The Relationship Between Knowing Yourself and Changing Your Life Disposition
To Pursue a Change in Your Disposition You Must Know the Twelve Problems of the Corruption of Man’s Flesh
Are you clear about which expressions are corruptions of the flesh? Primarily, there are the following twelve expressions. First, there are man’s notions and imaginations. This is something that everyone can see, and these are all things that do not conform to the truth. Man’s notions and imaginations are all fallacies, and they don’t even possess a little bit of the truth. If man relies on his own notions and imaginations to practice his faith in God, if he walks down his own path, then he will definitely fall and definitely fail. This is absolute. This is just how it is with the people in the religious community, they all believe in God relying on their own notions and imaginations, and as a result they become people who betray God. Second, there are man’s various fallacies and maxims. All kinds of fallacies and maxims are produced by Satan’s poison. If these are the things that control a man, would you say that they could come to any good? Undoubtedly, they would become more and more terrible. Could a person come to any good if they rely on Satan’s fallacies and philosophy to live? They will only grow farther and farther apart from God, and betray God more and more seriously. Third, there is man’s cunning philosophy of life. This philosophy of life was designed entirely for the sake of benefits. Regardless of whatever the thing is, so long as there are benefits to be sought out, then people will go do it, but they will forsake something if there are no benefits to be had. Man’s philosophy of life is to seek nothing but benefits. The key word for them is benefit. … Fourth, there are man’s extravagant desires. Can extravagant desires ruin man? They are very much able to ruin man. If there is someone who can satisfy one’s extravagant desires, then this person will be their savior, they will fully endorse this person, they will support him and follow him. So, people who rely on their own extravagant desires and demands to handle their affairs are only able to follow the flesh, and they are even more able to betray God. Fifth, there are man’s emotions and relations. If one relies on their emotions to live, then whenever they are looking upon people and dealing with people they will base it on whether this person’s relationship with them is distant or close and on what kind of relationship they have. Is this something that can ruin man? It is also something that can ruin man. Sixth, there are evil desires of the flesh. People have evil desires, they cannot withstand temptations, they cannot withstand tests, and so, whenever they are tempted they will certainly be defeated. The evil desires of the flesh can also ruin man. Seventh, there is man’s vanity and face. People all covet their vanity, and they pay particular attention to saving face. It is fine for their bodies to suffer a little pain, but not for them to lose face. If someone else says something or does something that causes him to feel shame or lose face, then that person is his rival, someone to be confronted with. People are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their own vanity and face, including saying things that go against logic and deliberately distorting the truth. This vanity and face can also ruin a man. Eighth, there is man’s fragility and his weakness. People cannot withstand setbacks, and they are unable to endure hardships. They will complain as soon as they suffer any hardship, and as soon as they experience any kind of setback they will abandon themselves to despair, and they will betray God. This illustrates that man is very fragile and weak. When people are fragile and weak, if they do not properly pray to God and do not possess the work of the Holy Spirit, it is too easy for them to fall. Ninth, there is the narrow-mindedness and short-sightedness of man. Narrow-mindedness refers to man’s narrow and small heart and how people easily become jealous. If there are some misunderstandings between him and others, or some differences in opinion or differences in interpretation, he cannot accept it or tolerate the other person. Short-sightedness refers to not having insight, being too foolish, and having very shallow experiences. Because people are narrow-minded and short-sighted it is not easy for them to achieve obedience to God and to practice the truth. So, people with very narrow and small hearts cannot experience the various ways of the world, they are unable to bear major setbacks and major temptations, when things happen to them it is very easy for them to fall. Tenth, there is man’s arrogant disposition. If man does not possess the truth, regardless of how much knowledge and doctrine they possess, it could be said they are still foolish and ignorant. People are foolish and ignorant, yet they are still able to be particularly arrogant and disobey anyone, which expresses man’s pitifulness. Man’s pitifulness is expressed in this aspect. Do you think any good can come from people like this who are very arrogant and do not obey anyone despite being so foolish and ignorant? No good will come of this. So, it is very easy for man’s arrogant disposition to cause him ruin. If someone has an arrogant disposition, will it be easy for them to receive the truth? Will they be able to be pruned and dealt with? They will not be able to do any of this. If there is someone that you look down upon but everything they say really conforms to the truth, would you be able to obey them? It would not be easy to obey them. When people have an arrogant disposition, that makes it harder than anything to obey others and to receive other people’s words. So, an arrogant disposition makes it even more possible to ruin man, and it makes it even easier for man to fall. Eleventh, there is man’s snobbery and servility. If you don’t have any abilities and always fawn on snobbish people, preferring to be Satan’s lapdog, and not willing to be a slave of the truth nor willing to submit to others, then you are snobbish and servile. Look, the more someone follows snobbish people, likes snobbish people, and fawns over snobbish people, the more he seems like a slave, the more he is a doglike servant. It’s like a dog who uses his master to bully others. … Twelfth, man’s faith is very little. How little is it? Man always relies on what he can see with his own eyes, if he cannot see it with his own eyes then he will not acknowledge it in his heart. Is this kind of person one who has true faith? Man cannot penetrate the spiritual realm directly, he does not understand the truth, he has no knowledge of God, yet he still always relies on what he can see with his own eyes. This is truly man’s fatal weakness. It is very easy for this kind of person to betray God, and it is very easy for them to deny God. Although man may believe in God in his heart, he still unwittingly denies God in many things, and instead he acknowledges Satan, he acknowledges science, and then he denies God. These kinds of people don’t have much faith. These are the twelve problems of the corruption of man’s flesh, and these twelve problems completely fill up man’s flesh. So, do you think it is easy for man to achieve entry into the truth, live out the word of God, obey God, and be loyal to God? When these twelve problems bind man, then to what extent do they bind him? Man has these twelve problems, but still wants to pursue the truth and be saved. Is this easy to do? It is not easy. So how can you solve this problem? You must know yourself. You must be able to clearly understand the attributes of your flesh and the corruption of your flesh. In everything that you do, you must have knowledge of which aspects of the corruption of man’s flesh are restraining you, controlling you, dominating you, and leading you to betray God and forsake the truth. Can you say it is easy for someone whose flesh is so corrupt, and who is corrupted to this extent by Satan, to enter into truth by relying on themselves? This would be too difficult. So, any single one of these twelve problems can block you from entering into the truth. No matter which one of them controlled you, it would be difficult for you to submit to God. Do you see this point clearly? If someone doesn’t recognize that they have these twelve problems of the corruption of man’s flesh within themselves, yet they feel that they understand many truths, that they are able to practice the truth, and that they are somebody who obeys God, then are they not harming themselves? If you do not even have knowledge of these twelve problems, then have you broken away from Satan’s influence? If you feel that you don’t have many difficulties, if you feel that you possess the truth and have stature when in fact you are tightly bound up by Satan, is this not self-deception? With the flesh having so many problems, what threat does it actually pose to you? Up to now there has been no result whatsoever on your entry into life, so what has been restraining you? What has restrained you from not having any changes in your disposition? What restraints have you actually been under that have caused you to be unable to satisfy God and obey God in all that you have done? You must understand all of these things clearly. If you say that there are so many aspects of the corruption of your flesh that you cannot see, but you still feel that you have been saved, and you still feel that you possess the truth, isn’t this extremely foolish and ignorant? If people do not fully understand any of these problems of the corruption of their flesh, then are they someone with self-knowledge? If someone doesn’t have self-knowledge will they be able to conquer themselves? If you cannot conquer yourself, will you be able to conquer Satan? If you cannot break away from the corruptions of your flesh, then how could you be able to conquer Satan? That is unrealistic.
How should one actually gain entry into having knowledge of the corrupt substance of man? You must know the attributes of your corrupt flesh, that is, you must clearly understand the various difficulties of your corrupt flesh. Finally, you must generalize the nature and substance of your corrupt flesh and say, “The substance of this flesh truly is the nature of betrayal of God.” This is what it means to have knowledge of the substance of your corruption. If someone has these twelve problems, does that mean that they are someone who betrays God? If someone has these twelve problems, are they able to practice the truth? Are they able to obey God? They won’t be able to do any of these things, they will only be able to follow their flesh, they will only be able to follow Satan, they will only be able to rely on Satan’s poison to live. There are no other paths for them. So, if you want to achieve salvation, you must transcend your flesh, you must enter into the truth, and you must rely on the word of God to live. Then none of those corruptions of your flesh will be able to restrain you. Only in this way can you truly be called an overcomer.
How to Assess Whether or Not a Man Truly Knows Himself
What expressions are made by those who truly know themselves? First, each and every person that has some true understanding of themselves is able to absolutely submit themselves to all of God’s judgments and chastisements, and they are able to receive various kinds of pruning and dealing. The more that someone knows themselves the more they will feel that God’s judgments and chastisements are greatly beneficial to man, that it is too necessary for man to gain entry into life and change their disposition. If they do not experience the judgment and chastisement of God, if they do not experience the pruning and dealing of God, then people will not be able to achieve salvation. Each and every person who has true knowledge of themselves is more willing to receive all of God’s judgments and chastisements and dealing and pruning. Second, each and every person who has true knowledge of themselves will start to love the truth in their hearts. So, they are able to receive all of the truths expressed by God, regardless of who fellowships about it. So long as it conforms to the truth, then they will be able to obey it and receive it. Third, if someone truly knows themselves, then they will have reverence for God in their heart. Regardless of what God does they will have no conceptions, and they certainly will not pass judgment. Even if they do not understand God’s work, they are still able to revere God in their hearts and practice obedience. Fourth, people who truly know themselves see that everything that God does is in order to save mankind. So, they are able to submit to all of God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Even if God’s work is not advantageous to them, they still will not have any complaints. Fifth, people who truly know themselves see that the corrupt humankind ought to stand its place before God as God’s creations, that they must have conscience and reason, and must perform its duty properly. These are the standards that people who truly know themselves are able to achieve. People who do not know themselves will certainly not undergo any change in their life disposition. Primarily, there are six expressions. First, each and every person who does not know himself is arrogant, conceited, and self-righteous. They do not obey anyone. This is absolutely true. For people who do not know themselves, all that they reveal is their satanic nature, but they do not see this, nor do they understand this, so they go on being self-righteous. Whenever you see someone who is particularly arrogant and conceited, who is particularly self-righteous and does not obey anyone, they are absolutely someone who does not know themselves. They don’t know the slightest bit about themselves. Second, each and every person who does not know himself pays special attention to pursuing status, fame and fortune, and everything they do is in order to satisfy the flesh, in order to satisfy their personal desires and ambitions. This is absolutely true. You can be sure that anyone you see who acts like this is someone who doesn’t understand the slightest bit about themselves. Third, people who do not understand themselves will always easily develop notions regardless of how God carries out His work or speaks His word. These kinds of people will always rely on the notions of man to judge God and doubt God. Anyone you see who always has notions about God’s work is certainly someone who does not have the least bit of understanding about themselves. It is absolutely correct to see things like this. Fourth, people who do not know themselves always request things from God in their faith in Him. They always pray to God, asking Him to satisfy their extravagant desires, and if one of his requests is not satisfied they will complain against God and be negative and retreating. Each and every person who has these kinds of expressions are all people who don’t have the slightest bit of understanding about themselves. Fifth, people who do not understand themselves are always trying to make deals with God through the duties that they perform. They feel they should be rewarded for exerting a little effort. When they pay a small price they ask for God’s blessings. They feel that they have some achievements, that they are entitled to this, that they are able to enjoy God’s blessings. These kinds of people are completely without conscience or reason. Regardless of how much of God’s grace they enjoy, they do not think about repayment. If they expend themselves a little, if they perform some part of their duty, then they demand that they receive God’s blessings. These kinds of people do not possess humanity, and they certainly are not people who know themselves. Sixth, people who do not know themselves at all are unwilling to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. They just believe that their fate lies within their own hands. They always struggle and put forth effort for the longings of their flesh. No matter how big their setbacks and failures, they do not change course. People who do not know themselves primarily express themselves through these six aspects.