All people have been subject to refinement because of God’s words. If it hadn’t been for God incarnate mankind absolutely would not be blessed to suffer that way. It can also be put this way—those who are able to accept the trials of God’s words are blessed people. Based on people’s original caliber, their behavior, and their attitudes toward God, they are not worthy of receiving this kind of refinement. It is because they have been uplifted by God that they have enjoyed this blessing. People used to say that they were not worthy of seeing the face of God or hearing His words. Today it is entirely because of God’s uplifting and His mercy that people have received the refinement of His words. This is the blessing of every single person who is living in the last days—have you personally experienced this? In which aspects people should suffer and have setbacks is destined by God, and is not based on people’s own requirements. This is absolutely true. Every believer should possess the ability to undergo the trials of God’s words and suffer within His words. Is this something that you can see clearly? So the suffering you have undergone has been traded for today’s blessings; if you do not suffer for God, you cannot gain His praise. Maybe you have complained in the past, but no matter how much you have complained God does not remember that about you. Today has come and there is no reason to look into yesterday’s matters.
Some people say that they try to love God but cannot, and when they hear that God is about to depart they then have love for Him. Some people generally don’t put the truth into practice, and when they hear that God is about to depart in anger they come in front of Him and pray: “Oh God! Please do not go. Give me a chance! God! I have not satisfied You in the past; I have been indebted to You and resisted You. Today I am willing to fully offer up my body and heart so that I may finally satisfy You and love You. I will not have that opportunity again.” Have you made that kind of prayer? When someone prays this way it is because their conscience has been roused by God’s words. Humans are all numb and dull-witted. They are subject to chastisement and refinement yet they do not know what God is accomplishing. If God didn’t work this way, people would still be befuddled; no one could inspire the spiritual feelings in people’s hearts. It is only God’s words of judging and exposing people that can bear that fruit. So, all things are achieved and fulfilled because of God’s words, and it is only because of His words that mankind’s love for God has been roused. If people only loved God based on their own consciences they would not see any results. Didn’t people base their love for God on their consciences in the past? Was there a single person who took the initiative to love God? It was only through the encouragement of God’s words that they loved God. Some people say: “I’ve followed God for so many years and enjoyed so much of His grace, so many blessings. I’ve been subject to refinement and judgment from His words. So I’ve come to understand much, and I’ve seen God’s love. I must thank Him, I must repay His grace. I will satisfy God with death, and I will base my love for Him on my conscience.” If people only rely on the feelings of their consciences, they cannot feel God’s loveliness; if they just rely on their consciences, their love for God will be feeble. If you only speak of repaying God’s grace and love, you will not have any drive in your love for Him; loving Him based upon the feelings of your conscience is a passive approach. Why do I say that it’s a passive approach? This is a practical issue. What kind of love is this? Isn’t it trying to fool God and just going through the motions for Him? Most people believe that there is no reward for loving God, and one will be chastised all the same for not loving Him, so overall just not sinning is good enough. So loving God and repaying His love based on the feelings of one’s conscience is a passive approach, and it is not love for God that comes spontaneously from one’s heart. Love for God should be a genuine feeling from deep in a person’s heart. Some people say: “I myself am willing to pursue God and to follow Him. Now God wants to abandon me but I still want to follow Him. Whether He wants me or not, I will still love Him, and in the end I must gain Him. I offer up my heart to God, and no matter what He does, I will follow Him for my entire life. No matter what, I must love God and I must gain Him; I will not rest until I have gained Him.” Do you have this kind of will?
The path of believing in God is the path of loving Him. If you believe in Him you must love Him; however, loving Him doesn’t only refer to repaying His love or loving Him based on the feelings of the conscience—it is a pure love for God. There are times when people just rely on their consciences and they are not able to feel God’s love. Why did I always say: “May God’s Spirit move our spirits”? Why didn’t I speak of moving people’s consciences to love God? It is because people’s consciences cannot feel God’s loveliness. So if you are not convinced by those words, you may use your conscience to feel His love, and you will have some drive at that moment but then it will disappear. If you only use your conscience to feel God’s loveliness, you have the drive when you pray, but after that it just goes away, it disappears. What is that about? If you only use your conscience you will be unable to rouse your love for God; when you really feel His loveliness in your heart your spirit will be moved by Him, and it is only at that time that your conscience will be able to play its original role. That is to say that when people have been moved by God in their spirits and when their hearts have gained knowledge and encouragement, that is, after they have gained experience, only then will they be able to effectively love God with their consciences. Loving God with your conscience is not wrong—this is the lowest level of loving God. Mankind’s way of love of just barely doing justice to God’s grace absolutely cannot impel their proactive entering in. When people obtain some of the work of the Holy Spirit, that is, when they see and taste God’s love in their practical experience, when they have some knowledge of God and truly see that God is so worthy of mankind’s love and how lovely He is, only then are people able to genuinely love God.
When people contact God with their hearts, when their hearts are able to entirely return to Him, this is the first step of human love for God. If you want to love God, you must first be able to return your heart to Him. What is returning your heart to God? It’s when everything that you pursue in your heart is for the sake of loving and gaining God, and this shows that you have completely returned your heart to God. Aside from God and His words, there is almost nothing else in your heart (family, wealth, husband, wife, children or other things). Even if there is, they cannot occupy your heart, and you do not think of your future prospects but you only pursue loving God. At that time you will have completely returned your heart to God. If you are still making plans for yourself in your heart then you are always pursuing your own personal benefit: “When can I make a small request of God? When will my family become wealthy? How can I get some nice clothing? …” If you’re living in that state it shows that your heart has not fully returned to God. If you only have God’s words in your heart and you are able to pray to God and become close to Him at all times, as if He were very close to you, as if God were within you and you were within Him, if you are within that kind of state, it means that your heart has been in the presence of God. If you pray to God and eat and drink of His words every day, are always thinking of the work of the church, if you show consideration for God’s will, use your heart to genuinely love Him and satisfy His heart, then your heart will belong to God. If your heart is occupied by a number of other things, then it is still occupied by Satan and it has not truly turned to God. When someone’s heart has truly turned toward God, they will have genuine, spontaneous love for Him and will be able to consider God’s work. Although they will still have foolish and senseless states, they will be able to have consideration for the interests of the house of God, for His work, and for a change in their disposition. Their heart will be entirely correct. Some people are always waving the flag of the church no matter what they do; the truth is that this is for their own benefit. That kind of person does not have the right kind of motive. He is crooked and deceitful and most of the things that he does are to seek his own personal benefit. That kind of person does not pursue loving God; his heart still belongs to Satan and cannot turn toward God. God has no way to obtain that kind of person.
The first step of truly loving God and being gained by Him is to completely turn your heart toward God. In every single thing that you do, search yourself and ask: “Am I doing this based on a heart of love for God? Is there any personal intention in it? What is my actual goal in doing this?” If you want to hand your heart over to God you must first subdue your own heart, give up on all of your own intentions, and achieve the point of being completely for God. This is the path to practice giving your heart to God. What does subduing one’s own heart refer to? It is letting go of the extravagant desires of one’s flesh, not coveting the blessings of status or coveting comfort, doing everything to satisfy God, and that one’s heart can fully be for Him, not for one’s own sake.
Genuine love for God comes from deep within the heart; it is a love that only exists on the basis of mankind’s knowledge of God. When someone’s heart completely turns toward God then they have love for God, but that love is not necessarily pure and it’s not necessarily complete. This is because there is a certain distance between a person’s heart completely turning toward God and that person having a genuine understanding of God and a genuine adoration for Him. The way for someone to achieve true love of God and to know God’s disposition is to turn their heart toward God. After they give their true heart over to God, they will begin to enter into the experience of life, and this way their disposition will start to change, their love for God will gradually grow, and their knowledge of God will also gradually increase. So turning one’s heart to God is the precondition for getting on the right track of life experience. When people place their hearts in front of God, they only have a heart of longing for Him but not of love for Him, because they do not have an understanding of Him. Even though in this circumstance they do have some love for Him, it is not spontaneous and it is not genuine. This is because anything that comes from man’s flesh is an emotional effect and does not come from genuine understanding. It’s just a momentary impulse and it cannot be long-lasting adoration. When people don’t have an understanding of God they can only love Him based on their own preferences and their individual notions; that type of love cannot be called spontaneous love, nor can it be called genuine love. When someone’s heart genuinely turns toward God, they are able to think of God’s interests in everything, but if they do not have that understanding they are not capable of having genuinely spontaneous love. All they are able to do is fulfill some functions for the church and perform a bit of their duty, but it’s without root or basis. That kind of person has a disposition that is difficult to change; they are all people who either do not pursue the truth, or do not understand it. Even if a person entirely turns their heart toward God it doesn’t mean that their heart of love for God is completely pure, because those who have God in their hearts don’t necessarily have love in their hearts for God. This concerns the distinction between someone who does or does not pursue understanding of God. Once a person has an understanding of Him, it shows that their heart has fully turned toward God, it shows that their genuine love for God in their heart is spontaneous. Only that kind of person is one who has God in their heart. Turning one’s heart toward God is a precondition for them getting onto the right track, for understanding God, and for achieving love of God. It is not a marker of completing their duty to love God, nor is it a marker of having genuine love for Him. The only way for someone to achieve genuine love of God is to turn their heart toward Him, which is also the first thing one of His creations ought to do. Those who love God are all people who seek life, that is, people who seek the truth and people who truly want God; they all have the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and have been moved by Him. They are all able to be guided by God.
When someone is able to feel that they are indebted to God it is because they have been moved by the Spirit; if they feel that then they will tend to have a heart of longing and will be able to pursue entry into life. But if you stop at a certain step, you will be unable to go deeper; there is still the peril of being stuck in Satan’s net, and once it reaches a certain point you will be taken captive by Satan. God’s illumination allows people to know themselves, and after that allows them to feel their indebtedness to God, and feel willing to cooperate with Him and to cast off the things that do not please Him. This is the principle of God’s work. You are all willing to pursue growing up in your lives and loving God, so have you ridden yourself of your superficial ways? If you only rid yourself of those ways and you do not cause any disruptions or show off yourself, is that really pursuing growing up in your life? If you don’t have any kind of superficial behaviors at all but you do not enter into God’s words, it means that you are a person who doesn’t have any proactive progress. What’s the root of adopting superficial behaviors? Are your actions for the sake of growing up in your life? Are you pursuing being qualified to be one of God’s people? Whatever it is that you focus on is what you live out; if you focus on superficial ways then your heart is focused externally, and you will have no way to pursue growing up in your life. God requires a change in disposition, but you are always pursuing outward things; this type of person will have no way to change their disposition! Everyone has a certain way before they have become mature in their life, which is that they must accept the judgment, the chastisement, and the perfecting of God’s words. If you do not have God’s words but you only rely on your own confidence and will, everything you do is just based on zeal. That is, if you want growth in your life you must eat and drink, and understand God’s words more. All those who are perfected by His words are able to live them out; those who do not undergo the refinement of His words, who do not undergo the judgment of His words cannot be fit for His use. So to what degree do you live out His words? Only if you eat and drink God’s words and are able to compare them to your own state of life, and find a path of practice in light of the issues I bring up will your practice be correct. It will also be after God’s heart. Only someone who has this kind of practice is one who has the will to love God.