2. What is true knowledge of oneself? What does it include?

Relevant Words of God:

To know yourself, you must know your own expressions of corruption, your own vital weaknesses, your disposition, and your nature essence. You must also know, down to the very last detail, those things that are revealed in your daily life—your motives, your perspectives, and your attitude about every single thing—whether you are at home or out, when you are in gatherings, when you are eating and drinking of the words of God, or in every single issue you encounter. Through these things you must come to know yourself. To know yourself on a deeper level, you must integrate God’s words; only by knowing yourself based on His words can you achieve results.

Excerpted from “The Importance of Pursuing the Truth and the Path of Pursuing It” in Records of Christ’s Talks

The key to achieving a change in disposition is to know one’s own nature, and this must happen in accordance with revelations from God. Only in God’s word can one know one’s own hideous nature, recognize in one’s own nature Satan’s various poisons, realize that one is foolish and ignorant, and recognize the weak and negative elements in one’s nature. After these are fully known, and you are truly able to hate yourself and forsake the flesh, consistently carry out God’s word, and have the will to absolutely submit to the Holy Spirit and to the word of God, then you will have embarked on the path of Peter.

Excerpted from “To Know Oneself Is Primarily About Knowing Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

If people’s knowledge of themselves is too shallow, they will find it impossible to solve problems, and their life dispositions simply will not change. It is necessary to know oneself on a profound level, which means knowing one’s own nature: what elements are included in that nature, how these things originated, and where they came from. Moreover, are you actually able to hate these things? Have you seen your own ugly soul and your evil nature? If you are truly able to see the truth about yourself, then you will start to loathe yourself. When you loathe yourself and then practice God’s word, you will be able to forsake the flesh and have the strength to carry out truth without difficulty. Why do many people follow their fleshly preferences? Because they consider themselves to be pretty good, feeling that their actions are right and justified, that they have no faults, and even that they are entirely in the right, they are therefore capable of acting with the assumption that justice is on their side. When one recognizes what one’s true nature is—how ugly, how despicable, and how pitiful—then one is not overly proud of oneself, not so wildly arrogant, and not so pleased with oneself as before. Such a person feels, “I must be earnest and down to earth, and practice some of God’s word. If not, then I will not measure up to the standard of being human, and will be ashamed to live in God’s presence.” One then truly sees oneself as paltry, as truly insignificant. At this time, it becomes easy for one to carry out truth, and one will appear to be somewhat like a human should be. Only when people truly loathe themselves are they able to forsake the flesh. If they do not loathe themselves, they will be unable to forsake the flesh. Truly hating oneself comprises a few things: First, knowing one’s own nature; and second, seeing oneself as needy and pitiful, seeing oneself to be extremely small and insignificant, and seeing one’s own pitiful and dirty soul. When one fully sees what one truly is, and this outcome is achieved, one then truly gains knowledge of oneself, and it can be said that one has come to know oneself fully. Only then can one truly hate oneself, going so far as to curse oneself, and truly feel that one has been corrupted profoundly by Satan such that one does not even resemble a human being. Then, one day, when the threat of death appears, such a person will think, “This is God’s righteous punishment. God is indeed righteous; I really should die!” At this point, he will not lodge a complaint, much less blame God, simply feeling that he is so needy and pitiful, so filthy and corrupt that he should be wiped out by God, and a soul like his is not fit to live on earth. At this point, this person will not resist God, much less betray God.

Excerpted from “To Know Oneself Is Primarily About Knowing Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks

To know yourself is to know your every word and deed, your every movement and action; it is to know your mind and thoughts, your motives, and your notions and imaginings; it is even to know your philosophies for living that are of the world, and the various toxins of Satan within you, as well as the knowledge and education you acquired in school. All these things must be dissected. Though a person may have done a great number of good works since coming to faith in God, many matters may yet be opaque to them, and less still may they have come to an understanding of the truth—yet, because of their many good works, they feel they have already come to live in God’s words, and have submitted to Him, and have quite satisfied His will. This is because when no adverse circumstances arise, you do whatever you are told; you have no qualms about performing any duty, and you do not resist. When you are told to spread the gospel, it is a hardship you can bear, and you offer no complaint, and when you are told to run here and there, or to do manual labor, you do so. Because of these displays, you feel you are one who submits to God and a true pursuer of the truth. Yet were one to question you more deeply and ask, “Are you an honest person? Are you a person who genuinely submits to God? A person with a changed disposition?” then, thus questioned, thus held up against the truth for scrutiny, you—and, it may be said, anyone at all—would be found wanting, and neither is any person able truly to practice according to the truth. Therefore, when the root of all man’s acts and deeds, as well as the essence and nature of his actions, are held up against the truth, all are condemned. What is the reason for this? It is that man does not know himself; he always believes in God in his own way, performs his duty in his own way, and serves God in his own way. What is more, he feels he is full of faith and reason, and, in the end, he feels he has gained much. Without his knowing it, he comes to feel he is already acting in line with God’s will and has satisfied it completely, and that he has already met God’s requirements and is following His will. If this is how you feel, or if, in your several years of belief in God, you feel you have reaped some gains, then all the more should you come back before God to reflect on yourself. You should look at the path you have walked over your years of faith and see whether all your actions and behavior before God have been entirely after His heart, what you do that resists God, what you do that is able to satisfy God, and whether what you do meets God’s requirements and can be entirely in accord with His will—you should be clear on all these things.

Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks

To know ourselves is to know what things there are in our thoughts and viewpoints that oppose God, that are not at all compatible with the truth, and that do not contain the truth. Man’s arrogance, self-righteousness, lies, and deceit, for instance, are aspects within a corrupt disposition that are easy for people to know. You can come to some knowledge of them simply by fellowshiping the truth a few times, or by fellowshiping often, or by having your state pointed out by your brothers and sisters. In addition, everyone possesses arrogance and deceitfulness, though to varying degrees. However, people’s thoughts and viewpoints are not easy to know; they are not as easy as knowing people’s dispositions. These are deep-rooted things. Therefore, when you have achieved a little change in your behavior and outward conduct, there are still many aspects of your thinking, notions, viewpoints, and the education of traditional culture you have received which are against God and which you have not yet unearthed. These are the deep-seated things that lead to our enmity toward God. Therefore, when God does something that does not conform to your notions, or something that differs from what you imagine God to do, you will resist and oppose it. You will not understand why God has acted so, and, though you know there is truth in everything God does and you may wish to submit, you will find yourself unable to do so. Why can you not submit? Why such resistance and opposition? The reason is that there are some things within man’s thoughts and views that are hostile to God, and that are hostile to the principles by which He acts and to His essence. These thoughts and views are difficult for man to know.

Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Previous: 1. As God does the work of judgment in the last days, why does He require man to know himself?

Next: 3. What can true knowledge of oneself achieve?

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