32. The Principles of Guarding Against Absurdity
1. Focus on eating and drinking the words of God and seeking the truth, and focus on practicing, experiencing and knowing God’s words. Do not explain God’s words by relying on your own thoughts or imaginings;
2. When you eat and drink God’s words, seek more and contemplate more the practical significance of God’s words, and understand the will behind God’s utterances. Do not make interpretations out of context or cling to literal meanings;
3. Be always able to fellowship with those who pursue the truth and who have an accurate understanding, and be able to deny yourself. When you gain knowledge of something, it is best for you to have it corroborated by someone who understands the truth;
4. Accept and obey the watering and shepherding of the man used by the Holy Spirit so that you may purely understand the truth, and accept the fellowships and knowledge of those who understand the truth.
Relevant Words of God:
Understanding God’s word is not quite so simple. Just because you can give a beautiful explanation of the letter of God’s word does not mean you understand it. No matter how you interpret the letter of God’s word it is still the imagination and way of thinking of man and is useless.
How should God’s word be understood? The key is to understand His word from within His word. Whenever God speaks He certainly does not speak in mere generalities. Within each sentence there is detailed content which is certain to be revealed further in God’s word, and it may be expressed in a different way. Man cannot comprehend the ways in which God expresses truth. God’s word is very profound and cannot be penetrated with man’s way of thinking. People can discover the complete meaning of every aspect of truth as long as they make an effort, and the remaining details are filled in completely as the Holy Spirit enlightens your understanding of the concrete situations through experience. One part is understanding God’s word through His word, finding the specific content of His word. Another part is understanding the implications of God’s word through experiencing it and obtaining enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. It is primarily through these two ways that a true understanding of God’s word is achieved. If you interpret through the letter of the word or the imaginations of your own way of thinking, then your understanding is not true even if you can interpret it with the utmost eloquence. If you don’t do it right, you will even take meaning out of context and misunderstand God’s word, and that’s even more troublesome.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you’ve read a lot of God’s word but only understand the meaning of the text and you do not have first-hand knowledge of God’s word through your practical experiences, you won’t know God’s word. As far as you are concerned, God’s word is not life, but just lifeless letters. And if you only hold fast to lifeless letters, you cannot grasp the essence of God’s word, nor will you understand His will. Only when you experience His word in your actual experiences will the spiritual meaning of God’s word open itself up to you, and it is only in experience that you can grasp the spiritual meaning of many truths, and only through experience that you can unlock the mysteries of God’s word. If you do not put it into practice, then no matter how clear His word, the only thing you’ve grasped hold of is empty letters and doctrines, which have become religious regulations to you. Isn’t this what the Pharisees did? If you practice and experience God’s word, it becomes practical to you; if you do not seek to practice it, then God’s word to you is little more than the legend of the third heaven. …
… Before you have knowledge of a truth, you have not experienced that truth. Feeling that you understand what you hear is not the same thing as truly understanding. To equip yourself with the truth as it is seen in text isn’t the same as understanding the true meaning therein. Just because you have a skin-deep knowledge of the truth doesn’t mean you actually understand it or recognize it; the true meaning of the truth comes from having experienced it. Therefore, only when you experience the truth can you understand it, and only when you experience the truth can you grasp the hidden parts of it. To experience it in depth is the only way to grasp the connotations of the truth, to understand the essence of it.
from “Practice the Truth Once You Understand It” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The most important things in understanding the truth in God’s word include the understanding of God within His word, the understanding of human life within His word and the understanding of all aspects of the truth within His word. For example, the true understanding of oneself and discovering the meaning of man’s existence within God’s word…. All truth is within God’s word. You cannot enter into the truth unless it is done through the word of God. The main outcome you must reach is to know what a real understanding of God’s word is. With a real understanding of God’s word you can then understand the truth: This is the most fundamental thing. Some people work and preach sermons and, although on the surface it looks as though they are fellowshiping about God’s word, all they are saying is the literal meaning of God’s word, with the essence of the word left totally unspoken. Their sermons are like teaching from a language textbook, arranged item by item, aspect by aspect, and when they are done everyone sings their praises, saying: “Oh, this preacher is so practical. They preached so well and in such detail.” After they are done preaching, they tell others to put together what has been preached and to hand it out to everybody. By doing this, they deceive others and all that they preach are fallacies. On the surface, it looks as though they are preaching only God’s word and that their words conform to the truth. But if you discern more carefully, you will see that all they say are the words of doctrine and are just false reasoning. Their words also contain some imaginings, conceptions and there are some words that delineate God. Does not preaching in this way interrupt God’s work? It is a way of serving that defies God.
from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The work of the Holy Spirit moves forward at an astounding speed day by day. There is new light every day, and there are new and fresh things every day, but you do not understand. Instead, you like to do research, and you look at things through the lens of your personal preferences without carefully considering them and you listen in a daze. You do not pray diligently in the spirit, do not look to Me or ponder My words more. So all that you have are letters, rules and doctrines. You must know how to eat and drink of My word and come before Me often with My word.
from “The Thirteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
My words are rich, My words are comprehensive and unfathomable. All should expend great effort on My words, try to ponder My words often, do not miss a single word or sentence, otherwise they will take on erroneous meaning, and misunderstand My words.
from “The One Hundred and Nineteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
With regard to each and every truth, people should seek, try to figure out and investigate what the inner meaning of the truth is, how to practice that aspect of the truth, and how it can be entered into—these are things people should possess. …There is truth that is especially deep within each and every aspect, and they require people to experience them. If you do not experience them and only ever talk about the surface of the words, never figuring them out or experiencing them from their depths, you will forever live on the surface of the words, and will be incapable of change.
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Among God’s words are severe words, gentle and soft words, some considerate words, and there are some revelatory words that are inhumane. If you look only at the revelatory words, you feel that God is quite stern. If you look at only the gentle and soft side, God appears to not have much authority. You must therefore not understand out of context in this. You must look at it from every angle.
from “Knowledge of the Incarnation” in Records of Christ’s Talks
No one is capable of living independently except for those who are given special direction and guidance by the Holy Spirit, for they require the ministry and shepherding of those who are used by God. Thus, in each age God raises up different people who rush and busy about shepherding the churches for the sake of His work. Which is to say, God’s work must be done through those whom He looks favorably upon and approves of; the Holy Spirit must use the part within them that is worthy of use in order to work, and they are made fit for use by God through being made perfect by the Holy Spirit. Because man’s ability to understand is too lacking, he must be shepherded by those who are used by God….
The work carried out by the one who is used by God is in order to cooperate with the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. This man is raised up by God among man, he is there to lead all of God’s chosen ones, and he is also raised up by God in order to do the work of human cooperation. With someone such as this, who is able to do the work of human cooperation, more of God’s requirements toward man and the work that the Holy Spirit must do among man can be achieved through him. Another way of putting it is like this: God’s aim in using this man is so that all those who follow God can better understand God’s will, and can attain more of God’s requirements. Because people are incapable of directly understanding God’s words or God’s will, God has raised someone up who is used to carry out such work. This person who is used by God can also be described as a medium by which God guides people, as the “translator” who communicates between God and people. … He who is used by God, on the other hand, is someone who has been prepared by God, and who possesses a certain caliber, and has humanity. He has been prepared and made perfect in advance by the Holy Spirit, and is completely led by the Holy Spirit, and, particularly when it comes to his work, he is directed and commanded by the Holy Spirit—as a result of which there is no deviation on the path of leading God’s chosen ones, for God surely takes responsibility for His own work, and God does His own work at all times.
from “Concerning God’s Use of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Holy Spirit not only works in certain men who are used by God, but even more in the church. He could be working in anyone. He may work in you for the present, and when you have experienced it, He may work in someone else next. Make haste to follow; the more closely you follow the present light, the more your life can mature and grow. No matter what manner of man he may be, so long as the Holy Spirit works in him, make sure to follow. Take in his experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will progress more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and a way through which life grows. The path to being made perfect is reached through your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. You do not know through what kind of person God will work to perfect you, nor through what person, occurrence, or thing He will enable you to enter into possession and to gain some insight. If you are able to walk onto this right track, it shows that there is great hope for you to be perfected by God. If you are unable to do so, it shows that your future is bleak and devoid of light. Once you get on the right track, you will gain revelation in all things. No matter what the Holy Spirit may reveal to others, if you proceed on the basis of their knowledge to experience things on your own, then this experience will become a part of your life, and you will be able to supply others out of this experience. Those who supply others by parroting words are people who have not had any experiences; you must learn to find, through the enlightenment and illumination of others, a way of practice before you can begin to speak of your own actual experience and knowledge. This will be of greater benefit to your own life. You should experience in this way, obeying all that comes from God. You should seek the will of God in all things and study the lessons in all things, that your life may mature and grow. This kind of practice affords the fastest progress.
from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
There is a process in reading God’s word and gaining the truth. For instance, if you read a passage of God’s word, you should ruminate on it: Does this sentence refer to this? After ruminating on it, you think it refers to this meaning. Your rumination today produces this conclusion. However, when you ruminate on it the next day and the day after, it doesn’t seem to be referring to this. There are other meanings. Have you gone deeper? When you ruminate on this passage a few days later, oh, there are not only those two meanings, but other deeper meanings. The results you have obtained are different in each of the three times. You are three steps deeper, aren’t you? Later, you can communicate with others and verify whether what you have gained is correct. As soon as you communicate with others, you will feel: “What others have gained is deeper than mine, more practical than mine. Oh, then what I’ve obtained from ruminating is not deep enough. It is still superficial. What others have obtained is deeper than mine. That’s fine. I accept and take in what others have obtained from rumination that is deep enough.” After accepting it, this time you feel that your understanding of this passage is really accurate and deep enough, then you go experience it. After experiencing and practicing for a period of time, you feel that there is still something newer, better than that before. Do you say it is the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? It is. After getting something deep, you communicate it with brothers and sisters for verification, to see if the deep things you have are true. When you meet someone with experience, whose communication is just like the deep things you have, it confirms that you understand a bit about this passage of God’s word. You have really made some entry, and really have some real understanding. When you talk about your true understanding now and others hear it, “Oh, it is deep enough, deeper than what we know. You really have experience.” So, this is the process of ruminating on God’s word. This is the process of entering God’s word. Sometimes you can’t figure out if what you have received is actually from the Holy Spirit, if it is accurate after all, if it is a true understanding, or if it is practical. If you can’t see it clearly, look for someone with experience and communicate, see how he understands it. If he who has experience communicates the same knowledge and enlightenment as yours, this proves that what you have is enlightenment from God and is practical.
from the fellowship from the above
The first thing to do is determine the man used by the Holy Spirit as a guide and shepherd, and the second is to find brothers and sisters with the work of the Holy Spirit in the church, and partner with these people to serve God, pursue the truth, and fulfill your duties. These two things are critical. This is your path. Some people believe in God for years without being able to sense this path. Regarding the upper path, what must you set your mind to? You must set your mind to never departing from the leadership and shepherding, sermons and fellowship, and work arrangements of the man used by the Holy Spirit. This is the upper path. What is the lower path? Locating those with the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit among the leaders, workers, brothers, and sisters you come in contact with, and then simply partnering with them. This is the path to pursue the truth, and if you believe in God, your first task is to find this path.
from “How to Practice Pursuit of Truth That Achieves Results—Entering the Stream of the Holy Spirit’s Work and Escaping Eight Things Unrelated to Truth” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VII)