3. The Hardships That Must Be Suffered in Believing in God
Within the church, we often hear that there are people who say that they have suffered great hardship in believing in God. Some people say they have cast away family, given up their jobs, and suffered many hardships for the sake of God; some people say they’ve been arrested, imprisoned, and endured great humiliation for the sake of God; some people say that in devoting their youth to God they have suffered much hardship; some people say that in their service of God they have endured a great deal of being pruned and dealt with, and suffered much hardship; some people say that they have suffered much hardship in loving God and abandoning the world, earning a lot less money, and passing their meager life in poverty, and so on. Moreover, most people think this way, that all the suffering they have endured through believing in God is suffering endured for God’s sake; anyone who suffers hardship from bearing witness to God and from serving God suffers because they love God. It even goes so far that no one would dare to deny this point. It seems that when people believe in God, most of them have suffered a lot of hardship, and this is no lie. But it isn’t apparent that any transformation has taken place in the life dispositions of these people. From their words, deeds, and demeanor you can see that they don’t have any truth, nor have they lived out the reality that God requires. If you associate with them for a certain amount of time, you will be able to see their corruption and wretchedness, which is entirely the original form of the demon Satan. This matter deserves to be thought about deeply. If those people had truly suffered that hardship for the sake of God, then how much goodness and love for God these people have in their hearts! How great a change has taken place in their life disposition! Why is it that you cannot see a change in life disposition in them? Why haven’t they gotten even a little bit of the truth, even though they’ve believed in God for many years? Why is their perspective on things the same as that of unbelievers, and their philosophy of life still based on the treachery and cunning of Satan? This is unimaginable! Actually, if we uncover the truth, then it is obvious at a glance. In believing in God, people are not suffering for God at all. It is truly as was said in the word of God: “I stand over the universe day after day, observing, and I humbly hide Myself in My dwelling place to experience human life, closely studying man’s every deed. No one has ever truly offered up himself to Me. No one has ever pursued the truth. No one has ever been conscientious for Me. No one has ever made resolutions before Me and kept to his duty. No one has ever allowed Me to dwell in him. No one has valued Me as he would his own life. No one has ever seen in practical reality the whole being of My divinity. No one has ever been willing to be in contact with the practical God Himself.” It seems that it’s not an easy matter to believe in God and obtain the truth. No matter how much suffering a person endures in his belief in God, if it isn’t done for the sake of obtaining the truth and receiving salvation, what else would be the point of suffering these hardships? But people who suffer hardship haven’t realized for whom the suffering they’ve endured was actually done, or for what purpose it was endured. People think that the suffering they have endured through belief in God was all endured for God’s sake, that it was all done for love of God. Do you think it’s right to say it this way? Does this way of phrasing it have any firm ground to stand on? Actually, you can reasonably say that for a person to be able to sincerely and willingly endure that much suffering without any complaint is something only a person who has obtained the truth and has reached a transformation in life disposition is able to do. But you cannot see that they have truth, nor can you see any transformation in their life disposition. Yet people are still able to shamelessly boast and say, “all this suffering was done entirely for God’s sake,” making people think that they are so great, venerable, and holy. But in fact it is quite the opposite. These people who often boast in front of others of the suffering they have endured for God are all crooked, treacherous, selfish, and despicable, and moreover they are only good at falsely pretending and deceiving God. The strange thing is that there really are people who are ready and willing to accept their deception, and to treat these “people who have endured suffering” as idols to be raised up in worship. These people who have suffered hardships for God have suddenly transformed into spiritual people. Actually, no matter how people boast about having suffered for God’s sake, God does not admit this fact. It’s nothing more than people’s wishful thinking. What God remembers are people’s actual good deeds; what God accepts is true worship of God; what God likes to receive is people’s true devotion. Only those people who genuinely pursue the truth and are perfected, their devotion, their expenditure, and the suffering they endured in order to carry out God’s will will receive God’s acceptance. Through this, you can see that the suffering people should endure in believing in God and the suffering they endure for God are completely two separate things. The suffering a person endures in believing in God must all be endured, and is something people should endure, but the suffering endured for God’s sake is something completely different. It refers to when people, after pursuing the truth and being perfected, formally accept the commission of God, suffer through every kind of hardship to carry out God’s will, and are still able to be faithful until their dying breath and able to do their duty well. It can also be said that only when people dedicate themselves completely to God, this kind of devotion is free from any kind of corrupt contamination and has no hint of transaction or trade, nor intentions or deliberations. They are entirely an offering made willingly and happily. They faithfully spend for God’s sake, in order to carry out the truth, and suffer hardships in order to stand witness to and satisfy God in order to accomplish what was entrusted to them by God. Only this can be called suffering hardship for God’s sake. Actually, being able to endure suffering for God’s sake is entirely something a person can reach only after receiving salvation and being perfected. If a person has still not obtained the truth, and their life disposition has still not transformed, they are absolutely unable to willingly endure suffering for God’s sake. Because people are too deeply corrupted, people’s thoughts, viewpoints, intentions, and ideas all resist God. Human nature entirely conspires for the sake of the self, and even if a person wishes to do his duty, he doesn’t do so willingly or happily but rather as a kind of deception. He has no obedience at all, and even less loyalty, so how could he have a heart that truly loves God? All this is to say that corrupt humanity is filled with resistance and disobedience, and whatever they say or do is just done out of conspiring for their own benefit. They suffer hardships for the sake of their own intentions and goals—this is the actual situation. With regard to the corrupt states of humanity, people are unable to suffer hardships for the sake of God, nor do they deserve to suffer hardships for God’s sake. Because people’s intentions and goals in believing in God aren’t correct, when they do suffer hardships it is dictated by their intentions and goals. If they aren’t suffering hardships in order to obtain the truth and receive salvation, no matter how much suffering they endure it has nothing to do with God. Of course, they will not be able to have any transformation in their life disposition either.
God endured great suffering for the sake of saving humanity, and this is a true fact that is obvious to all. Corrupt humanity has still not completely received salvation, still is not possessed of the truth, and there has not been a transformation in their life disposition, so how could they sincerely endure suffering for God’s sake? To speak only of facts, we should say that all the suffering endured by people in their belief in God is endured in order for them to receive salvation by believing in God and in order to pursue the truth. However, people all add something into this. Some people do so in order to obtain eternal life and not to descend into Hell; some people do so to obtain God’s blessing and not to meet with any catastrophe; some people do so in order to stave off disaster and avoid the ending of destruction. In believing in God, people all interpolate their own personal intentions and desires, so people’s intentions and goals in suffering are not all the same. But there are some people who endure suffering by doing evil and sinning, which is another matter entirely. Enduring suffering by doing evil and sinning is acting contrary to your own interest and reaping what you sow. This kind of suffering has nothing to do with people believing in God and pursuing the truth, and no matter how much a person endures of it there is no meaningfulness at all in it. If you do too much evil, you can only ruin your own life and help yourself sink into perdition. I see that there are some people who have done leadership work for many years, but all along in doing their duty they have been perfunctory and deceitful. They exert themselves to greedily enjoy the benefits of their position and they covet the pleasures of the flesh. They don’t have anything to fellowship about knowledge of the truth, yet they restrain brothers and sisters in all respects, standing in an eminent position lecturing people while profiting and taking advantage of them in any way they can. After they are removed, they refuse to go along with it, and in their hearts they always think they’ve done several years of work and suffered a lot of hardship, so they complain a lot. They are always telling people about the injustice they have faced, and bragging about the years of work they did and the suffering they endured. By doing this they have gained the sympathy and charity of others. These degenerates who have been removed from their positions are actually quite capable of deceiving some people, and there are people who cry tears of sympathy for them and air grievances on their behalf, and who even think that the house of God is unjust. It seems they also think that God is unjust. This is enough to prove that it is difficult for people’s satanic nature to accept the truth. Even when they have faced being dealt with and pruned or removed from their positions, they would rather die than submit. They do their utmost to deceive people. People without the truth are of course unable to withstand the deception of the enemy, and have actually accepted their false words. Because of this, the poison of thinking “the house of God is unjust and God too is unjust” has taken hold in their hearts, and the roots of misfortune are laid. This has established hindrances and obstructions in the way of their future seeking. There are many notions that are produced because people don’t have the truth and have believed in Satan’s lies. It seems like it’s easy to believe in Satan’s lies and to be led astray if one doesn’t have the truth, and this is a fatal flaw for people. It is very easy for corrupt humanity to accept Satan’s lies and negativity, but very difficult to accept the word of God and to believe in that which is in accordance with the truth. Of course, if it were easy for people to believe in the word of God and to be able to obey God’s work, these difficulties would not exist. Among those who believe in God, those who endure suffering for the sake of their own intentions and goals are too numerous. If in the end they still can’t accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement for man as well as the dealing and pruning by God’s family, it shows they are people who refuse to accept the truth, is of the type of antichrists, and is a target destined to be eliminated.
What hardships must be endured in believing in God? What, after all, are the hardships a person must endure in his belief in God? What is suffered in order to obtain life and the truth, and to receive salvation? What is suffered through committing evil acts? What is suffered for the sake of oneself? What is suffered for God’s sake? These things must all be clearly differentiated, each item from the others, and they must not be confused with each other. It’s easy for confused and absurd people to get turned upside down, and to turn the suffering that must be endured in believing in God into enduring suffering for God and because of love of God. How can they place a crown as great as this on their own heads and don’t feel their faces redden with embarrassment? Saying something like this is unjust to God. In believing in God you shouldn’t deceive God. When God does work, or speaks, it is always practical and realistic, with right and wrong clearly distinguished, so people should exercise some reason with respect to God and should do as much as they can to seek to understand the truth from the word of God. It’s not too late to speak after having understood the actual truth of the matter. If they are enduring suffering in order to avoid disaster or to gain blessings in the future, they should not say they are suffering for God’s sake; if they have suffered much hardship striving for leadership of the house of God to obtain a position of influence, they should not say they are suffering for God’s sake; if they have suffered much by putting on a show of doing their duty or causing havoc and disturbances, and they got severely dealt with or removed from their positions, they also can’t turn this into something that was suffered for the sake of pursuing the truth. The hardships suffered in believing in God have many aspects, and not all kinds of suffering are the same among them, nor are the types and states of the people who suffer hardships the same. So the suffering endured by each person is different, and there is a principle in differentiating them. One must learn how to be discerning in this matter of suffering hardship in believing in God. That way, he will speak without confusing right for wrong and black for white. In what follows, I will fellowship about some of the hardships that must be suffered in believing in God.
First, in believing in God, suffering hardships in the word of God includes suffering the hardships of judgment and chastisement, as well as those of being pruned and dealt with and of trials and refinements. This is suffering that must be endured in believing in God. God’s judgment of corrupt humanity, is completely because humanity has already been corrupted to the extreme by Satan. By resisting and attacking God, mankind has reached the level at which it is the enemy of God. Not only did they nail Jesus to the cross, but they can nail the incarnate Christ of the last days to the cross as well. Mankind is guilty of the most heinous crime and has offended God’s disposition, and mankind has already reached a level of corruption that it is nearly impossible to rescue. This has led God to make use of the methods of judgment and chastisement in order to save mankind. Since they are words of judgment and chastisement, of course they are quite severe, are without any sensitivity to people’s feelings, and pierce straight to the point. What they make people see and experience is God’s righteous and majestic disposition which does not tolerate anyone’s offense. By being filled with the disposition of Satan, corrupt humanity of course feels uneasy and even pained when they see God’s words of judgment and chastisement. Recollect that when Jesus came to do His work, He came full of grace to absolve people’s sins, to heal the sick and cast out demons, to resurrect the dead, and to bestow so much grace upon people. Still, He was nailed to the cross by this evil, corrupt mankind. People can’t be moved or persuaded in how they treat the work of God. When God, who is full of grace, came to them, they nailed Him to the cross. God comes bringing the judgment and chastisement to save people, and just the same as before they convict Him of crimes and forsake Him. Fortunately, modern society no longer employs the sentencing of crucifixion, but God still suffers persecution, being accused, and being forsaken, and His suffering is in no way less than that suffered by the Lord Jesus. You can see to what a great extent corrupt humanity has reached in their wickedness! So, this has destined that to believe in God and receive salvation, one need to suffer many hardships, and this is completely decided because of humanity’s corrupt and wicked essence, and that it is the evil fruit of Satan’s corruption and poisoning of humanity. If they reject God’s words of judgment and chastisement, people will have no way to receive salvation. Only by going through all the suffering in the word of God can a person obtain the truth in the work of God and receive salvation. There are many people who have notions after they read God’s severe words of judgment, and come to their own conclusions and accusations. They have resistance and betrayal, and this is entirely an expression of people’s corrupt fiendish disposition. When God exposes people’s corruption, it is completely in conformity with the actual truth of the matter. It’s spoken of completely on the basis of facts, without any exaggeration in the slightest, and if people are unable to accept it that proves there are problems in their nature. People like hearing words of blessing, compliments, and praise, but God’s disposition is righteous, and God absolutely cannot go against the truth in His speech. Corrupt humanity wants to receive salvation, but also wants to hear words of blessing; this is just letting their fantasies run wild. It is apparent that mankind is vain and superficial, as well as wicked, so they want to seek salvation from God even while they are resisting God. They want to obtain the truth and to save face at all costs, and seem unaware that if they can’t accept God’s judgment and chastisement, they cannot be saved. So suffering hardships in the word of God has become a kind of hardship that must be suffered in order to believe in God and receive salvation. People enduring this suffering is not for the sake of God, but is suffered in order to receive salvation for themselves. No matter how much a person endures of this kind of suffering, there won’t be anything to boast about. This is caused by people’s corruption being too deep, and there’s no one else to blame, much less to complain about God. Because God came in order to save mankind, no matter how severe the words are, it all comes out of God’s love for saving people. Actually, only when you are able to suffer more pains in the word of God will you be able to obtain more truth and obtain a transformation in life disposition. When people obtain the truth in the word of God, they can’t feel any pain, but on the contrary they feel the sweetness of God’s word, and can’t separate themselves from the word of God. It is just as was said in ancient times: “Good medicine has a bitter taste but will cure the disease; loyal advice may be unpleasant to hear but will help in practice.” When people truly have a love for the word of God, the word of God then becomes their life, and they can never part from it after that. God saves people like this by using methods of judgment and chastisement. Anyone who is able to suffer hardship in the word of God will be able to obtain the truth and receive salvation in the word of God. Those people who always have notions about the word of God and refuse to accept the truth, and who are unwilling to suffer hardship in the word of God, will be eliminated. So no matter how much suffering you endure in the word of God, it is all suffering that ought to be endured for believing in God. It all has some significance, and you can’t say that it is suffered for God’s sake, nor can you say that it is suffered for love of God. Rather, it is suffering that must be endured in order to attain salvation from God. If in believing in God you are truly unable to suffer hardships in the word of God, then you are truly beyond salvation.
Second, the suffering people endure when doing their duty is a suffering that must be endured in believing in God. Enduring hardship by doing one’s duty in believing in God mainly indicates suffering endured when being pruned and dealt with for just going through the motions of doing one’s duty. This is entirely because people are too deeply corrupted, and in doing their duty they are unable to consider God’s heart, even less to satisfy God. In doing their duty they always maintain their own intentions and goals, and they exert themselves to the utmost in conspiring for their own benefit. They don’t have the willingness to put forth loyalty for God’s sake. If people were earning a wage in doing their duty, they wouldn’t feel that it was a hardship. But because it is something they are obligated to do, no matter how much they do they feel like they are being mistreated. So when people are doing their duty they adopt the method of just going through the motions and deceiving God. When people do things for their own sake, they take them very seriously, but when they do their duty for the house of God they just go through the motions. So this means people who do their duty are destined to go through being pruned and dealt with, and only then can they change and have some semblance of a man. In fact, the suffering endured in doing one’s duty is not actually great, because what people suffer in doing what they have to do to survive is even greater and more exhausting. Mankind has not felt it that exhausting or difficult, and any work of the house of God is easier and more leisurely than work in the world. To add to that, people are able to go through the motions, so they are not exhausted. So doing one’s duty itself doesn’t make people feel exhausted, but they actually enjoy it, and get some peace of mind and have the hope of receiving salvation. But since mankind’s corruption is too deep, and they always just go through the motions, after they face being dealt with and pruned they feel that doing their duty is something in which they endure a lot of hardship. Because after a person has been dealt with, his corrupt mentality is imbalanced, and he is able to give rise to complaints. By this way they go through some refining, and this is hardship suffered through doing their duty. Actually, does the duty people do have any weight? Is it worth mentioning? Sometimes what is gained from getting people to do their duty is outweighed by what is lost. Some people who are doing their duty are people the house of God spends money on by employing them, or in other words people who God’s house exchange for money. If a person suffers a bit of hardship, what do they have to brag about? It is gratifying that after some people have been pruned and dealt with a few times they really experience some change. After that, when these people do their duty there is a lot less of just going through the motions, and in their hearts they feel that it will not work if they aren’t being pruned and dealt with. They can’t do away with just going through the motions by relying on themselves alone, so they must have someone to prune and deal with them. This is the common experience and knowledge of most people who do their duty. This is suffering that must be endured in doing one’s duty, as well as in believing in God, and this is all caused by people’s corruption. So the suffering endured in doing one’s duty is suffering that must be endured in believing in God, and you can’t say that it is suffering for God’s sake or suffering for love of God. The suffering endured in believing in God is beneficial in pursuing the truth, as well as in transforming one’s life disposition, and this is the way of believing in God and receiving salvation. By believing in God and not doing your duty, your progress in life will be very slow. It won’t be easy to obtain the truth, so it is very important to be able to accept being pruned and dealt with in doing your duty.
Third, suffering from various kinds of trials and refinements that people must experience in believing in God is a hardship that must be suffered in believing in God. Of course, the suffering of these kinds of trials and refinements is also brought about by people’s corrupt disposition. If people didn’t have this corrupt disposition, they wouldn’t suffer these hardships, nor would God subject people to these trials and refinements. In the beginning, people experienced the trial of the service-doers, the trial of the era of chastisement, and the trial of death. All people suffered many hardships, and only then entered the right track of belief in God. Afterward there are some people who endured the hardships of refinement with regard to having notions about God; there are some people who endured the hardships of refinement with regard to God’s day; there are some people who endured the hardships of refinement with regard to their future and destiny; there are some people who suffered hardships through meeting some trials and catastrophes. These hardships are all also brought about because people are too deeply corrupted, they resist God too much, they are overly mindful of receiving blessing, and their individual requirements, demands, and desires from God are too many. When corrupt mankind accepts God’s work, there are always selfish intentions, desires, notions, and demands that are mixed in. Suffering these hardships is inevitable, and these hardships aren’t something forced upon people by God. They are totally hardships that people should endure because of, and which are destined by, mankind’s corrupt nature. So no one can escape from these hardships, and this is suffering that corrupt mankind must endure in believing in God in order to receive salvation. It is not at all suffering endured for the sake of God, nor is it suffering that people willingly endure for their own sake. It is only suffering that the corrupt nature of mankind is destined to endure. It is like the suffering endured by a glutton who is unable to eat delicious foods, or by someone who is very vain and superficial who is unable to wear fine clothing. It is the suffering endured when people are unable to fulfill their desires or achieve their goals, and it is a suffering that is destined to be endured because man’s nature is so wicked. It is fundamentally not something that God has imposed on people. So no matter how much suffering from trials and refinements a person has suffered, there is nothing to brag about. It is all suffering that should be endured completely for the sake of being saved and escaping corruption, and that must be endured in believing in God. It can’t be said to be suffered for God’s sake, much less to be suffered out of love for God. The suffering from all kinds of trials and refinements that is endured in believing in God is most beneficial as well as indispensable for people to enter into the truth and to be changed in their disposition.
Fourth, in believing in God one must endure all kinds of suffering of persecution and tribulation. He must also endure being forsaken by other people and family members distancing themselves from him, and even the suffering of his family splitting apart. These hardships are also caused by mankind being too deeply corrupt. This world is dark and wicked, the nation coerces people, and the government persecutes people. It only allows people to follow evil paths, and does not allow people to follow the true way. Mankind is corrupt and wicked in this way, and this is the reality that nobody can change. So, to seek to obtain the truth and to receive salvation in countries where demons wield power, a person is destined to experience persecution and tribulations in their faith in God. If they can’t bear to endure this suffering, then there is no way for them to believe in God. In this wicked world, not only do people have to endure persecution and tribulations in having faith in God, but the persecution and tribulations suffered by God for the sake of saving corrupt humanity are even greater. What God is faced with is being abandoned, condemned, and persecuted by the entire political power of the great red dragon as well as by wicked humanity. There is also the contrariness, resistance, and deception of the chosen people of God. How great is the suffering endured by God! Who is able to understand God’s heart? Who gives God any consolation? When a person endures some suffering and feels like they have achieved something, and it seems they are qualified to ask for blessings, and qualified to be bestowed something, is there a bit of reason in these people? Have they finished suffering hardships that they must suffer in believing in God? How much have they really obtained of the truth? Has there been a change in their disposition? Have they now received salvation? Since you have seen how fiercely the great red dragon and corrupt humanity resists, persecutes, and hunts down God, you should be even more considerate of God’s heart and obey God’s work. You should also strengthen your will, and be loyal unto death for pursuing the truth, following God, and obtaining God’s salvation. Tie your head to the waistband, and summon up the resolve to give total disregard to your life. Only then can you actually follow God. This seems to be like “carrying a coffin” in believing in God, but talking about it in this way actually isn’t excessive. In the demon cities ruled by devils, believing in God and receiving salvation is just this challenging. If in believing in God you are able to pursue the truth and take death calmly, then you will receive salvation and escape from the afflictions of Satan; if you are afraid of danger, being a deserter and betraying God, there is no doubt that you will die. No one is able to evade this suffering, as it is suffering that must be endured in believing in God. No matter how much you endure of this aspect of suffering, you can only say that it is suffering that should be endured for you to receive salvation. You can’t say that it is suffering endured for God, nor can you say that it is endured for love of God. The suffering of enduring persecution and tribulations can refine people’s faith and loyalty, and can make people know more truly the love of God in saving mankind. It can also make people know the wicked nature of the great red dragon, and clearly recognize the wicked darkness of the world, and see the fact and truth that mankind’s corruption is too deep, that he is the enemy of God, and that he holds evil in esteem. Moreover, it is conducive to people pursuing the truth, betraying the great red dragon, throwing off corruption, and reaching a point where they receive the salvation of God. Enduring all kinds of suffering from persecution and tribulation is people’s wonderful witness.
The primary aspects of the hardships that should be suffered in believing in God are these four aspects. No matter how much people suffer from these four aspects, you can say that they are suffering all that should be suffered for the sake of receiving salvation for themselves. You absolutely cannot say that they are suffering for God’s sake, or that they are suffering for love of God. In their speech, people should be fair and reasonable, and any suffering endured for themselves, no matter at what time, is done so for their own sake. By saying it like this, their heart will feel steady and peaceful. If people talk about the sufferings endured for their own sake as if they were endured for God, often remind God about it, and demand God’s blessing, this is telling a lie. It reveals people’s treachery and that they are deceiving God, and it is only those people who are totally shameless who speak in this way. Actually, no matter how treacherous a person is, they cannot deceive God. If God speaks, they will be humiliated again. If a person truly possesses reason, they should speak in a way that is based on truth and facts. No matter how much suffering they have endured, they will not be able to say it was for God’s sake or for love of God. If they place the crown on their head at the earliest possible moment, this is something that’s extremely shameful. If a person is truly able to suffer for God’s sake, then that would definitely be a perfected person, and would definitely be a person who belongs to God. If anyone is suffering pain out of love for God, then that must be a person who truly loves God, and would of course be a person who will be perfected by God. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be anyone who is deserving of this honor.
Whether a person is actually up to the standard of suffering hardships for God’s sake or for love of God, this should be determined by God, because God observes the depths of people’s hearts. Only God knows for whom they are rushing about and tiring themselves out, down to their very marrow and blood. You can describe it like this—anyone who often bears witness to how he is suffering hardships is someone without the truth. They are the most stupid, and most devoid of reason, and only people who are completely shameless could brag and reveal themselves like this in the presence of others, in order to win their admiration and sympathy. This is more or less the same as the nature of Satan of deceiving people. In believing in God, a person should seek to know God and seek to love God truly. This is all part of pursuing the truth. It is good if a person aspires to suffer hardships for God’s sake, but that has to be reached through pursuing the truth. If a person has endured all the hardships that must be suffered in believing in God, at that time they will receive salvation and be able to be perfected by God; at that time, all people would know God, and their relationship with and status with respect to God would be corrected. If a person can truly love God and obey God, only then will they be able to genuinely suffer hardships for God’s sake and out of love for God. At that time, God will also acknowledge them and find them acceptable. The work of God in the last days is a work for saving people and perfecting people. In the great trials experienced in the last few years, if people have a witness of love for God and of loyalty to God, naturally they will receive God’s approval and will be found acceptable by God. In light of people’s current stature, the hardship that must be endured in believing in God has not been completely endured! People are very far from receiving salvation, their own corruption can’t be resolved, and it is difficult to say whether they will be able to survive. They had better urgently pursue the truth and seek to receive salvation, and not say those unreasonable things and do those unreasonable things. They should emphasize paying the price to pursue and obtain the truth, as well as endure more suffering of judgment and chastisement, of being pruned and dealt with, and of trials and refinements. This is of great benefit to people in having a transformation in their disposition and in receiving salvation. This is suffering that people must endure in believing in God and pursuing the truth, and if they are unable to suffer these hardships, then there is no way for them to obtain the truth and attain salvation.
There is another very special kind of suffering which is enduring the suffering of punishment and of being eliminated, and there are plenty of people who will endure these kinds of suffering. These people must certainly have a very bad humanity and a wicked disposition to meet with this fate. This kind of suffering belongs to reaping what you sow and just begging to be humiliated, and this kind of suffering bears the patent of evil people. It is not, in fact, suffering that must be endured in believing in God, and absolutely can’t be listed among those hardships that should be suffered in believing in God. If, in God’s family, those people who have been eliminated and expelled are able to brag about the sufferings that they have endured, and say that God’s family is unjust and that God does not understand people, and some of them even say that “God’s family gets rid of people as soon as their usefulness has run out,” and that “associating with a king is like associating with a tiger,” then this would be deliberately distorting the facts. If they are able to violate the reality of the facts and to deliberately misrepresent the truth when they speak, they are the kind of people who are definitely antichrists, servants of evil, and demons. Only the likes of them could be so impervious to reason. Actually, as for anyone who is expelled because of their various evil acts, their doing service has been outweighed by the losses they have caused. The ruination they have caused for God’s family is so great, and the disturbances they have brought about for the chosen people of God are so great, and they have severely hindered the life entry of the chosen people of God, and have led them astray into the wrong path. There’s no way to assess the damage they’ve done in terms of financial losses. But, they act seemingly rationally, and they can attack first despite being in the wrong, and fight back despite being guilty. They really are of the brood of vipers and demons. God treats the loyal service-doers especially kindly, and causes them to be able to survive. How great a mercy this is! For those whose service is not up to standard, or who do service unwillingly, or who could not do service until the end, they will naturally be eliminated. If a donkey is well behaved, then no owner would want to slaughter it. It is only demonic and wicked donkeys which kick unexpectedly and bite people at random when they are turning the millstone, which always cause destruction and disturbances, and which cause more harm than good, that are slaughtered. Evil people who can’t be saved just have to be banished by God’s family. They are permitted to believe in God at home, and that will be fine as long as they don’t disturb anyone. God’s family always treats people fairly, and God’s treatment of any given person is all fair. This is undeniable. Corrupt mankind has no humanity, even to the point that they are insensible. Mankind treats God too unfairly, and Satan the devil is too reactionary. It dares to oppose God and is hostile to God. If people are able to believe the lies of an evil person and the demonic speech of Satan, and doubt the righteousness of God and the fair way in which God’s family treats people, this person is a total fool, and belongs completely to Satan. They are surely a bad thing. People who understand the truth and who have the sense of justice will be able to distinguish the demonic speech of Satan which misleads people. They will be able to rely on the truth to expose the schemes and conspiracies of evil people, and to guard themselves against being cheated. In all respects, God’s work reveals people, and at all times God’s speech reveals people. The matter of suffering hardships in believing in God is also something that reveals people. If evil people perform their duties and suffer some hardships, then it will be a great thing for them, they will desperately want to announce it so that everyone will know about it. But what their intentions and schemes are, and what kind of disposition they demonstrate, is abundantly clear. In fact, it is not important how much suffering a person endures in believing in God. What is crucial is whether they obtain the truth. If they don’t obtain the truth, and if there isn’t any transformation in their life disposition, then it’s meaningless however much suffering he endures. The crucial thing is obtaining the truth, and that’s what is most important. People who truly understand the truth don’t pay attention to how much they have suffered, and they don’t feel they are suffering. Because they only emphasize understanding the truth and doing their duty well in order to satisfy God as urgent. As long as they are considerate of God’s intention and are able to satisfy God, they will be liberated in their heart. As long as they can attain true obedience to God, and have reached the point of receiving salvation, that is the greatest happiness in a person’s life.
If people who believe in God aren’t clear about which sufferings are those which must be endured in believing in God, and what the hardships actually are that have to be suffered to receive salvation for themselves and which ones are suffered for God’s sake, then it will be easy for them to do stupid things. It is even easier to be led astray by Satan, to follow evil people to make judgments about, resist, and blaspheme against God. As long as we clearly see the actual reality of things, then we will be able to feel relieved in suffering hardships. We will also be able to be obedient in the presence of God, and to avoid uttering absurd words ever again that resist and make judgments about God and which are hurtful to God’s heart. At the same time we will be able to correctly treat all the suffering we endure ourselves. Isn’t this getting the best of both worlds? People who are truly conscientious and reasonable should think more about the suffering that God endures for the sake of saving us, and how much persecution and tribulation God innocently suffers, and how much slander, humiliation, condemnation, and abandonment He innocently suffers from corrupt mankind, how much resistance, judgment, and blasphemy He innocently suffers from people who believe in Him, and how much He innocently suffers from even the people who serve Him just going through the motions and deceiving Him. At the same time as the chosen people of God are eating of, drinking of, and enjoying Him, they preserve notions of resisting Him in their hearts. They are all trying to make a deal with Him and make demands of Him. … Who has ever understood God’s heart? Who has ever sympathized with God? Who has ever been considerate of God’s heart? Who has ever exerted himself in being loyal to God in order to comfort Him? Isn’t God still suffering hardship every day? God suffers all kinds of torment and affliction for the sake of saving mankind, yet who can know this and completely understand it? Who is able to suffer hardships for the sake of comforting God? For whose sake was Peter willingly crucified upside down? What were the states in Peter’s heart? You should ponder it carefully, and you will find your answer within.
February 1, 2006