Genuine Love for God Is Spontaneous
All people have been subject to refinement because of God’s words. If God had not been incarnated, mankind certainly would not have the blessing of suffering through this refinement. To put it another way, all those who are able to accept the trials of God’s words are blessed. Based on people’s inherent 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 exaltation 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 experience suffering and setbacks is predetermined by God—it is not based on people’s own requirements. This is the unequivocal truth. Every believer should possess the ability to accept the trials of God’s words and suffer within His words. Is this clear to you? So, in exchange for the suffering you have undergone, you have received 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 need to look into the affairs of yesterday.
Some people say that they try to love God but cannot. Then, when they hear that God is about to depart, they suddenly find their love for Him. Some people generally do not put the truth into practice, and when they hear that God is about to depart in anger, they come before 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 this opportunity again.” Have you made that kind of prayer? When someone prays in 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 trying to accomplish through this. If God did not work in this way, people would still be befuddled; no man can inspire spiritual feelings in people’s hearts. It is only God’s words, which judge and reveal 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. Love of God based on man’s conscience alone will not achieve the desired result. Have people not based their love for God on their conscience in the past? Was there even a single person who loved God on his own initiative? It was only through the encouragement of God’s words that people have 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.” People will not be able to feel God’s loveliness if they listen only to the feelings of their conscience. If they rely solely on their conscience, 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 is a passive approach? This is a practical issue. What kind of love is your love for God? Is it not just fooling God and going through the motions for Him? Most people believe that since there is no reward for loving God and one will be chastised all the same for not loving Him, then 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 seek after God and to follow Him. Now even if God wants to abandon me, I will still 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 resolve?
The path of believing in God is one and the same as the path of loving Him. If you believe in Him you must love Him; however, loving Him does not only refer to repaying His love or loving Him based on the feelings of your conscience—it is a pure love for God. Sometimes people are unable to feel God’s love based on their conscience alone. Why did I always say: “May the Spirit of God move our spirits”? Why did I not speak of moving people’s conscience to love God? It is because people’s conscience cannot feel God’s loveliness. If you are not convinced by these words, try to use your conscience to feel His love. You may have some drive in the moment, but it will soon disappear. If you only feel God’s loveliness with your conscience, you will be driven while you pray, but soon after the drive will fade and disappear. Why is that? If you only use your conscience, you will be unable to rouse your love for God; when you really feel God’s loveliness in your heart, your spirit will be moved by Him, and it is only at this time that your conscience will be able to play its original role. That is to say that when God moves man’s spirit and when man has knowledge and is encouraged in his heart, that is, when he has gained experience, only then will he be able to love God effectively with his conscience. Loving God with your conscience is not wrong—this is the lowest degree of love for God. Loving by “just barely doing justice to God’s grace” simply will not impel man to enter in proactively. When people obtain some of the work of the Holy Spirit, that is, when they see and feel 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 they able to genuinely love God.
When people contact God with their hearts, when their hearts are able to turn to Him entirely, this is the first step in man’s love for God. If you want to love God, you must first be able to turn your heart to Him. What is turning your heart to God? It is when everything that you pursue in your heart is for the sake of loving and gaining God. This shows that you have completely turned your heart to God. Aside from God and His words, there is almost nothing else in your heart (family, wealth, husband, wife, children, etc.). Even if there is, such things cannot occupy your heart, and you do not think of your future prospects but only pursue loving God. At such time you will have completely turned your heart to God. Suppose you are still making plans for yourself in your heart and are always pursuing personal profit, always thinking: “When can I make a small request of God? When will my family become wealthy? How can I get some nice clothing? …” If you are living in that state it shows that your heart has not fully turned 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 is very close to you, as if God is within you and you are within Him—if you are in that kind of state, it means that your heart is 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, and if you show consideration for God’s will, use your heart to love Him genuinely 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 may still have moments of foolishness and unreasonableness, they show concern for the interests of the house of God, His work, and their own change in disposition, and their heart is in the right place. Some people are always claiming that everything they do is for the church when, in fact, they are working to benefit themselves. People like this have the wrong kind of intention. They are crooked and deceitful and most of the things that they do are for their own personal benefit. This kind of person does not pursue love of God; their hearts still belong to Satan and cannot turn toward God. Thus God has no way of obtaining this kind of person.
If you wish to love God truly and to be gained by Him, the first step is to turn your heart toward God entirely. In every single thing that you do, search yourself and ask: “Am I doing this based on a heart of love for God? Are there any personal intentions behind this? 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 a state of being wholly for God. This is the path to practicing 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 comfort or the blessings of status. It is doing everything to satisfy God, and making one’s heart fully for Him, not for one’s self. This is sufficient.
Genuine love for God comes from deep within the heart; it is a love that only exists on the basis of man’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 not necessarily complete. This is because there is still some 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 by which man achieves true love of God and comes to know God’s disposition is to turn his heart toward God. When man gives his true heart over to God, then he begins to enter into the experience of life. In this way, his disposition starts to change, his love for God gradually grows, and his knowledge of God also gradually increases. So, turning one’s heart to God is only the precondition for getting on the right track of life experience. When people place their hearts before 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 derives from man’s flesh is the product of emotion and does not come from genuine understanding. It is just a momentary impulse and it cannot result in long-lasting adoration. When people do not have an understanding of God, they can only love Him based on their own preferences and their individual notions; this type of love cannot be called spontaneous love, nor can it be called genuine love. A man’s heart may genuinely turn toward God, and be capable of thinking of God’s interests in everything, but if he has no understanding of God, he will not be capable of having genuinely spontaneous love. All that he will be able to do is fulfill some functions for the church or perform a bit of his duty, but he will do so without basis. The disposition of this kind of person is hard to change; such people either do not pursue the truth, or do not understand it. Even if a person entirely turns their heart toward God, it does not mean that their God-loving heart is completely pure, because those who have God in their hearts do not necessarily have love for God in their hearts. 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 people of this kind have God in their hearts. Turning one’s heart toward God is a precondition for one’s getting onto the right track, for understanding God, and for achieving love of God. It is not a marker of completing one’s 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 ought to do as one of His creations. Those who love God are all people who pursue life, that is, people who pursue the truth and truly want God; they all have the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and have been moved by Him. They are all able to obtain God’s guidance.
When someone is able to feel that they are indebted to God, it is because they have been moved by the Spirit; those who feel this way 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 danger of being stuck in Satan’s net, and at a certain point Satan will take you captive. God’s illumination allows people to know themselves and subsequently to feel their indebtedness to God; they become willing to cooperate with Him and 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 love of God, so have you rid yourselves of your superficial ways? If you only rid yourself of superficial ways and refrain from disruptive and boastful behavior, is that really pursuing growing up in your life? If you rid yourself of all superficial behavior but do not enter into God’s words, this shows that you are not actively making progress. What is the root cause of superficial behavior? Are your actions for the sake of growing up in your life? Are you seeking to pass as one of God’s people? Whatever it is that you focus upon is that which you will live out; if you are focused on superficial behavior, then your heart will often be cast outward 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 is incapable of changing their disposition! In the process of reaching maturity in life, everyone must follow a route: 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 based only on zeal. That is, if you want growth in your life you must eat, drink, and understand more of God’s words. 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 have brought up, will your practice be correct and in keeping with God’s will. Only someone with this kind of practice has the will to love God.