggling with each other and fighting each other in secret, deceiving, tricking and plotting against each other—this is an evil atmosphere! If this atmosphere has the upper hand within the church, then the Holy Spirit will certainly not do His work. The Lord Jesus said a line. Can you remember what it is? (“Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them” (Mat 18:19-20).) This is the truth. God does as He says. If you go against His intention and you don’t do as He says, then God will be far away from you. Therefore, you always see the faults of others, always see things in others that you don’t like, and then you always see others seeing things in you that they don’t like, then this becomes troublesome. If the Holy Spirit does not work on you, if God does not bless you or guide you, if you rely solely on your own strength and on your own gifts and abilities, then nothing you do will be done well, nothing you do will be in line with God’s will, and no matter how you do something it will be a waste of energy. Experience this gradually for yourselves; you will slowly come to learn this through experience. In everything you do you must be of one mind. Have a think, how can you be of one mind? You must practice the truth, and only then will you be able to become like a strong bundle of sticks, and you will be of one mind.